Three Ways to Pimp Out Your Salads

Salad season is just around the corner! I love to eat salads all year round but especially when it's hot outside. Not everyone agrees though – can you believe that some people think salad is boring? Well I'm going to put an end to that vicious rumour once and for all and show you a few ways to make your summer salads sing.

Experiment with salads from different countries such as a classic French Tuna Nicoise. J'adore this dish as it has so many different elements and is a real crowd pleaser. All you will need is:
Tinned tuna or cooked tuna steak
New potatoes, boiled
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Green beans, boiled or steamed
Hard boiled eggs, halved
Lettuce, ripped into shreds
Cucumber, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Black olives
Anchovy fillets, cut into strips (optional)
Dressing: Extra virgin olive oil or vinaigrette

Allow all the cooked ingredients to cool, then arrange everything nicely on a large platter et voila! A hearty, healthy French salad suitable for lunch or dinner.

Salad doesn't have to be cold – try a hot salad! The word 'hot' has two meanings when it comes to food, the first being 'cooked' and the other 'spicy'. This recipe for spicy chicken salad is both! I haven't added any measurements because it depends how many people you're serving and how much spice you can handle. You'll need:

Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Onion, finely chopped
Jalapenos, sliced
Plain yoghurt
Lemon juice
Chilli powder
Cayenne pepper
Lettuce and/or rocket leaves (arugula)

Put the chicken, onion and jalapenos in a large bowl. Mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, chilli powder and cayenne pepper together then add to the bowl and stir into the chicken mixture. Serve immediately over a bed of shredded lettuce and/or rocket.

Finally, get a little creative! The great thing about salads is that they are so versatile – the possibilities of what you can add to them are endless! Have a rummage through your fridge and kitchen cupboards and grab anything that takes your fancy. Then just throw it all together in a big bowl and start munching away! This is also a clever way of clearing out your kitchen of foods that you've been ignoring and might be nearing their use-by dates. Here are some ideas of things you can add to a traditional salad to make it a little more fun:

Raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, cold cuts of meat, seafood, pasta, cheeses, falafel, tofu, fruit, dried fruit, berries, toasted nuts, seeds, herbs, beans, garlic, quinoa, lentils, eggs, croutons, coleslaw and even last night's leftovers.

Please share some of your favourite ways to eat salad, in the comments!