Main meal salads

Salads are a meal in themselves with most people nowadays preferring to have a bowl of salad rather than a heavy and elaborate lunch. The best thing about salads is that once you know a few basic dressings and the classic salads, you can experiment on your own and never go wrong. Here are some salads that both satisfy your hunger as well as your taste buds. Plus, they are awfully simple to make! Make the most of winter with its fresh veggies, and try these out for your family and friends. Just one little thing: Always wash your hands, the vegetables and fresh produce well before using.

Russian Salad

???????????????????????????????Let me start off with the mother of all salads. Also, should I say ‘actually’ known as Olivier Salad, it’s full of calories, so what? It’s delicious and that’s what matters…As for the fat, you can always run a mile to burn it off.

You will need:

2 Potatoes cut into cubes
½ cup peas
2 carrots diced into cubes
8-10 French Beans
4-5 slices of pineapple
5-6 grapes, cut into half
1 apple, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
You can also used diced boiled chicken and egg (which I haven’t but is traditionally used.)

Dressing
¾ cup ready made or home made mayonnaise, ¼ cup cream, 1 tbsp cheese spread, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper

Boil, cool and cut potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Boil peas till tender. Par boil beans and carrots. Remove from heat and strain. Keep vegetables aside. Mix mayonnaise, cream, cheese spread. Chop pineapple slices finely. Add potato, chopped pineapple, grapes, apple, and boiled vegetables to the mayonnaise. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Keep in fridge till serving time. Add a little thin cream to the salad if it appears extra thick when serving. Serve chilled.

Potato and Chana Salad

This one is from India, for people who love street food in India! It’s tart, tangy and full of flavour. You can have it as a main meal or as a snack.

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You will need:
600 gm potatoes
¾ cup Bengal gram or kabuli chana
Pinch of soda bi-carb
Salt to taste
1 onion
Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Dressing
5 tbsps lemon juice (reduce if you find this too tart), 2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp chaat masala powder, 3-4 tbsp groundnut or mustard oil, Salt and pepper according to taste

Boil, cool and cut potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Soak the chana overnight or for at least an hour. Drain. Add fresh water, a pinch of soda bi-carb and salt and boil till just tender. For the dressing, mix lemon juice, cumin powder and chaat masala with the oil. Adjust the seasoning.
Mix potatoes, chana and pomegranate seeds in a glass bowl. Add onions. Pour on the dressing and toss gently. Serve.

Salad Nicoise

Another classic salad. Pronounced ‘Nee-swahs’, this is a lovely salad that needs no accompaniment. There is no standard recipe for this so I am just giving my favourite version.

??????????????????????????????? 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 pieces
1 potato, boiled and cut into 8 slices lengthwise
4-6 french beans, threaded, topped and tailed and boiled. Keep whole.
6-8 rounds of cucumber
6 black or green olives
4-5 lettuce leaves, roughly torn and dipped in chilled water
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, parsley or coriander

For the dressing (honey-mustard vinaigrette):
1 ½ tbsp vinegar, 6-7 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp powdered sugar, 2 tsp mustard paste, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, 2 tbsp fresh cream, 1 tsp honey

Mix all ingredients of dressing except cream in a mixer or with a whisk till it has lightly thickened. Store covered in the refrigerator. Before using, bring the jar to room temperature and shake again. Mix chopped herbs in the dressing and shake again. Remove lettuce leaves from chilled water and pat dry. Place at bottom of serving bowl. Pour 1 tbsp of dressing on them. Put green beans, cucumber, potatoes and tomatoes on the lettuce. Pour the dressing and top with olives. Serve cold.
You may also slice hard-boiled eggs lengthwise and add.

Spicy Chicken salad

If you love chicken, you will love this salad. Looks complicated but isn’t. Fun to make and eat, this is one salad that never fails to get you compliments.

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You will need:
6 tbsp olive oil or any salad oil
1 tbsp vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
½ tsp chilli powder or according to taste
4 skinned chicken breast
2 tbsp lime juice or to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
200 gm French beans, cut into 2 inch pieces, boiled in water for 3 minutes, drained and refreshed in cold water. Drained and set aside.
2 large lettuce leaves, torn into small pieces
1 apple, cut into pieces
A wedge of ripe papaya, peeled and chopped into pieces
4-5 fried cashew halved or roughly chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

For ground spices:
1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 ½ tsp saunf, ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp fenugreek seeds. Dry roast all the spices and grind to a course powder.

In a bowl, mix together a little more than half the ground spices, half the olive oil (or salad oil), vinegar, garlic. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour this over chicken breasts and coat well. Keep marinated chicken in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Mix the remaining ground spices in another bowl with lime juice, onion, remaining olive oil, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Cover and set this aside in the fridge.
Grill the chicken pieces on each side, basting them with the marinade for 4-5 minutes. Cool and shred or cut into pieces. In a large salad bowl, place lettuce, papaya, apple, onions, French beans and chicken pieces. Pour dressing and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and toss again. Garnish with cashew nuts and serve.

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