Put some colour into your office lunch.

If you're back at work, then vibrant veges may be just what you need to help ease the transition from jandals to shoes. If you're still on holiday, these salads make a great lazy lunch, especially if you've got freshly caught fish, or a barbecue, close by. Either way, as the rest of summer stretches before us, I'm all about salads.

Eggplant and pomegranate soba noodles (vegan)

1 eggplant
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt flakes
250g soba noodles
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Bunch of mint, finely chopped
Seeds of half a pomegranate
1 Tbsp pine nuts (optional)

1 Cut the eggplant into half-centimetre rounds, and then each round into quarters. Place on a roasting tray and drizzle generously in olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, and roast at about 200C for about 25 minutes, until the eggplant is golden brown and the edges start to char.

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2 Cook soba noodles according to packet instructions, then rinse well under cold water.

3 In a large bowl, place the pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest and juice. Whisk together well, then add the soba noodles, eggplant, and mint. Gently toss, and garnish with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts.

Pea salad

Pea salad. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Pea salad. Photo / Jason Oxenham

My friend Sophie made this for a barbecue and everyone wanted the recipe, it was so good. She passed it on, thanks to her mum. If you wish you could use 2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce, which was used in the original recipe instead of honey and fresh chilli.

2 cups peanuts
Large bunch parsley and mint
3 tsp crushed garlic
¼ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup walnuts or almonds
½ cup olive oil
2 cups thawed frozen peas
2 tsp honey
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 In a food processor, briefly blitz together all ingredients except the peas, honey and chilli (or sweet chilli sauce).

2 Scrape mixture into a bowl and mix through the peas, honey and chilli (or the sweet chilli sauce).

Wild rice and zucchini salad

Zucchini and wild rice salad. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Zucchini and wild rice salad. Photo / Jason Oxenham

This can be made vegan without the parmesan.

1 cup wild rice
2 zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch sea salt flakes
Pinch chilli flakes
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan
1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
Small bunch parsley, chopped
¼ cup pecans, chopped

1 Cook rice according to packet instructions.

2 Chop the zucchini in half, and then into strips lengthways. Place in an oven tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of chilli flakes, and about half the lemon zest and juice. Roast at about 200C for about 20 minutes.

3 Drain and rinse the rice and place in a bowl. Add the zucchini and any oil from the tray, add the parmesan, remaining lemon zest and juice, garlic, parsley and pecans. Toss and serve warm or cold.