Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of three cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe. And of course, her new book, Homemade Happiness, is on my Christmas wish-list!
Like soup, salads are one of my favourite dinner options. As the weather gets warmer, I crave the freshness and lightness of salads, and Chelsea’s offerings have all come up trumps.
Bacon, Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad with Feta Dressing
Pumpkin and bacon in a salad can never be wrong, right (unless you’re vegetarian)? This was a really tasty dish, although I noticed all three of my boys picked out the chickpeas! I’ve written in the margin of this recipe that the dressing was very garlicky, but I also remember it being quite nice, so if I make this one again, maybe I’ll omit the raw garlic in the dressing.
Chicken Caesar Salad
I’ve never been a huge caesar salad fan, always finding them very salty and bit too rich, but this recipe was different, fresher and lighter somehow. The homemade dressing still had that rich, anchovy flavour but without the heaviness, and I think the chunkiness of the chicken and croutons especially made it better (I didn’t feel like every inch of bread was soaked in dressing; some mouthfuls had only the tiniest amount of dressing). I’ll be making this one again! You can find the recipe here.
Haloumi & Vege Salad with Capsicum Dressing
I’ve made this salad countless times and it remains a firm favourite. It features some of my favourite things: Portobello mushrooms, courgette, red onion, haloumi (squeaky cheese!!) and red capsicum. The herby capsicum dressing is wonderfully sweet and piquant and works so well with the cheese. I’m actually drooling a little as I think about it…
Kumara & Asparagus Salad
I really liked this recipe, but none of the boys were all that fussed. It was possibly because I made it towards the end of summer when we were feeling a bit asparagussed-out, but I thought the flavour combo was lovely and the textures were deliciously contrasting.
Summer Chicken Salad
One of the most-made recipes from either of Chelsea’s books, this salad is so easy and super-tasty. Actually, the salad itself is pretty standard, but the herb and feta dressing is out-of-this-world-amazing. The combination of salad ingredients can be mixed up to suit your family, but the addition of the sweetcorn and crispy noodles are quite enlightened. And the dressing…have I mentioned the dressing? Tall and I fight over the last dregs, it’s that good. This is a great dish for fussy little people too, as you can serve all the components separately before mixing the rest together for non-fussy big people.
The combination of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil is one that takes me right back to our time in Italy, and I think Chelsea’s recipe is a fitting replica. I made this for myself one evening when Tall was away for work, and ate the whole lot after thinking I’d save some for the following night. It’s fresh, light and delicious, and pretty as well.
Steak Salad with Crispy Onions & Herby Garlic Ciabatta
I’m only including this with the rest of these salads because Chelsea has called it a “salad”, however it’s much heartier than that might imply. The salad merely provides a bed for the steak to relax on; it’s a lighter backdrop for the crispy fried onions
which aren’t particularly healthy that I could’ve eaten on their own which are a lovely textural topping. Flavourwise – yum, although Tall thought the dressing was a bit creamy (“This must be a Chelsea Winter dressing”).
Roast Chicken Salad with Super-Dressing
I’d never used Israeli couscous before, and my children were a little suspicious of this dish at first. They love couscous, and pasta, but took some convincing that this was a delightful mash-up of them both. I really liked the flavour and texture combos (pumpkin in salads = winner), but left out the grapes simply because I forgot to get them. Apparently the dressing for this salad is from Ray McVinnie – it was full of flavour and worked really well with the chicken and couscous.
Smoked Salmon Salad
Such a classic combination of ingredients, all serving to complement the smoked salmon to perfection. Cornichons, capers and red onion are all smoked salmon’s BFF, and they are definitely harmonious in this recipe. The dressing had a nice tang with the inclusion of natural yoghurt.
Asparagus & Chorizo Salad
Yum yum yum. I love asparagus, and chorizo, so this was one of the first recipes from Everyday Delicious that I made. It was such a simple salad to make, and the while the flavours were all quite simple, together they had a real punch. I’ve also made this using courgette instead of asparagus, and while it’s still good, using asparagus is definitely tastier.