Substantial salads get top billing for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

Spring weather, while sometimes contrary, is often buoyed by the arrival of blossoms and longer days. It’s usually a time when we want to lighten our meals, eating fewer soups and more salads – dishes that aren’t as carb heavy – as the need for hearty winter sustenance abates.

As a fan of the meal as a complete dish, my salads at this time often feature wholegrains and pulses, and always plenty of herbs to liven up everything considerably. This selection of fast weeknight salads works well for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters. I’ve given versions for each dietary requirement and all the recipes are gluten-free.

You’ll notice that I don’t use much in the way of vegetarian alt-meat proteins; for the most part I cannot bear them. Why? With a few exceptions, most are loaded with fillers and extenders, and I tend to think of them as a cop-out, for those who don’t really know how to cook or have just turned from eating meat and haven’t yet figured out how to balance their cooking.

Russell Holder kindly gave me some of the ferments he made for his feature (see article), and I really wanted to incorporate some of these into a few of the recipes. In all cases, the ferments are optional; they do add a little more depth to each dish, but don’t despair if you haven’t made them since they will work well without them too.