This salad is especially for all of the people out there that think of limp iceberg lettuce, soggy cucumber and insipid tomato when the word ‘salad’ is mentioned. This salad is none of the above. It will challenge such perceptions! It is crunchy, fresh, filling and bursting with flavour.
Almost ten years ago I was living in Sydney, studying business at university (before I realised that nutrition was more interesting) and fell into the habit of having a salad similar to this for my lunch most days. This habit has proven to be a sticky one. I notice now that even though I include other foods for lunch – sandwiches, wraps, pastas, soups, sushi etc – I find myself coming back to this as a personal comfort food. The combination of textures, flavours and the sense of wellbeing that this kind of meal delivers make it hard to pass up.
This version is simply one example of an unlimited combination of ingredients. As the title suggests, pretty much anything goes with this salad. I usually open the fridge, empty the contents of the vegetable drawers onto the counter, choose one or two protein foods to add in and start chopping. Finishing it off with my favourite dressing brings all the separate ingredients into harmony.
This version includes these tasty baby cucumbers that are bursting with flavour. I could eat them by the bucket load!
It also has really finely sliced red cabbage for colour and crunch…
For protein I added sprouted chickpeas and lentils, crumbled smooth feta cheese and a tiny handful of pistachios…
Handful of salad greens (rocket, English spinach, mizuna, red oak lettuce, cos lettuce, etc), rinsed and dried well, torn into small bite-size pieces
1 tomato, cut into small wedges
5 cm piece lebanese cucumber, 1 cm dice
1 beetroot (tinned or roasted), diced
Handful of finely shredded red cabbage (use a knife or a mandolin)
4-5 snow peas, sliced into 1-2 cm pieces
Handful of sprouted lentils, chickpeas and almonds (substitute cooked or tinned, drained chickpeas)
Small tuft of alfalfa sprouts
30-40 g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp hommus, on side of bowl
1 small celery stick, 1 cm slices
1/4 small avocado, diced
1-2 tbsp balsamic dressing (mix a dash of really good quality balsalmic vinegar with fresh extra virgin olive oil in the ratio that tastes right to you… i go for about 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar for extra tang… I think!)
Throw vegetables and legumes into a bowl. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top. Dollop hommus onto the side. Drizzle with dressing. Eat!