Salads. Am such a fan of fresh (and dressing covered) salads.. especially at this time of year. Colourful and flavoursome, juicy, fresh, satisfying, tasty, moreish beautiful salads.
Good salads are just so delicious and make you feel really good. They also don’t need to be complicated – all you need are a few fresh ingredients, and a yummy dressing (I believe).. a good dressing can really make all the difference.
When it comes to creating nice simple salads, buying fresh, seasonal ingredients each week is a good place to start – with regards to buying fresh and seasonal salad ingredients, farmers’ markets would have to the cream of the crop. Locally grown, seasonal and fresh produce tastes incredible. If you’re lucky to have one close to you and can make the time it’s seriously worth paying a visit even just to pick up just a few items.. and perhaps have a coffee, or/and a fresh crossaint, or cake, or pie.. there are so many delicious things to be discovered! .. A quick tip: if you live in Victoria and would love to find out where your closest farmers’ market is, this website is the perfect place to start: The Victorian Farmers Market Association.
And, if visiting a market is not possible, your local grocery store or supermarket will certainly have wonderful fresh ingredients, such as green beans which are beautiful at the moment.
This salad is just one example of how you can use a few seasonal veggies. The combination of greens (beans, avocado, snow peas, leafy greens and herbs) is not only delicious but also incredibly vitamin rich.
One of these vitamins is folate. Folate is a special one, we all need it but it’s especially important during preconception and the early stages of pregnancy. So while this salad is wonderful for anyone it’s a great one for women and couples who are soon hoping to have a baby and also women who are pregnant. The roasted pecans, seeds and dressing really make this salad, adding both flavour and nourishment. But you can of course use other nuts such as almonds or walnuts – both of these work just as well. I’ve used cos lettuce, but you could also use kale, baby spinach, rocket and other lettuce greens. Included are several ingredient suggestions.
It’s nice served with fresh toasted bread. We’ve had this salad with salmon and roasted spuds. I’ve also once thrown leftovers into a tupperware container and taken it to work with a tin of tuna and some feta. Just easy and nice.
For the salad:
2 handfuls of green beans, washed and ends trimmed
A handful of sugar snaps or snow peas (or a mix of both), cut in half
4-5 medium cos lettuce leaves (Cos lettuce is a beautiful one to use in this salad as it’s crisp and doesn’t turn limp in this dressing. Fresh raw kale is also really nice, when sliced thinly. Some farmers are still harvesting kale in Feb – we can still buy local fresh kale here in Melbourne, and supermarkets still stock kale. You could also use baby spinach, rocket, endive.. and any lettuce really)
A handful of parsley leaves (flat leaf parsley works well), chopped
A small handful of mint leaves, leaves torn
1 small avocado, flesh sliced into cubes or slices
2 handfuls of pecans
1 handful of pumpkin seeds
For the dressing:
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
The juice of 1/2 an orange
1 Tbsp. Tahini
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
A dash of maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place pecans and pumpkins on the baking paper, spread evenly and roast until only just golden. Then remove from the oven.
2. Blanch or steam beans until just a little cooked – they are beautiful when still crisp and crunchy.
2. Meanwhile, throw sugar snaps, herbs, avocado and lettuce in a bowl. Then add beans.
3. To make the dressing, mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl using a fork.
4. Add pecans, seeds and dressing to your bowl of greens and toss.
5. Enjoy a plate full with some bread or a side serving with anything you like.