I love slow cooking and hearty, braised dishes in winter as much as the next person. I also appreciate soup very much. But I really love salad, and even though we often think of these as summer dishes, a bowl of veges in winter is often what I crave. These all make good side dishes with a shared feast, or a simple lunch.
You can get a bit experimental with salad dressings too - it's always good to taste and adjust and get the balance right for your own taste preferences - it can really transform vegetables. Also, if you hate coriander, or can't stand parsley, try something like mint or basil or dill instead. Have fun with flavour and enjoy!
Raw brussels sprout and bacon salad
400g brussels sprouts
4-6 rashers bacon
½ cup walnuts
1 avocado, cut into cubes
½ cup chopped fresh herbs: flat leaf parsley and basil (optional, mint)
Using a mandolin or a slicing blade on a food processor, thinly slice the brussels sprouts and the radishes. Place in a large bowl.
Cut the bacon into 1-2cm chunks and cook until crispy - you can do this in either a hot oven or in a frying pan. Add to the bowl.
Lightly dry-toast the walnuts in a frying pan on medium-high heat - it should only take a couple of minutes. Be careful they don't burn. Add to the bowl, along with the avocado and the herbs. Add a vinaigrette and mix together well.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra herbs if you wish.
Asian winter noodle salad
250g soba noodles
1 carrot, grated
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1 cup (approx) mushrooms, sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
½ cup crunchy bean sprouts
Small bunch fresh coriander
For the dressing:
1 tsp fresh finely grated ginger
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
For the dressing, whisk all ingredients in a bowl and taste and adjust as necessary.
For the salad: Cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions. In a frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil and then add the mushrooms and broccoli. Add a splash of soy sauce and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the broccoli still has a little crunch. In a bowl, add the drained noodles and the vegetables with the coriander. Add the dressing, gently combine, and serve warm. Great with fish, chicken or strips of beef.