I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve posted something here. And in a sense it has. There’s not all that much left to January so it’s about time I got going with the blogging for 2016! I really enjoy the creative process of it all. From thinking up recipes, playing in the kitchen, taking the photos and doing the writing. And I’m so grateful to all of you who check in here, take the time to read my ramblings and try out my recipes. So thank you 🙂
Though time seems to fly, it always does(!) this is going to be the year I really practice on being more present and living in the here and now. With an emphasis on practice, be cause that’s just what it is. Some days it works better and seem easier, than others, but in the end all we can do is practice. And when we do, practice that is, regardless of what it is you are practicing – meditation, mindfulness, cooking, weightlifting, running, yoga – we all get better, little by little through the dedication to practice.
I think if we are looking to change anything, whether is something about ourselves, add in a daily selfcare ritual to our lives or learning a new skill, the secret to success goes as follows: Acknowledgement (you want something different to what you have / where you are), Awareness (you need to know where you currently are at, what your patterns are and what it is you need to do different in order to change), Trust (put faith in the process, that if you consistently follow through you will, get there, even when it doesn’t feel like you will) and finally Devotion (because what you want to change and become matters more to you than staying the same).
I suppose one can see Devotion and Discipline as almost synonyms, however I don’t know about you but discipline too me feel a lot harsher and more rigid than devotion. So I stick with the former… So from here on in, for this year I’m going to honour my devotion to staying present in my life (and to blog regularly.) These are my intentions for 2016.
What are your intentions for this New Year? If you need some help to get clarity around where you need to focus, feel free to download this practical sheet I’ve created HERE. It’s yours to play around with.
“Where attention goes, energy flows and result show”.
And what about being more present? Have you ever noticed how how perceptive time can be? Like when you actually slow down, it almost feels like you’ve got more time, because in that moment you have more time to experience everything that’s going on around you as well as what’s going on inside you… Sounds counter intuitive, I know, but let’s try it. The opposite is certainly true when you surf the internet or scroll through Facebook…
So what about cooking and eating? Excellent times to practice awareness, mindfulness and being present I think. Perhaps easier said that done, but if you are going to make the effort of cooking from scratch, using all the colourful foods you bought you might as well actively engage in the process. It is so much more rewarding that way!
Last week I had the opportunity to play in the kitchen, as well as with my camera. To make it even better one of my lovely friends came over and was my handmodel for the day. So that made it extra fun!
This is a true, yellow, fiery soup to warm you on cold winter days. Even the bright yellow colour brightens my mood, especially as there still seems to be no end in sight to this current Irish wet winter weather… So as “sunny looking” bowl of hearty goodness has to make up for the lack of the sunlight.
This soup is also highly antiinflammatory as it is full of antiinflammatory foods like, onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger. The main star of the soup is the butternut squash which is a type of pumpkin, readily available in most supermarkets these day. This pumpkin is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C and the yellow coloured phyto-nutrient beta carotene.
It is a really wholesome, wholefood soup made from just a couple of basic ingredients + stock. Of you are battling a cold, need some warming up or are looking for some antiinflammatory support then here’s one way to do it! You’ll have this colourful beauty whipped up in no time.
This is the third recipe in the Winter Soup Series, and I have at least one more lined up before the winter is over…
Fiery Anti inflammatory Soup
1 yellow onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 buttenut squash, roasted (whole), deseeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
2 fresh roots of turmeric, chopped or 1 tbsp dried powder
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & finely chopped
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Sea Salt & Black pepper, to season
Vegetable stock, about 1 litre – I never really measure out my stock but use enough to cover my veggies and then add more as necessary to thin the soup when blending it
For the toasted seeds as topping:
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp tamari, wheat free soy sauce
Start by heating your oven to 200°C. Place the butternut squash on a oven tray and then leave it to roast in the hot oven for about 30 min or until the skin is lightly burnt and the squash is soft. This is by far the easiest way to deal with butternut squash as it is a complete pain to try to peel or chop it when fresh! You can even roast it the day before if you have the oven on anyway.
Whilst the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Then gently heat some olive oil in a heavy based saucepan. Once the oil is warm, add in the onion, garlic and ginger and saute until soft.
Add in the turmeric just before the end and stir through but be careful not to burn it.
