Secret Santa’s Salad


The 2010 F&S tree with all Secret Santa packages vying for space

We have a tradition in our company: we celebrate Xmas with a Secret Santa and usually have a office lunch in his honor. This year we opted for a potluck, with every member either contributing a dish or contributing to the common staples (rice, rotis/breads, drinks) pool. I would have turned in the trifle pudding, but given that I was racing against time (year-end deliverable wrapping up) opted for a salad instead.

Iceberg Lettuce: 350-400 gm
Cucumber: 4 medium sized ones
Tomatoes: 4 firm, medium sized
Onion: one light pink large
Capsicum: 2 medium sized
Carrots (pink): 4
Pickled Olives (16) and Jalapenos (6 whole small) (both drained out)
Paneer (cottage cheese): 300 gm
Black grapes: about 20
1 green chilli, finely sliced

For the dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 2 tsp
Tomato pulp
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Rock salt, to taste
Olives (4) Jalapenos (2 whole small)
Orange: 1 medium sized for zest and juice

Wash all vegetables very well, leave to drain and dry.
Wash the lettuce very well, keep aside 4 whole leaves, shred the rest; peel, slice length-wise and cube cucumber; halve tomato, remove pulp, set aside for dressing, cube tomato (same size as cucumber); halve, de-seed capsicum, slice length-wise, very fine; peel carrots, slice into fine rings. Halve onion, slice very finely. Keep all vegetables separately
Cube paneer; halve and then quarter black grapes, set aside; Slice finely olives and jalapenos

Step 1: In a wide bottomed bowl, put in the sliced capsicum, cucumber, carrots, onion, finely sliced green chilli, drizzle abt 1tsp of olive oil, toss, so that oil coats all. Add about 8 olives and 3 Jalapenos sliced. Toss again. Do not ADD lettuce

Step 2: In another pan/bowl, add in cubed paneer, halved-quartered grapes, 8 olives  and 3 jalapenos finely sliced.

Dressing for the greens:
In a chutney jar or the smallest jar of your blender, place the finely diced garlic, tomato pulp, 4 olives, 2 jalapenos, rock salt to taste, 1/2tsp wine vinegar and 1tsp extra virgin olive oil. Blend into a fine paste. Retain about 1/2tsp for brushing over base lettuce leaves. Add the remainder into the greens of step 1,  and toss well.

Dressing for the paneer:
Take a medium sized orange, wash well, wipe dry, grate the zest lightly,  halve orange and squeeze juice onto paneer-grape-olive-jalapeno mix, sprinkle in the zest, toss well.

Cover both paneer and greens with cling film, cool in refrigerator for 30 mins.

Take another bowl (whichever you want to use to serve the salad); wash, dry. Lay on the bottom the whole lettuce leaves, either spray or brush olive oil onto the leaves, brush the 1/2tsp of dressing, set aside.
Remove greens and paneer-grape combo from refrigerator, toss the shredded lettuce in with the greens, now start layering your salad bowl alternately with greens and paneer. You should end with paneer-grapes on the top-most layer.

Cover, place into refrigerator for not more than 30 mins. Serve Cold. If you feel the top layer seems too dry, mix about 1/4tsp each olive oil, wine vinegar and honey and drizzle just before serving.


Red, white and green and healthy

Forgot to take a pic before everyone descended on it, so… 🙂

Can be had as is, or with toasted bread.


2 thoughts on “Secret Santa’s Salad

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