Insalata di Arance / Orange Salad

We had a few versions of this salad when we visited Sicily. Because oranges were in season, this salad was available pretty much everywhere. One version had oranges and fennel, another had oranges, onion, cheese and mint. Even all of the above plus olives. The list goes on. All of them were refreshing, palate cleansing, very simple but delicious.

Since I brought back with me a few oranges, I also made a several versions of this salad at home. Here is one:



2 oranges, skin removed and cut into rounds

2-3 spring onions, ends removed and finely sliced

50g mild cheese (sorry, I know it’s not authentic, but I used Edam)

extra virgin oil to dress, to taste

1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)


  1. Mix the ingredients together and serve.


Winter Slaw with Herbs and Pomegranate

Fresh, bright, full of goodness salad to brighten up your winter dinner.

Winter Slaw with Pomegranate



1/2 medium head of white cabbage, finely shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lemon

1 small batch of parsley, finely chopped

even smaller batch of mint, finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

seeds from 1/2 – 1 head of pomegranate (depends on the size, optional)


Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl, sprinkle the salt on it, mix and allow to sit for 15 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the lemon juice, herbs, oil and mix well. Taste, season well with salt and adjust to taste. It should be sharp and lemony. At the end, sprinkle the pomegranate seed on top, if using. Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower & Aubergine with Lemony Tahini Dressing

Here is a great winter salad for your lunch boxes or an alternative side dish. You can literally roast any veg you like (butternut squash, beetroot, carrots, courgettes, red onion, etc.) In this instance, my chosen vegetables are cauliflower and aubergine.

Grilled Cauliflower & Aubergine with Green Lentil and Tahini dressing



1 cup puy lentil, cooked

1 small cauliflower head, separated into the florets

1 large aubergine, chopped into chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons tahini

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, grated

2-3 tablespoons of hot water

spring onion and parsley to garnish (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Toss cauliflower and aubergine with olive oil, salt and pepper then spread out in an even layer on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring half way through.
  3. Meanwhile cook the lentil according the instruction on the packet, if it’s not cooked already.
  4. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, zest, garlic and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until it’s reached the desired consistency. Stir in parsley and set aside.
  5. When vegetables are ready, serve on a bed of cooked green lentil and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve warm or at room temp.


Carrot, Courgette and Halloumi salad with ginger and sesame dressing

This salad combines all my favourite ingredients. It is perfect for this time of year, as the courgettes are at its best at the moment. You can also leave the vegetables to marinate for a couple of hours before serving, but always fry halloumi at the last minute, as it is best served warm.

Courgette, Carrot and Halloumi Salad


(adapted from Waitrose magazine)


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 courgette

2 large carrots

50g cashew nuts

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

250g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices


  1. To make a dressing whisk the oils, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and ginger together in a large bowl.  Using a vegetable peeler or a spiraliser, peel ribbons of the courgettes and carrots into the bowl with the dressing, toss it all together, set aside to marinade while you prepare everything else.
  2. In a large non-stick frying pan toast the cashew nuts for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat until golden, set aside. Next toast the sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, set aside with the nuts.
  3. Fry halloumi for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
  4. Lift the vegetables from the dressing and put on a plate. Top with the halloumi and scatter over the nuts and seeds. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm, spooning over a little extra dressing, if you like.

Cucumber and Za’atar Salad

The Lebanese believe that za’atar, a mixture of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, gives strength and clears the mind.

I do believe that this spice turns simple two veg salad in something exciting for the palette .

Good snack or side to any meal. Cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and za’atar mix on top! Addictive!

Make the salad as big or as small as you like, the ratios are really not that important.

Cucumber & Za'atar Salad


1 cucumber
1/2 small red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon za’atar
sea salt and pepper
  1. Slice cucumber and onions thinly. Drain off excess liquid from cucumber and arrange them on the plate, add onion slices on top.
  2. Sprinkle the za’atar over the cucumbers. Season with salt and pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad

 Since I tried this recipe, I can’t stop making it and telling everyone about it. It’s a perfect match of sweet juicy watermelon flesh against the sharp and salty Feta cheese and olives, balanced with mint flavour. It is Summer on a plate for me!


(Marry Berry’s recipe from Absolute Favourites)


½ cucumber
½ small watermelon, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes
200g feta cheese, crumbled into small cubes
50g pitted black olives in oil, halved
1 small bunch of mint, chopped

For the dressing:
4 tbsp olive oil (or oil reserved from the olives)
juice of ½ lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Peel the cucumber with a potato peeler, cut in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut into crescent shapes.

