This book is a paradise for the health-conscious, demonstrating that salads need not be boring nor leave you hungry.
With one recipe for each week of the year, Alexander Hart’s 52 speedy lunch ideas relies on the practicality of modern-day shopping options to ensure each dish is put together quickly – precooked tinned beetroots or using store-cooked chicken, for example.
This book is a paradise for the health-conscious, amply demonstrating that salads need not be boring nor leave you hungry. It comprises recipes inspired from cultures as diverse as Vietnam and Mexico and, while the claim to be able to make them within around 5 minutes each is questionable, they are fast to prepare none-the-less.
Hart caters to fans of low-carb diets and those who prefer extra protein, right alongside those who are vegan. There seems to be something for everyone, and the quality of recipes is sublime.
The dishes are broken into five sections: vegetables, noodles and zoodles, grains and seeds, beans and legumes, and classics and new classics. A couple of pages at the start of the book also say a word or two on common salad ingredients, offering ideas to help cut down on the preparation time.
The colour contrast of the text against the page backgrounds isn’t the best, but the bolded fonts do make up for that somewhat. The recipes use a lot of wide spacing and dot points for the preparation, making each easy to follow and read at a glance. It’s well designed in that latter respect. A tempting full-page photo by Chris Middleton also accompanies each recipe.
Whether you’re looking for lunch ideas, fast food, or sides for a main meal, The 5-Minute Sald Lunchbox is a sensational, healthy inspiration for any kitchen.
Baby Beetroot, Walnut & Ricotta Salad (page 12)
The Vegetables section of the cookbook offers this nutty salad that uses cooked beetroot but would go well with any roasted vegetables. The primary ingredient in the dressing is dates, which are combined with honey, white wine vinegar and other ingredients for a unique flavour that really complements the salad. A tip early in the book suggests you keep the dressing separate until ready to serve – a wise move because this salad not only tastes great, but it looks great too.
Corn & Bean Salad with Lime Dressing (page 88)
This is not a combination I would have ever thought of putting together but the photo was too tempting and the mix of ingredients sounded like a intriguing blend of sweet and sour. It was, and I’ve made this salad several times since. The corn and beans provide a filling volume to the salad, while the tomatoes, spring onions and salad greens provide a light burst of flavour to balance the more solid ingredients. It’s absolutely delightful.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Distributed by: Smith Street Books through Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: February 2019