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Refreshing salads to beat the heat this summer

Experts tell us how you can create balanced and meal-sized salads at home
Last Updated : 11 April 2023, 18:39 IST

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Watermelon feta cheese salad
Watermelon feta cheese salad
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Quinoa paneer salad
Quinoa paneer salad

Salads are a refreshing way to beat the summer heat. Metrolife brings you tips on how to put together a bowl that’s delicious, nutritious and filling at the same time.

Priyanka Rohatgi, chief dietician at a private hospital, states that restaurants and cloud kitchens may use vegetables that have preservatives and less micronutrient content. She advises against the use of frozen vegetables. “Use fresh vegetables. Wash greens like lettuce and cabbage thoroughly, possibly in some warm water,” she adds.

Throw in some pomegranates, chopped grapes, or berries to add tanginess. “Instead of adding ready-to-use salad dressing, make your own dressing with hung curd, lemon, black pepper, and vinegar,” she continues.

Clinical dietician, Edwina Raj, counts lemon and amla juice as good options for dressing. Their high Vitamin C content helps to absorb iron, she points out. “In dressing, olive oil can be replaced by sesame oil. Traditional salads like kosambari also work,” she says.

Nuts are another alternative. They lend crunch and texture to the salad and are packed with healthy fats.

Power up with proteins

If you want to make a meal out of your salad, load it with protein sources like sprouted legumes or soaked and steamed legumes. Chana, rajma, green gram, tofu or paneer, boiled eggs and chicken are good options. Boiled barley or soaked broken wheat, mushroom, and boiled tuna are other sources of protein, Edwina adds.

Pay attention to gut health. “Include foods like fatty fish and coconut milk. If you like kimchi, add a bit of it. Or, even homemade pickled vegetables,” suggests Priyanka.

Salads also help one stay hydrated. “Include vegetables that are high in water content, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, and bell peppers. Among leafy vegetables, one can include lettuce, cabbage or even spinach (blanched). You can include cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli,” Edwina advises. She also recommends microgreens.

Fruits like watermelon, orange, guava and pineapple are ideal add-ons for hydration and they also provide vitamin C. You can also toss boiled almonds or walnut, and mild roasted flaxseed, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds into your salad as these are packed with nutrients, Edwina says.

Recipe corner

Chefs like Ragini Chaudhury have seen an increase in salad orders coming their way. Striking the right balance between nutrients is important, says the founder of home venture Salad Express. She suggests some recipes for two that you can rustle up at home.

Yoghurt salad

Ingredients: 100 gm hung curd (chilled), fresh fruit pulp (mango, tender coconut or grape), 30 gm grated carrot, 30 gm cucumber (finely chopped), 30 gm yellow and red bell pepper, 30 gm pomegranate, 30 gm apple, 30 gm cabbage (finely grated). You will also need honey, mixed herbs, rock salt, black pepper, and chilli flakes.

To make the dressing: Mix the honey, mixed herbs, rock salt, black pepper, and chilli flakes.

Preparation: Place the vegetables and fruits in a bowl. Add hung curd or flavoured yoghurt, and the dressing to it. Mix well, and keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Quinoa paneer salad

Ingredients: 50 gm quinoa, 100 gm paneer, roasted peanut, coriander leaves, lemon, black pepper, rock salt, green chilli, and olive oil. One small piece each of carrot, cucumber, American corn, onion, tomato, and green capsicum.

Preparation: Wash and boil quinoa with some salt for 10 minutes on low flame. Drain water and cool it for 15 minutes.

Take a pan and pour some olive oil. Add all finely chopped vegetables and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa, salt, black pepper, coriander leaves, lemon, and salt and mix well on high flame for a minute. Top it with chopped paneer and roasted peanuts.

Watermelon feta cheese

Ingredients: 500 gm watermelon (seedless), 100 gm feta cheese (or, grated paneer), fresh lettuce, lemon, black pepper, mixed herbs, olive oil, rock salt, and honey.

To make the dressing: Mix olive oil, rock salt, mixed herbs, black pepper, and honey.

Preparation: In a bowl, add watermelon (chilled), lettuce, feta cheese, and finally, the dressing. Mix well and serve.

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Published 11 April 2023, 18:36 IST

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