Salads for iftar? These quick recipes will save you hours in the kitchen

Who wants to stand in front of a stove in the long, hot days of Ramazan?
Published Jun 17, 2016 01:24pm

This year Ramazan has fallen during the longest and hottest days of the year, and after an almost 15 hour fast, the last thing you want to do is slave away preparing food in a hot kitchen.

Now, I know ‘salad’ may seem like an unusual addition to an iftar spread, but don't write off the following recipes till you try them; both will greatly minimize your time in the kitchen, and in front of the stove. They are also a welcome change from the typical iftar food.

Samosas, pakoras and the likes are an undeniable part of iftar, but if you’re looking for something light and cool, or you just want to add a novel item to the table, then go ahead and give these recipes a try.


Tex-Mex Pasta Salad


This recipe is a twist on the macaroni salad, except with lots of Mexican-inspired flavor in the creamy dressing. It takes very little time to put together and easily feeds a crowd. It is best served cold, so you can prepare it ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

1¾ cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 large tomato, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 (400g) can sweetcorn, drained

½ cup sliced black olives

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken

For the dressing

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup yogurt

1 tbs lemon juice

1½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Method

1) In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked macaroni, bell pepper, tomato, onion, sweetcorn, olives, and chicken. Mix well.

2) In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.

3) Add the dressing to the pasta salad and mix well.

4) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 6 to 8.


Chinese Chicken Salad


This salad has recently become one of my favorite things to make and eat. I make it at least once a week. It’s so easy to put together, the dressing is delicious, and all in all, it’s pretty healthy.

Again, it’s something that requires barely any cooking time; all you need to do is cook the chicken.

Ingredients

2 cups shredded lettuce (I used iceberg lettuce, but you can use whatever you like)

1 cup finely sliced purple cabbage

½ cup grated carrots

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken

1 tbs sesame seeds (optional)

For the dressing

¼ cup white vinegar

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1) In a large platter, layer the lettuce, then cabbage, carrots, and finally the chicken. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

2) In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

3) Drizzle the dressing over the salad before serving. Add salt. Lightly toss together and serve.

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: You can add and/or substitute other vegetables as well, like thinly sliced bell peppers or green cabbage. To add a bit of crunch, sprinkle crushed peanuts or cashews over the salad just before serving.