Let’s continue the Summer Salad Series! I know we are already halfway through Aug but still… In a sense, as this salad contain several cooked elements it’s the perfect transition from summer to autumn. It’s still pretty fresh with an element of summer, containing juicy nectarines, yet it has that autumnal feel that root vegetables bring.
The combination of flavours may be stretching a little bit outside some people’s tastebuds comfort zone but hey, if you don’t challenge yourself every know and then how are you suppose to grow and evolve? One of the biggest challenges to many of my clients seem to be adding variety to their everyday diet. The majority of people I know, eat mostly the same thing, day in and day out. We get stuck in food ruts. It’s safe and it’s easy. Just like our daily life routines…
I was told once by a man that apparently in Japan most people eat 20-30 different types of foods, including spices every day! How’s that for variation? Now, I will admit that I haven’t verified his statement to see if it’s true or simply a myth, but whatever way, ask yourself “How many different foods and flavours are you eating every day?” By making this salad you will end up with nine (!) different components alone.
Sometimes when people are diagnosed with food intolerances it can turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it opens up the opportunity to try a whole new world of different foods and flavours simply because they have no other choice. Thing is with food intolerances that it’s important to eat as wide of variety of foods as possible (within the range of foods you can eat) to make sure you don’t develop further intolerances. Sometimes the reaction to certain foods is because the digestive system as a whole is compromised and the foods showing up are the ones the person eats the most of. This is not always the underlying reason, but it can be. So simply put; Eat a great variety of colourful foods. It will keep your body happy and your gut microbes happy too. And if you need a change in your life, starting with a few small changes to what’s on your plate can create ripple effect into the rest of your life 🙂
Let’s get going with the recipe! Beetroot is back in season and the peaches and nectarines are still around. I also used whole cooked oats in this salad to make it a complete meal on its own. Whole oats are delicious and very filling. Eating cooked grains like this is a great way to get your whole grains in. They are a good source of fibre keeping your bowel working as it should, plus fibre ads bulk and help us stay full for longer. Whole grains are also a great source of B-vitamins which are essential to a well functioning nervous system. It’s important to remember that B-vitamins are water soluble vitamins, which means our bodies don’t really store them. When we are stressed we have a higher requirement for B-vitamins so it is important to make sure you get plenty if you are having a hectic lifestyle (and who hasn’t).
If you can’t have oats then you can easily sub them for cooked quinoa instead. The fresh mint leaves add another interesting dimension to this cooked salad. Enjoy!
Cumin Roasted Beetroot Salad with Nectarines & Mint
2 cups whole oat kernels, washed and rinsed
3 large beetroot, peeled & chopped into large chunks
2 nectarines or peaches, washed & chopped into chunks
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
3 tbsp olive oil + some extra to coat the beetroot in
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt & black pepper to season
Pre heat oven to 175°C. Place your peeled and chopped beetroot on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the ground cumin a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss the beetroot in the oil and seasoning to make sure they are evenly coated. Place the tray in the oven and roast for about 35 min or until the beetroot is nice and soft.
In the meantime, place your washed and rinsed oats in a saucepan and cover with water. You want to have about an inch of water covering your grains. Bring to boil and then reduce to a lively simmer for about 20 min. If it looks like your pan is getting to dry add some extra water. The oat grains are cooked when they become slightly transparent in right the way through.
Once the oats are cooked through, put them into a sieve and drain any excess water. While they cool, make the dressing by mixing olive oil and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with a pinch of sea salt if you wish. Once the oats have cooled down somewhat, mix in the dressing.
Place your dressed oats, the roasted beetroot and the chopped nectarine in a large bowl. Scatter some fresh mint leaves over the top and enjoy.
This salad makes a nice lunch the following day as you can cook both beetroot and oats ahead of time and then just assembles with the fresh nectarine and mint before eating.
I know, I know it might not feel all that much like summer at the moment… It has been a temperamental one here this year, that’s for sure. But before the strawberry season is well and truly over, I thought I’d share this next salad recipe as part of my Summer Salad Series.
If you went ahead and bought some buckwheat to try out the raw buckwheat porridge, I’m giving you another opportunity to use them up here!
This recipe is an infusion of ideas from two of my favourite food bloggers and cookbook writers. I used the buckwheat tabbouleh recipe from Emma Galloway’s fab book and fused it with the idea of adding fresh strawberries from Sprouted Kitchen’s book which I bought some time ago.
If you pre-cook the buckwheat you can whip this salad up in no time. Of course if you are not a major fan of buckwheat you can substitute with another grain of choice. In traditional tabbouleh bulgur wheat is used. Bulgur is made cracked whole wheat and hence not gluten free.
Tabbouleh is such a great dish for increasing the intake of fresh herbs. The key to a good tabbouleh is to use plenty of fresh flavoursome herbs. Ideally you want to keep the ratio of herbs to grain 1:1. So basically you end up with a very green, herb-y salad.
Fresh herbs like coriander, parsley and mint offers an excellent way to naturally support digestion and elimination as they offer a good source of natural enzymes and are also very cleansing to the body.
If you don’t have strawberries to hand, you can simply leave them out. Or why not try replacing them with another type of berry? Perhaps red currants for a tangy experience or maybe blueberries to add another colour dimension!
I’ve used pomegranate molasses here, as to be true to Emma’s original dressing but you can swap it for maple syrup if you wish. It will make you dressing a little sweeter though.