When your butternut squash is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool before you cut in in half and remove the seeds. If you are feeling enthusiastic you can clean and save these for roasting later…
If you are using an organic squash you can leave the skin on, otherwise peel the soft skin off and add the pumpkin flesh to the saucepan.
Add enough stock to cover the vegetables and bring up to boil. Then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 min. Allow the soup to cool down a little before you blend it smooth. Add more stock as necessary to thin to your preferred consistency.
To make the toasted seeds;
Heat the oven to 150°C. Or toast the seeds once you are done with the squash.
Place the seeds on a lined baking tray. Add the tamari and toss until evenly coated.
Roast in the oven for 15 min, until they look just about dry. Give them a stir with a spoon every 5 min too. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool down.
Top each bowl of soup with a descent table spoon of toasted seeds and store any leftover ones in a glass jar in your store cupboard. The seeds are also delicious as a little snack on their own or as a salad sprinkle.
What are your favourite yellow foods? Please share below 🙂
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’m so delighted to have the opportunity to share this beautiful immune boosting and vibrant smoothie recipe. Just what is needed as we slowly transition into the next season. I’m sure we can all do with a little more colour and sunshine in our lives. And if the Sun prevails, you just have to get a little more inventive in the kitchen instead.
This week I have invited the beautifully talented lady Agnes who blogs about food and stuff over on Cashew-Kitchen. If you are not following Agnes on Instagram or reading her blog, you should. It’s worth it for the photos alone 🙂
But I’ll let you Agnes tell you all a little more about herself.
Hi Agnes! Can you tell us something about yourself and your work?
Sure! My name is Agnes and I live in a small apartment in central Stockholm (Sweden) which is also my hometown. I recently moved back here after spending a couple of years on the west coast studying. Since september last year I’m running the food & photography blog Cashew Kitchen, although I’ve been food blogging since the spring of 2013. I also do some photography and recipe development on a freelancing basis. But my main occupation is my studies in Human Ecology in which I’m currently writing my bachelor thesis. I started my studies in Human Ecology and my food blogging about the same time, so initially it was an interest in sustainable food and lifestyles that pushed me. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen experimenting since I first became a vegetarian when I was 14, so the interest in wholesome, nourshing food has always been there I guess, I just never thought about blogging about it before 🙂
I have a background in Fine Arts, so when starting blogging about food I quickly noticed that working with the aesthetic aspects came pretty natural to me. Using colorful ingredients and spending a lot of effort on the styling and photography is very important to me, so when I launched Cashew Kitchen I simply decided to call it ”a foodie photography blog”. Although the sustainable aspects are still there: I only post vegetarian recipes and I mostly use seasonal, whole and organic ingredients.
No wonder you can great the most magical of images!
I’m curious about that education of your: what is Human Ecology? And how do you wish to use that education in the future?
Well, you could say it is environmental science from a social sciences’ perspective. In Human Ecology we study the relationship between social, ecological and economic factors and how those interact with for example issues of power, resource management, poverty, urban development, climate change, population growth and social dynamics. It’s everything from city planning and food production to eco philosophy or complex adaptive systems.
In my thesis I study possibilities and limitations for citizen participation and co-management in city planning to help build social resilience in society. When I decided on the topic I think I was a bit tired of food haha. It was in the aftermath of the Swedish election and the increased social unstability we see here in Sweden (and out in the world too) worried me. In the future I want to work with sustainable food in some way. It could be inspiring people to make sustainable food choices, which I kind of already do through my blog (I hope!) hehe. It could also be working for a food or agriculture company with sustainable development issues. The possibilities are endless, really! I just know my passion is food, happy people and a healthy planet 🙂
How would you describe your food philosophy?
I want it to be simple! My aim is to inspire as many people as I can to incorporate more vegetarian or vegan food into their diets and cook more from scratch using seasonal ingredients, and thereby bringing us one step closer to living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Therefore I don’t believe in using too many obscure and expensive ingredients, or create difficult or fancy recipes. My recipes often consist of just a few, simple ingredients and are usually quick to assemble. I want to show that it can be both wholesome, fun and easy to eat seasonal and vegetarian. Also fresh produce or a lovingly cooked meal can really make my heart melt! It’s everything I need to be happy. That simplicity and appreciation of food is something I want to share with others.
Couldn’t agree with you more.
How did you come up with the name Cashew Kitchen?
