Snap Pea & Rocket Salad (Short Girl, Tall Order)
Learn how to make your own salad, and you no longer have to buy plastic-wrapped bags of tasteless salad at the store, only to see it wilt in a couple of days. Not everyone can eat salad, so be aware of this. If you are on heart-thinning medication, check the paper inserts, in case you are limited in leafy greens (too much vitamin K which could interact). Also see how to make your own salad dressing.
Lettuce may seem bland, but it’s packed with nutrition and makes a great base ingredient. You don’t have to just go for the ‘lettuce, tomato and slices of cucumber salad’. Lettuce can be far more exciting, if you let it. And it’s also a good salad vegetable to use a wrap, popular in raw food recipes (just add the filling and roll up).
In fact, most people do eat a lot of lettuce, so it’s easy to find everywhere. Choose organic where you can, and buy from shops that don’t wrap it in plastic. Don’t store it near fruits that emit the gas ethylene (apples, bananas) as it will soon go off. There are two types of lettuce. Butterhead lettuce has oily leaves and crisp lettuce (like iceberg) has brittle leaves. Take your pick!
Due to being very high in vitamin K, check if you are on heart medication, as you may be advised not to eat (or not to eat too much of it). And if you live with furry friends, know that iceberg lettuce should not be fed to rabbits. See what to feed rabbits instead. Basically hay and fresh grass, with a few healthy treats.
Make Your Own Pasta Salad
15-Minute Pasta Salad (So Vegan) is beautiful enough to be the centrepiece for the table. Packed with nutrition, this features onion, cucumber and cherry tomatoes, along with olives, parsley and tinned chickpeas. All dressed in a simple homemade sauce. salted water to the boil and cook the pasta as per the packet.
Cooked too much pasta last night? It’s easy to do, if you don’t measure it out. But instead of throwing it away, use it to make a tasty homemade pasta salad. A great way to use it up, and add some fresh veggies the next day, makes an ideal takeaway lunch, if you’re on the go.
Pasta salad is a good way to use up leftover veggies in the fridge. Pasta is thought of as not healthy, but if you use it as a base for lots of fresh veggies, it’s fine. Try to find a good organic pasta brand, and go for gluten-free if you find that it suits you better. But for most people, regular dry pasta is fine.
Health experts differ in their opinion of olive oil. Some say it’s healthy, others say that all refined oils are best avoided for health. However, Italians and others have been eating foods with olive oil for years, and have better health than many other countries. What is true is that for cooking, rapeseed oil is usually better. Save olive oil if used, for drizzling over cold dishes, like this. Choose organic and use sparingly, but enjoy!
Who says a salad has to be cold? Many people don’t like ice-cold salads, especially those with dodgy digestion. Here are some nice warm salads that can be enjoyed in cooler weather and still enables you to get all your vitamins from fresh greens.
Books to Make Your Own Salad
- Vegan Salads is a lovely book that takes you through the way to make your own basic salad and dressing. It does contain 100 beautifully illustrated recipes, but is more an informational book.
- Show Up For Salad includes lots of main meal salads including Juicy Grilled Summer Days Peach Salad, All-Day Breakfast Nacho Salad Bowl, Lazy Seitan Gyro Salad, Peruvian Potato & Red Quinoa Salad and Pizza Panzella with Beet Prosciutto. Along with sides like crumbly salty almond cheese and buffalo tofu.
- Neighbourhood: Hearty Salads and Plant-Based Recipes is from a local foods campaigner in North America. This looks at paying homage to salads from around the world.
Grow Organic Salad Leaves & Greens
Grow Organic Salad Leaves & Greens is a book by Somerset no-dig gardening expert Charles Dowding, who grows all his own food, without ever using a spade or fork, which keeps the earthworms and stag beetle grubs happy. If you are fed up of living on plastic-bagged limp expensive salad covered in chemicals from the supermarket, this book can show you how to grow your own fresh salads, for zero food miles. Although like Charles, you may have to accept that sometimes you’ll be sharing your lettuce with a few rogue rabbits, who happen upon your wares!
If you live with animal friends, see make your garden safe for pets, to know toxic plants to avoid. This post also covers other dangers like mulch (cocoa, pine, rubber) and slug pellets (you can deter slugs and snails using safe humane methods, no chemicals needed, which also helps wildlife to thrive).
This book is beautifully illustrated, and contains all the info you need to grow tasty salad leaves all year round, whether you have a garden, balcony or windowsill. You’ll also learn how to grow micro leaves in small spaces, using organic or permaculture principles.
- Essential know-how
- Potential of small raised beds
- Containers & window boxes
- Sowing, raising, sustaining
The Salad Calendar
- Spring, Summer
- Autumn & winter harvests
A Celebration of Leaves
- Lettuce, chicory & endive
- Oriental leaves, other winter leaves
- Spinach & chard
- Exotic ideas, herbs & flowers