Cavolo Nero Salad with a Mexican Twist

Cavolo Nero Salad with a Mexican Twist

This weekend I finally feel like I’ve hit those Autumn vibes in my kitchen. After a massive haul of fresh groceries, since my fridge was literally empty on fresh food and 2 hours of cleaning out my pantries I think I feel ready to move into the last quarter of this year. And to get cosy with woolly jumpers, fires and some hot chocolate. It’s time to pull out the soup pot and get ready for stews and soups. But before we arrive there, I thought I’d share with you this spicy creation, kind of like a bridge connecting the late summer / early Autumn with the slow arrival of shorter colder days.

I mean, of course you can still have salads in the Autumn / Winter. It doesn’t have to be all about cooked comfort foods. What I’ve come to do is this; to stick with the seasonal greens for salads. In doing so it feels natural to have salads to ensure that you still get some greens into you. Which can easily become a bit more of a struggle come winter time.

cavolo nero

 

Cavolo Nero or sometimes called Black Kale or Dinosaur Kale (due to it’s appearance) is a variety of kale that’s also pretty easy to grow yourself. Last year I did so successfully and the plants kept on giving way into the late Autumn. I love how kale just keeps growing up and sprouting out new leaves for one to cut and enjoy. It’s such a generous plant!

However this year the lovely caterpillars got stuck into it early on and I got completely outnumbered… So this year I’d have had to go and buy some instead.

This type of kale has the same amazing benefits as your regular curly kale, which contains vitamin K and C (antioxidants) as well as being a great source of easily absorbed iron and calcium. It is also a great source of chlorophyll, which is essentially the compound which plants use to absorb the light from the sun and turn it into a source of energy via photosynthesis. This is how the plants store the sunlight and make it available for us humans, through when we are eating the plant itself.

Chlorophyll has great healing properties such as wound healing and support the body’s detoxification processes. It is possible to buy liquid chlorophyll that can be added to drinking water. It is not something I have ever tried myself though.

(Source: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-chlorophyll.html)

Another thing to note is that when cooking kale, don’t over do it or you’ll lose out on the vital nutrients. A good guideline is to just cook until the colour “pops” and you have a really bright green. That will take just minutes (if even) when steaming.

The other way to make sure you get the most out of this nutritional powerhouse is to massage it in an olive oil / citrus dressing. Most of the time I use lemon juice, but for this one I went with lime for a more Mexican inspired twist.

cavolo nero salad

 

This is a raw-cooked kind of salad with the spicy roasted chickpeas being served warm and the kale raw. You can slow roast the tomatoes too if you like for more warmth as well as a deeper tomato flavour. As soon as the weather gets cold I personally need to pair my cold food with something warm, even if it just a cup of tea!

If you eat meat, I think this salad combination will work well with chicken.

 

Cavolo Nero Salad with A Mexican Twist

Serves 2

6-7 leaves of cavolo nero

1 large avocado or 2 small ones

1 cherry tomatoes

juice + zest of 1 lime

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp good quality maple syrup

sea salt & black pepper to season

FOR THE ROASTED CHICKPEAS

1 tin of chickpeas in water, drained & rinsed or 1 1/2 cup cooked from dried

1/4 tsp chipotle or cayenne pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp olive oil

a pinch of sea salt

 

Start by roasting the chickpeas; Preheat the oven to 175°C. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a small bowl mix the olive oil with the spices and a pinch of salt. Add the chickpeas to the oil-spice mix and toss until well coated.

Place the chickpeas on a lined baking tray and cook for 30 min, until crisp. (Whatever you don’t end up using, can be stored in an airtight container and enjoyed as a snack on their own.)

To make the salad; Cut the stems from the kale and then chop it into bits. Mix olive oil, lime juice, lime zest and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Add the dressing to the chopped kale and gently ‘massage’ it into the leaves with your hands.

Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. Scoop the flesh out and cut into cubes. Halve the tomatoes.

Place kale, avocado, tomatoes and roasted chickpeas into a bowl and serve.

cavolo nero salad

What is your favourite Autumn / Winter salad combination? Please share below 🙂

 

Red Cabbage Salad with Coconut & Blueberries

Red Cabbage Salad with Coconut & Blueberries

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for the longest time ever! And I’ve also wanted to share a red cabbage recipe here forever… The funny thing is when you do food blogging though is that there’s so much timing involved. At least if you are trying to keep things somewhat seasonal. This means that sometimes I don’t  get to act on the ideas I get, or end up trying things, even shooting the recipe and then never getting around to publish it, because life gets in the way or perhaps I’m not organised enough. Or maybe it is a combination of both??!!

