Fruit in Salad? And in Winter? Whatever Next?

I know, I know, it is January and freezing cold and all we really want to eat is casseroles, pies, hotpots and carbs; but many of us are still hankering after a slimmer, fitter self to ring in 2017 – so it does pay off to have some healthier dishes during the week.

Personally I love devising, making and enjoying salads at any time of the year; either to enjoy at lunchtime or to compliment the usual heartier winter dishes. Whatever time of year, salads are usually included in our buffet menus. But, not the run of the mill ones – something a little different, something ‘out of the box’. So, here are a few perhaps slightly unusual ideas to the usual lettuce, tomato and cucumber, but would still compliment many of our favourite winter dishes and frankly makes a fresh change to the usual heavier winter broccoli, sprouts and cabbages.

Coleslaw is a great accompaniment to the traditional dishes of lasagnes, moussaka, steaks and chops. Our version is to slice equal quantities of white and red cabbage and grated carrot but to add chunks of red and green apples and good quality plump sultanas. Combine with mayonnaise, low fat is fine, or for a healthier kick some low fat yogurt or crème fraiche. Great with roast chicken and jacket potatoes.

Another personal favourite has the rather fancy name of Celeriac Remoulade – and one of Tom’s trademark salads. Grated peeled celeriac (the ugliest but tastiest of the root veggies also great in a dauphinoise) combined with a splash of Worcester sauce, some wholegrain mustard which has those lovely little seeds or Dijon will do fine, but maybe not look quite so posh. Combined with low fat mayonnaise. Garnished with fresh parsley. If you don’t like the very pronounced taste of the aniseed in celeriac, then use half white cabbage and half celeriac – just as good.

When I ran the vegetarian restaurant one of the most popular salads was actually my worse nemesis. To be honest I did not, and still do not, even like preparing it but the customer comes first and is always right (!!!) and unfortunately for me they always asked for this salad. Chunks or slices of fresh beetroot combined with segments of peeled and de-pithed oranges. Pouring any escaping juices over it too. Very colourful but watch the staining of your hands- I use rubber gloves not only to stop the stain but so I do not even have to touch the wretched thing (Or I ask Tom to prepare it – even better)

Another option, although still arch-enemy, is the beetroot combined with chopped red and green apple. For some reason it was and still is always devoured!!! Oh what I do for Merrow Savouries.

Slices of fresh oranges also go well with the salad leaves of rocket and watercress with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. In fact toasted seeds of any sort always smarten up and add both protein and texture to a green leaf salad, and the lovely little red jewels of the seeds of pomegranate add even more colour and vitamins.

A fresh alternative is also so simple – just grate some really good quality fresh carrots and combine with chunks of apple and some good quality dried sultanas or raisins. You could also sprinkle over some toasted almonds or pine nuts, even cashews or peanuts for a great texture and healthy bite. A great light lunch particularly if you add some grated low fat edam cheese which is a better choice than cheddar if you are watching your weight.

So, salads don’t have to just be for the Summer months – why not ring the changes and enjoy them all year round.