Three non-boring (non-)salads

September 3rd 2014


I’ve been trying to get back into some healthy wheat-light cooking lately, and have recently made several twists on that summery staple, the salad. My definition of salad is pretty loose as I don’t really like leaves: for me a salad means any combination of cooked and raw vegetables together with a carb and a protein element, all soused in a zingy, spicy dressing. Oh, and usually with cheese on top – OK, they are basically the least healthy salads ever, but they are really filling which is my usual concern with having a non-heavily-carb-based dinner.


I like to start with a recipe (I have lots pinned) and adapt it to my taste and what I have available in the fridge, freezer and cupboard: having a few basics in stock means you can make a substantial meal even when the veg drawer looks a bit sad and empty. Here are a couple I’ve put together in the last few weeks…

fattoush salad

A sort-of-not-really take on fattoush, the middle-eastern bread and tomato salad.
Veg: Raw tomatoes and courgette, roasted sweet red pepper
Protein: Canellini beans, toasted off in a frying pan
Carb: Toasted pitta bread
Dressing: Garlic, red wine vinegar, sumac, olive oil
Cheese: Feta

mexican salad

My infinitely tastier version of the sad non-carb Mexican salad bowls you get from burrito places when you’re trying to be saintly. Liquid smoke* is a salad’s best friend for a bit of umami punch – a little goes a long way.
Veg: Toasted corn (from the freezer), pink pickled onions (in the fridge from a previous day), raw tomatoes
Protein: Black beans, Quorn fillet
Carb: Mix of brown and white rice
Dressing: Wahaca habanero sauce, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, fresh coriander (from the freezer).
Cheese: Feta

lentil salad

This is a standby dinner for us: smoky lentils, charred veggies and soft cool mozzarella, marinated in the same dressing as the lentils. It’s also brilliant with pan- or oven-roasted wedges of squash.
Veg: Grilled tenderstem broccoli and spring onions, plus babaghanoush (charred aubergine puree)
Protein: Puy lentils
Carb: None
Dressing: Olive oil, red wine vinegar, liquid smoke, oak-smoked tomatoes, oregano, chilli flakes
Cheese: Mozzarella

* Liquid smoke is my favourite condiment EVER. I have no idea how they make it, but a drop or two imparts an amazing smoky flavour to anything you drop it into. Really good for giving veggie food that ‘meaty’ umami punch. Not many supermarkets have it, but you can buy online at Sous Chef.

Comments (11)

  • Naomi

    September 3rd 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I know this is going to sound really dim, but what is liquid smoke?!

    1. Katie

      September 3rd 2014 at 8:46 pm

      I should have explained! I have no idea how they make it, but a drop or two imparts an amazing smoky flavour to anything you drop it into. Not many supermarkets have it, but you can buy online:

  • Claire (@Kurea_San)

    September 3rd 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Great salads! I’m always looking for new healthy but delicious recipes. These are just my taste.
    Claire xx

  • Michelle

    September 3rd 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I am not a fan of leaves either! They just seem so pointless. I can definitely get on board with your salads. Also … liquid smoke?

    1. Katie

      September 3rd 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Yeah, and they go all gross so fast in the fridge.

      I should have explained about the smoke! I have no idea how they make it, but a drop or two imparts an amazing smoky flavour to anything you drop it into. Not many supermarkets have it, but you can buy online:

  • Sarp

    September 4th 2014 at 1:50 pm

    This is exactly what I’ve was trying create recently! Thanks a lot! : )

  • Alice

    September 4th 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I read this post coming off six weeks of carb-heavy no-good eating, was in desperate need of some inspiration and this has helped no end! Thank you – the babaghanoush/lentil/mozarella combo is going to be sampled this weekend.

    If you like polenta give this a go; it’s become a go-to easy dinner for me and is so comforting and lovely after a long day:

    1. Alice

      September 4th 2014 at 8:08 pm

      *obviously it’s not veggie but I think the pancetta would be amazing subbed with something like sun dried toms

  • Anca

    September 5th 2014 at 12:31 pm

    The salads look delicious. The liquid smoke is very interesting, I’ll have a look online to see if I can find something similar here.

    Anca @ ancaslifestyle | UK

  • Ginger

    September 5th 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Ahhh, just what I need- more easy veggie lunch ideas! I’m so bored with my current lunch routine and can’t wait to try these out!

  • she

    September 6th 2014 at 9:01 pm

    All look delicious.

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