Recipe inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme & Sprouted Kitchen
Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Strawberries
1/2 cup raw hulled buckwheat groats
About 10 strawberries, washed, hulled & halved
A bunch of fresh coriander
A bunch of fresh parsley
A bunch of fresh mint – use less mint than the rest of the other herbs if you are using a particular strong variety
1/2 cucumber, washed & diced
10 yellow or red cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions, finely chopped
For the dressing:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses ( or sub for maple syrup)
Sea salt & Black pepper, to season
Handful of pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Start by cooking the buckwheat groats. Bring 250 ml water with a pinch of salt to the boil. When the water is boiling add your rinsed buckwheat groats. Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 min until all the water is absorbed and the grains are cooked through. Set aside to cool completely.
Tip- The buckwheat groat will appear a little transparent once cooked through. They should still hold their shape though.
Finely chop the herbs and set aside.
Make the dressing by mixing all olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl. Taste and season accordingly.
Once the buckwheat is completely cold, mix in the dressing and then add the rest of the ingredients. Gently give the whole salad a toss. Scatter the chopped pecan nuts over and serve.
You can serve the salad as it is on it’s own or as a side to a summery garden party. (If the weather permits!)
As I write this, the rain is smattering against the window… Right now it doesn’t exactly feel like summer. But then yesterday it was hot and sunny. I suppose considering it’s already the end of June, things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse. Living in Ireland, one thing for sure is, you don’t take sunshine for granted! Luckily this life giving rain has my little garden patch overflowing with green goodness. No watering required.
A lot of people start their new healthy eating regimen in January, when it’s wet and cold and generally miserable. I don’t know about you but eating salads and cold food in general when the weather is cold and damp just doesn’t do it for me. When it’s cold I crave warm food, though as soon as it gets warmer, raw food is back on! It’s so much easier to fill your plate (or bowl) with lots of fresh colourful food this time of the year when it’s bright, warm and (hopefully) sunny. Plus fresh produce is in abundance right now.
So to help you keep this fresh food, rainbow and salad mojo going I’ve decided to share with you some cool summer salad recipes over the coming weeks. What ends up in my bowl (and subsequently here) will depend on what happens to be growing in the garden, what I can find at the market and what ever inspiration I might pick up from my many, many cookbooks. This is the first part of the Summer Salad Series.
When I first tried a hand at growing my own food, only last year, radishes were one of the first things I planted. All the well meaning advice went something like; “they are super easy to grow”, you can’t fail growing radishes” and so on. Well actually, turns out you CAN fail at growing radishes… Well at least if you do what I did and planted them in a small pot in a wild place of the garden where a bunch of rabbits hang out. Probably not one of my most brightest moments. I just had the pleasure of seeing the sprouts, then it quickly turned into a no show. So this year, wise from my learnings of last year’s experience, I built raised beds. And it has proven a worthwhile experience! These radishes shown above are some proudly home-grown ones!
Normally you eat these little pink beauties raw as they are, but after coming a cross a few roasted radish recipes, I decided to test it out myself. Roasting them in the oven for 10-15 min offers a completely different taste experience. Instead of the normally crunchy, peppery flavour you, end up with a soft sweeter flavour, which adds a nice contrast with the lemony quinoa and tart cherries. I also added some Tamari toasted seeds for a little extra saltiness and crunch.
Turns out you can eat the radish tops too, so if you have your own, definitely add them. Actually tops from carrots and beetroots are also edible, though we often tend to throw them out. If you grow your own you can definitely include the tops of those in your salads. The radish tops are a little prickly though so you can either chop them finely or wilt them slightly in a warm lightly greased frying pan. Or quickly steam them.
This salad is actually a warm salads, so perfect on those not-so-sunny days when you are looking for a little cheering up. If you have some cold leftover quinoa from the day before, making this salad is even quicker!
Roasted Radish Salad with Cherries
Serves 2 (double the amount if you are serving more people)
a bunch of fresh radishes (about 10 or so), washed, tops removed and kept aside if fresh enough to use
a large handful of fresh cherries (1o-15), washed, halved and stone removed
2/3 cup of quinoa, rinsed well
1 2/3 cold water
For the dressing:
1 tsp clear raw honey, local preferably
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp water – optional (for thinning out the dressing)
sea salt & black pepper to season
Tamari toasted seeds – Makes 5 portions
5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
5 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp Tamari sauce – wheat free soy sauce
Start by placing the rinsed and drained quinoa in a sauce pan with the water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook with the lid on for 12 min. Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the hot hob with the lid on for a further 10 min. You should then have ended up with a fluffy cooked quinoa and all the water absorbed.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place your seeds in a small bowl. Add the tamari sauce and toss until well combined. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Roast for a about 15 min until the seeds are dry and crunchy but not burned. Give them a toss every 5 min to ensure even roasting.
While you are roasting your seeds, wash and halve the radishes. Place them all on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the lot and season with sea salt and black pepper. Gently toss the radishes around with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with the oil. Once your seeds are done, remove them and set aside. Place your radishes in the oven and toast for about 15 min or until soft.
In a small bowl add all the ingredient for the dressing and then once the quinoa has cooled a bit, add the dressing and mix them together.
Assemble your salad in individual serving bowls (or one large one if you are using it as a side dish). Add the quinoa, the roasted radishes, then the de-stones cherries, some finely shredded tops and lastly a scatter of the toasted seeds.