Boy has it been a gloomy start to the new year with the constant rain and looming clouds!
I’m actually not complaining. We (my boyfriend & I) took a short break over the new year and had plenty of sun out on the Coron Islands, Philippines. Now that we’re back, I’m actually enjoying the cool weather quite abit.
Cool, rainy weather calls for cups aplenty of aromatic coffee (or hot chocolate if you don’t drink coffee), warm cover-ups, acoustic chill-out coffeehouse tracks on Spotify and my latest obsession! – Warm salads!
This obsession started out about a month and half ago when I made a pledge to cut down on my meat consumption. It was a goal I had planned for this new year of 2018 but decided to gradually start on it towards the end of last year.
That was when I started exploring different ways on how to eat my greens. Given that I’m quite the traditional Chinese in the sense that I prefer hot foods for my meals, cold vegetable salads for dinners just don’t cut it.
The best part about warm salads? They are super easy to make! Yes, it would take a little more time to get your dinner ready (as compared to just tossing everything together for a cold salad), but trust me on this. If you are like me (the traditional Chinese who needs to have a warm dinner), your palate and tummy would feel ultra-satisfied after this dinner, not to mention your gut for the increase of veggies and fiber!
There’s no fixed recipe I follow and there’s no restrictions on what veggies you can use for your warm salad. A simple rule of thumb would be 1 bake-able veggie (or root) and 1-3 types of fresh salad greens and herbs, depending on what you have in your refrigerator at the moment.
1 variety of bake-able veggie/root
1-3 varieties of salad greens/herbs
Cheese of your choice (I like to use either Brie, Parmesan, Cheddar or Goat’s Cheese in mine)
Bake-able veggies I have used before:
- Zucchini (my favourite!)
- Sweet potatoes (I boil them first before baking)
- Sweet peppers/Capsicums
- Cucumbers (yes! You can bake them!)
Fresh salad greens I have used before:
- Baby spinach
- Set your oven on setting Fan at 180-200degC.
- Have your bake-able veggie cut to appropriate size (be it florets, slices or cubes). *Note that you don’t want to cut them too small as baking causes veggies to shrink in size!
- Toss your bake-able veggie in a baking dish with a generous drizzle of olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste.
- Pop baking dish with seasoned vegetables into the oven.
- Bake for 30-40min.
*For a more accurate setting, google how to bake the said vegetable of your choice.
- Prepare the salad greens/herbs.
- Cut the cheese into big chunks. (how much cheese you want to add is up to you.)
- Turn off the heat on the oven once the baked veggies are done.
- Top baking dish and baked veggies with fresh salad greens and cheese chunks.
- Pop baking dish back into oven to allow fresh greens to wilt and cheese to melt in the residual heat.
- Leave it in for about 10-15min.
*Depending on the type of fresh salad green you use, wilting time will be shorter for softer, fragile greens.
- Once done, serve with warm toasted multigrain bread, wholemeal wrap or a soup on the side.