Before I start, can I just say: I HATE boring salad. When I see people pretending to thoroughly enjoy their bowl of iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and no dressing, then it honestly makes me cringe. I think it’s stuff like that that’s making many people assume that a vegetarian diet has to be boring and sad. And yet I do believe that some of the most delicious and satisfying meals I’ve ever cooked were actually, well, salads.
I don’t want to sound big-headed, but I’m sort of always disappointed when I order a salad when eating out, because I always think I could have made it so much better myself at home. And it’s sooo easy too. Not sure why this whole salad-struggle is actually a real thing!
So, please see this recipe as proof that salad can be exciting, and that it deserves a bit more love in everyone’s kitchen. Just to paint the picture a bit more: My boyfriend loves meat and usually needs something very ‘substantial’ to be happy with his meal – and he licked the plate after eating this. Enough said, let’s get cooking!
This recipe is vegetarian and can easily be made gluten-free.
Serves 2 as a main or 4-5 as a starter
- 1 small bag of mixed salad – I used spinach and beetroot leaves
- ½ pear
- 3-5 radishes
- ½ avocado
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, or 1/3 continental cucumber
- A good handful of raw walnuts
- Decent sized piece of goat cheese – I used firm goat cheese as I can’t have the soft variety at the moment but if you prefer soft cheese it will work just as well
You might have this at home:
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Mustard – I like wholegrain the best
- 2 slices of bread – I used wholegrain toast but you could use sourdough etc.; use gf bread if desired
- Honey (or maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
Now here’s how to throw it all together:
- Chop ‘til you drop. Chop the pear, radishes, cucumber and goat cheese into as thin slices as you can manage. I actually think that the size does matter here a bit, as it will give you a better mix of ingredients with every bite.
- Roughly chop walnuts and avocado and throw everything you chopped into a big bowl together with the leaves.
- Heat a pan with olive oil on medium heat; be quite generous with the oil, otherwise the croutons will burn. Chop the bread into decent sized chunks – if you chop it too small, it will fall apart. Add to the pan.
- Flip the croutons regularly and cook until they are nice and brown. You might need to add a bit more oil after a while. Season with salt and pepper.
- To make the vinaigrette, add 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of honey (or other sweetener), 1 tsp mustard, salt and pepper to a little cup/bowl and mix well.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad and mix well. Serve salad on a plate or in a bowl and garnish with croutons.
Too easy? I told you so.