Salads can be really interesting, just because it is a salad, does not mean it is limited only to chopped garden vegetables. It doesn't even mean it has to be a cold plate! Salads can also be warm and cooked. You can use roasted vegetables, you can also use preserved lemons, or aubergines... A salad can contain both warm and cold components.
When it comes to salad dressings, vinaigrettes are top of the list. But even there you are not limitted to the basic vinaigrette. You can play around with textures, flavour combinations and even consistency, all of which will tremendously affect the experience. The types of mustards, the types of oil, vinegar and/or acid used are limitless, and can create countless variations. You can intensify flavours by using rinds, herbs, and even spices. A salad does not have to be boring, and it can be used as an integral part of your meal to enhance flavours, textures and add a pop of colour when plating. You really want to experiment with various salads, especially if you frequently have salads for mains. follow this link for more on Salads.
In this salad, I have used cooked and raw components; yet despite the little prep, the salad is served cold. In terms of texture this salad is packed with variety. You get the crunch from the fennel, the shortly sauteed asparagus and flash-blanched carrots and edamame beans (an immature soy bean in the pod). You also get a smooth bite from the sauteed zucchini and summer yellow squash. Then you get the juicy ooziness of the fresh cherry tomatoes, the aromas of the fresh parsley leaves and finishing all with the creaminess of avocados and goat's cheese. All brought together with the sweet-tanginess of an orange-walnut vinaigrette... Epic!
No salad experience is complete without the good old piece of bread, which you will dunk into the vinaigrette to soak all the juices and offer yourself a juicy, tender piece of comfort. I have chosen a whole wheat walnut mini loaf to serve on the side of this superb salad. Pumpernickel works very well too, and feel free to go for your favourite bread. This salad is packed with nutrients, and easy to make. It will leave you feeling full, yet light and energetic. It is a perfect lunch for those days when you are thinking healthy but flavoursome... So let's get preppin'...
Salad serves 6 appetiser servings or 3 main servings
|Julienned squash and zucchini|
200g Edamame beans (removed from the pod)
2 small yellow squash, julienned
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
150g baby carrots, roughly chopped
150g fresh green asparagus, roughly chopped
2 small zucchinis, julienned
3 ripe avocados, sliced
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh Parsley leaves, roughly torn
Crumbled Goat's cheese (quantity is optional)
2 tbsp walnut oil for sauteing the vegetables
For the Orange-Walnut Vinaigrette
juice of 1 orange
squeeze of lime
3 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp White wine vinegar, white grape vinegar or white vinegar
zest of 1/2 orange
Salt & Black pepper
In a large saucepan, bring some salted water to a boil, add the chopped carrots, and edamame beans, stir twice, then drain and quickly place in iced water bath. Leave for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, place 1 tbsp of walnut oil, quickly saute the julienned sqaush and zucchini. Do not allow to brown, just saute enough to coat with oil and soften slightly. It has to keep a bite to it. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, add the remaining walnut oil, and saute the asparagus till slightly softened without browning. asparagus should remain crunchy not soft. Remove from skillet and set aside. Allow all vegetables to cool.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Place orange juice, lime juice, mustard, vinegar, zest and seasoning and whisk to incorporate all well together. while continuing to whisk, drizzle the oil in a steady thin stream and continue whisking, until the mixture is well emulsified.
In a large bowl, place the sauteed vegetables, the blanched carrots and edamame, the chopped fennel, the halved cherry tomatoes, the parsley leaves, and toss to mix.
When plating, place the tossed salad towards the front of the plate. Place the sliced avocados fanned to the side at the back, and top all with the crumbled goat's cheese. Dress with vinaigrette, and place the loaf on the other side at the back and serve...
This is a fabulous salad, that I am having lots of these days, trying to keep the energy levels high after exercising and to compensate for lost nutrients. I have to say it is delicious, and makes me feel full, satisfied and totally energised. Eating this salad, I do not feel at all deprived or like am settling for lunch! Give it a try, am sure you will be glad you did..
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