Baby Spinach Salad with a Balsamic Glaze

Whoever said that the simple things are often the best, was a legend. I have proof. What am I talking about? Well a couple of weeks ago, I’d gone to lunch with a friend. Obviously, I had to have the smashed avo toast – beautiful rye sourdough, topped with a generous amount of smashed avocado. This particular version of it was then topped with a simple salad that was so very good, I had to try replicating it at home. It was just a beautiful and well balanced little number, with every mouthful, I could literally hear angels sing.

Since the salad was so simple, there is very little to do to assemble it. This makes it perfect if you have to make a great big batch to feed a crowd this holiday season. The homemade version was so good, I hardly got a couple of bites of it. The husband, who initially was very skeptical about the simplicity and the ‘no mayo’ nature of the salad, almost wiped the plate clean. So I can tell you that this recipe has been tried and tested and has received the highest seal of approval (well, in my house atleast).

This is not an exact recipe. You simply add the ingredients to your liking and taste and it will turn out fantastic.

Baby Spinach Salad with a Balsamic Glaze

A couple of handfuls of baby spinach (you could also use rocket or any salad greens of your choice)
A few cherry tomatoes
Feta cheese, to taste
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
Balsamic glaze, to taste

Place the baby spinach / salad greens on your salad plate.

Halve the cherry tomatoes and place it evenly around the plate.

Crumble some feta cheese on top. (Please note, the feta cheese is salty, so add as much or as little as you’d like. No additional salt in used as the feta seasons the salad.)

Sprinkle a little freshly cracked black pepper on top.

Drizzle a little balsamic glaze over everything to finish it off.

Sit back and look at this gorgeous work or art.

Serve up and enjoy.

Avocado Pasta Salad

Its hard to believe that its only the first month of Spring right now. We’ve had a few scorchers already and its starting to feel like Summer is long to be a long and hot one. While I enjoy the extra daylight and the bounty of fruit, veg and flowers and beautiful beach days that summer brings, I cannot cope with HOT days. Last weekend was one such scorcher, thanks to the second heatwave of the season. I don’t know about you, but on such days, I cannot even think of putting the stove or the oven on, much less standing near it. I think I see a lot of salads and sandwiches for lunch this Summer.

I tried out this amazing Avocado Pasta Salad over the weekend and it was a big hit. There is a little stove time involved to boil the pasta and to fry the bacon, but the end result is so good, I’d say it was well worth it. I can’t wait for the next potluck or picnic, because I know that this salad will make an appearance.

The dressing is an avocado based one and is super easy to make. If you have an immersion blender, you life will be even easier. If not, just use your regular blender and you’ll be sorted. Basically all the ingredients for the dressing get blitzed together and ta-da …. you have yourself a salad dressing. I love recipes that are as easy as this. The ingredient list for the salad is just an approximation of what I used. Feel free to adjust as needed.

Avocado Pasta Salad
Serves 4 (as Main Course)

2 cups uncooked Macaroni
1/4 onion, finely chopped (use a sweeter onion if you can’t stand the heat from a raw onion. You can also use a couple of spring onions, finely sliced)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup boiled / roast chicken, shredded
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 avocado, diced
4 rashers of bacon, fried till crisp and chopped / crumbled
1/4-1/3 capsicum (I used green because thats all I had. You can use red or yellow too, or even a combination of them.)
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

For the dressing – 
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (use the leaves and the stalks)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Boil the pasta till al dente, following the package instructions. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool the pasta down. Drain and set aside.

Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling, salted water till it is a vibrant green, about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on how crunchy you like your broccoli. Immediately drain and immerse the broccoli in ice cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain and keep aside.

In the same pot of boiling water, boil your sweet corn kernels till done. Drain and set aside.

Get your salad ingredients ready.

For the dressing, simply blitz all the ingredients together.

Toss the salad in the dressing and refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving.


Pin now and try later!!!

Mediterranean Salad

As the days warm up, I find myself thinking about having a salad for lunch more and more. I usually take a packed salad to work for lunch, which is why I need my salad to be more than a salad. I need to keep going through the rest of my work day. I have found that when I opt for a salad over other options for lunch, I feel refreshed and ready to go through the remainder of the day. I’m always on the lookout for new combinations and flavours.

This (sort of) Mediterranean Salad came together thanks to a colleague who put me on to the wonderful combination of roasted peppers, grilled eggplant and feta. She was putting together a sandwich for lunch using these lovelies and I thought to myself, I could make this into a salad and see how it works out. So on my way home, I stopped by my local Coles and went straight to their deli section and picked up some Danish feta and grilled eggplant. I have yet to work out how to make this eggplant at home. While I strongly believe that made from scratch is way better than store bought, sometimes you need to be open to using a store bought shortcut, especially when you haven’t made anything for lunch and need something real quick. Enter, store bought fire roasted peppers; another thing I want to make at home.

