Masala Chicken Salad. Picture: Supplied

Summer is finally in sight, and we cannot wait. 

While I am not a super fan of the high temperatures that summer brings, I do love all the braais and picnics that happen during the season. 

The summer season is full of opportunities to show off your cooking skills using the season’s freshest produce. There is just something special about grilling your dinner and preparing delicious salads to go with it. 

Noel Kanyemba, the Head Chef at Big Easy Winebar & Grill Durban by Ernie Els, gives us some of his favourite salad ideas. 

Puy Lentil Salad. Supplied

Puy Lentil Salad 

This is a fresh filling salad with fresh Italian parsley, mint and red onion with balsamic dressing, and makes great leftovers. 

Masala Chicken Salad 

The masala chicken salad is made with masala grilled chicken with fresh avocado pulp, crispy bacon bits, avocado mayo, cucumber ribbons, vine tomato, and Gem lettuce. This is a delicious dish that is also easy to prepare. 

Fennel, Beetroot and Orange Salad

The fennel, beetroot and orange salad is shaved fennel with orange segments, and beetroot wedges. This healthy salad stars as a classic dish in many restaurants. 

Baked Plum Salad 

Baked plum salad is gorgonzola stuffed plums wrapped with Parma ham, citrus dressing, baby herbs, and crunchy nuts. This salad makes a great centerpiece for entertaining. Dinner party guests will love the range of textures and flavours. 

Roasted Beetroot and Strawberry Salad 

Summer is a season bursting with colourful fresh ingredients, with berries being at their peak and quite affordable. It's the perfect time to make something bright with strawberries and a hint of citrus. 

Spicy Paneer and Watermelon Masala 

This is a delicious and refreshing salad. It is a perfect pick-me up during the dog days of summer. 

Roasted Beetroot and Strawberry Salad. Picture: Supplied

Roasted Beetroot and Strawberry Salad 

Serves: 5

Ingredients

2 oranges (zest and juice)

30ml olive oil 

Salt and pepper for seasoning 

150g beetroot

300g arugula 

250g strawberries

100g Boursin cheese

40g savory trail mix

Method

For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine, orange juice, oil, kosher salt and pepper; shake well to combine. 

To roast beets, preheat oven to 180ºC. Wash and trim beets. 

Cut beetroot into wedges drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper, with some orange zest. Roast beetroot for 20 minutes or until soft. Once ready chill your beetroot. 

Line a large serving platter with the arugula.

Top arugula with beet-dressing mixture; toss well. Top with the strawberries then with Boursin cheese. Sprinkle with savory trail mix. Serve immediately.

Spicy Paneer and Watermelon Masala. Picture: Supplied

Spicy Paneer and Watermelon Masala

Serves: 5

Ingredients

60g olive oil

10g masala

120g paneer

20g honey  

20ml lemon juice

A pinch of rock salt

250g watermelon cubes

160g cucumber (roll cut) 

Handful of mint leaves (finely chopped)

Method

Add oil and masala to make a paste marinade your paneer. 

Preheat oven to 180ºC.   

Place your paneer on a roasting pan and roast it for 10 minutes set aside to chill. 

Once cool break into crumbs. 

For the dressing combine honey, lemon juice, olive oil and rock salt. 

In a large bowl, take the watermelon and cucumber and add finely chopped mint leaves to it along with the dressing.Garnish with paneer

Serve chilled. 

Recipes by Chef Noel Kanyemba.