2. Layer half the watermelon, cucumber, feta and olives in a bowl, repeat again, then sprinkle with the chopped mint. For the dressing, whisk together the oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and pour into the bowl. Serve chilled.

Antipasto Salad


Once I saw this recipe on a fellow blogger’s site here. I made it the same evening but got caught up with some things so didn’t  write a review, nor to say a big thank you for the recipe as the salad was delicious and became a regular addition to our winter menu.

Here is the recipe, from Mermaid’s Tresses, I have’t changed a thing, apart from fresh parsley for decoration:



1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 or 2 stems from a fennel bulb
1/4 cup of black olives
A good amount of dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon of capers (optional)
Dressing: 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 clove of Finely minced garlic


Dice the carrot, celery and fennel into 5 mm cubes, and roughly chop the olives. Toss them into a bowl and add as much of the Italian herb mix as you like. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt and pepper in as well. Mix the dressing together in a separate bowl and pour over the top of the salad just before serving.



‘Vinegret’, which is not a salad dressing

Please do not confuse with the word ‘vinaigrette’! Vinegret is one of the Russian/Latvian vegetable salads and there are different versions why it’s called so. It can be just because the word was brought from French language (like many other words!) and ‘Russianfied’ or it can be used as a metaphoric description of miss-mash things.

This salad was particularly popular during Soviet times when it was hard to come across fresh fruits and veg, so people used more tinned produce being easier to find and stayed fresh longer. However, although you can easily get fresh vegetables now, don’t consider to swap with fresh peas, use the tined garden peas for an authentic taste.

As well as usual boiled potatoes, carrots, beets, garden peas and gherkins, some variations of vinegret contain sauerkraut. Personally, I like it this way but if you don’t or simply can’t get hold of sauerkraut, you can leave it out. Traditionally salad is served with rye bread and some sort of meat or fish, like cold cuts, sausages or herring.

You can double the ingredients for bigger crowd. Also, this salad is great to cook in advance, not only it can save you time, the taste will only improve if you leave it over night.

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1 pack of cooked beetroot (but NOT in vinegar)

3 potatoes

3 carrots

1 tin garden peas

1 cup drained sauerkraut

3-4 pickled gherkins

1/2 onion finely diced

2-3 tablespoons sunflower (or vegetable) oil

salt/peper to taste

handful of fresh cranberries (optional, but good addition, specially during Christmas season)


1. Wash, but do not peel the potatoes and carrots, place them in a pot of cold water, bring it to the boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking them for about 30 minutes or until the knife goes smoothly through the vegetables. Let it cool completely before peeling the skin off and dice them.

2. Meanwhile diced in roughly equal size cubes of the beets, mix them with a spoon of the oil before adding the rest of the ingredients (this way beetroot colour won’t get on other ingredients as much),then add diced gherkins, onion, place in a bowl along with drained peas. When potatoes and carrots are cool completely, peel the skin off, dice them same way, in cubes and add to the bowl, followed by sauerkraut.

3. Mix it all carefully with the rest of the oil, salt and pepper. At this stage you can always add more gherkins or sauerkraut, if you wish. Adjust seasoning and garnish with handful of fresh cranberries for an extra kick. 🙂

Layered Fish Salad ‘Mimosa’


This is my interpretation of one of the traditional Russian/Latvian salads called ‘Mimosa’  and originally made during big celebrations/holiday, especially Easter time, because of the colours and the eggs in it. You can use any tinned fish for this salad but most importantly, the salad must be prepared a few hours before serving to allow layers to soak (it is perfect for dinner parties as it could be made the day before and kept in the fridge). Originally these type of salads are always are made with mayonnaise, so it is not for those who are on a diet, and it is another reason why it is a special treat only for the special occasions, but  the taste is very tender and light.



1 tin tuna (or any other preferred fish)

2 potatoes

2 carrots

4 hard boiled eggs

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 pickled gherkins

1 cup mayonnaise


1. Do not peel potatoes and carrots. Just wash them and place in a pot with boiling water, adjust the heat and leave it to cook until they feel tender when you prod them with a knife. When vegetables are ready, just take them out of the water and leave it to cool so you can peel their skin off. When the vegetables are skinned and cool, start assemble the salad.

2. In a small bawl mix the tuna, onion and couple spoons of mayonnaise. Spread the mix on a dish you are going to serve from.

3. Then layers go as following: grated potatoes, mayonnaise, grated gherkins, mayonnaise, grated carrots, mayonnaise, then grated egg whites and top it with grated egg yolks.

4. Leave it in fridge over night or at least for a few hours. Serve as a starter.