A leafy salad with plenty of fresh herbs makes an excellent accompaniment to a whole range of dishes, from a simple roast chicken with potatoes, to pizza and pasta. For a crisp texture, make the salad just before you want to serve it and then toss with the dressing at the very last moment.
Add 30 g (1 oz) stoned green olives, whole or cut in half. * For a green salad with a creamy avocado dressing, combine 2 Little Gem lettuces, separated into leaves, 40 g (1½ oz) each lamb's lettuce and watercress, 1 shredded courgette (or 3 thinly sliced dwarf courgettes), 4 sliced spring onions, 16 large fresh basil leaves and 40 g (1½ oz) stoned green olives. Make the dressing by blending or beating 1 large ripe avocado with 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and seasoning to taste. Serve the avocado dressing on the side rather than mixed into the salad. * Make a rocket and spinach salad with garlic croutons. For the croutons, toss 55 g (2 oz) cubed French bread with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 crushed garlic clove, then spread out on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4) oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Make the dressing with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp capers, 2 finely chopped anchovy fillets, 1 finely chopped tomato and 8 chopped fresh basil leaves. Leave for a few minutes so the flavours can mingle. Put the croutons into a salad bowl with 1 romaine or cos lettuce, torn into pieces, 115 g (4 oz) baby spinach leaves and 45 g (1½ oz) rocket. Spoon over the dressing and serve. * For a watercress and orange salad, mix the segments from 4 oranges with 85 g (3 oz) watercress, the leaves from 2 heads of chicory and 4 sliced shallots. For the dressing, whisk together 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Acacia honey, seasoning to taste and a little Dijon mustard, if liked. Drizzle over the salad, toss and sprinkle with 4 tbsp lightly toasted pistachio nuts.
We would all benefit from eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and salads can be a delicious and easy way to achieve this goal. A medium-sized helping of salad makes one portion. * Lettuces such as romaine and cos are good sources of potassium and carotenoids. The darker outer leaves are more nutritious than the pale inner leaves.
B1, B6, C, E, folate, niacin, good source of vitamin A and iron