Back to the salad. It essentially is made up of veggies, the condiments mentioned above and feta – that’s it! No dressing or anything. The best part is you wont even miss the dressing. The feta is soft, creamy, sharp and salty, so it takes the salad to a whole new level. Feel free to add or take away from this salad and make it your own. I have made this salad a few times and both, my husband and I love it. I made it with and without olives, so feel free to use them, or not. Also, toasted pine nuts on the salad would be divine. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner, but I fully intend adding them to the salad when I make it next. This salad would make a wonderful addition to any barbecue as well.

Mediterranean Salad

A couple of handfuls of Salad leaves (I use the 4 leaf mix from Cole’s)
1 fresh tomato, cut into chunks
Sliced cucumber (about 1/2 cups worth)
A few slivers of thinly sliced red onion
2-3 slices grilled eggplant, roughly chopped
A few slices roasted peppers, roughly chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Danish feta, to taste

Place all the ingredients except the feta in a bowl and toss together.

Crumble the feta over the salad and lightly toss.


** This salad also makes a lovely veg. sandwich.

Disclaimer: I haven’t been compensated for this post either monetarily or in kind. I just happen to shop at Coles and that’s why the mention.

Sriracha Chinese Cucumber Salad

Every now and then I love a little snack. Yes, I snack between meals Dad. My Dad would be horrified that I still do. He is a strong believer that food should be restricted to meal time, unless you were at a party or something. However, I love my snacks. I’ve always tried to cook / bake from scratch and now I want to try and take that one step ahead and eat clean. It will take some getting used to, but I think it definitely is do-able and I hope to take that to my snacks as well. Does this mean you’ll stop seeing desserts, bakes and other slightly indulgent food on my blog. Most definitely not. I will still do that, but will try and be more mindful of the kind of food I eat on a regular basis. Do you have any clean eating recipes that you love? I would love to try them out too. Leave me a comment and let me know 🙂

So back to this salad. I love cucumbers – continental, lebanese, baby cukes – all of them. One of my favourite ways to eat cucumber is straight up sprinkled with a tiny bit of salt. I usually serve some up with lunch or dinner. I wanted to try and change it up a little. Thats where this Asian inspired gem comes in. It was quick and easy and sounded delicious. I could definitely snack on some of this too. I’m very glad I stumbled across this recipe.
If you’re making this salad ahead of time, you can make the dressing in advance and just chop the cucumber and toss it up just before serving.
Sriracha Chinese Cucumber Salad
1 continental cucumber, cut into batons
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
1/4 tsp red chilly flakes
Lemon / lime juice, to taste
Mix all the ingredients except the cucumber pieces together in a bowl.
Add the cucumber pieces to the bowl and toss well.
Serve immediately.

Chunky Guacamole

Have I told you about how much I love avocados? Ofcourse not, because before we came to Australia, I’d never tasted one. But when I tried my first one, I was in love. I’ve had a few avocados since then and have loved every bite. My favorite way to enjoy an avocado is in the form of this simple, yet fresh and vibrant Guacamole. It is a chunky version so its nothing more than chopping up a few veggies, mixing and seasoning them. I can actually eat this by the bowlful. I serve this as a side like a salad, as a dip for some corn chips and so much more. Stay tuned for more.

Chunky Guacamole

1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Sour lime juice, to taste
Mix all the veggies in a bowl, add salt and lime to taste and toss well.

Sprouted Moong Salad

I love sprouts. If you do some reading up about moong sprouts, you’ll realize what an amazing superfood this is. It has all sort of medical benefits. Once sprouted the moong bean is an amazing source of Vit C that the seed in itself can’t provide. It’s also a great source of protein. These are just a few benefits that I can remember off hand. I’m quite sure the list goes on.

Here’s something that I’ve had floating around in my head for a while now. Each time I’d pass the sprouts shelf at the supermarket, I’d long to pick it up. For reasons even I’m not aware of, I just never did. So recently when I was buying my grains and pulses at the local store, I decided to pick up some dried whole moong (mung beans) and try sprouting it myself.

It’s such a simple process, I wonder why I have never considered sprouting beans at home, before. Better late than never, I’d say. So back to the salad. The only thing you need to ensure is you prep the moong the previous day. If you’d like to omit the sprouting yourself, there’s no harm in using store-bought sprouts. This is not so much a recipe but a guide. Feel free to adapt to your liking.
How to Sprout Moong at home – 

Soak the dried whole moong in sufficient water. (The water level should be atleast an inch above). Soak for about 8 hours or overnight. 
After soaking, drain off excess water. Gently rinse with fresh water. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and keep till the beans have sprouted (approx. 8 hours).
I usually soak the beans in water before going to bed at night, drain and cover with a damp cloth in the morning and its ready for use by the evening.
Sprouted Moong Salad

