As the weather gets warmer, I find myself scrounging around for interesting salads. As much as we all love meats off the braai, they require some light, crunchy veg to balance it all out.
Since it looks as if we’re in for some lovely, warm spring weather — at last — I’ve decided to gather a few of my favorites here to facilitate your weekend meal planning. So, how do you decide which salad to prepare?
For me, it all comes down to availability, texture and flavor. Availability is most important, because there’s no point in preparing a tomato salad, for instance, with mealy, unripe tomatoes. Thus, I tend to procrastinate and make my final choice at the market.
The next consideration is texture. If you’re preparing sausages, you’re more likely to want a crunchy salad with radishes or cucumbers to complement them. If, on the other hand, you’re preparing grilled chicken with crispy skin, velvety aubergines might be the best choice.
Last, but not least, consider flavor. A balanced meal includes a variety of flavors — salty, spicy, smoky, sweet, and sour. So, your choice of meat seasonings will influence your salad choice.
Here are a few of my favorites to get you started.
Spicy Radish Salad
Radishes are the first sign of spring. The crispy crunchiness of these flavorful vegetables shines through in this simple recipe for spicy radish salad.
Quick Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad
Don’t let the simplicity of this salad fool you. It is jam-packed with flavor. If you want to pump it up a little more, add 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes just before serving. This easy heirloom tomato and basil salad is sure to become a family favorite.
Regal Apple Slaw
This refreshing, crunchy salad is a study in color and contrasts. The tartness of the apples is a delightful foil for the sweet fennel. In addition, the tangy dressing pulls it all together. Regal Apple Slaw is my favorite accompaniment for rich sausages. It’s delicious with just about any cut of pork, because the tangy salad cuts the richness of the meat.
Chinese Eggplant Salad
This sweet and sour salad is deliciously complemented by the crunchy, nuttiness of toasted sesame seeds. I love the fact that it can easily be prepared in advance. Plus, this salad is child friendly. In my family, even avowed eggplant haters, enjoy Chinese Eggplant Salad. Moreover, the creamy texture is a welcome contrast to crispy foods, like chicken.