I don’t know when my love affair with red cabbage started, but somewhere along the way it did. Now, for me it is a seasonal vegetable and one I tend to mostly enjoy Autumn – Winter – early Spring time. I’ve never tried growing it myself for I think three reasons. One, I don’t have much space and each head takes up a lot of space. Two, they take ages to grow (and that’s hard if you are low on patience). And three, every year around this time we seem to get an infestation of little butterfly larveas that eat anything that belongs to the cabbage family. At the moment it’s particularly bad and they’ve eaten a lot of my precious kale. So if you happen to have some tips on how I can kindly ask them to go and snack else where, please share!

 

straightforward nutrition

 

This recipe may sound like an unlikely combination but it actually covers all the different taste elements in one bowl and it’s also a visual delight! Apparently most people don’t eat enough of blue / purple foods and in this bowl you get two different types straight up.

Blueberries are tasty little nutritional power-houses. Their blue plant power comes from the phytonutrient anthocyanins which have been shown to improve both memory and eyesight. They are of course delicious on their own as a simple snack, perhaps paired with a few walnuts for extra brain power potential, or on top of the morning smoothie / porridge / granola. Or you can be a little bit more “out there” and add them in a salad like I’ve done here.

Red Cabbage is one of my favourite winter vegetables. (Ok, ok, I hear you it’s still summer!) It reminds me of Christmas in Sweden and having cooked red cabbage with the Christmas ham. One of the first natural healing remedies a learnt about in college was the healing power of cabbage juice for stomach ulcers as it is rich in the amino acid glutamine as well as the cancer protective phytonutrient indole-3-carbinole. Cabbage is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 (important for a well functioning nervous system), calcium, magnesium and manganese.

Savoy cabbage, the beautiful green leafy head one, is very popular here in Ireland and a staple part of the national dish “Bacon & Cabbage”. I will admit that it has taken me some time to really get into the swing of cabbage love, but just as with beetroot, I’m a total convert these days. If not just for the great health benefits it brings, but for the beauty if the colour alone!

If I’m cooking green cabbage I like to steam or blanche it quickly so that the colour just pops and turn out to be a really bright green. With red cabbage my preferred way of eating it is slowly cooked with spices, red onion, apple and a little bit of red wine vinegar. But that’s a little bit too wintery for now…

 

Straighforward Nutrition

 

You can keep this salad entirely raw if you like, but personally I prefer red cabbage cooked hence I am doing it here. However with this salad the finely shredded cabbage is cooked in the oven for just 15 min so it is more heated through than “cooked”. It does soften in and takes away that “rawness” that I’m not super fond of. But do as you please, this recipe is flexible enough to make sure this seemingly odd combination will still work for you!

Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries & Coconut

Serves 2 generously

1/2 a head red cabbage, outer leaves removed and finely shredded

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup dried coconut flakes – if you buy untoasted ones you can choose yourself if you want to toast them or not

1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme – optional

Heat the oven to 180°C. Remove any damaged outer leaves of the head of cabbage. The shred it finely. I prefer using a cheese slicer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a mandolin. If using a mandolin you may need to cut the cabbage into wedges. The trick is to get it as shredded as finely as possible as it makes for a much nicer texture, in my opinion at least!

Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and add the olive oil. Gently massage the oil into the cabbage with your hands with some kind squeezes.

Then place the cabbage on a baking tray. Scatter it out evenly and then add the rosemary and lemon thyme (if using). Bake in the oven for about 15 min until warmed through and soft. Make sure you toss it about a few times in between to ensure even roasting.

*Note* If you want to make this salad entirely raw, then skip the oven step.

Once cooked, place the warm cabbage in a serving dish, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it, add the blueberries and the coconut flakes.

Serve, enjoy, and give your brain a boost at the same time!

 

Straightforward Nutrition

Want to add more colour to your life and plate? Download the Rainbow Bowl Ebook and get creative!

 

Avocado Toast with Coriander Pesto + 10 min Lunch Ideas

Avocado Toast with Coriander Pesto + 10 min Lunch Ideas

One of my missions with my work and this blog, is to show people how easy it can be to eat healthy, tasty, satisfying and nourishing meals! I think sometimes we hold on to these limiting beliefs that eating healthy is “difficult”, “boring”, “complicated” and “time consuming”, when it can be anything but! I even remember someone saying to me some years ago, when I was asked to do a cooking demo with healthy food; “Make sure that it tastes good and not like cardboard”.