A handful of Sprouted Moong
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
Fine Sev, for garnishing (optional) (Sev is a snack that can eaten just about anywhere at anytime. These are thin noodles of dough made from chickpea flour and deep-fried until they’re crispy enough to eat. )
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
Mix the sprouts, onion, chilly, tomato and cucumber in a bowl. 
Season to taste with salt and lime juice. 
Sprinkle some fine sev over it. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
** I tuck it in the fridge till I’m ready to serve it.
You can also switch this salad up a bit by adding some plain unflavored natural yogurt, beaten well, to the salad veggies in the bowl in the first step mentioned above. Continue by seasoning and garnishing it.
Again, refrigerate till ready to serve.
This recipe is linked to – 

Mixed Raita

This is a salad like accompaniment that is widely served with Indian food. The dressing is a yogurt based one, which makes this salad ideal for warmer climates and hot summer days. Its really healthy, refreshing and tasty, of course. You will find a number of varieties of raita being served at an Indian restaurant. The base to all of these is  identical, the veggies you find in these salads will vary. Today I’ve made a basic raita with an assortment of salad veggies which you can adjust to your liking.

You can serve this with biryani, jeera rice or any other spicy Indian food. The yogurt helps soothe the palate.

Mixed Raita

1/2 cup curds / natural unflavored yogurt
Salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
A pinch of black pepper powder
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/4 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 red pepper chopped

Mix the veggies in a bowl and season with salt, lime juice and pepper to taste.

Beat the yogurt in a bowl. You can add a little sugar if you’d like to. Add the beaten yogurt to the veggies.

Mix well.

Check for seasoning and adjust, if needed.

You can garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.

Refrigerate till ready to serve.

Prawn Cocktail

This is one knock out treat that I usually save for an occasion like a birthday, an anniversary or guests coming over. Just the other day, I felt that we deserved a treat, for no particular reason, but just because I felt like it. I am a little funny that way. When I get fixated on something, I usually end up doing it. Very seldom do I change my mind. Exception to the rule being, if I don’t have the necessary ingredients at home. Then, off course, I have to improvise and work with what I have at hand till I can get to the store and stock up again. Anyway, back to the prawn cocktail. This beauty is a hit every single time. It is ridiculously easy to make and you can make it a little ahead of time. Get ready to wow your guests with this one.

Prawn Cocktail
(Serves 2)

1/2 cup iceberg lettuce, cut into strips
10-12 prawns, cleaned, de-veined and boiled with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp tomato sauce
 A few drops of Tabasco sauce (I used a combination of pepper sauce and smoked jalapeno – both Tabasco products)
A pinch of crushed black pepper

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, tomato sauce and Tabasco sauce. Add the pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. If you want it more tart, add some more tomato sauce. If its too tart, add a little more mayonnaise to balance it. Up the spice levels with the Tabasco sauce.

Tip in the prawns and mix till well coated. You should typically have more cocktail dressing than whats needed to simply coat the prawns.

To serve – 
If you’re serving individual portions as a starter, place some of the lettuce at the bottom of a cocktail glass and top it off with the prawn cocktail dressing mix. Garnish with a prawn placed on the rim of the glass.

If you’re serving it more like a salad that people need to help themselves to, place a bed of chopped lettuce on the plate. Pour the prawn cocktail dressing mix over.

This recipe is linked to –
Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try
What’s On the Menu Wednesday
Real Food Wednesday
What’s Cooking Wednesday

Chickpea Salad

Whenever, I boil dried beans of any sort, I make sure I cook a little more than I need. I love eating a few plain, nice and warm, just after they’ve cooked. Sometimes, I keep some aside to add to a salad. It just adds another dimension to the salad. This is exactly what I do when I boil dried chickpeas. If you want to know how its done, check this post. I simply love the colors.

Chickpea Salad

1/2 cup boiled chickpeas
1 onion, chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Crushed black peppercorns, to taste
A squirt of lime juice
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Check for salt and sourness.

Keep chilled till you’re ready to serve.

This recipe is linked to –
Delectable Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
A Little Birdie Told Me
Hearth and Soul
Tuesdays at the Table
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Mangia Mondays

Salads at the Barbecue Party #4 – Cucumber Salad with Dill Yogurt

This is the last of the salads that I had made for the barbecue party. Now this doesn’t mean that there won’t be more salad recipes and posts, because there will. With the summer heat and humidity already upon us, I am going to switch from warm hearty meals to some cool, fresh and soothing salads. Stay tuned.

This cucumber salad is very simple to make and the dill leaves add a lovely flavor to the yogurt. I used a little cream to add the creamy factor to this salad, so feel free to either leave it out completely or vary the quantities to your liking. Salads are very forgiving. You don’t have to stick to quantities and at times, even an ingredient list. So, go ahead, put your spin on it, and let me know how it worked out for you.


Cucumber Salad With Dill Yogurt
2 fresh cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/2 tub natural, unflavored yogurt (we get tubs of 400g)
1/4 cup fresh cream
1-2 tbsp. Mayonnaise (optional)
Salt, to taste
A few dill leaves

Beat the yogurt, mayonnaise and cream together and add salt to taste.

Tip in the sliced cucumbers and the dill leaves.

Mix and serve.

This recipe is linked to – 
Not Baaad
Meatless Monday
Mouthwatering Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
Meatless Mondays
Made by you Monday