Delicious summer salad recipes

Salads are the perfect breather to a scorching summer. Here are no-fuss ways to jazz up classics While salads ideally belong to the first course of a meal, make them interestingly and they can pass off as a winning, main course candidate.

During summers, the body's energy level and appetite are naturally low and dealing with constant dehydration is the biggest dietary challenge.

"Salads are a light, refreshing, nutrient-packed meal that keeps one hydrated for long," says Chef Yakuta Sarkari from Cold Food Company. Sarkari has been dabbling with dressings and dips and likes to add innovative ingredients such as Chinese cabbage, fennel bulb, sunflower seeds, kiwi, tangerines, passion fruit and fresh figs to make her salads interesting, full of varying textures and visually appealing.

Chef Thomas Zacharias from Olive Bar and Kitchen focuses on presentation and says, "Present salads innovatively, string them on skewers, add robust cheese like goat or blue and vary the dressing to give them a visual and flavour boost."

His personal favourite ingredients include heart of palm, quinoa, avocado, sweet melon, watermelon, slow roasted beet, green apple and other vibrant options. Here are a few snazzy recipes you could try your hand at, this summer.

Recipes by Chef Yakuta Sarkari

Balsamic glazed watermelon salad

Ingredients for salad

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 medium-sized ripe watermelon (deseeded)

½ cup pine nuts (set a few aside for garnishing)

Handful of fresh mint sprigs

Method

In a heavy-bottomed pan, reduce balsamic vinegar on low heat until it turns into a thick emulsion, which is balsamic glaze. In another skillet, place the pine nuts and toast them over medium-high heat. Set aside to cool. Chop the watermelon into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a salad bowl. Add toasted pine nuts and mint sprigs. Dress it with the balsamic glaze, adding one tbsp at a time and using your fingertips to mix. Garnishing with nuts and mint.

Sunshine salad

Ingredients for salad

50 gm rocket salad leaves (washed, dried and torn)

10 gm lollorosso salad leaves (washed, dried and torn)

250 gms broccoli (washed and cut into florets)

1 yellow zucchini (washed and sliced)

100 gm cherry tomatoes, (washed and halved)

½ cup crumbled feta

Ingredients for salad dressing

3 tbsp pure Olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

½ tsp lime zest

2 tsp honey

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper as per taste

Method

For the dressing, mix together juice, lime zest and honey. To this, add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer it into a glass jar and let it refrigerate for a few hours before use. In a salad bowl, toss the salad leaves with broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese (leave some for garnishing). Drizzle with cool salad dressing and mix evenly. Garnish with feta cheese and serve.

Dress it right

Lemon dressing: To four spoons of fresh lemon juice, add a pinch of lemon zest. Mix in ample olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Thyme balsamic vinaigrette: Add a pinch thyme to some Dijon mustard and add balsamic vinegar. Whisk in ¾ cups of vegetable oil and season.

Honey mustard dressing: To ¼ cup of vinegar, add a spoon of Dijon mustard and an equal amount of honey. Add ¾ cups of vegetable oil before you season.

Shrimp and noodle salad

Ingredients for salad

150 gm noodles (boiled)

150 gm cabbage (shredded)

150 gm carrots (shredded)

2 scallions (thinly sliced)

1 cup cilantro leaves (chopped)

350 gm cooked medium shrimp

Lime wedges for garnish

Ingredients for dressing

¼ cup Teriyaki sauce, 2 tbsp Fresh ginger (finely grated), 1 Garlic clove (crushed), ½ tsp Chinese chili sauce, ¼ cup Sunflower oil, sea salt to taste

Method

In a salad bowl, place the cabbage, carrot, scallions and cilantro leaves. For the dressing, in a blender, combine teriyaki sauce, chilli sauce, ginger and garlic and puree it to form a smooth puree. To this add sunflower oil and season it with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing in a salad bowl and add the cooked shrimp, noodles and the shredded vegetables to it. Mix and garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve it with lime wedges.

Lettuce lessons

Iceberg

Commonly available and widely used given its fresh and neutral taste, it has a crisp texture that goes well with vegetables that have strong flavors such as onion and peppers.

Romaine

Bright green in colour, it has thick ribs. It is crispy and has a characteristic leafy flavour that goes well with mushrooms and zucchini.

Arugula

These are deep green leaves with a peppery flavour and a slightly bitter note. It's popular as a topping for gourmet pizzas and goes well with sweet ingredients such as beets, pomegranate, orange and grapes.

Radicchio

Also known as red chickory, it has a strong, bitter flavour that's an acquired taste. It is best when combined with other lettuce or served grilled with roasts. It can also be teamed with sweet fruits such as apples and pears.

Curly endive

Also called frisee, it has outer green leaves that are bitter and strong in flavour, while the inner leaves are yellow with a sweet and mild flavour. Like arugula, it goes well with sweeter vegetables and fruits.