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healthy-salads

Our nation has started to take healthy eating seriously. No longer is salad that plate of slices of cucumber, onion and tomato. The sheer versatility of salads makes it easy to put together something that suits the palate and excites the taste buds.

All people, of all ages, are now more and more health conscious. Even if going to the gym is an inconvenience, going for an early morning walk definitely helps you break a sweat. Not only is salad a healthy addition to an otherwise rich and carbohydrate-laden cuisine, but it is a key part in one’s goal to lose weight. Here are some low-calorie salads that will fill your stomach as well as keep you going for the rest of the day.

1.Corn ‘Off’ the Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • Fresh corn kernels – 2 cups
  • Red/yellow peppers – 1 cup
  • Coriander leaves – ½ cup
  • Chili powder/paprika –1 tsp
  • Lime juice – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a heavy nonstick frying pan, roast the corn on medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly brown.
  3. Place the corn in a large bowl and add the lime juice and chili powder/paprika.
  4. Mix well and add the peppers and coriander.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve cold.

2.Panzanella

Ingredients

  1.For the Croutons

  • Stale and dry sour dough bread or a baguette – 3 cups of ½ inch cubes
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  2. For the Salad

  • Tomatoes – 1 cup, deseeded and chopped into ½ inch cubes (keep aside the juices from the center)
  • Cucumber – ½ cup, deseeded and chopped into ½ inch cubes
  • Onion – ¼ cup, finely chopped
  • Basil leaves – ½ cup, sliced
  • Fresh parsley – ½ cup, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 clove, minced
  • Olives – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp and ¼ tsp
  • Balsamic vinegar/synthetic vinegar – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and vinegar to taste

Method

1.For the Croutons

  1. In a frying pan, heat the oil until hot.
  2. Add the bread cubes and cook until crisp.
  3. On paper towels, place the bread cubes to drain out the excess oil.
  4. To retain crispness, keep the croutons in an airtight container till ready to use.

 2.For the Salad

  1. Remove the juice from the tomatoes and sieve the seeds from the juice.
  2. Toss the tomatoes, separately in a large bowl, with the garlic and salt.
  3. Evenly spread the juice over the croutons.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients including the seasonings to taste.
  5. Toss well.
  6. Assemble the salad when it’s time to eat.

3.Rajma (Red Kidney Bean) Salad

Ingredients

  • Rajma (red kidney beans) – ½ cup (soaked for 8 hours and cooked till soft)
  • Onion – 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Tomato – 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Coriander – ¼ cup
  • Lime juice – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Combine the cooled rajma with the rest of the above ingredients.
  2. Toss well.
  3. Adjust seasoning if required.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves.

4.Quick and Healthy Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • Farfalle/fusilli pasta – 250g (cooked till al dente)
  • Tomato – ½ cup, chopped
  • Sundried tomatoes (in oil not brine) – 1/3 cup, chopped finely
  • Basil leaves – ½ cup, sliced
  • Peas – 1/3 cup
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • White wine vinegar/balsamic vinegar – 2 tsp
  • Garlic – 1 clove, minced
  • Leftover chicken – ½ cup, shredded or chopped (optional)
  • Cold cuts like salami or chorizo/rashers of bacon – 1/3 cup, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Prepare pasta using the instructions on the packet.
  2. Set aside pasta to cool.

For the Dressing

  1. In a food processor or grinder, add half the amount of the tomatoes, half of the sundried tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, oil and a tablespoon of basil leaves.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Process or grind the ingredients till smooth.
  4. Set aside in a bowl.

For the Salad

  1. Toss the remaining ingredients in the bowl with the tomato dressing.
  2. Crumble nachos or pita bread on top of the salad for crunch (optional).

5.Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

 1.To Make the Quinoa

  • Quinoa – 1 cup, cleaned and soaked
  • Vegetable/chicken broth – 2 cups
  • Olive oil – 1 tsp

  2.For the Salad

  • Cooked quinoa – 1 ½ cup
  • Parsley – 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Mint – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Garlic – 1 clove, minced
  • Lime juice – ¼ cup
  • Olive oil – 4 tbsp
  • Black olives – 8-10, chopped
  • Feta – ¼ cup
  • Cucumber – ¼ cup, deseeded and chopped
  • Tomato – ¼ cup, deseeded and chopped
  • Onion – ¼ cup, chopped
  • Prawns (whole) – 200g, cooked (optional)

Method

 1.For the Quinoa

  • Wash the quinoa under the tap 3-4 times to remove any bitterness.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil and add the olive oil.
  • Add the quinoa and cover with a lid.
  • Keep checking the quinoa and with a fork, loosen the grains to ensure they are not getting burned or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the quinoa has absorbed most of the stock, take it off the flame and cover for 10 minutes.
  • Cool and fluff up the quinoa with a fork to keep it from becoming clumpy.

 2.For the Salad

  • Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  • Toss the salad and refrigerate.
  • Serve cold.

Variations

  • Replace half the quinoa with couscous for added texture.
  • Replace 1/3 of the quinoa with cooked masoor dal (red lentils).
  • Add toasted pita bread pieces for crunch.

Quick-fix recipe

6.Vietnamese Raw Mango Salad

Ingredients

For the Salad

Rice vermicelli – 1 cup

Carrots – 2

Cucumber – 1

Raw mango – half

Cabbage – ½ cup

For the Dressing

Palm Sugar – 2 tsp

Fish Sauce – 3 tbsp

Lime juice – 4 tsp

Chili flakes – 1 tsp

Roasted, salted peanuts – ¼ cup

Method

  • Cook 1 cup of rice vermicelli. Cool and add to a large bowl.
  • Julienne 2 medium carrots, 1 cucumber (deseeded), half a raw mango (peeled) and ½ cup cabbage. Place them in bowl of vermicelli.
  • Add a handful of mint and coriander.
  • Toss well.
  • For the dressing: Combine 2 tsp of palm sugar, 3 tbsp of fish sauce, 4 tbsp of lime juice, 1 tsp of chili flakes. Pour dressing over the salad and add ¼ cup of roasted and salted peanuts.
  • Serve cold.

Variation

  • Add cooked prawn or chicken to the salad.

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