Summer is truly over and we have been thrown back into the school routine as if we had never left it.
As seasons change so do the recipes in my house. We start eating more stews, more root vegetables and more hot dishes and salads get relegated to the side of the plate. I’d love to live in a country where we could eat salads as a main course all year-round but I live in Ireland, and it just ain’t happening. (as my kids say “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”)
One of our favorite salads is Caesar Salad. We are not very strict on what is in the salad. Anything goes really: leaves of any sort, croutons, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, chicken, bacon… anything. As long as it is smothered in that delicious dressing, is a go. I don’t know if it’s the saltines from the cheese and anchovies, or the tanginess of the lemon, but it is just delicious, isn’t it?
But let’s be honest, Caesar Salad dressing is quite fattening and so full of calories. So in order to keep having it, even in winter, but without still adding to the calorie count, I decided to make a healthier option.
- 3/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt.
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
- 1 large garlic clove
Blend all the ingredients well and put them in a nice dressing bottle. It should last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.
As Chaotic Monkey is allergic to mustard (among 20 thousand other things…), I did not include mustard in my dressing. What I did was add a bit more lemon, some more anchovies and more cheese until I was happy with the flavor.
I can now smother those leaves with a totally clear conscience!! 😉 And it is not just for salads, it’s also amazing in wraps and sandwiches! At least according to my kids.
As the weather gets warmer, we tend to eat salads on a daily basis at home. We love any kind of leaf in our house, from rocket to spinach to baby beet green. We love mix and match leaves in our salads The combination of flavors mixed with some aromatic herbs, bring the salads to a whole new level – you will never be bored.
The salad bags you can find in the supermarkets are very handy but I find they work out very expensive and they tend to go off rather quickly so I decided to grow my own salads. Growing your own food brings me a great sense of well-being, of knowing where my food has been and what it has gone into growing them. It is just so nice!
You don’t need to have a big garden or a garden at all to grow your own salads. You only need a small outside space, a balcony, a window box, any space where you can put a pot in. I recently scored some wooden boxes from my local farmer’s market so I decided to grow them in them so I could move them around my garden depending whether they needed more or less sun.
I painted the box a rich blue color and I lined the inside with newspapers. I then put some compost and planted my chosen salad leaves (Salad Lettuce Leaf ‘Misticanza d’insalate’ / Lettuce ‘Lollo Rosso). My own salad garden ready to be eaten!
Ideally I would have liked to grow my salads from seeds but the weather has been so bad here that the idea of planting anything or getting out into the garden was not very appealing and I missed the planting season. I did make sure the plants I bought were organic and no chemicals had been used in them,
Are you growing your own food? Share with us.
I love salads. We eat loads of them during the hotter months both as main and sides.In the winter months, we tend to eat less salads as I I find myself put off by the idea of eating something cold, so I have been trying out different warm salads.
This is one of my favourites warm salads as the recipe has two of my favourite ingredients: tomatoes and avocados, and avocados and eggs are just such a lovely combination… yum!
BULGAR WHEAT WITH AVOCADO AND EGG SALAD (serves 2)
1 small cup of bulgar wheat
7 cherry tomatos
3 spring onions
2 medium free range egg
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Bring 5.5 parts of water or stock to the boil and add 1 part of bulgar wheat. Stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes.
Separate the grains with a fork and add the chopped tomatoes, avocado and spring onions and season. Add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
Poach the egg and drain it on some kitchen paper (there is nothing worse than a wet egg on anything) and top your salad with it.
You can also use it as a side dish – it is ideal with fish.
It is so good!! Very nutritious, delicious and very filling!
Give it a go and let me know what you think.
Have a great weekend.