It's Summer BBQ season and I'm loving that you can legitimately use the grill every day, even if it's raining! So with that in mind, I'm here to inspire you with my favourite recipes for gorgeous salads to serve alongside your meat, fish and vegetables.
Something a bit more interesting than a green salad. These recipes ensure you get your rainbow of nutrition - the colourful 5 a day of fresh vegetables that we're told to eat and which is so much easier to achieve during the summer months. Is it any wonder we usually feel more healthy and full of energy at this time of year.Puy Lentils & Roast Veg
This is a long time favourite in our home and was originally one that I found in an Ainsley Harriot book. The balsamic and garlic in the dressing are the winners here - I'm not a garlic fan but when it's roasted, smoky and sweet like it is in this recipe, it's just irresistible.
1 x bag of pre-cooked puy lentils (or you can cook from scratch also)
2 x peppers (any colour)
1 x red onion
3 x garlic cloves with skin on
Balsamic vinegar and Olive Oil
Sprig of Thyme
Roast the onion, garlic, peppers thyme (drizzled in olive oil) in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 C. Take out the thyme stalks and discard. Squeeze the soft garlic from inside the cloves into a bowl.
Heat the lentils in the microwave following the pack instructions (or cook from fresh if you wish) and put them in a bowl. Add the roast peppers and onions to the lentils. Meanwhile, mash this garlic with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and water (or some of the liquid from cooking the lentils from fresh). Drizzle this gorgeous garlicky, vinegary solution over the lentils and veg and ENJOY!
Simple Thai Noodle Salad
This is a spicier one but it's so morish - I could eat it for breakfast (and stink of garlic for the day!). It's the simplest one to create - no excuses for the 'can't cook/won't cook' brigade.
Half a pack of vermicelli rice noodles (about 150g) - cooked to the instructions, drained and cooled
1 x garlic clove, crushed
4 x spring onions, chopped
2 x red chilli's, chopped
1 x handful of chopped fresh coriander
3 x tablespoons of Thai Fish Sauce
1 x tablespoon of Sesame Oil
Put everything into a bowl and mix well... and that's it!
Cous Cous Salad
This is one that my kids will eat - yay! It's not easy to get wee ones around to eat salad I know but this is good one to try. Once you make it, you'll never buy a shop bought cous-cous salad. It costs pennies to make and is WAY more tasty.
200ml vegetable stock
2 spring onions
1 red pepper
50g feta cheese, cubed (optional...I usually leave this on the side as the kids don't like it)
2 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp toasted pine nut
Pour the boiling stock over the cous-cous and leave it to soak for a few minutes, covered but off the heat. Add the other ingredients chopped up however you like them.
Kids Salad Options
One thing I find the kids do enjoy at a Summer BBQ is pesto salad so I always make up some of the prettier pasta pieces (bows or twists) with some fresh pesto and a sprinkle of parmesan and chopped fresh basil. Also for the kids, try serving 'help yourself' bowls of individual items like pickled beetroot, hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, carrot sticks etc.
Sticky Chocolate Bananas
My final attempt to get one of the 5 a day into the kids at a Summer BBQ comes in the form of dessert. Obviously at this time of the year, summer fruits are more affordable and the kids will generally devour them but if you've a few bananas that have gone over-ripe in the fruit bowl, this next one is sure to go down a treat.
1 x over-ripe banana
1 x chocolate Flake bar - crushed
1 x shot of a orange liqueur (adults only!)
Pop the banana onto a rectangle of foil and turn up the edges to make a parcel - you can peel or leave the skin on...either way works. Cut a slit down the length of the banana and with chocolate. Sprinkle on some marshmallows.
Seal up the top of the parcel and place on a low/medium heat barbecue until the chocolate melts. Add ice cream - but only if they've eaten their salad!