With the sunshine happening outside and the little tree outside my balcony getting fresh new green leaves, i was all set for a crunchy green salad lunch.
In India, usually salads are considered side dishes and those usually includes cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. My perception totally changed when i saw the variety of salads one can make using various kinds of fresh veggies, legumes & nuts giving a lot of volume to the salad and hence making it a good option for days when cooking is not your thing or you are seeking a light yet refreshing lunch. One can be thoroughly creative with the dressing for the salad. Anything from a light vinaigrette to heavy & divine mayonnaise works well.
In the following recipe, i did not go completely raw with my salad and spice-roasted my tomatoes, zucchini, tofu and bell peppers. It helped in giving a much rich flavor and crunch factor, thus adding an element of surprise to the salad.
Herb Feta Salad – Munchy Lunch
Herb feta salad - Munchy lunch
(Makes 2 large servings)
- 250 gms of Herb Salad mix (easily available in stores. If you want to make your own, take a mix of spinach, rocket leaves, roman lettuce, red leaf lettuce, basil, mint, cilantro etc.).
- 50 gms feta cheese – hand broken into chunks
- 50 gms tofu. Can substitute with paneer/cottage cheese.
- 1 zucchini – Julienne cut
- 1/2 bell pepper (u can opt for red/yellow/orange pepper to add colour to your salad)
- 100 gm grape tomatoes- slit in half ( you can use ordinary tomatoes too. Cut them in big chunks)
- 1 medium size onion – cut and marinated in vinegar for half hour. Gives a tangy taste and helps prevent onion after taste.
- 1 fresh prune/ Plum – cut into big chunks
- chopped nuts (almonds, raisins, peanuts, pine nuts etc)
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- chili flakes (as per taste)
- sesame seeds
- Dry basil
- Dry Pepper
- Dry oregano
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1. Set the Oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 200 degree C) and preheat. Meanwhile, take a bowl and add 1 tsp virgin olive oil, chili flakes, sesame seeds,dry basil, dry oregano, a little salt and pepper. Mix well.
2. Add the tofu, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and zucchini into this bowl and mix well. Now spread this mixture on a pre greased baking tray and bake this in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. You may like to check the status mid way and toss the veggies around to achieve an even roasting. If u wish, you can also shallow fry the tofu pieces.
3. let the roasted veggies cool down. You can even do this at leisure a day before and store it in the fridge.
4. To prepare the salad, in a big and deep bowl take the salad mix/greens. Make sure you washed them thoroughly to remove any grit/dirt. Use cold water for washing to retain the crispiness in the leaves.
5. To the greens, add the roasted veggies (bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini and tofu), feta cheese, onions, prune/plum and the salad dressing. Mix well.
6. Garnish with nuts & sesame seeds. Serve fresh.
Recommended side dish : A couple of spring rolls or garlic bread works great along with this salad.
Note: Try to make the salad just before serving to ensure the crispness. You can mix all the main veggies and greens together and store those if you wish. Vinaigrette to be added just before serving.
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