Seriously?!! Besides some epic recipe-experiment-kitchen fails, (Yeah those do happen…) I don’t personally like eating anything that remotely resembles cardboard, so I am going to assume that you don’t either. And why should we?

If you’ve been following my blog for sometime, you may realise that the majority of the recipes featured here are not complicated and usually made with just a few ingredients. Though I like cooking more complicated stuff and following recipes from cookbooks, on occasion, it is not how I tend to eat in my everyday life.

I particularly like the process of baking as a way to de-stress, but during the week when life is busy, and cooking and sometimes even eating seems like an inconvenience, creating meals in 10-20 min is a blessing. These quick meals are what I call “assembly meals” and I’m going share with you some of my tips for how you can create your own.

My mantra when it comes to eating and buying food is “Choose the best quality you can find and afford”

 

And after just having finished the interesting book The Virtues of the Table – How to Eat & Think, by Julian Baggini, where he talks about SIVs – “Simple but Infinitely Variable” recipes I decided to create a little eBook to extend my formula to YOU, that I use to create my own salad bowls, aka “Rainbow Bowls”. You can get your copy at the end of the blog post. Because salads bowls are definitely in the SIV category!

 

10 minute lunches

10 minute lunches

So what’s the key to a great meal, or salad bowl, then? And how do we make it quick and simple, yet tasty and fulfilling?

Well here are my top three tips anyway:

 

1. Buy the best quality ingredients you can find and afford.

Of course, we are aiming for organic pesticide free foods as much as we can, but it is not always possible. Sometimes local can be just as good, especially if we actually know the person who grew it. Some local small scale farmers may be in organic conversion (It takes a couple of years to get certified if you start growing on land that has previously been used conventionally. It is also expensive to get certified so this may not be top priority for those who only want to sell their produce at local markets.)

 

2. Buy fresh food that is actually fresh!

How do you know that your food is fresh? Whilst we wait for the sci-fi scanners to tell us the exact nutritional value of each piece of fruit that and veg we have to use what’s already available to us, our eyes! And maybe other senses like touch and smell.  Look at colour but most of all your vegetables should not be limp. If they are, they’ve been around awhile and started losing some of their water content and probably valuable nutrient content too.

 

3. Layer up your bowl with colour, texture and flavour + make sure that you cover all the macro nutrients.

Colour is kind of self explanatory, but what about texture? And what on earth do I mean by cover all the macros? I’ve heard so many times from people saying that “a salad won’t keep me going very long”. Usually this is because their definition of “salad” and my definition of salad is slightly different…

When I say make sure you cover all your macros, I mean that you need to make sure that you include some type of food from each of the three macro nutrient groups of fat, carbohydrates and protein. This way you know that you will be eating a balanced meal. And we are talking salads here as a main meal and not as a side, of course!

Oh and don’t forget to infuse your meal with loving intentions too. That will really elevate the experience to the next level!

To make this bowl construction easier, I’ve put together a handy guide for you to download, at the bottom of this post.

But now let’s get on with today’s recipe! Not a salad bowl, but definitely a 10 min satisfying lunch option!

10 minute lunches

10 minute lunch ideas

 

There has been times when I’ve bought bread for the pure sole reason that I’ve happened to have a perfectly ripe avocado to hand… Don’t judge…!

That’s how much I really enjoy avocado on toast. I don’t tend to eat bread all that often, but when I do I adopt my no. 1 philosophy as mentioned above. You know, “best quality you can find and afford”. Because if you are going to have bread, you may as well let your tastebuds have a dance party too!

But if bread is not your thing you can enjoy this pesto as a the flavour part of your Rainbow Bowl. Smoother some pasta with it (gluten free or otherwise), add it to some finely sliced courgette ribbons or just as plain side with what ever you add to your bowl!

 

Coriander Pesto

 

Makes 4 servings

1 cup fresh coriander leaves

100 ml good quality olive oil

15 cashew nuts

1 clove of garlic, peeled & smashed

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Sea Salt & Black Pepper, to season

One match box size of hard cheese, like parmesan, pecorino, manchego – optional if not vegan

I tend to make my pesto in my Nutribullet but you can use a food processor too.

Add coriander leaves, cashew nuts, the smashed garlic (basically just smash it with the wide side of you knife blade, this promotes the healing properties of it), and cheese, (if using) to your food processor. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of seasoning. 

Whilst blending add the oil through the open part of your processor lid. You can adjust amount of oil here this way. You are looking for a nice smooth consistency but not sloppy, so don’t go to heavy handed!

