DAVID WOODS: Impress veggie lovers with a salad that ticks all the boxes

Sunshine salad
Sunshine salad

If a lettuce leaf is your idea of salad, then think again.

This dish packs such a punch it won’t need to fight for attention on your plate. David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick Hotel, shares his recipe...

Barbecue season is now fully upon us and with it comes that age old problem of how to appeal to the meat lovers and the vegetarians who have come to join you in the garden.

In honour of National Vegetarian Week (May 16-22) I thought I would share my recipe for a flavour-packed dish that I have simply called ‘sunshine salad’.

It is delicious with barbecued meats, but goes equally well topped with a slice or two of griddled halloumi cheese, or makes a great light veggie lunch on its own with cubes of feta cheese.

I’ve used bulgur wheat instead of couscous as it has a nutty taste and a bit more structure, producing a slightly chewy texture. It is also rich in protein and minerals.

So, with one bowl of this sunshine salad, you will win praises from both meat and veggie lovers and your health conscious friends.

Sunshine Salad

(serves five as a side dish)

150g bulgur wheat

Half a red pepper

Half a yellow pepper

Half an orange pepper

Half an aubergine

Half a courgette

1 red onion

Olive oil for roasting

75g sun-blushed tomatoes

75g semi-dried apricots

75g of piquant peppadew peppers

100g chickpeas

Grated rind and juice of one lemon

2 tabs of extra virgin olive oil

handful each of parsley, mint and coriander

Sea salt and black pepper


Soak the bulgur wheat in slightly salted warm water for about 10 minutes until soft, but still chewy in texture.

It will continue to absorb liquid and flavours when combined with the other ingredients.

Cut the peppers, aubergine, courgette and red onion into 2cm chunks. Toss in olive oil and roast in a preheated oven 190oc for about 10 minutes. The vegetables should have a touch of colour and they should be soft, but still holding their shape. Leave to cool.

Cut the peppadew into 2cm chunks, quarter the apricots and the sun-blushed tomatoes. Roughly chop the parsley, mint and coriander.

In a large bowl, combine all the vegetable and herbs with the chickpeas, bulgur wheat, lemon rind and juice and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and leave in the fridge for about four hours for the flavours to absorb. Serve with barbecued meat or on its own as a vegetarian lunch with feta cheese.

Chef’s tip

This salad can keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours, but the colour may lose its vibrancy. To give it a boost of colour, save half the chopped herbs and stir in at the last minute just before serving.

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