Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chloe Likes To Eat: 5 Favourite Salads

Salad. I like salad a lot, but it pains me that so many people shun or mock salad because they just don't realise that salad does not have to be limp, bitter lettuce and some tasteless tomatoes. Salad often forms my lunch time meal at work, and because I cycle, I like for my lunch to be nutritionally sound- plenty of fresh, some protein and some carbs, but not too heavy weight. In the interests of inspiration, this week's Chloe Likes To Eat is all about showing off some of my favourite salads.

It's all about the warm salads at present- CPUs cous flavoured with lemon, chilli, honey and stock + a spinach and red pepper. Salmon to be added...
Warm Salad- approximately £0.49 per portion

This is one of the most basic salads on my list, and I like to serve it warm as a main dish (this one had a salmon fillet dumped on top for an evening meal- read all about the meal HERE) and then use the chilled left overs for a lunch the following day. It seems that you can never cook just the right amount of cous cous, despite me reducing the quanity each time.... The following feeds 2 for a main course with enough leftovers for 1 substantial lunch.

Add 300ml of boiling water to 1 vegetable stock cube, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and plenty of black pepper, stir and add liquid to 100g cous cous, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Shred green leaves of choice- this time it was spinach, roughly dice 1 red pepper, a small onion and add the lot to your cous cous, stir well. I used approximately a quarter bag of fresh spinach for the 100g of cous cous.

Dump onto plate, top with protein of choice.

Approximate costing: 
Cous cous £0.13
Stock cube £0.08
Lemon juice £0.15
Spinach £0.25
Peppers £0.33
Onions £0.05
TOTAL: £0.99, appox £0.49 per portion

Might have to post about my latest salad adventure. Chickpea, sweetcorn & piri piri chicken salad.
Piri Piri Chickpea Salad- approximately £1.05 per portion

You know how some people are crazy about kale, and other will extol the virtues of a flaxseed or chia seed? That's me and chickpeas. They are high in protein (100g is approx 38% of your recommended daily intake) and they're filling and I love the nutty flavour. They're also super versatile and therefore great for salads, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan and looking for an interesting and textured salad. They come dried so you soak the chickpeas overnight (beautiful flavour but a massive pain in the arse) or as is my preference, in tins (in water, not brine or oil). Ready to be stashed in the cupboard and as a store cupboard staple, pulled out, opened and dumped in a dish!

This particular chickpea based salad was a leftover special- an attempt at piri piri chicken using chicken breast that wasn't as great as hoped. The following makes 2 substantial lunch portions- 3 if you are conscious of portion sizing perhaps.

Drain one tin (400g) of chicpeas and dump into a bowl with one small tin (195g- a generous handful of frozen sweetcorn would also work just fine) into a bowl, mix well.

Add a large handful of shredded green leaves (spinach again for me) and the leftover portion (approximately 2/3 of a chicken breast, diced) and any remaining sauce. Stir well and add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper for extra dressing goodness! If piri piri isn't your bag, try marinating some chunks of chicken breats in lemon juice and black pepper, then lightly frying. Freeze in individual portions for a simple addition of protein for a lunch time salad.

Approximate costing per portion:
Chicpeas £0.33
Sweetcorn £0.50
Spinach £0.25
Piri Piri chicken (from THIS RECIPE) £0.99
TOTAL: £2.07 appox £1.04 per portion

Today's salad- chickpeas and prawns mixed with yoghurt, lemon and chilli, shredded spinach and served on toast.
Prawn and Chickpea Salad-  approximately £0.66 per portion

Yet more left over specials- are you seeing a theme here? I should probably clarify that I often cook a touch more than needed or defrost some extra of something for this very purpose- it's not just trying to reduce waste, it's (mostly) intentional.

This one was a week day whilst I was business sitting for my parents, and therefore working from home- served on toast as it's a smaller than usual portion of the salad itself (which I scoffed the day before as well), and I like toast! The following makes two sensible lunches or one large and one small!

Mix 1 tin (400g) of chickpeas with a handful of cooked prawns in a bowl, add a generous handful of shredded leaves- the above was spinach (quelle surprise), and 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt, add harissa or sriacha style chilli sauce to taste (approx 1 teaspoon for me), stir well.

Approximate costing per portion:
Chicpeas £0.33
Prawns £0.50
Spinach £0.25
Yoghurt £0.05
Harissa £0.19
TOTAL: £1.32, approx £0.66 per portion

Today's salad- chickpeas, shredded romain lettuce, red pepper & Harissa, lemon & yoghurt dressing.
Harissa Chickpea salad- approximately £0.61 per portion

This was thrown together in haste, and I wasn't feel inspired, but it turned out to be super tasty, so I added it to my #queenofsalads roll call! The following makes enough for 2 medium portions.

Shred green leaves of choice (this was roughly half a Romaine heart), diced salad accompaniments of choice- 1 red pepper and a few radishes went into the above. Dump in bowl and add 1 tin (400g) of chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt and a generous slosh of harisa dressing/teaspoon of harissa paste, a tiny shake of smoked paprika and mix well.

Approximate :
Chickpeas £0.33
Romaine £0.16
Peppers £0.33
Radish £0.05
Yoghurt £0.05
Harissa £0.19
TOTAL: £1.11, approx £0.61 per portion

And one last one, it doesn't include chickpeas either- SHOCK HORROR!

Spinach, pea, mint and cous cous salad with a simple lemon juice and pepper dressing #queenofsalads
Spinach, pea and mint cous cous salad- approximately £0.43 per portion

This one is a leftover from the barbecue we had with friends over the weekend, and a little experiment in frozen spinach, which I bought having seen it mentioned in lots of recipes, and realised isn't really for me. It turned out really well in this salad though, so I'm glad I've found a good use for the rest of the MASSIVE bag currently in my freezer. The following is scaled down from the vast quantity made to feed friends for a barbecue (and the ridiculous volume of leftovers) and makes 2 substantial portions.

Add 225ml of liquid- mine was lemon juice, black pepper, shredded fresh mint and boiled water to 75g of cous cous, cover with clingfilm and leave to stand for at least time minutes- I prefer this as a chilled salad, so after the first 10 mins, I like to put it into the fridge.

Defrost and stir in 3 discs of spinach and a generous handful of fresh or frozen peas, a squeeze of lemon juice and if you feel like it, some further greens- this one has shredded Romaine in it, and I had my sights set on some green beans too, but they'd disintegrated after being pushed to the back of the fridge and half frozen there.

Approximate costing per portion:
Cous cous £0.08
Spinach (frozen) £0.15
Peas (frozen) £0.16
Mint FREE (I grow it from a rescued plant) 
Romaine £0.16
Lemon juice £0.30
TOTAL: £0.85, approx £0.43 per portion

I'd love to know what your favourite salad is, if there's something you'd love to see me include in a salad and feature here or if you try out any of mine and love/loathe them. Go forth and make salad your kingdom!

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