Since Mini Hippo ambassador George Georgievski published ‘garden salad surprise’ in his fourth cookbook ‘Lunchbox Boss’, it’s fast become one of our favourite lunch box salad recipes.
“Originally I made this salad using leftovers, but over time my daughter Kiki and I have tweaked it and it has become a next-level salad,” says George.
Are you intrigued? Check out the recipe below – and prepare to be blown away.
Garden salad surprise
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 dinner rolls, sliced into quarters lengthways (they will look like little cigars)
8 slices of prosciutto
½ iceberg or cos lettuce, chopped
75g (½ cup) cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ cucumber, finely sliced into rounds
¼ red onion, finely sliced
75g (½ cup) bocconcini, torn
125ml (½ cup) store-bought Italian dressing
Before you start frying, line a large plate with paper towel.
Grab your frying pan, add the oil and warm it over low heat. Add the garlic: we want it to sweat but not crisp, so focus Daniel-san – low heat is the key here. A couple of minutes should do.
Add the butter and wait for it to melt, then drop in the bread pieces and jiggle the pan to coat the bread in the garlic and butter. Continue to cook for around 1 minute on low heat, tossing the pan so that the croutons toast evenly. When the croutons are nice and golden on all sides, set them aside on the paper towel. Allow the croutons to cool a little (to avoid burning your fingers) before wrapping a slice of prosciutto around each crouton.
Reheat the same pan over low heat, then drop in the prosciutto bundles to lightly crisp. This will take around 2 minutes, turning the bundles as necessary. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is and I need to clean the dribble off the keyboard. Lol.
Place all the veggies in a salad bowl, then add the bocconcini and dressing and give it a good toss. Drop in the prosciutto croutons and serve straight into the lunchbox.
Gluten free: Use crispy chickpeas or toasted seeds instead of the croutons for some crunch. If you choose this option, simply dice the prosciutto.
Dairy free: Use plant-based butter and bocconcini.
Vego/vegan: For a vegetarian option, omit the prosciutto and add extra bocconcini or a second cheese such as feta. For vegan, also sub in plant-based butter and cheese.