Salads for between seasons

Salads for between seasons

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Unpredictable weather patterns can make deciding what to cook a chore – do you go light and fresh, or bold and satisfying? Salads are a great option and having a few in your arsenal that hit one or the other, or even both, can take the stress out of decision making.

We’re sharing three salads that can be served in summer or autumn (or that period between when it's not too hot nor too cold) and can easily be a main dish or part of a bigger meal.

Zingy No-Mayo Potato Salad 
There's a time and place for creamy mayo based potato salads, but sometimes we want our starchy carbohydrates to be lighter and fresher. Grain mustard, preserved lemons and plenty of white wine vinegar do the heavy lifting here, adding bitey, tangy, savoury brightness, and a load of fresh herbs add colour, texture and make this potato salad feel more nourishing than excessive. Serve with some pan seared salmon, battered white fish or grilled chicken thighs.

  1. In a large pot, boil 1kg of whole, unskinned baby potatoes in salted water for 10–15 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool a little while you make the dressing.
  2. In a large bowl combine 4-6 finely chopped preserved lemon quarters (depending on your taste), 3 tablespoons of grain mustard, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegarhalf a bunch of finely sliced spring onions, a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together thoroughly. It will taste tangy, almost astringent, but these strong flavours will be soaked up and mellowed by the potatoes.
  3. Quarter half of the warm potatoes, and crush the other half with the bottom of a bowl or glass, add them to the bowl of dressing and toss to combine. Taste and season more if needed.
  4. Roughly chop fresh dill and parsley, about a cup of each, add to the potatoes and fold through. The potatoes will absorb more of the dressing and become more flavourful as it sits, so this can easily be made ahead of time, refrigerated and served at room temperature.

Asian Cucumber Salad
This salad is exactly what you need when you want a side dish that's refreshing and light but still loaded with flavour. If you want to make this a heftier meal, throw in some cooked soba noodles and shredded poached chicken *chef's kiss*

  1. In a small bowl or lidded jar, combine 1.5 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of ground Szechuan pepper, mixing until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a serving bowl combine 6 cucumbers cut into rough chunks, 2 sliced long red chillies, and ¼ cup of coriander leaves, then pour on the dressing and gently toss.
  3. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds and more coriander leaves and serve. Optional: drizzle on some chilli crisp for more heat and texture.

Harissa, Hummus, Carrot and Grain Salad
This hearty salad has clear Middle Eastern influences and can easily be a main dish all on its own, but could be served alongside lamb koftas or stuffed eggplant.

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. In the bottom of a small roasting pan, combine 1 tablespoon of rose harissa and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add 1 bunch of baby carrots (washed and trimmed) into the mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. For the dressing, mix 2 tablespoons of rose harissa with 4 tablespoons of lemon agrumato (or plain olive oil if preferred), a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Add another tablespoon of harissa if you like more heat.
  3. Mix ½ cup each of cooked green lentils, farro and black barley in a bowl and dress with one third of the dressing.
  4. To layer the salad, spread 1.5 cups of hummus on a serving plate. Top the hummus with half of the grain and pulse mixture and half of the roasted carrots. Crumble a little feta and sprinkle some roughly torn mint on top. Add the remaining grain and pulse mix, finish with the rest of the dressing, more crumbled feta and mint leaves.

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