I made a fantastic risotto the other week for our extended family. While risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, other family members have often commented that it is too rich and stodgy to eat by itself. To offset these characteristics, I wanted a crisp and tarty salad. I took the idea of finely diced vegetables, mixed with basil and a simple dressing to make a ‘bruschetta’ salad.
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes*
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled
- ½ medium red capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 stick celery
- 1 small bunch of basil
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- Salt/pepper to taste
* I prefer to make this with a mixture of field and cherry tomatoes.
TLDR instructionsMix dressing ingredients and place in a non-reactive bowl. Finely chop all vegetables and place in the same bowl. Roughly tear basil leaves by hand and add to salad. Mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Leave salad to ‘stew’ for 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves.
Prepare the dressing by pouring the lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a non-reactive bowl. You will now add all the ingredients to this bowl; do not keep the dressing and the salad separate.
Wash all your ingredients. I find it best to halve celery length-wise to make sure you get the dirt out of the inside curve.
Finely chop the tomatoes until you have around one cup. Peel the cucumbers, and quarter them length-wise. If the cucumber is particularly fat, halve again length wise. Placing the cucumber lengths together, chop into small bits. Follow a similar method for the celery. Finely dice the capsicum. Add all chopped ingredients to the salad bowl.
Remove basil leaves from the stems. Roughly tear them by hand and add them to the salad bowl. Mix all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to leave the salad to stew in the acidic juice for at least 30 minutes, to allow the basil flavour time to ‘spread’.
Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves.