Feta, mint and green leaf salad

The image opposite was taken by Karen Thomas for my new National Trust book The Great British Vegetable Cookbook  (see Books). I always create more recipes than I can possibly fit into one book, so here is one that I had to drop from the section on Lettuce and oriental salad leaves.

This recipe is based on the idea that if you introduce the five tastes to a simple ingredient such as lettuce, you will create an exciting dish that entices you to keep eating.  Test it out here with sweet (honey), sour (lemon), bitter (walnuts), salt and umami (Feta) tasting ingredients combined with romaine leaves.

Serves 4

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoon walnut oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a pinch of cayenne pepper

2 plump romaine heart lettuces

A generous handful of mixed salad leaves

a handful fresh mint leaves

2 bunches chives

150g barrel-cured Feta cheese

2 handfuls walnut kernels


1  Whisk together the honey, lemon juice and walnut oil.  Season to taste with salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper.

2  Discard the tough outer romaine leaves you can use these for lettuce soup (the recipe is in the book).  Separate and wash the remaining leaves, then spin or pat dry on kitchen paper.  Rip the lettuce leaves into easy to eat pieces and place in a salad bowl.

3 Wash and dry the baby salad leaves and herbs. Rip the mint leaves and roughly snip the chives and mix into the sliced romaine hearts with the baby salad leaves.  Roughly crumble the Feta cheese into the salad. Break the walnut kernels into large chunks and add to the salad. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

4  When ready to serve, re-whisk the vinaigrette, pour on to the salad and gently mix.  Serve immediately.


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