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10 ingredients for spectacular salads

To the uninitiated, a salad may seem like a dull option for a meal. Think beyond bags of salad leaves dressed with mayonnaise. A good salad can be delicious and filling as a side dish or a main course. Check out these 10 ingredients and think about including them in your salad repertoire.

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1.      Nuts and seeds
These add texture to salads and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are all good, especially if lightly toasted.

2.      Roasted root vegetables

Roasted beetroot, carrots, parsnips and squashes will make salads more substantial. Remember to serve warm, not chilled.

3.      Pulses
Consider puy lentils, chick peas and cannellini beans as protein sources.

If you’re offering a selection of salads in a pub or restaurant, a Saladette Counter is essential for keeping salads fresh and at a consistent temperature. Look at sites like https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-refrigeration-brands/i-l/interlevin/interlevin-esa900-refrigerated-saladette-counter for some options.

4.      Herbs and spices
If you think salads can be bland, consider introducing warm spices to the mix. Cumin, coriander and chilli are great companions for roasted roots. Fresh herbs such as basil and parsley are essential for salads.

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5.      Protein
Eggs, chicken, beef and fish, either smoked and fresh, will turn your salad into a main course. It’s also more economical than you think; a little bit goes a long way!

6.      Salad leaves
Strong leaves such as rocket and watercress add peppery notes. Spinach is a classic with avocado. For a Caesar salad, use crisp leaves. If you are concerned about a healthy diet and want to introduce more salad leaves into your menus, take a look at https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-recipes/Pages/Healthy-recipes.aspx.

7.      Dressings
A classic French dressing made from good olive oil, wine vinegar and Dijon mustard is hard to improve upon. Variations include using balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

8.      Fruit
Fruit salads are a good ending to a meal. With summer coming, strawberries and raspberries will once again be popular.

9.      Mix sweet and savoury
Don’t forget to add a touch of sweetness to your savoury salads. Try a few raspberries tossed into a green salad, orange segments with spinach, and apple in coleslaw.

10.     Healthy dressings
Finally, don’t spoil a healthy meal with high-fat mayonnaise or add too much sugar to your dressing. For creaminess, use low fat Greek yoghurt or low-fat crème fraiche with olive oil and lemon.