Spice up your salad - nuts, seeds and grains
We have been looking at lots of different types of salad leaves over the last few weeks on my blog and hopefully we are all trying to spice things up by getting more adventurous with the variety of salads we are enjoying. This week and next week I thought I’d take a look at some other things you can mix in with your salads which not only give them added zing, but also added nutritional value!
Nuts and seeds are one of the most traditional ways to bring extra flavour and crunch to your salad. They are also little powerhouses of nutrients. Many of us have been scared off eating nuts over the past few years as we all know they can contain lots of fat. However, there is a major difference between ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats. Seeds and nuts contain essential nutrients our bodies need such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, fibre and minerals, so it’s important not to avoid them. And they are great in salads.
So why not try sliced almonds, walnuts or pecans for extra punch! Cashew nuts are great in Asian flavoured salads and are lower in fat than many other nuts, and peanuts are packed with great nutrients, though make sure you choose the unsalted variety. You can also toast them first, either in the oven or in a dry frying pan. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn! And you can even toss in some of your favourite spices for extra punch.
As well as nuts you can also try seeds. Pumpkin, sesame, pine seeds and flax seeds.
If nuts and seeds aren’t something you are fond of, you could always try creating more variety by adding some grains. You can toast quinoa to give your salad extra crunch. Or barley can bring a lovely chewy texture to your salads. Cous cous is another great addition to a salad and super quick and easy to cook. Try it mixed through a salad of roasted vegetables. Finally try brown rice - it is packed with fibre and adds a nutty flavour.
If you need some recipe inspiration to get you started, how about making these salads:
- Try this recipe from Delia which is packed with different nuts, seeds and grains – a triple whammy! http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/galleries/salads-for-any-occasion/spiced-brown-rice-salad-with-nuts-and-seeds.html
- A delicious and refreshing salad which is great on its own or as a side dish to grilled chicken or fish http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1108645/herb-salad-with-pomegranate-and-pistachios
- Combining spinach and avocado with crunchy pumpkin seeds, this recipe is from Nigella http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spinach-avocado-and-pumpkin-seed-salad-2573
- This recipe features broad band mixed with barley for a really nutritious salad http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3077685/broad-bean-barley-and-mint-salad
So go on, give your salads extra crunch and extra nutritional punch by adding nuts and seeds to your salad this week. And let me know how you get on on my Facebook page.