Shake up your lunches with chef Nina Parker's 10 easy salad upgrades
Whether it’s your go-to work lunch, a way to use up ingredients in the fridge, or an active effort to eat a more healthy and wholesome diet, a salad is the perfect quick and easy dish to dine on.
The key, however, is not falling into the all too common ‘salad rut’, that sees us constantly chomping on a bland and boring bowl of lettuce leaves and cucumber.
Here at Get The Gloss we don’t believe healthy food has to be humdrum and are certain that when given the right ingredients and recipes to follow, a bowl of good greenery can be just as tempting as the next dish.
Here, London based chef and culinary mastermind Nina Parker, gives 10 ways to spice, spruce and super boost your salad.
1. Citrus spritz
Add lemon zest and juice - it's my favourite ingredient and never fails to bring life and freshness to a dish.
2. Shallots and more
I love adding in 1/2 a diced shallot into salads. Make sure you run it under cold water for five minutes first though, to numb the taste a little. Try it in a green salad with fresh peas for a subtle but super tasty dish.
3. Dare to dress
Have a few killer dressings up your sleeve. I usually rely on my lemon and honey, aged balsamic and mustard, or garlic with fresh parsley and avocado oil dressings.
4. Volumise with veggies
Add in some roast vegetables that you made the night before. These will add in heaps of delicious extra flavour and will also help to bulk up the volume.
5. Spice it up
I'm always adding in pulses with ground cumin, turmeric, coriander and paprika into my salads. Make sure you have a well-stocked spice shelf, as these are a super simple and quick way to add in so much flavour. Many of the spices also have wonderful health properties such as turmeric, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to boost your immune system.
6. A splash of oil
I swear by a good quality extra virgin olive oil. I use either coconut, avocado or rapeseed oil for cooking, but I still think nothing beats the flavour of extra virgin in a dressing. I also think an aged balsamic is another great investment. These may be simple ingredients, but they can transform your salads altogether.
7. Nutty about nuts
I love using toasted nuts in salads because it creates a wonderful mixture of different textures and crunch. Try adding a handful of toasted nuts into a tahini, lime, garlic, honey, tamari and avocado oil dressing - It will knock your socks off!
8. Pleasing pesto
Homemade pesto is a bit of a luxury but man does it take things up a notch. The great thing about it is it injects so much flavour into a dish and you can experiment with lots of different herbs and nut combinations.
9. Awesome anchovies
Try adding in a very finely chopped anchovy fillet to your vinaigrette, especially if you’re using fresh tarragon. You don't taste it that much but it adds much more depth and flavour.
10. Freezer friends
I always have a good stock of frozen peas, sweetcorn and broad beans to quickly toss into salads for lunch.
For more tantalisingly tasty recipes from Nina head to her website.