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From @madvalleyinn on twitter: Our go-to salad that powers us through the afternoon (Twitter)
From @madvalleyinn on twitter: Our go-to salad that powers us through the afternoon (Twitter)

Seven days, seven salads: See if you can do better than these delicious lunches Add to ...

To fight the February blahs, the Globe is featuring seven recipes each week showcasing one of the most convenient, flavour-packed, endlessly changeable dishes ever: salad! Have your own salad dish to share? Tweet or Instagram a picture with #friendswithsalad (don't forget to list ingredients!).

(Tad Seaborn for The Globe and Mail

1. Virtuous Greens

Kale and Brussels sprouts team up in what may (surprisingly) become one of your favourite combinations. Tender textures and bright, fresh notes from the lemon deliver lots of flavour, and matchstick strips of Granny Smith apple add a tart contrast to the agave in the dressing. Wash and prep a half bunch of curly kale by removing any tough stalks. Slice into thin strips. Put into a medium bowl and add 12 shredded Brussels sprouts (cut the stem off and slice in half vertically then slice each half thinly into strips.) and ¾ cup green apple cut into matchsticks. For the dressing combine: 1 tablespoon chopped shallots, 1 tbsp grainy mustard, 2 teaspoons agave, ½ cup fresh lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil. Toss salad with dressing (start with half and add more if you need it). Garnish with sunflower seeds or chopped hazelnuts. (You can start with 1/4 cup lemon juice to tone down tartness but then also start with only 1 teaspoon agave and adjust both as needed). – Sue Riedl

Tad Seaborn for The Globe and Mail

2. The Bangkok Bowl

A delicious way to get the kids (and you) to eat their vegetables. Serve them up chopped and crunchy mixed into vermicelli seasoned with lemongrass vinaigrette. Leftover dressing can be used as a marinade or glaze for meals later in the week. (Or just to make more Thai noodle salad ASAP.) Make a batch on the weekend and you’ll have leftovers for lunch Monday. Peel a stalk of lemongrass and bruise it with the back of a chef’s knife and slice into three pieces. Simmer in a ½ cup rice vinegar for 5 minutes, pull off heat and allow to infuse overnight. Cut up your veggies: shredded carrots, cucumber in matchsticks, diagonal-sliced snow peas and fresh mushrooms. Set aside. Cook ½ pack of vermicelli as per package. Drain in cold water. Cut the noodles with scissors (especially for kids) and toss with the vinaigrette. Arrange in bowl with veggies on top, garnished with candied cashews. Mix in veggies before eating and drizzle with additional dressing. Serves 2 as a main. Vinaigrette: whisk 1/3cup infused rice vinegar (remove lemongrass), juice of ½ lime, 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1-2 tablespoons agave sugar or brown sugar and a ½ cup grapeseed oil. Taste and adjust, adding more rice vinegar or soy sauce if needed. – Sue Riedl
Tad Seaborn for The Globe and Mail

3. Tabouleh

Authentic Middle Eastern tabouleh is light on the bulgur, heavy on the herbs and seasoned with the warm, sweet notes of allspice. This recipe is adapted from the Ottolenghi version and though I fear backlash for suggesting chopping the parsley in a food processor, it may help break you into making this uber-fresh classic at home. A great side for grilled meat or fish. Rinse, then soak a half-cup bulgur wheat in 1 cup boiling water, it will absorb the liquid and soften. Dice 4 medium tomatoes, (choose ones that are ripe but still firm.) To the tomatoes add 1 minced shallot, 2 large bunches of finely chopped parsley and 2 bunches of finely chopped mint. Combine with the bulgur. Toss with dressing; combine the juice of 1 lemon, ½ cup of your best olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon ground allspice. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately. Serves 4-6 as a side. – Sue Riedl
Tad Seaborn for The Globe and Mail

4. Power Lunch

Sometimes a salad needs a protein that isn’t sunflower seeds. Easy to prepare, your steak can be pregrilled and served at room temperature on top of a bed of crisp, nutty and slightly bitter arugula. Serve family-style for guests or split up the sirloin over a couple days and make your co-workers drool in the lunchroom. Rub a 1 lb, 1-inch-thick rib-eye steak with olive oil and crushed garlic cloves. Salt generously. Allow to come to room temperature. In a pan or on a grill over high heat quickly sear each side of the steak till browned and finish cooking in the oven at 350 about 3-4 minutes for medium rare. (The steak should feel firm on the exterior but still have give when pressed.) Allow to rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve over a bed of arugula lightly dressed with lemon juice, sea salt and your best olive oil. – Sue Riedl
Tad Seaborn for The Globe and Mail

5. Tuscan Winter

An elegant, full-flavoured salad that works well served simply with some cheese, charcuterie and baguette for a leisurely meal. Packs well in Tupperware for lunch, dress just before eating. Shave 1 small fennel bulb on a mandolin (or chop into fine strips). Add 11/2 cups sliced grapes, 20 kalamata olives, pitted and halved, and 6 dried figs (stems removed) cut into small pieces. Drizzle with your best olive oil, fresh lemon juice, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Add a touch of honey for sweetness (optional) and a handful of chopped hazelnuts. Toss, adjust seasoning and serve. You can make the dressing separately if you’d like to prepare it in advance. Serves 4 to 6 as a side. – Sue Riedl

Instagram

6. Reader's Salad: @aliciadubay

 A fiesta salad with roasted corn, grilled chicken, salsa, cilantro and lotsa veg!
Twitter

7. Reader's Salad: @madvalleyinn

Our go-to salad that powers us through the afternoon: Mixed baby greens, cucumber, red onion, julienne carrot, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, avocado, grilled chicken breast and alfalfa sprouts! I top with a red wine vinaigrette and sprinkle on hot dried peppers
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