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Substantial salads that will steal the show

Get your daily dose of this season’s pickings with these beautiful and sexy salads. They’re sure to steal the show on your festive table! 

Sweet and sour ruby roast veg 

Serves 4-6 (as a side) 

A tangy treat that you can cool down and load with more leaves for a fresher salad. 


6–7 medium beetroots, peeled and halved 
500g small red onions, halved 
1¼ cup cranberry juice 
¼ cup olive or canola oil 
¼ cup sherry or red wine vinegar 
1 Tbsp honey 
Salt and milled black pepper 
100g creamy cheese (herbed cream cheese, ricotta or feta work well) 
Handful fresh mint and basil, for serving  


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.  
  2. Parboil beetroots for about 8 minutes. 
  3. Char onion halves over an open flame until almost blackened. (Alternatively, heat a griddle- or non-stick pan over medium-high heat and dry-fry to get a similar result.) 
  4. Place vegetables in a single layer in a 5–8cm deep dish. Season. 
  5. Whisk together juice, oil, vinegar and honey and pour over vegetables. Season well. 
  6. Roast for 40–45 minutes until tender, but vegetables still have bite. 
  7. Spoon vegetables onto a serving platter, separating onion petals if you like. Set platter aside, keeping warm. 
  8. Reduce cooking liquid on the stove over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes until slightly thickened. 
  9. Spoon reduction over warm veggies, dot with cheese and scatter with fresh mint and basil to serve.  

Tomato and stone fruit salad 

Serves 6 

Crispy toast adds the crunch to this juicy sun-ripened tomatoes and stone fruit salad. You can also stretch this fanciful dish even more with salad leaves or protein. 


4 each nectarines and plums, sliced 
2 peaches 
50g cherries (optional) 
600g tomatoes, halved 
½ red onion, thinly sliced 
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar 
¼ cup olive oil blend 
1-3 tsp basil pesto 
Salt and milled black pepper 
200g Burrata or fresh mozzarella (see cook’s note below) 
Handful fresh basil (rocket works too) 
50g pumpkin and sunflower seed mix, toasted and roughly crushed 
1 loaf crusty bread, toasted, for serving (optional)  


  1. Toss together fruit, tomatoes and red onion. 
  2. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil and pesto. Season. 
  3. Toss the vinaigrette through the tomato mixture.
  4. Place cheese in the centre of platter and scatter tomato mixture around it. 
  5. Top with fresh basil and scatter pumpkin seeds over. 
  6. Serve with toasted bread.

 Also read: Ways to transform and boost your salads

Carrot and quinoa salad with hummus dressing 

Serves 4-6 

This bougie salad uses crispy quinoa instead of crunchy croutons. For an everyday version, swap quinoa for couscous and simply cut large carrots into chunks. 


2 packets rainbow or regular baby carrots, trimmed and halved 
1 packet Brussels sprouts, halved 
Glug olive or canola oil 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
Salt and milled black pepper 
2 cups cooked quinoa 
½ lemon, juiced 
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped 
½ packet baby spinach 
5-6 radishes, sliced 
50g crispy chickpeas (optional) 

For the dressing

250g hummus 3 Tbsp olive oil 
¼ cup of 1 lemon 
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped 
1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander 


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.  
  2. Place carrots and Brussels sprouts on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with garlic and season. 
  3. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. 
  4. Spread cooked quinoa over two baking trays and roast in the oven, stirring every few minutes until crispy and golden. Cool. 
  5. Combine quinoa, lemon juice and coriander, and season. 
  6. Place spinach on a serving dish and top with quinoa mixture. 
  7. Add roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts, radish and crispy chickpeas. 
  8. Combine dressing ingredients and season to taste. 
  9. Serve salad with dressing on the side or drizzled over.


Baba ganoush salad 

Serves 6-8 

Baba ganoush is a Lebanese smoky aubergine dip with a similar consistency to hummus. It adds a lovely creaminess to this salad. 


For the baba ganoush

4 large brinjals, halved 
1 punnet baby brinjals, halved 
¼ cup olive oil plus extra for brushing 
2 Tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar 
1 clove garlic
2-3 Tbsp tahini (or 2 tsp peanut butter) 
½ Tbsp ground cumin 
Salt and milled black pepper  

For the salad

2 cups cooked bulgar wheat or couscous 
Handful each fresh mint and coriander 
2 discs feta 
1 lemon, juiced and grated 
1 cucumber, halved, deseeded and sliced 
1 packet wild rocket
1 packet crimson leaf salad 
1 spring onion, chopped 
Red chilli and sesame seeds for serving 


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Pierce brinjals all over with a fork, place in an oven tray and brush with a li le olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 
  3. Roast for 20-25 minutes, then remove baby brinjals. Set aside. 
  4. Roast the large brinjals for another 20-30 minutes until they look limp and deflated, with almost blackened skin.
  5. Cool large brinjals slightly, then scoop out flesh, discarding seeds.
  6. Blitz large brinjal flesh with olive oil, garlic, tahini, and ground cumin. Season. 
  7. Toss baby brinjals with bulgar wheat, herbs, feta and lemon juice and peel. 
  8. Spread mixture on a platter and scatter with bulgar wheat salad mix, cucumbers, rocket and crimson salad leaves. 
  9. Garnish with spring onion, chilli and sesame seeds just before serving.

Words: Gail Damon

Photography: Fresh Living Magazine

Also read: Our fave summer lunches that aren’t salads

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