We've had our first glimpses of spring sunshine. Winter is definitely on its way out, even if summer is still some way off. Our diet should reflect this change of seasons, making the most of fresher, lighter ingredients.
Here are our top tips for creating the perfect spring salad:
Choose your ingredients wisely
The secret to a good spring salad is to find the right balance. You need something that's fresh but substantial. The heavy root vegetables of winter can be overpowering but the delicate baby leaves of early summer will be too insubstantial to keep you going at this time of year.
Try grating raw carrot, beetroot and apple. The tender leaves of spring cabbage are so sweet and crisp that you can eat them raw. Baby spinach leaves make a more substantial alternative to lettuce, whilst watercress and rocket pack a punch in terms of flavour. Avocado and olives are great sources of healthy fats.
Pack in some protein
Pure vegetable salads have their place as side dishes and light snacks. But if you want a salad to make up a meal, you need to pack in some protein. Fish or meat are great – think smoked mackerel or grilled chicken or steak. There are plenty of good vegetarian options too, including cubed hard cheeses, nuts and seeds, and firm smoked tofu.
Dress for the occasion
The crowning glory of a salad is the dressing you pour over it. You can't go far wrong with the classic combination of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Honey and mustard is another popular option, as is sweet chilli. If you're feeling more adventurous, why not experiment with different oils like avocado, walnut, or the many different kinds of herb-infused olive oils now available at most supermarkets?
Salads are anything but boring – they're a great way of eating healthily and in tune with seasons.
What better way to set yourself up for a good workout?
Salads can be super unhealthy - cheese, heavy dressings. I find salad pretty boring unless it's got a tasty dressing on it or a nice piece of chicken. Obviously this is my downfall!
High five to Pete! Really hard to see the point of salad as anything other than decoration for a nice slab of meat.
This fits nicely with the other post about eating like a caveman. Mind you, I can't see that cavemen knocked up that many salads!
No Pete, salads are not just for girls - it's just men choose not to eat them as much. Salad is so good, and so refreshing during the spring/summer months.
Yep, salads are for girls. Sorry!
I'm more of a side salad kind of bloke - maybe on the side of a big juicy steak, with loads of high cal dressing. I don't know why there's just something about salad that makes me think it doesn't count as a proper meal!
good idea, Emma - and we also need to convince children that salads can be a lot better than what is served under that name in many popular chain eating places. It has to be seasonal and fresh - solid tomatoes and tasteless lettuce will put anyone off.
Salads are great for couples/adults, but those with families can struggle trying to get children to eat them as a 'proper' family meal. Perhaps we should do what they do on the continent and serve fresh salad with every meal? A cultural shift towards more fresh food is definitely needed in this country.
The enthusiasm is there when I start eating a salad but within 5-10 minutes it becomes a chore. I pick out the best bits to begin with which probably doesn't help.
Most of my salads come with a meat or fish element so they feel more like a "proper" meal. Surf & turf (prawns&steak) salad goes down the best on my house!
We try to have salad as a meal once a week (getting children into good habits). I like the idea of adding some protein actually in the salad like nuts and smoked mackerel. This would definitely help make them tastier and more appealing.
the picture looks lovely - but I may need to wait a while, the tomato plants are only an inch high at the moment! A lesson in seasonal eating and something to look forward to.
It's worth pointing out that it's perfeclty possible to create an unhealthy salad! Lettuce isn't exactly nutrient dense, and that's even more the case if it's been left to wilt in your fridge for a few days. And although the added extras make salad interesting, you need to be careful - go easy on pre-made dressing (lots of hidden sugar and salt) and things like croutons.
I'm not even going to rise to the bait here. But thanks for a timely article - spring always puts me in the mood for fresher, lighter food, and it's good to remember that salads are so much more than a couple of sad bits of iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato!
I'm a bloke. A pretty fit and strong one at that. I eat salad. The idea of it being "Girl Food" is just silly!
First yogurts now salads. I said it before: This is what I call Girl Food. A bloke cannot exist on salad. Though I like the idea of adding steak to it...