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Super salads

Homer Simpson once said you can’t make friends with salad, and while the wisdom of the great man should not be dismissed lightly, he might not realise that salad has come a long way since iceberg lettuce with tomato wedges.

These days a salad can be the main event. Be inspired by these recipes, but also feel free to experiment with your own combinations:

Leaves & herbs

There is a world of salad leaves out there. Mixing them, as Neil Perry does in Rockpool Green Salad with Palm Sugar Dressing gives your salad complexity of flavour as well as colour. Micro herbs and edible flowers like nasturtiums add a true MasterChef touch.

Vegetables

Make salads with seasonal vegetables. In winter, experiment with roast vegetables like Shannon Bennett does in Roast Pumpkin, Feta and Rocket Salad. In the warmer months, give ripe heirloom tomatoes a starring role.

Grains

The health benefits of ancient grains such as quinoa, farro and spelt have made them increasingly popular. The Ancient Grains Salad in Paul Wilson’s recipe for Lamb Cutlets with Red Mole and Yucatan Pickles is a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the taste of quinoa.

Proteins

Sashimi-quality tuna and runny eggs are the heroes of Guillaume Brahimi’s Nicoise Salad. Shredded roast chicken, just-sizzled prawns or tangy goat’s cheese can also turn a salad into a meal.

Seeds & nuts

Pepitas, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and chia seeds all give your salad texture. In Prawns with Chargrilled Zucchini and Leek and Olive Salad pistachios bring the crunch.

Dressings

Extra virgin olive oil is a classic, but don’t be afraid to try other oils. Gary uses a small amount of walnut oil to add a hint of its rich nutty flavour to his Warm Salad of Roast Chicken, Crisp Pancetta, Soft-Boiled Egg and Bitter Leaves.