Three new ways to use seasonal salad
Even with such a variety of versatile crops available locally we can struggle getting beyond the repetition of salad leaves as a side dish which can soon become boring. This is one of the main reasons why salad is one of our most wasted foods, with 1.2 million tonnes, £2.6 billion’s worth, being thrown away by UK households each year, according to LoveFoodHateWaste. Salad, which is at it’s best when fresh, often lies neglected or forgotten in our fridges.
Cooking with salad is a great way to use up salad that is on the turn and to get out of the salad rut. Below are three quick and easy recipes to use up that left-over salad lurking in the fridge and turn those little leaves into the star of the show.
These simple-to-make crisps offer a healthy, unusual and delicious alternative to potato crisps. In fact, they’re so easy to make, you’ll soon be whipping up a batch in no time!
- Kale – shredded with the stalk removed
- A pinch of chilli flakes (try chipolte for a smoky flavour) or paprika
- 1 tsp of za’tar (optional). This gives the crisps a slightly fresher taste and greater depth.
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180oC, lay the kale mixture on a baking tray, place on the top shelf and cook for 10-15 minutes, until crisp, but not burnt.
- For a quicker alternative, simple heat a frying pan, and cook on a high heat for 8-10 minutes, making such you turn the kale strips regularly.
- Serve and tuck in! They are best eaten on the day they’re made, and preferably whilst still warm, but they’ll keep or up to 4 days in the fridge. Just let them return to room temp before eating
- 1 soft head lettuce, such as butterhead or oakleaf or little gem, or 2 bags of salad leaves, torn into pieces
- 200g of peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2-3 medium potatoes, washed, scrubbed, but not peeled, and chopped into large chunks
- Half an onion or 3-4 spring onions, diced
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, diced or crushed
- 2 handfuls of fresh parsley, torn. You can also add any other fresh herbs you have to hand, such as mint, thyme, basil, oregano or chives. Avoid using woodier herbs, such as rosemary, though.
- 1 pint of vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp of olive oil or 25g of butter
- Seasoning, to taste.
- Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat, then add in the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly golden.
- Add the chopped garlic, cook for a further minute, then add the potato chunks, and cook for a further 3 minutes, before adding the stock.
- Place a lid on the pan and allow the potatoes to cook for a further 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, add the remaining ingredients (lettuce, herbs, peas and any seasoning) and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- For a smooth soup, blend using a hand blender or food processor.
- If you like a creamier soup, stir a good dollop of cream or creme fraiche. Serve hot with a extra handful of parsley, or a drizzle of oil, to taste.
Baked Little Gems
A great way to use up Little Gem lettuces that have seen better days, especially if you already have the oven on, baked little gems make a great accompaniment to a main meal.
Simply remove most of the bottom stalk, cut length-ways in half, and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over a little oil, season, and bake at 180oC on a middle shelf for 10-15 minutes. To make a meal out of them, try adding flaked almonds and a squeeze of lemon before baking, and serve with quiona, fluffy cous cous or crispy bacon.