Salads (Anytime)

Whether it’s a training day or not, these salads are a delicious way to top up your five-a-day.

Enjoy alongside any of the main meals as a side salad. Or add protein such as sliced chicken, turkey, egg, flaked fish, sliced tofu, or a handful of cooked lentils or beans, and make it into a main meal.

If it’s a training day and you want a salad as a main meal, add a portion of Sometimes Carbs (see Sometimes Carbs)

I have suggested my favourite combinations below, but how much you use of each ingredient is up to you. If you are having a salad as a main meal, you will likely want to use more – 150g of spinach rather than 80g, say. Everything in these salads is healthy and good for you, so you really can’t go wrong (unless you use 15 chillies!).

Season with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, either drizzled straight over the salad, or whisked together in a small bowl with salt and pepper. If you like mustard, you could add ¼ teaspoon of that too, or turn to the Sauces.

The Potassium Soldier

Potassium is an electrolyte that is crucial to good heart function as well as playing a key role in muscle contraction, making it important for both good skeletal and muscular function. Spinach and cherry tomatoes are both great sources of potassium. If you have time, toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan: it really adds to the flavour.

baby spinach, washed

red onion, thinly sliced

cherry tomatoes, halved

pine nuts

fresh basil

Main option: Add 100g sliced halloumi, fried with a drizzle of rapeseed oil in a non-stick pan until golden.

Sometimes Carb: Cooked barley.

The Antioxidant

Antioxidants fight against cell damage caused by free radicals: melon, tomatoes, kale, red peppers and cucumber are all high in antioxidants. To tenderize raw kale, put it into a bowl with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and massage the dressing into the leaves with your hands. Leave for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

melon, cut into chunks

kale, washed and ripped into pieces

cherry tomatoes, halved

red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced

cucumber, sliced in half moons

Main option: Add a seared tuna steak: preheat a pan on medium to high heat, brush the tuna steak with rapeseed oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 2–2½ minutes on each side.

Sometimes Carb: Egg noodles.

The Alkaliner

Too much acid causes absolute havoc in your body, negatively affecting your bones, skin, digestion and joints, among other things. Therefore it is important to get nutrients in that balance out the acid and keep it from getting too high. Dark leafy greens, radishes, avocado and almonds are all alkaline foods.

avocado, peeled and cut into chunks

baby spinach, washed

radishes, sliced

almonds, roughly chopped

kale, washed and ripped into pieces

Main option: Add a sliced chicken breast: preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put 1 large chicken breast on a foil-covered tray, coat lightly with rapeseed or coconut oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, or until completely cooked, then take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly before slicing.

Sometimes Carb: Quinoa.

 

The Inflammation Warrior

Anti-inflammatory foods are pure gold, boosting your immune system, and keeping you fighting fit! Carrots, red onions, beetroots are all great warriors against inflammation.

carrot, julienned

red cabbage, shredded

black olives, chopped

red onion, thinly sliced

cooked beetroot, sliced

Main option: Add 120g of drained tinned tuna.

Sometimes Carb: Green or brown lentils.

The De-stresser

The negative effects of stress and anxiety on your body and on your mental health are severe. Foods rich in B vitamins are an excellent way to bring calmness and help to de-stress. Gem lettuce, broccoli, goat’s milk feta and red pepper are all fantastic sources of B vitamins, which calm the nervous system.

Little Gem lettuce, trimmed and leaves washed

broccoli, roughly chopped

goat’s milk feta, crumbled

cherry tomatoes, halved

sunflower seeds (toasted, if you like)

red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced

Main option: Add sliced steak: brush the steak with a little rapeseed oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper, then cook in a hot pan for 3–4 minutes on each side for medium. Remove and leave to rest before slicing. For greater details on how to cook steak, go to the recipe for Sirloin Steak with Filled Portobello Mushrooms.

Sometimes Carb: A baked sweet potato.

The Bone Strengthener

All the ingredients in this salad help to keep your bones strong: calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, and flavonoids that increase their density. Vikings need to have extremely strong bones, obviously, to be ready for berserkness!

green cabbage, shredded

apple, cored and thinly sliced

walnuts, chopped

figs, tops trimmed, cut into wedges

pomegranate seeds

Main option: Add a flaked smoked mackerel fillet.

Sometimes Carb: Brown rice.

The Flu Slayer

Take good care of your immune system, feeding it with soldiers that kill any flu wishers: all the ingredients here do exactly that, keeping your immune system at optimum level with their natural immune-boosting, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, de-stressing components. This salad calls for a super potent dressing: in a bowl mix together a drizzle of oil with the juice of a whole lemon and add a grated garlic clove and the chilli.

Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

red peppers, deseeded and sliced

chives, finely chopped

red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

pumpkin seeds, toasted

garlic clove, finely grated or crushed

lemon juice

Main option: Add 150g of cooked king prawns.

Sometimes Carb: Vermicelli rice noodles.