* If you are using your Nutribullet then add all ingredients together into the small container. Pulse the container several times until you have a nicely blended pesto with no lumps. You may have to open the container a few times and scrape down the sides. I also give it a good few shakes between the mini blends to ensure that it mixes and that I don’t burn out the motor of my precious machine!

To serve, simply cut a slice of bread (toast it if you wish), cut the avocado in half and then scoop it out and place on your toast. Mash the avocado with the back of a fork, add some pesto and maybe some sundried tomatoes, a bit of extra black pepper – EAT!

 

 

And if you want to get more ideas on how to get creative and create 10 minute meals, simply put your name in the box below!

 

Rainbow Pizza

Rainbow Pizza

I’m going to start off with a little confession this week… I actually created this recipe and photographed it about three months ago. It’s been sitting all pretty and ready to be shared, but it hasn’t been until know, that the time has been right. You see, I’ve been on a journey over these past months. Not so much literally, (though I wish I had!). It’s more of a personal and professional development journey.

Sometimes life just seem to take you on a trip of change regardless of whether you want it or not, so when you actually have the chance to decide yourself that you are ready to explore, open up and expand, it just makes the experience all the sweeter! Every now and then you go places or meet people who become catalysts for change and steer your path in a slightly different direction, or perhaps bring you back to the road you where always meant to travel…

 

Back in April, I met one of those people, Dr Deanna Minich. When I heard Dr Minich speak at our AGM for Nutritional Therapists in Dublin in the middle of April this year, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, here is someone who has already integrated health and healing through food and eating into a tangible concept!” Something I’ve intuitively been looking for, but not being sure how to fit the jigsaw together.

One part of Nutritional Therapy that have always felt right to me, is the way we tend to treat the person as a whole. We are the sum of all the parts and they are interconnected. An imbalance in one system will have an effect on another one. Work with one system and you will see a ripple effect in another area. It is inevitable.

 

straightforward nutrition

 

Those of you that know me, have worked with me already, or been following along here for awhile now, knows that I don’t advocate any particular type of diet (other than fresh wholesome unprocessed foods), that I believe that we need to get better at listening to our own bodies to find out what is truly best for us, and that I absolutely loath calorie counting!

To me eating should be free of guilt, blame and shame and a truly nourishing experience on every level. So you can imagine my excitement when I meet someone who had already integrated this way of thinking into one colourful concept! All I knew back in April was that this is where I need to go next! So following my heart and my gut off I went and enrolled in Dr Minich’s Food & Spirit Certified Practitioner Programme™.  This is probably one of the best thing I’ve done since I decided to study Nutritional Therapy several years ago. (Take home message to all of us – if something feels really right in your heart, go with it. Don’t let any fears or worries stand in your way. Trust and go forth.)

 

So what is Food & Spirit™ exactly? What does it mean for my own practice and skills to have added this certified training to my tool kit?

Food & Spirit™ is an all encompassing self-healing modality, marrying physiology and psychology with food and eating through the 7 Aspects of Self. Still none the wiser? Ok, let me try again. Basically what Dr Minich has done, through years of clinical research, clinical practice and whilst simultaneously studying ancient healing  traditions, is to recognise a pattern of how everything seems to be interconnected through these 7 aspects of self. These Aspects are connected to different areas in our body, both physically through various hormone glands and organs, but also symbolically through energy centres (chakras) recognised in ancient healing traditions. Finally each of these 7 Aspects are also connected to how we live, how we eat and how we connect with life itself.

 

Through using the lens of this concept we can look at imbalances within these areas of self, (which may manifest as disease, dis-ease, or simply not feeling our best), in a wider context. We can look at the area(s) / aspect(s) that are out of balance and use this as a starting point for how to apply changes to our lifestyle, how we eat and what we eat.

 

The 7 Aspects of Self are:

The Root – Who we are, our foundation, our genetic make up and our ability to survive in the physical world.

The Flow – How we feel, our ability to express our emotions, our creativity

The Fire – Our innate sense of ego, our place of transformation and personal empowerment

The Love – How we give and receive love from others, how we nourish our dreams and passions

The Truth – How we speak what’s on our minds and in our hearths, our vulnerability and authenticity

The Insight – Our innate wisdom, our knowledge gathered from experience and our inherent intuition

The Spirit – Our purpose and our connection with all of life.

 

Rainbow Pizza

 

Journeying through each different Aspect, looking at how we live, how we integrate with the environment, but most of all how we engage with the food on the plate becomes a beautiful journey of self-discover through food, eating and living. It can become a transformational journey from fullness to wholeness.

