As we head into summer, salads are at the forefront of our minds! There’s so much wonderful produce available lighter meals just seem right. Whether you’re a Caesar addict or love a good grainy salad, nuts bring an extra boost of nutrition and crunch to any salad, as well as sustenance to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Think of a Niçoise scattered with toasted sliced almonds, a wedge dotted with roasted walnuts or a Caesar with pecans crumbled into the breadcrumbs. There are so many ways to bring the joy of nuts to your salad bowl, and ramp it up a notch in flavor, texture and health.
Here are five tips to get your creative juices started:
Keep it class with a Waldorf Salad – The Waldorf is making a comeback and the mixture of walnuts, apples, celery and grapes deliver a meal that is fresh, fruity and light. You could use any nut in this apple, celery and grape salad recipe!
Pair fruit and nuts together – Strawberries are a common addition to salads this time of year, not to mention other berries and stone fruit. To get the most flavor, select fruit you can smell and that gives just a little when you squeeze them. Strawberries are lovely marinated in a little balsamic to bring out their flavor. You can add them to any greens and scatter with fresh ricotta. This recipe features pecans and berries, or try this one using pistachios rolled up in a ball of goat cheese, for a French twist.
But why stop at strawberries? Try blackberries with spinach and almonds, blueberries with arugula and goat cheese or raspberries with mixed greens and cucumber. And then there’s our luscious stone fruit – sliced peaches or nectarines over greens, with toasted nuts of any kind, just shouts summer. Here’s one with arugula and almonds or a grilled peach salad with pecans.
Go all in on grains – Make your salad a complete meal with the grains you love, lots of chopped vegetables, a splash of olive oil and lemon and a scattering of any nut! You could use quinoa, barley, rice, farro or any cooked grains. Cook a batch over the weekend and separate into meal portions to freeze for when you are ready during the week for your grain and nut boost! Try this one using hazelnuts that is light and bright for a warm summer day, or a farro and almond salad that is sure to keep you energized!
Make it a wrap – Whether you fill a lettuce leaf with prawns and noodles as in this classic Sang Choy Bow, lay out the makings for a party with walnut larb lettuce wraps, or just put your salad in a tortilla to make a wrap, eating salad with your hands just seems right sometimes!
Keep things toasty with a warm salad – If you’re after a warmer salad, consider toasting tree nuts in a dry pan until golden and aromatic, then removing them from the heat and tossing your dressing into the hot pan, so it sizzles and absorbs the nut’s essence. Toss through some bitter greens like escarole, frisée and radicchio while still warm and crumble goat cheese on top. This is wonderful with macadamias, almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts.
The combinations are endless, so Go Nuts with your salads this summer!