Happy New Year! Â Are you looking for something fresh, green and crunchy? After the Christmas cake which I ate almost entirely myself I know I am. Â I love salads all year round and eat them in one form or other several days a week. Â However right now my craving knows no bounds. Â After what feels like weeks of rain the sun is out and the sky is blue. Â Tom and I went for a fabulous walk up beautiful Lewesdon Hill this morning and following a Â hose down (Tom, not me) I felt like something healthy, raw (mostly) and fresh to eat.
This is the sort of salad we often have for a weekday lunch, perhaps with the addition of a few chunks of feta, maybe withÂ soup if it is chilly or just good bread. Â Whatever the weather we often have this for a weekend lunch alongside a roast chicken, my children invariably picking out the bits they like best. Â It makes a lovely change from the usual roast with vegetables and feels a bit lighter – without losing out on the gorgeous golden roast chook. Â Perfect with a steak for supper, no need for chips because of the croutons and it is just the thing with any barbecued meat (I know, I know, barely a sign of Spring outside and I am already talking barbecues, I can’t help myself).
I suspect you may have spotted the croutons so I must state that this is not diet food per se but it is so delicious, crisp and clean that I would certainly term it healthy. Â Whatever, this is the green salad I turn to most often and usually have the ingredients in my fridge. No spring onions or avocado? Â No matter, use what you have or what you like best. Â This is enough for my lunch just as it is, the croutons, seeds and avocado giving it substance but as ever, it is just a guideline, an idea to share.
My Green Salad
4 slices of baguette or similar, cubed Â (a little stale is fine)
1 tablespoon oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed or very finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons oil (I use 2 of good extra virgin olive oil and one of a plain oil)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pine kernels
1 little gem
A handful of baby spinach
A handful of rocket
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
Small chunk of cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped
Chives, a small handful (parsley, mint or oregano work well or a combination of any)
Preheat the oven to 200. Â Turn the cubes of bread in the tablespoon of oil, put in a small tin and bake for 5 minutes until golden, then sprinkle with a little salt. Â In a small bowl mix the garlic, sugar, mustard, lemon juice a good pinch of salt and some black pepper. Â Slowly add the 3 tablespoons of oil mixing well until emulsified. Â In a small frying pan heat the seeds until just turning golden. Â Cut up the little gem put it into a large salad bowl with the spinach, rocket and avocado. Â Add most of the dressing and toss the salad, you may not need it all but I find this amount just right. Â Scatter over the croutons and seeds and trickle over the rest of the dressing if you want. Â Snip the chives or other herbs over the top. Â Serves 2 for lunch or 2 adults and Â 2 children as a side dish.
If you are looking for more healthy New Years’ crunch, try my carrot salad which I posted in January 2013.