Salads can be boring, but yours doesn’t have to. Making the perfect salad is one of those things anyone mildly interested in food hopes to achieve. It’s not easy and everyone knows it.

There are so many different things to take into account when making a perfect salad that most people just give up halfway through and call it a day with a “it was never going to be as good as last week’s anyway…”.

To me, a salad needs to be first and foremost, TASTY. If it’s not delicious, it’s not worth wasting fruits and vegetables. Then it’s all about the texture and the dressing as well as how the ingredients interact with each other.

You might think I’m crazy, talking about a salad as if it was a carefully planned three-course meal. But, wait a second, when did salads become so underrated? Their name alone make people wilt like a spinach leaf in a hot Summer’s day. I too, have sighed at the thought of cut up tomatoes sitting on a bed of bleh green leaves. People have willingly stained the salad name by associating it with a pile of vegetables as opposed to a bowl of amazingness.

As a vegetarian, I must celebrate what fruits and vegetables are capable of. Have you heard of the spinach leaves being tested for human tissue regeneration? How incredible is that?

Without unleashing the hippie in me…to me, vegetables and fruits are a testament to what this earth has given us. Without looking any further than citrus fruits, think of all the types known to man, there are so many you and I haven’t heard about because we just roll with lemon, limes, oranges and the odd grapefruit. It’s time we give veggies the love they deserve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium courgette, spiralized
  • 150g lamb’s lettuce, or your choice of lettuce
  • 150g cherry or mini plum tomatoes,cut in half
  • 50g sugar snap peas, cut lengthways
  • 50g radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • Custom Seed Mix
  • Salt & Pepper

METHOD

Start by prepping all your ingredients ready to be used. You can thinly slice the radishes with a sharp knife or you can save a huge chunk of time by cutting them with a mandoline. Be careful not to slice your fingers though. Because you can adjust thickness settings, the radish slices come out incredibly thin.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, spiralized courgette, tomato halves and sugar snap peas and thinly sliced radishes.

Segment the nectarine by cutting chunks off the fruit with a knife, like you would an orange. This way, you get beautifully sharp edges and not much left stuck to the stone.

Preheat a skillet or griddle and rub some oil with kitchen paper – you don’t want to have a pool of oil – otherwise you will end up frying the nectarine segments. Once the skillet is hot – place the segments on the pan and let them cook for 3 minutes each side or until they have acquired some colour. Once cooked, remove from the pan into a plate and let cool down.

For the dressing: Add the dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil to a small bowl or jar. Whisk with a spoon until well combined. Add a pinch of pepper and mix again. Try the dressing and decide whether it needs more olive oil or lemon juice before adding a pinch of salt, try again and adjust until you are happy with the taste.

For the custom seed mix: I keep a small jar in my pantry with a mix of seeds I sprinkle on salads, soups and pretty much anything that needs a bit of crunch. I use pumpkin seeds, both black and white sesame seeds, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds. You may wish to add hulled hemp seeds (for added protein) or any other seeds you like. That’s why it’s called Custom!

To assemble: Add one to two tablespoons of your seed mix to the bowl with all the vegetables and mix well. Place a generous amount of the salad in a plate or bowl and add some of the cooked nectarines on top, drizzle with the dijon dressing and serve.

This is a pretty good recipe to have at hand when you don’t feel like cooking. It’s pretty straightforward and if you don’t feel like taking out your skillet to roast the nectarines, you can add them to the salad raw, they will add an incredible sweetness that pairs very well with the rest of the savoury ingredients. You can have this as a main or as a side to a piece of meat, chicken or fish.

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photography:Julieta Lucca

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Julieta Lucca

Julieta is an Italo-Argentine writer, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer. She currently lives in London with her boyfriend and two Siamese cats Penny & Olive. She loves food, tequila and the show Brooklyn 99, in that order.

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