Salads Needn’t Be Boring

Now that the weathers warming up, we’ll be spending balmy days beachside, bar side and BBQ side! Assigned to bring the salad to your next soiree? Check out our pick of the best salad recipes to bring to a BBQ and prove you DO make friends with salad!

1. Pear, Walnut and Parmesan Salad Recipe
Serving Size: 6 (as a side salad)
Takes: 20 mins

2 pears (just ripened)
150g rocket leaves
½ cup walnuts
60g shaved parmesan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes until almost golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.
2. Cut pears into quarters, then cut each quarter into two pieces. Combine pears, parmesan, walnuts and rocket in a salad bowl.
3. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a jar with a lid. Shake until combined and pour enough into the bowl to coat the salad.
Tip: If preparing the salad more than a few hours in advance, place the pears in the salad bowl, and pour in the lemon juice to prevent them turning brown. Then, place rocket on top with walnuts and parmesan. Cover well and keep in fridge until ready to serve. Then, just add oil and salt and pepper before serving.

2. Vietnamese Beef and Vermicelli Salad Recipe
Takes: 20 mins
Serves 6 (as side salad)

2 steaks (T-bone or sirloin)
Olive oil spray
250g rice vermicelli
1 carrot, halved and very thinly sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons brown sugar
2 x 10cm sticks fresh lemongrass, sliced thinly
1 small red chili, finely chopped
1 bunch coriander leaves only.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Salt and ground black pepper to season steak
1 fresh lime quartered to serve

1. Season steaks with salt and pepper, then lightly spray with olive oil. Heat a heavy based frypan over a moderate-high heat. Cook steaks for 4 mins each side (preferably medium-rare or to your liking). Set aside on a plate and cover with foil to rest.
2. Soak vermicelli in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water as per packet instructions. Drain and add to large salad bowl.
3. Slice meat thinly and toss in with vermicelli, carrot and cucumber.
4. Whisk together fish sauce, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, lemongrass and chili, and toss through salad.
5. Add coriander leaves, lime wedges and chopped roasted peanuts and serve.

3. Asparagus and Feta Quinoa Salad Recipe
Takes: 30 mins
Serves 6 (as side salad)

2 cups (500ml) water
1 cup (150g) quinoa, rinsed and drained
Olive oil spray
2 bunches fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 4cm lengths
1 large red capsicum, seeded, cut in half and roughly chopped 1/2-cup (75g) reduced-fat feta cheese (crumbled)
4 shallots, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh continental parsley (chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons honey
100g baby rocket leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Combine water and quinoa in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, and then reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl, and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, preheat a large grill on high. Spray with a little oil. Cook asparagus for 2-3 minutes or until crisp yet tender. Add the asparagus, feta, capsicum, shallots and parsley into the bowl of quinoa.
3. Whisk together lemon juice, honey, oil and sweet paprika in a small bowl for 2 minutes or until well combined. Toss the dressing and rocket through the quinoa mixture. Season with pepper and serve.

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