Easy Christmas salads with eight ingredients or fewer

Roasted and raw broccoli with chilli, mint and lemony tahini dressing.
Roasted and raw broccoli with chilli, mint and lemony tahini dressing. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Simple sides that cater for everyone's dietary requirements? Yes, it can be done.

Roasted broccoli with chilli, mint and lemony tahini dressing

I love the mix of roasted and fresh broccoli, it's what makes this salad. Just dress it when ready to serve as it is so light, lovely and bright when the dressing is added at the table.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 cups mint leaves, coarsely torn

Lemon tahini dressing

  • juice of 1 small lemon, plus zest reserved for the salad
  • 80g tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional). Cut one head of broccoli, stems and all, into florets and place on a large flat baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over the olive oil and using your hands, turn to coat. Season very generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until the florets are taking on a slightly charred colour. The point is to just give this some warmth and textural difference, rather than cook all the way through.
  2. While the broccoli is cooking, prepare the dressing by adding the lemon juice, tahini and garlic to a blender or food processor. Add about 80ml of cold water and a pinch of salt. Blitz until you have a smooth sauce. You are aiming for the consistency of thickened cream. If you feel it's too thin, add a touch more tahini and if it's too thick, add a splash of water.
  3. Slice the other head of broccoli into very thin slices, just as thin as you can manage using a knife – no need to bother with a mandolin. Roughly chop any larger chunks into bite-sized pieces. Add these to a bowl with the sultanas, chilli and mint leaves. Sprinkle over the lemon zest. Chop any of the larger sized pieces of roasted broccoli into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Toss to coat and turn into a serving bowl. Drizzle over the tahini dressing and serve.

Serves 6 as a side

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Katrina Meynink eight ingredient salad recipes for Good Food November/December 2020. Please credit Katrina Meynink. Good Food use only.

Pumpkin and pesto pearl cous cous salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Pesto cous cous with maple roasted pumpkin and almond salad

I leave the skin on my pumpkin. I also leave the seeds. Feel free to remove if it's not for you – I just love the gnarly textural goodness and flavour they provide. It also helps the pumpkin keep its shape while it roasts. This salad is a make-ahead winner. You can add everything except the spinach and flaked almonds, reserving these until you are ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g Japanese pumpkin, cut into even-sized wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 250g Israeli cous cous
  • ¾-1 cup excellent quality pesto (or make your own using my basil and lemon pesto recipe)
  • 250g green beans, trimmed, blanched and refreshed
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • ½-¾ cup flaked almonds, toasted

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Add the pumpkin then pour over the olive oil and maple syrup, using your hands to ensure the pumpkin pieces are coated. Roast for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is caramelising on the edges and cooked through but still holding shape. If your pumpkin is taking on too much colour too quickly, cover with foil and continue to cook, removing the foil for the last few minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Cook the Israeli cous cous according to packet instructions. Strain and pour immediately into a large bowl. Slowly add the pesto and using a couple of spoons, toss the cous cous pearls until they are evenly coated. The aim is to coat it, not drown it, so after you've added the initial ¾ cup of pesto, add the additional ¼ cup slowly, if necessary. Add the pumpkin pieces and the beans and season generously with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss through the spinach leaves and the flaked almonds.

Serves 6-8 as a side

Harissa and maple roasted carrot salad with garlicky cashew cream. Katrina Meynink eight ingredient salad recipes for Good Food November/December 2020. Please credit Katrina Meynink. Good Food use only.

This carrot salad is vegan-friendly. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Harissa and maple roasted carrot salad with garlicky cashew cream

This adaptable recipe is easily scaled up or down as the number of guests requires. The cashew cream is worth doubling up, so you have a stash on hand to dress all manner of things or simply eat straight from the bowl.

INGREDIENTS

  • 700-850g heirloom carrots, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rose harissa
  • 1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds, roughly crushed
  • dried edible rose petals and a few microgreens, to serve (optional)

Cashew cream

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

METHOD

  1. Soak the cashews in 1¼ cups of water for 4-5 hours – any longer and your cream will become grainy, the 4-5 hour mark seems to be the sweet spot for the end consistency.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional).
  3. Add the carrots to a roasting dish – you may wish to cut any thicker larger carrots in half lengthways to ensure even cooking time. Add the maple syrup, oil, harissa and cumin to the carrots and using your hands massage the ingredients into the carrots so they are evenly coated. Wrap the tray tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes just to get a little more caramelisation on the carrots (if you feel this has been achieved even with the foil on, dismiss this step).
  4. While the carrots are cooking, strain the soaked cashews then add to a blender with another 1-1¼ cups of room-temperature water and the garlic. Blitz until smooth and creamy – if it appears a little grainy or thick, add some more water, a few tablespoons at a time. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, scoop the cashew cream over the base of a serving plate. Top with the carrots and sprinkle over the rose petals and herbs, if you decide to use them. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Serves 6 as a side

Christmas slaw. Katrina Meynink eight ingredient salad recipes for Good Food November/December 2020. Please credit Katrina Meynink. Good Food use only.

This Christmas coleslaw is hard to beet. Photo: Katrina Meynink

Christmas slaw

If time is against you, you can use packets of pre-shredded beetroot, I just find they taste strange and never as crisp, flavoursome and delightful as grabbing a couple of beets and doing it yourself. You can use a mandolin or the grater attachment for a food processor.

For the dressing, depending on the sweetness or tartness of the raspberries and the beetroot, you can adapt the dressing to suit, increase the sumac for more lemony bitterness or up the honey if the dressing is tasting too tart. You can make this ahead but don't dress the salad until serving.

You could also add some glorious hunks of feta to this salad for a creamy touch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 beetroot (about 1.2kg total), peeled, trimmed and sliced into julienne on a mandolin (or use a spiraliser or food processor)
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 3 cups mixed herbs, edible flowers and baby salad leaves (I used basil, flat-leaf parsley, dill, spinach)

Raspberry sumac dressing

  • 70g fresh raspberries, macerated with a fork
  • ½ tbsp sumac
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

METHOD

  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
  2. In a small bowl combine the salad ingredients and continue to use a fork to break down the raspberries until a gloopy dressing-like consistency. Dollop onto the salad and use your hands to turn over until all the salad mix is coated in the dressing. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Serves 6 as a side