“Every salad you serve is a picture you have painted, a sculpture you have modeled, a drama you have created.” ~Carol Truax
I’ve recently acquired a family history of very aggressive bowel cancer – which is perhaps not the most appetising way to begin a post encouraging you to make a salad – but it’s the thing that has led me to making so much salad lately so there it is.
I’ve developed this cancer history, I feel as though I have thirty years fewer left in me than I had imagined previously, and so I have become borderline obsessed with fibre.
I’ve bought more varieties of beans, seeds, and whole grains in the last few weeks than I’ve eaten in the last few years.
And besides, I’ve also had a bunch of other things to be upset about so I decided that I could finally justify treating myself to Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which is an enormous tome that basically gives you cookery school in a book. I needed a distraction. A wholesome distraction. And this did the trick.
Now, ordinarily I would skip the salad portion of a cookery book, thinking that the recipes would contain too many ingredients that I’m allergic to, and it would be more trouble than it’s worth to attempt to adapt them to my own requirements.
I’m allergic to nuts, cheese, and PR10 proteins – fresh fruits and vegetables, basically.
But when Nosrat originally pitched the book to her publishers she didn’t even want the book to have any recipes. She wanted to give the reader the tools to know how to develop their own and have them turn out beautifully. And she’s such a wonderful writer that she inspired me to think that may I would be able to put together my own lovely salad.
And even if I didn’t end up with anything delicious, at least salads generally contain lots of fibre.
So I’ve had one, two, or even three salads a day, every day, for the last six weeks or so.
And most of them have been from my own recipes. And they’ve mostly turned out incredibly successfully. So I’ve been talking about them a lot, and sharing lots of pictures of my #SummerofSalads on Instagram and Facebook, and I thought I might as well start sharing some of the recipes here with you as well.
Tomato, Basil, and Farro Salad
- 250ml chicken stock
- 2 cups of Farro
- 0.5 cup of amaranth
- 3 tbsps chia seeds
- a cucumber, deseeded and diced
- a red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 250g cherry tomatoes, quartered and deseeded
- bunch of fresh rainbow chard, chopped
- a shallot, finely sliced
- 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- the juice of half a lemon
- a generous handful of fresh basil leaves
- Set the Farro and amaranth in a pan on the stove to cook in the chicken stock. Once thoroughly cooked drain, and, if you want to serve your salad cold, set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl cover the sliced shallot with the red wine vinegar and lemon juice, and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Combine the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, chard, and chia seeds in a salad bowl, and toss with the olive oil.
- Stir the shallot, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice into the Farro and amaranth, then add the whole to the salad bowl.
- Tear basil leaves into the bowl with the rest of the salad.
- Toss the salad again thoroughly.
In the salad pictured above I have also added some prawns, because my boyfriend wanted them, which made a tasty, if slightly incongruous addition to the recipe. I think some black beans could also make a nice addition to this salad.