The days and getting longer and the evenings are getting warmer. Spring is in the air and the promise of Summer is just around the corner.
This time of year always sees a change in the food I buy and the meals I prepare. I start to move away from big warm hearty dishes, and more towards bright fresh plates of food.
Salad for me, might just be my favourite type of food. No, that doesn’t mean a single lettuce leaf on a plate or a dish full of rabbit food, it means fresh, crunchy, delicious, filling, healthy and beautiful looking plates of food.
Salad options really are endless and I love experimenting with new flavours and combinations.
Today I’ve pulled together 3 of my Spring favourites that I know I will continue to make all throughout the Summer. There’s nothing too complex or unusual about these recipes and so they’re ridiculously quick and simple to make.
Mexican Quinoa Salad
This salad is so delicious and has wonderful authentic Mexican flavours to make it super fresh and perfect for Spring. Throw in a couple of Margaritas and you’ve got yourself a party.
- 1/2 cup Quinoa (cooked and cooled)
- 1 cup of sweetcorn
- 1/2 orange pepper diced
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 1/2 red onion sliced and diced
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- handful of fresh coriander chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- finely chopped chilli to taste
- juice from half a lime
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cook your quinoa first to make sure it’s cooled by the time you come to put together your salad. If you haven’t used quinoa before it’s super easy to cook and work with, just follow the instructions on the packet for the best results. Chop or dice all of your veggies and combine them in a bowl with your cooled quinoa. Once well combined, mix all of your dressing ingredients together in a small dish and add to the salad, making sure to mix well to ensure each mouthful is beautifully dressed. Plate up on a fancy dish or platter and you’re good to go!
Mediterranean Summer Salad
This salad is full of rich Mediterranean flavours and textures and reminds me of long hot days in Greece. It is a perfect accompaniment to al fresco meals or even as a main course served with tzatziki and bread.
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked and cooled)
- 1/2 cup blank kalamata olives (pitted and chopped in half)
- 2 tbsp small capers
- 1 roasted/charred red pepper
- 125g sun dried tomatoes
- 200g artichoke hearts (quartered)
- 1/2 red onion (diced)
- 1 can chick peas
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup of fresh dill (chopped)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Cut your pepper into quarters, place on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins at 180 until roasted and looking slightly charred. This gives a lovely sweet smokey flavour (alternatively you can buy a jar of roasted peppers and use 3/4 of these). While the peppers are cooking, cook and cool your quinoa.
Half your olives (make sure the stones are out) and place in a bowl with the other prepared ingredients, including the quinoa and mix well. When your peppers are ready, cut into smaller pieces and mix into the bowl with the other ingredients – if any areas of the peppers are looking a bit too charred, just lightly remove the skin which should easily come away from the flesh. Combine your ingredients for your dressing in a bowl and mix thoroughly through the salad. This salad is best served chilled, so pop it in the fridge before serving.
Parma Ham, Plum & Mozzarella Salad
This combination is award winning. The salty ham, the soft and subtle mozzarella, the rich avocado and the sweet and sharp plums are just heavenly. The dressing pulls the whole thing together and this plate is always the first to be cleared in my house. I have also used nectarines, mango and pomegranate as a substitute for plums and they all work beautifully.
- 1 bag of mixed rocket and leaves
- 3 plums (de-stoned and quartered)
- 2 bags of fresh buffalo mozzarella (torn)
- 1 avocado
- 1 packet of parma ham (this can easily be left out for a vegetarian/vegan option, I did one plate with and one plate without to make sure everyone was catered for)
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Throw your leaves onto a plate, scatter around the plums, torn up mozzarella and avocado. Place your parma ham on top filling in any gaps. Mix your dressing together and generously dress the plate (I always make extra for people to add more). Season with salt and pepper.
I love to keep my tableware and settings bright, colourful and representative of both my personality and style, but also the food I’m serving.
Especially when you’re serving salads you can be bold and playful with your tableware.
These beautiful ornate plates are from Amara and I think they look so beautiful mismatched together and piled high full of these delicious quinoa salads. Specifically I’ve used the Royal Pip Dinner Plate (Mediterranean) the dainty Royal Pip Soup Plate (for bread) and the large Royal Pip Pasta Plate (Mexican) which is more like a dish than a plate.
I’ve mixed these in with my everyday Rose & Tulipani folk inspired Nador plates which are just so durable and delightful on the eyes. I also mixed in my Purple Helianthus Goblets from Anthropologie which are the prettiest glasses and perfect for wine, G&Ts or simple water and lemon. And finally I pulled it all together with some bright Daffodils, perfect for a Spring table.
And there you have it, 3 Spring salads perfect to help you transition into Summer. What are your favourite salads? I’m always looking for new recipes so would love to know your go to!
*this post was sponsored by Amara