Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon

This dish of avocados with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella slices, artichokes hearts and crisp bacon is a superb main course salad packed with flavours. The tomatoes can be bought dried, and need soaking in water to soften before use, or in oil in a jar ready for use. Supermarkets stock them.

Serves: 4; Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 5 mins

Approximate nutritional values per portion: 600 calories; 17g protein; 50g fat; 10g carbohydrate

Ingredients: 6oz (175g) back bacon, derided and chopped; 1 tblsp oil; 4oz (100g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil; 14oz (400g) canned artichokes hearts; 6oz (175g) mozzarella; 1 avocado; lemon juice

For the dressing: 4 tblsp olive oil; 1 tblsp white wine vinegar; 1 clove garlic, crushed; ½ tsp Dijon mustard; salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Reserve. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into thick strips. Quarter artichoke hearts and cut mozzarella into thin slices. Place these in a bowl with the bacon and tomatoes.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice, then add to bowl.
  • Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a screw-top jar then pour over contents of the bowl. Toss gently to avoid damaging the avocado. Serve immediately.

Other Italian recipes

Something for serving the salad.

Toasted Goats Cheese with Chicory

Serves 4

Ingredients:  4 tbsp olive oil; ½ tbsp Dijon mustard; 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped; 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar; 4oz/100g chicory leaves; 4oz/100g rocket leaves; 4 slices French bread; 4 small firm-textured goats’ cheeses (approximately 2½oz/65g each) or a 10oz/300g goats’ cheese log, cut into 4 slices; 2oz/50g butter; 2oz/50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  • Put the oil, Dijon mustard, garlic and vinegar in a screw-top jar and shake well.  Arrange the chicory and rocket leaves on 4 plates.
  • Place the bread slices and chunks of cheese separately on a baking sheet.  Spread butter over the cheese, cover with the hazelnuts and cook under a preheated grill for 2-3 mins or until the cheese is evenly browned and the bread is toasted.
  • Place a piece of toasted bread on each plate next to the salad leaves.  Carefully place the cheese and hazelnuts on top and drizzle a little dressing over the toasties and salad.  Serve immediately.

Thai Mango Salad

Cook time:  10 mins

Ingredients:  finely pared rind and juice of 1 lime; 2 tbsp thai fish sauce; 2 tsp caster sugar; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 2 green chillis, seeded and finely chopped; 2 mangoes, peeled, stoned and cut into matchstick strips; 2 carrots, cut into matchstick strips; 2 carrots, cut into matchstick strips; 2 courgettes, cut into matchstick strips.  To garnish:  mint sprigs

  • Cut the lime rind into thin matchstick strips.  Place the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chillis in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Place the fruit and vegetables in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with the lime strips and serve garnished with mint sprigs.
  • A piquant mix of sharp, sweet and hot, this salad makes an unusual starter or it can accompany a spicy main course.