Making a salad isn't difficult but they can end up being a little boring. At Green Farm, our simple Garden Salad uses lots of our amazing lettuces and leaves, a wide variety of herbs, flowers, fennel - depending on what is growing in the garden - our apples when they are in season and local chopped cobnuts.
When keeping a salad simple and letting the ingredients speak for themselves, you need to pick it super fresh which for us at the farm is within 20 mins of it going on the table. This not only means that the salad retains its freshness but you also retain much more of the delicious and nutritious goodness found in fresh, raw vegetables.
But a salad doesn't need to just be leaf based, there are so many other options out there to keep it interesting - whether as a side, starter, light lunch or main meal. Here are my rules and guidelines for creating the perfect salad every single time, no matter what you have in the fridge or cupboards.
In my opinion every salad must have options 1-4 and then as many of 5-7 as you want.
1. Vegetable Base: Lettuce, Leaves, Greens, Raw, Grilled, Roasted
2. Vegetable Extra: Herbs, Lettuce, Leaves, Greens, Raw, Grilled, Roasted, Pickled, Fruit
3. Dressing: Citrus/Vinegar/Mustard/Creamy/Tahini/Herb/Pesto
4. Crunch: Seeds, Nuts, Croutons, Raw veg, Raw fruit
5. Protein: Meat, Cheese, Fish, Beans, Pulses, Legumes, Yoghurt
6. Grains: Buckwheat, Couscous, Farro, Pasta, Quinoa, Barley etc.
7. Toppings: Spices, Oils, Sauces, Dried Fruit, Herbs, Dried Herbs, Flowers
For a salad you need at least one veg as a base and then preferably you'd have at least three vegetable extras. For instance our Green Farm Garden Salad:
Vegetable base: Butter Lettuce and Lamb's Lettuce
Vegetable extra: Rocket leaves, Spinach leaves, thinly sliced Fennel, thinly sliced apple
Dressing: lemon, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper (the lettuces are 'light' in weight so need a light dressing)