Salads for when you are sad

If you are feeling miserable, and cannot bear to get dressed in anything more than leggings or sweatpants, it is tempting to eat a tray of macaroni cheese, followed by some chocolate eclairs. And, indeed, I would encourage you to do that.

But…perhaps not every day.

Some days, you should eat a salad. Not just because it’s good for you, but because a well-crafted salad is a thing of beauty. Its lovely little tasty bits will wake up your mouth and interest your palate, and by taking care of the ingredients – separating soft leaves, slow roasting veg, careful peeling – you begin to take care of yourself.

A great salad has the following elements:

Something crunchy – This is often the salad leaves themselves, but could also be nuts, or crispy bacon, or a crips apple
Something soft – A different type of salad leaf, perhaps, or some roasted vegetables, or, best of all, cheese
Something bright and sharp – some citrus fruit, or a sharp vinaigrette
Something salty – bacon or cheese again, or a handful of capers, or some wee anchovies scattered over

Here are three salads I’ve eaten this past fortnight, sometimes in my trackie bottoms.

Pear, hazlenut, watercress and blue cheese

Cut a ripe pear into bite-sized chunks. Mix in a bowl with a handful of watercress, then scatter over some chopped hazlenuts and blue cheese. Make a dressing of 2 parts oil and 1 part wine vinegar.

Fig, walnut and goats cheese

Add some honey, balsamic and salt to the bottom of a salad bowl and warm briefly in the microwave to melt the honey. Toss the walnuts through to coat. Throw in some leaves (I used lamb’s tongue lettuce) and the figs, then scatter over the goats cheese.

Lentil, sweet potato and feta

Chop a sweet potato into small pieces and roast until soft. Take green lentils (you can cook them yourself, if you like; I used a pre-prepared packet) and add the cooked sweet potato and some rocket. Crumble over the feta. Make a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic; add some chilli if you’d like.

(These are guides, rather than exact amounts – keep tasting and adjusting. Most of the leaves can be substituted for something else, depending on what you have in the fridge.)

What’s your favourite salad? And what do you what do you eat when you’re feeling down?

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