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Five simple summer salads

With only a month to go until Midsummer’s Eve, the evenings are long and abundant greenery shows how happy the plants and trees are soaking up the sun. Eating outdoors is such a joy, whether it’s a picnic in your garden, local park or even on your doorstep with a cuppa.

We are now moving into the ‘hungry gap’ – the hardest time of year for UK growers large and small. It is the few weeks, usually in April, May and early June, after the winter crops have ended but before the new season’s plantings are ready to harvest.

But with the weather warming up, it’s a great time to celebrate with simple salads featuring the fresh summer flavours that are gradually appearing – here are five to try:

Raw asparagus and fennel salad shows off both vegetable’s wonderful flavours to the max, eaten raw and thinly sliced. If there are leafy fronds on the fennel don’t throw them away - they can be used as a garnish.

Asparagus
Raw asparagus and fennel salad.

Kohlrabi season starts in May. Although a rather alien looking veg that mystifies many, it is surprisingly versatile with a radish-like crunch that works so well in kohlrabi slaw alongside sweet apple and crunchy toasted hazelnuts.

Making a salad more substantial means you can have a really satisfying dish that is not too heavy for eating on sunnier days. This poached chicken salad is full of fresh herbs and served warm. Peppery watercress and zingy lemon make it a delectable, fresh-tasting lunch or evening meal.

Poached chicken salad
Poached chicken salad with zingy herbs and peppery watercress.

An easy broccoli and quinoa salad with lemon and tahini dressing uses protein rich quinoa as a good base for a heartier vegan salad. For real zero waste eating, tasty broccoli stalk and florets are both used.

Broccoli and quinoa salad with preserved lemons and tahini dressing.
Broccoli and quinoa salad with lemon and tahini dressing.

A fantastic mix of veg box and store cupboard staples, grilled courgette, tomato and bean salad ticks all the boxes – simple, hearty and moreish. A lovely lunch on its own with a hunk of bread, or can be bulked up with grilled peppers and aubergines

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