Make: The Ultimate Salad

Not gonna lie, I thought I'd posted about how I was going to post this recipe, but it turns out, I only half finished that post and now I've mucked up the order. Oops.

Anyway, I ate this salad for the majority of my lunches throughout 2016! The salad has so many benefits, I thought I'd make a list:

  • It's versatile- you can just throw in whatever you've got in the fridge 
  • It keeps- you can make a big batch and it'll last for at least three days
  • It's easy- you can make said batch in less than 20 minutes
  • It's healthy- it's unprocessed and full of healthy good-for-you foods!
  • It's substantial- you'll be full after
  • It's good for lunch- if you don't have access to a microwave, this salad's still nice cold
The salad has three components, each of which you can adjust/customise to your own liking and taste. 
The base

This is where the bulk of the carbs are and depending on how organised I am, I like to either make couscous or a mix of brown rice and quinoa. However, you can use your favourite grain.

If you're in a rush, grab some couscous, toss it in a bowl, add boiling water and put the lid on. Two minutes later, you'll have couscous. It doesn't really get much easier than that! 

If you're a tad more organised and have, maybe 30 minutes to spare, grab some brown rice and/or quinoa and cook it according to the instructions on the packet. Personally, I normally chuck it in the rice cooker but you could make it on the stove instead.
The sauce (optional)
Boil the sauce until enough of the liquid evaporates
I've never been a massive fan of plain couscous or adding any sort of lemon juice mix. I prefer to make my own tomato sauce, which is really easy. You can also make a big batch of the sauce and just toss it in the freezer, that way, you'll only really need to make a batch once every fortnight.
The healthy stuff (compulsory)
The stir fry option
For the final layer of the salad you've got a lot of options:

If I'm short on time, I'll chop up and cook some veggies (normally broccoli, soy beans, sweetcorn, carrot and maybe some peppers). I'll toss these on and then top up my container with spinach, or some other leafy green.

If I've got longer and all the ingredients, I'll stir fry some veggies, maybe throw in some tofu and sort of steam them at the same time. To do the steaming bit, just add hot water to the pan once it's hot and you've put all the veggies and tofu in, turn the heat to high and let the water evaporate. Once all the water's gone, you can assess whether or not you need to add more. With this mix, if you don't feel like making the couscous/grain and sauce, you can put it on a roll or even just bread, and make yourself a sandwich instead! I like doing this if I've made a bit too much and don't feel like eating more salad.
The recipe
I may, in no way shape or form consider myself a food blogger, but even I know that no recipe post is complete without, well, a recipe. Here's a basic version, but remember, you can change as much as you like there's lots of ideas throughout this post!

For the base:
You'll need around about 1/3 cup of couscous or brown rice/quinoa. Cook it according to the directions on the packet I don't want to be responsible if it burns :)

I really like mixing these two together!
For the sauce:
I tend to make cheats tomato sauce, and so don't remove the skin from the tomatoes. To make six meals worth of sauce, you'll need seven big tomatoes. Chop them up, put in a pan with a bit of coconut oil, add salt and sugar to taste and stir regularly. When you get a consistency you like (and be careful, cause it is possible to burn this!) take off the heat and allow to cool down.

For the rest of it:
This is really where you can dictate the size of the meal. If you're having it for dinner, make lots of veggies, if it's for lunch, then not so many. Due to this, I'm not going to provide any exact measurements, just experiment! Most of the 'recipe' for this part is in the section above, so I'm not going to bother regurgitating it here! That being said, if you've read the 733 words so far, then you've found my bonus recipe: the roasted chickpeas.

Personally, I love roasted chickpeas, they're so easy to make and provide a nice crunch in your salad. They're also packed full of nutrients, making your meal even healthier. All you'll need is a tin of chickpeas, coconut oil, a bit of salt and a bit of sugar. Put it in the oven on about 150C for an hour, and they should crisp up nicely. I never thought I'd like these, but was pleasantly surprised the first time I made them! It's also worth mentioning that I don't really like the shop bought roasted chickpeas, as I find they always seem to have garlic in them, so I'd definitely rank the homemade ones higher!

While you've got the oven on, you could also make some roasted veggies, I like to roast pumpkin, kumara (sweet potato), pepper and tomato (this is also an alternative to making the sauce!). If you go down this route, you can just throw everything in the oven and it'll be super easy and effortless.

The recap
I feel like I've made this post just a tad too long and rambly, so here's a quick summary:

  • Make grains and a big batch of sauce
  • You can change up what you use as your 'healthy layer', I've provided three options in this post: plain, boiled veggies, a stir fry and the throw-it-all-in-the-oven route :)
So that's about it! I'd really recommend giving the recipe a go, personally I never really liked couscous or quinoa but I found that by adding tomato sauce, it becomes a lot tastier! I'd love to know if you try out the recipe and what twists you add! Also, what's your favourite type of salad? If you couldn't tell, mine's this one!

Thanks for reading,

Katie XO
P.S. I've been working on creating 'Pinnable', AKA Pinterest friendly, images and also add more photos throughout my posts. Does it make them easier/better to read, or would you prefer less images?