Bring a burst of freshness to your winter menu with these delicious salads

Even though it's winter, we don't always want hearty, meat-based meals. Sometimes I crave a salad, with its memories of summer.

Luckily, there's spinach in the garden that has survived the colder weather. Freshly chopped, it's a wonderful way to add colour and flavour to meals, and to satisfy my desire for fresh greens. Of course, the supermarkets are full of salad produce all year round, so there's plenty of options; I can never walk past cos lettuce - so crisp and juicy, yet so delicate.

These three salads are best served as most winter salads - at room temperature, rather than cold from the fridge. More than just an accompaniment, they can be a satisfying meal on their own.

My salads are often based around what's in the fridge or cupboard. Couscous, pasta and lentils are favourites, but today it's pearl barley - quick and simple to cook but reassuringly nourishing. Usually added to soups and stews, it's equally delicious tossed through a salad for added texture and flavour. I love the way it soaks up the dressing.

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First, however, toss your vegetables in a mix of spices then roast in the oven. Once done, add the spinach, barley and fresh, flavoursome dressing, and you're away.

Dressed noodles can transform something very simple into an interesting meal.

Here I've added fresh flavours such as lime, cucumber and coriander, with salmon to elevate the meal above the ordinary. A little salmon goes along way, as it's quite rich. The edamame beans add a wonderful colour and crunch, and are full of goodness. Don't overcook them or they'll become wrinkly. The dressing is full of flavour; add a whole chilli if you dare.

Caesar salad is a classic, although here I've added tomatoes just because I had them. For me a runny poached - not boiled - egg on top is a must. Take a little time to make this dressing rather than buying one - it's so much better and the flavours just make the salad; you'll often find me in the kitchen dipping croutons into the dressing, it's so delicious. The key to a caesar salad is to use the freshest of ingredients - do that and you can't go wrong.


Recipes

Roast vegetable salad with tahini and yoghurt dressing
Chicken caesar salad
Soba noodles and salmon


For more fabulous recipes from Angela Casley, visit foodhub.co.nz

- VIVA