Mix, toss and serve

HEALTHY TREAT

The first thing that every food lover detests is a salad because of the myth that it is for diet freaks or one among healthy snacking options.

For someone who can’t live without chicken tikka and seekh kebabs or paneer lababdar and navratan korma, suggesting a salad for the evening could sound almost blasphem­ous. But really, it is a matter of ‘try it to experience it’ and you will surely order it willingly the next time you enter a restaurant.

If you are a cooking enthusiast, then tossing a salad with some easily available ingredients and mixing them in a delicious dressing will make you enjoy your meal while avoiding extra calories.

Salads are the best food option for summer because they are light and easy to digest.  A cold mix of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar or other dressings and at times accompanied by meat, fish, cheese, prawns and other ingredients make it more filling. Thus salads are not to be treated as a side dish but can replace a whole meal.

You could try combinations of vegetables, fruits and even corn, pasta and innovative ingredients. Try a simple feta and beetroot salad that takes less than five minutes to make, requires only a few ingredients and most importantly tastes delicious!

Mix a handful of coriander, crumbled feta cheese, chop­ped red onion, quartered beetroot and toss it in a dressing made of dijon mustard (a medium-hot mustard, typically prepared with white wine and originally made in Dijon, France), balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

It is great as a starter or a light lunch. Beetroot is a superfood (rich in nutrients) and good for health and feta adds to the required taste.

Another simple recipe is the Italian Insalata Caprese salad that can be made at home with four large ripe tomatoes and a pound of fresh mozza­r­e­lla cheese, both sliced 1/4 inch thick. On a large platter, alternate and overlap the tomato slices, mozzarella cheese slices and basil leaves. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. The red and white combination looks delicious and tastes fabulous.

How can one give a miss to the corns that are readily available now? A corn and tomato salad will change your definition of tasty and change your mind about the so-called boring salads. All you require is, two chopped tomatoes, one small thinly sliced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional), balsamic vinegar, fresh minced basil and cilantro.

Take a large skillet, and saute corn and garlic in oil for a couple of minutes. If using fresh corn then saute until corn is tender. Mix all the previously mentioned ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t have balsamic vinegar then replace your salad dressing with lime or lemon juice. Try all these  and make your summer meal colourful and healthy.

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