For the Love of Salad

By Jeanelle Mitchell

Published by Whitecap Books

Jeanelle Mitchell’s latest cookbook, For the Love of Salad, makes you feel as if you are sitting in the kitchen with a good friend. Open its pages and instantly you feel comfortable, knowing your culinary efforts will not be judged. With this book you are guaranteed to find simple, tasty suggestions for vamping up your salad repertoire.

Seasonal charts are combined with loads of great hints to help keep you eating salads throughout the entire year, not just during the summer months when salads tend to be top of mind. There are also lots of helpful tips scattered throughout the book, such as storing mushrooms in paper bags with holes (thus preventing the slime factor), not keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator (where they will lose their flavour and become mushy), how to section citrus fruits and cut a mango properly.

Throughout this cookbook Mitchell acts as your guide into the world of salad. She covers both the raw and the cooked, starters and mains, simple and complex. Using a variety of ingredients that include leafy greens, pastas, grains and an assortment of vegetables, you will never run short of new ideas to try. And that is a good thing – especially if you are like me and tend to get stuck in a salad rut. Inspiration awaits!

(Click here to read my interview with Jeanelle Mitchell)

Belgian Endive & Apple Salad with Creamy Maple Dressing

RATING: 5 out of 5 (crisp, sharp, & utterly delicious!)

THE TEST: One of my favourite things about Mitchell’s recipes is the how you can prepare the majority of the salad ahead of time, so that when you are ready to eat there are just a few last minutes details to take care of (such as tossing the salad with dressing). This recipe is no exception, and came together quickly and easily. Besides tossing the salad with the dressing, the only thing left till the last minute was slicing the apple which otherwise would have quickly turned brown.

Photos courtesy of Ashley Astells

Confession: I didn’t have all of the listed ingredients on hand so I made a couple of substitutions. This included using slivered almonds instead of walnuts, and mascarpone in place of sour cream.

THE RESULTS: After trying this recipe Mr. Spock and I were in total agreement on the fact that this is our new favourite salad. It was absolutely perfect! The creamy sharpness of the blue cheese went hand in hand with the tartness of the granny smith apples, and the crunch of celery and nuts rounded out the overall texture while the endive lent a bitterness that was in no way overwhelming. It is not very often that a salad gets me this excited, but I honestly cannot wait to make it again! (As a side note, I think my inadvertent substitutions will be making an encore appearance).

Photo courtesy of Ashley Astells

Herb & Berry Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 (easy & fresh)

THE TEST: Yet another super easy recipe to prepare! For my fruit, cheese and nut options I decided to go with blackberries, feta and pecans. Can’t really go wrong with that combo!

THE RESULTS: This salad took me by surprise! I wasn’t expecting such a hearty burst of flavour varieties. The mint, cilantro and basil each packed a tasty punch that mixed well with the other ingredients. The creamy cheese and juicy berries paired beautifully with the classic style vinaigrette.

I will definitely be making this salad again, although probably only when feeding a large crowd. Don’t get me wrong – it’s very tasty. Just a bit intense for everyday.

Click here for the recipe for Herb & Berry Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Pineapple & Curried Cashews

RATING: 4 out of 5 (unique twist on a spinach salad)

THE TEST: Not to sound like a broken record, but this salad was very simple and quick to throw together. I would highly recommend heeding Mitchell’s advice to toss all ingredients at the last minute, otherwise the salad becomes limp and lame. But so long as you have everything prepped and ready to go beforehand it’s not a big deal.

THE RESULTS: Great tasting salad! We loved the curried cashews which on their own would make a delicious snack. The sweetness of the maple with the kick from the curry tasted great on the mellow flavoured cashews. The kids loved having pineapple in their salad and pretty much dug through the whole dish looking for every last tidbit to hoard on their plates. The mint and cilantro gave the salad an overall freshness that was delicious. Will definitely make this again.