When we stop and think, not only about what we eat, but how we interact with the food on our plate, doors of self-realisation and self-awareness opens. Opportunities to change, and opportunities to simply choose a different approach or path presents itself.

I believe that when we make food choices from a place of love and care for ourselves, we will chose differently. Making healthier choices becomes the natural way forward and much of the overwhelm, confusion, guilt and shame evaporates. It’s simple really, however getting there may not be all that easy… Though the challenges are all part of the experience too!

 

The other part of Food & Spirit™ is marrying the actual colourful foods with each aspect, or as I’ve done here using one food from each colour of the rainbow to create a full spectrum dish with nourishing health promoting phytonutrients!

Cauliflower Pizza has become all the rage of lately and whether you are avoiding gluten or not, it makes a nice way to consume this health promoting vegetable. Lots of people don’t like cauliflower, mostly because it’s always served overcooked. I think is far too under-utilised. It is cheap and actually very versatile! On top of that being part of the cruciferous vegetable family (same as broccoli, bok choy, kale, Brussels sprouts) it is anti inflammatory, has cancer protective properties and supports heart health.

So feed your LOVE and all the other aspects of yourself with this colourful Rainbow Pizza!

 

food and spirit

Rainbow Pizza

 

Serves 6

1 medium size of cauliflower

a handful of rainbow chard or spinach

1/2 cup of gram flour (chickpea flour)

2 eggs, lightly whisked – free range organic if possible

some fresh herbs like sage / rosemary / oregano, chopped – optional

1 aubergine / eggplant, chopped into squares

1 red onion, peeled & thinly sliced

2 red or orange peppers, thinly sliced

1/2 tube of tomato paste

150 g feta cheese

a little olive oil for roasting the vegetables

sea salt & black pepper, to season

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the onion, pepper and aubergine. Place them on an oven proof tray, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven and roast for about 20 min or until nice and soft.

In the meantime, break the head of cauliflower up into pieces and place in a food processor together with the chard / spinach. Blend until you have a consistency that resembles couscous.

Take the “cauli couscous” out of the food processor and place in a bowl. Add in the whisked egg and the gram flour and mix with your hands until you have a kind of sticky “dough”. Place the dough on a lined baking tray and gently form a pizza base with the use of your hands. Once you are happy with your base, place it in the oven and let it cook for 20 min, to set. Your roasted vegetables may be ready at this stage so take them out before cooking the base and let them rest for awhile.

Once you base is set, remove it from the oven. Evenly smear the tomato paste on to your base, then add the roasted veg and finally scatter some feta cheese over the lot. You can of course use any cheese you like or omit it altogether, if you wish. I just happen to love feta on my pizza.

Bake the pizza in the oven for a further 10-15 min or until the cheese is lightly golden, but not burnt.

Serve your Rainbow Pizza with some extra greens and a loving intention. Proceed to experience love from the inside out <3

 

Finished Rainbow Pizza

 

The concept of Food & Spirit is deeply nourishing and transformative. It offers a way to look at all these different areas of ourselves and to become much more aware of how the food we eat makes us feel, but also how our way living affects our current health and what changes we may need to do in order to bring ourselves back into balance so we can live life in full colour!

Food and eating has served me personally, as a path to personal growth. It has become a way of being more creative and open up new avenues and places of explorations. When we go beyond the basics of nutrition (calories, macro nutrients, measuring, counting etc.) we can begin to craft a healthy relationship with food and our bodies and in a sense find our way back to who we truly are.

 

In my Online Programme; Happy Healthy Me, we are already working on transforming our relationship with food and bringing awareness to not only what we are eating but also Why and How.

If you want to know more about this approach to breaking free from dieting madness and instead begin the journey to food freedom, body peace and a way to nourish yourself in ways that feel good to YOU,then this programme is for you!

 

Straightforward Nutrition

Photos of me by Magda Lukas.

Cumin Roasted Beetroot & Nectarine Salad – Summer Salad Series 3

Cumin Roasted Beetroot & Nectarine Salad – Summer Salad Series 3

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 🙂

 

summer beetroot and nectarine salad

 

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

Serves 3-4

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.

 

straightforward nutrition

Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Strawberries – Summer Salad Series part 2

Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Strawberries – Summer Salad Series part 2

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.

 

straightforward nutrition

 

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.

 

summer salad

Recipe inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme & Sprouted Kitchen

 

Buckwheat Tabbouleh with Strawberries

Serves 4

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!)

 

buckwheat tabbouleh