Salad Days



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Everybody should have a selection of salad recipes up their sleeve that they know inside and out.

Simple, seasonal recipes that can be made to compliment your meals, nothing too fancy to outshine your main - but ones that look good, taste great and bring a little fuss to your table. For my birthday luncheon, we sat down to a main of Salmon. The salads that accompanied the main needed to be light and fresh, be colourful and delicious. And I think, with the these three - I nailed the brief!

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Corn & Cucumber Salad with Cracked Freekeh


  • 2 cups(380g) cracked freekeh
  • 2½ cups (625ml) water
  • 2 corn cobs, husks removed
  • 2 cups micro (baby) flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup (75g) sunflower sSeeds 
  • 2 long green chilies, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (80g) dried currants
  • 2 cups stone sprouts+
  • 2 Lebanese cucumber, sliced lengthways

Buttermilk Dressing

  • ¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk
  • ¼ cup finely chopped chives
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • cracked black pepper


  1. Place the freekeh and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from the heat and allow to steam, covered, for 10 minutes or until tender and the water has absorbed.
  2. While the freekeh is cooking, preheat a char-grill pan over high heat. Cook the corn, turning, for 20 minutes or until lightly charred all over. Cool slightly and cut the kernels from the corncobs. Set aside.
  3. To make the dressing, place the buttermilk, chive, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir to combine. Place the freekeh, corn, parsley, sunflower seeds, chilli, half the currants and half the dressing in a bowl, and toss to combine. 
  4. Divide among bowls and top with the sprouts, cucumber and remaining currants. Serve with the remaining dressing.  Serves 4.

+ Stone sprouts are an Asian herb with a sweet, crisp flavour and are available at health food stores or specialty grocers. If you can’t find them, substitute with mung beans or your favourite herbs.

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Green Beans with Bacon Balsamic Dressing


  • 300g green beans, trimmed and blanched
  • 2 bunches broccolini, trimmed and blanched
  • 50g butter
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil 2 eschalots (French shallots), chopped
  • 3 rashers bacon, trimmed and chopped
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper


  1. To make the bacon balsamic dressing, place the butter and oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat and stir until the butter is melted. Add the eschalots and bacon and cook for 5−7 minutes or until the bacon is golden. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook for a further minute. Add the beans and broccolini and cook for 2−3 minutes or until warmed through. Serves 8.
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Quinoa Roasted Fennel & Pomegranate Salad


  • 3 bulbs baby fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup (190g) white quinoa
  • 1½ cups (375ml) water 150g purple kale, trimmed and leaves shredded
  • 2 cups basil leaves, shredded, plus extra to serve
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed pomegranate


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses+
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the fennel on a lightly greased large oven tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Drizzle with the maple syrup and oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 20–25 minutes or until tender and golden. Set aside.
  2. While the fennel is cooking, place the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 12 minutes or until almost tender. Stand for 5 minutes, covered. Set aside to cool.
  3. To make the dressing, place the oil, pomegranate molasses, water, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the kale, basil, pomegranate, fennel and quinoa. Toss to combine. Divide between plates and top with extra basil to serve.  Serves 4.

+ Find pomegranate molasses in specialty food stores and grocers. 


Credit: Recipes from Donna Hay




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