Food & Wine

Satisfying summer salads

Satisfying summer salads

Fresh, easy and pretty enough for a party… with the right attitude and a handful of creative ingredients you can turn a weekday lunch salad into a satisfying summer meal. Here are a few quick and easy tummy and table stunners that are so colourful, flavourful and satisfying that you won’t fail to wow even the fussiest of palates.

Berries and Balsamic

Serves: 6 to 8


Ingredients for the salad

6 cups cubed watermelon

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp. fresh mint, or basil, chiffonade


For the dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp.  Dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and ground black pepper to taste



Add cubed watermelon, blueberries, feta, and mint (or basil) to a large bowl. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a glass jar with a lid. Replace lid on the jar and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined.

Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Just before serving toss fruit and cheese together. Drizzle with dressing and toss again to coat fruit with dressing. Serve immediately.



Seafood Noodle Salad

Serves 1


10g cooked prawns
10g smoked salmon, sliced (optional)
4 to 5 lettuce leaves
1 serving ramen noodles

For the dressing

1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp powdered fish sauce

½ tsp rice vinegar



Prepare your salad ingredients. Slice the salmon.  Boil the ramen noodles according to the package instructions, rinse in cold water, and drain. Tear the lettuce leaves by hand and set aside.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Feel free to add more oil, soy sauce, or vinegar as per your tastes. Assemble the ingredients in a serving bowl and drizzle the dressing on top. Serve chilled.


Quinoa, Spinach, Eggplant and Feta

Serves: 2



1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic

5 to 10 ounces fresh spinach

1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 cup Feta cheese



Preheat oven to 215 °C. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with olive oil. In a large bowl, mix cubed eggplant with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread chopped eggplant over the lightly greased baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes (or more, depends on your oven) until eggplant softens. Midway through roasting, take out the sheet and flip over eggplant cubes to the other side using spatula. While eggplant is being roasted, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, add spinach and 1 minced garlic clove and cook for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring, just until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.  Once eggplant is done, immediately remove it from the baking sheet into the same skillet with spinach, off heat. Immediately add quinoa and second clove of minced garlic. This will allow cooked eggplant to release some juices when mixed in with quinoa. Mix everything well, off heat, and season with more salt if needed. Top with Feta cheese.



Crispy Spiced Chickpeas, Sweet Potato Noodle and Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

Serves: 8





2 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste



6 packed cups chopped kale
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized

½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste



2 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
Salt and pepper, to taste



Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix & whisk chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt in a small bowl and add in the chickpeas. Toss it so the mixture coats evenly on chickpeas and then add the olive oil and toss it again. Place the coated chickpeas evenly over a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until crisp. Remember to shake the pan half way through. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and heat. Add the sweet potato noodles and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 to 7 seven minutes or until cooked through. Remember to toss the noodles occasionally. Once cooked, set it aside. In a blender, put all the dressing ingredients and pulse them until creamy. Set aside. Once the sweet potato noodles are cooked, wipe the skillet clean and coat it with cooking spray. Add the kale and sauté it for a couple of minutes or until slightly wilted. Season the kale with pepper and add it to the sweet potato noodles. When the chickpeas are baked, prepare the salad. Pour the salad dressing on the kale and sweet potato noodles and toss it to combine. Top it off with the chickpeas, serve immediately and enjoy.


Mediterranean Farro Grain with Lettuce and Chicken

Serves: 4 to 6




1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes

juice of 2 lemons

750g boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders



1 cup dry farro or pearled barley

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted

1/4 cup pepperoncini (you should be able to get at an Italian deli near you)

1 cannellini beans drained and rinsed

1 jar marinated artichokes, drained

2 cups fresh mozzarella, torn or shredded

Rocket to garnish


Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 roasted red peppers

1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup toasted almonds or pine nuts



In a large zip-lock bag, combine the ingredients for the chicken and toss. Seal and chill for one to 12 hours. Meanwhile, cook the farro or barley according to package directions and once cooked place into a large bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, cannellini beans, artichokes and mozzarella. Gently toss to combine. For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar and then pulse to combine until the sauce is mostly smooth. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Add a spoonful or two of the roasted red pepper sauce to the salad mix and toss.

Set your grill, grill pan or skillet to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until lightly charred and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips against the grain. Add the chicken to the farro and serve with the remaining roasted red pepper sauce. Garnish the salad with a large handful of rocket and serve.


Strawberry, Avocado, and Spinach Salad with Chicken

Serves: 2



¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh tarragon (you can substitute with marjoram, oregano, rosemary, dill or basil)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach

6-8 large strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

3-4 thinly sliced rings of red onion

¼ cup feta cheese

2 tablespoons sliced almonds



Whisk the extra virgin olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, sugar, tarragon (or its substitute); kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow bowl and cover with half of the dressing, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Spray a grill pan or 12-inch non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill pan. Cook for 3 minutes then flip the chicken breasts. Cook for another 3 minutes, and turn. Reduce the cooking temperature to medium low and cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes more, turning every 5 minutes or so. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken, but it will be done when it hits 165 degrees internal temperature. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes then slice to your desire. Arrange the spinach, strawberries and red onion in a bowl. Lightly toss with the remaining dressing. Add the avocado, sliced chicken and top with feta and almond slices. Serve immediately.


Citrus Salad with Grapefruit and Oranges

Ingredients for the salad

1 red grapefruit, peeled and cut into slices

2 oranges, peeled and cut into slices

1 blood orange, peeled and cut into slices

3 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)

A few sprigs of fresh mint (chopped up)

3 tablespoons pomegranate arils


For the dressing

1/2 cup fresh or bottled pomegranate juice

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish



To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, mix the pomegranate juice, vinegar, and honey, and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil and adjust the seasonings. Mix in pomegranate seeds and chives, if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir thoroughly before using.

Then, arrange the slices of citrus in layers on a serving platter of your choice. Sprinkle with almonds (optional), some chopped mint and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with additional dressing and enjoy!



Two new cookbooks to spice up your dinners

Sophia Lindop tells the tale of the two main influences in South African food – Indian and Malay – as well as many other nations in her book Spices South Africa Flavours and Traditions. Readers will find out about which spices to use whole or ground, about spices they may never have heard of and, naturally, there’s a section on biltong and droewors. There’s also a selection of yummy-looking recipes to try (think bean bunny chow, chilli bites, chocolate cardamom brownies, lime atchar and pickled fish). Jacana, R170.


In Safaris and Spices – An African Food Journey, professional chef Nico Verster captures the essence of African food from Morocco down through the ancient trade routes of East Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar to southern Africa. Spice mixes, soups, stocks, sauces and chutneys, along with local dishes, cakes and desserts, cram the pages. We particularly fancied green tea and mint smoked duck, lamb tangia, corn chilli cakes, coffee sponge cake and poached pears. Joe Dreyer’s gorgeous photographs make you want to lick the pages. Jacana, R320.






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