There’s nothing better than bringing the people you love (and live with) together over a meal. With the weather warming up, it’s time to learn how to make a salad that’s more exciting than just lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. So, to celebrate the simple joy of food and help you make a new, delicious and comforting dish, we joined forces with much-loved nutritional therapist, author and cook, Madeleine Shaw, as she takes us through creating one of her ultimate nourishing recipes (with plenty of ingredient options to suit what you love). So here it is, Madeleine’s Ultimate Nourishing Salad, enjoy!
Salads are one of the easiest ways to pack in nutrients, delicious flavour and incredible texture. In the summer there’s nothing better for me than a generous bowl of fresh ingredients all married together with a vibrant dressing.
Personally, I have never understood why people say they find salad boring. During the summer, my parents would create the most delicious barbecues every weekend and for me the star of the feast was always my mum’s salads. When I moved to Sydney and began working at an organic cafe, my love affair with not-so-basic salads flourished and every summer I look forward to sitting out in my garden enjoying abundant plates of amazing colour, flavour and texture.
That’s not to say all salads are created equal. For me, there is a specific formula to creating a salad that tastes amazing. A great salad should be crunchy with contrasting textures from dried fruit or nuts, pair savoury, sweet and sour tastes as well as something creamy whether it’s avocado or a delicious dressing. I try to balance my plate with 25% protein-rich foods (such as meats, fish or legumes), 25% fibre-rich carbohydrates (like brown rice, buckwheat noodles or quinoa) and 50% fruits and vegetables.
This recipe is the perfect base for whatever you love to eat. I’ve gone for tofu as my protein, as I follow a flexitarian diet, but if it’s not your thing you could totally swap it out for any fish, meat or even a drained and roasted tin of chickpeas. The same goes for carbs, fats and any other components — they can all be switched and swapped to work with what you like, just keep the balance in mind.
Asian Marinated Tofu, Brown Rice and Cashew Salad (Serves 2)
1 280g block of tofu
1 tbsp of sweet miso
1 thumb of grated ginger
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of sesame oil
100g of brown rice
Salt to taste
75g of rocket
100g of sugar snaps
40g of cashews
20g of sesame seeds
2 tbsp of tahini
1 tsp of tamari
2 tbsp of sesame oil
Around 1 tbsp of water
1 pinch of chilli flakes
1. Cook the rice according to package instructions.
2. Make the marinade for the tofu by mixing together the miso, garlic, ginger, maple syrup and 1 tbsp of the sesame oil.
3. Cut the tofu into 1cm cubes and toss in the marinade, set aside.
4. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the remaining tbsp of sesame oil.
5. Gently pan fry the tofu for a few minutes on each side until it is crispy and caramelised then take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
6. Mix together the tahini, lime, tamari, sesame oil and chilli flakes adding water a little at a time to reach desired consistency.
7. Place the cooked and slightly cooled rice into your serving bowl.
8. Halve the sugar snaps and place on top of the rice along with the rocket and tofu.
9. Place the sesame seeds and cashews in the same pan you used to cook the tofu and toast for a few minutes, tossing them around to avoid burning.
10. Finish off the salad with the toasted seeds and dressing.