Salads With A Difference

Are you fed up with the same old salads? Coleslaw? Potato salad? Or perhaps you'd just like something different to offer dinner guests. If you're having a barbecue for a good number of people, you'll need a range of salads. Here are some salads that use traditional ingredients and a couple that combine slightly more unusual items from the pantry. Some can be prepared ahead and, as we all know, anything that can be done before the big moment, leaves you free to mingle and chat, and to enjoy the company of your friends.


Potato Mould

Although this uses potatoes it is quite different from a traditional potato salad. The mould can be prepared well ahead of time and the mayonnaise and tomato added nearer to serving time.

You will need:

8 large potatoes. Peel, boil and mash the potatoes well, then add 4 tablespoons each of chopped chives, chopped parsley and finely chopped gherkin. Add 1 cup of finely chopped celery (or green pepper) and 1 cup French dressing. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

When you have the potato mixture prepared, mould it into a half melon shape. I use a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge to chill. Just before serving, turn the potato mix onto a serving tray, cover completely with about three cups of mayonnaise and garnish with tomato slices.


Another salad that is quite different but always draws favourable comments is a Spinach and Strawberry Salad. If the main ingredients sound like unlikely partners, trust me and try it once. You'll be agreeably surprised.

Rinse two bunches of spinach and tear into bite-size pieces. Add four cups of sliced strawberries and toss together.

Combine ¼ cup white wine vinegar, ½ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Whisk these in a bowl, pour over the spinach and strawberries and toss to coat.

The dressing can be prepared beforehand and stored in a jar in the fridge for a day or two. Shake or whisk well before adding to the spinach mixture.

For a green salad, the following would serve well.

Broccoli Salad

You will need 2 heads of finely chopped broccoli, 3 or 4 rashes of cooked, chopped bacon, 100 grams of pine nuts and 4 finely chopped spring onions.

For the dressing, mix 1 ½ teaspoons of white vinegar, ¼ cup of sugar and 1 cup of mayonnaise. Mix well. Add the salad dressing just before serving.

Cucumber Salad is quick and easy. It can also be prepared ahead of time. You'll need 1 large or 2 small cucumbers and 225 grams of sour cream. According to your preference, the cucumbers can be peeled, unpeeled or, for an attractive effect, take off narrow slices of peel lengthwise down the cucumber. Then slice crosswise into rounds. Add the sour cream and mix. Add pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. For extra flavour, add a small, sliced onion. Let the salad sit overnight and the onion flavour will spread through the sauce.

Tomatoes are a universal favourite. Although this is a simple recipe, the taste is really special. For this Tomato Salad, you'll need 6 large tomatoes. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute and remove the skins. Slice thickly and arrange in a single layer in a flat dish. Season with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chopped onion tops and parsley.

These salads will help give some different flavours to your barbecue or meal. Best have some recipes of the Spinach and Strawberry printed out ready to distribute.