Um, I was just playing around with different names that sounded ”catchy” haha. I always have cashew nuts at home and love to use them in raw desserts, granola, smoothies etc. so it felt suitable with a name steaming from one of my favorite ingredients 🙂
How does your process from idea to finished recipe and blog post look like?
Sometimes a get an idea from surfing around the food blogosphere or pinterest that I write down on my little list. It can be anything really that triggers the idea to a recipe – a combination of colors, a long forgotten ingredient, a memory. But more often I find myself standing in front of an half empty fridge trying to think of something I can make out of the little I have. Honestly that’s where the best recipes come from! If I just happened to create something utterly delicious I try to photograph it right away if I have the time, but mostly I plan to cook/prepare the night before and then style & shoot the next day. Quite often I have tried the recipe a couple of times by then. Editing photos I do on my spare time in the evenings. I never plan what I’m gonna write about on the blog, I just write what pops up in my head that particular day.
I love your creativity!!
Which 5 ingredients will one find in your pantry?
Hehe my pantry is smacked with stuff… In the back you’ll probably find some rarely used superfood powders, but what I always need to have at home (besides cashews) are almonds, rolled oats, coconut milk, tahini and bananas. And a thousand more things. Gosh I’m so spoiled with having good food around.
Do you have an all time favorite recipe you keep coming back to? 🙂
I have different favorite recipes in different periods of my life. Right now the only thing I wanna have for breakfast is my Coconut & Vanilla Oatmeal. During weekdays I eat similar salads every day, at the moment with a millet base, random veggies and a honey & dijon mustard dressing I’ve made countless times!
Tell us something about the recipe you are sharing today! Why this particular recipe?
This recipe is a perfect example of how I roll 😉 It happened the day before pay day and contains literally everything I had left in my fridge that day. I can tell you my expectations for this smoothie wasn’t that high, but oh how surprised I was when I tasted it!
I love the creativity that comes from restrictions. You don’t really need to have a perfectly stocked pantry to make delicious food. I hate to throw away food and always save the little bits and pieces left to use for something else. Smoothies is a great way to use up that last squeeze in the yoghurt package or half a frozen banana from the freezer.
I make smoothies almost every day to drink in between meals, and I especially like to add some seeds or grains and something fat like coconut milk or yoghurt to make it more filling and long lasting.
Despite citruses typically are winter ingredients, to me this is a recipe flirting with spring 🙂 I even added birch straws, see! As if the weather gods heard my plea when photographing this recipe, the sun came out from the clouds just long enough for me to catch it.
For this recipe I used yoghurt, but you can easily make a vegan version using coconut milk + a little extra lemon juice.
Sunny Buckwheat Smoothie
2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats
water to cover
***soak for minimum 1 hour***
1 large orange or 2 small
1 small banana
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 small pitted dates or 1 medjool date
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
water until desired consistency
+ the soaked and rinsed buckwheat
Prepare by soaking the buckwheat in lukewarm water for minimum one hour. This can be done the night before or in the morning. You soak the groats to get rid of harmful enzymes and start a sprouting process for optimal digestion and nutritional content.
Rinse buckwheat thoroughly. Drain and set aside.
Peel orange and lemon with a knife. Try to get rid of as much of the white parts as possible (it’s bitter). Remove any seeds. Peel ginger and coarsely chop.
Put orange, a quarter of the lemon, banana, ginger, buckwheat, yoghurt, dates and turmeric powder in a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth. Add water if nessecary. If you have a not so strong mixer or an immersion blender you might wanna squeeze out the juice of the orange and lemon beforehand, grate the ginger and perhaps soak the dates if they’re dried.
Serve right away with seeds, berries, granola or simply with a (birch) straw!
Thank you so much Agnes for sharing this beautiful recipe with us here at Straightforward Nutrition! I sure know what I’ll have for breakfast next week 🙂
If you want to check out the Millet & Linseeds Porridge which I shared on Cashew-Kitchen click here
*All photographs on this post is by Cashew-Kitchen.
This recipe has sat in the draft section for some time. Turns out posting it now, is good timing still, because it could easily work as a nutritious addition to your menu over the holiday season.
You may have heard of chia puddings by now. You may even be a big fan of them. If you haven’t you are missing out of one of the easiest, nutritious snack/dessert /breakfast ever! I remember a few years ago when these tiny little seeds appeared on the shelves in the health stores and no one had really heard of them, let alone knew what to do with them… These days they are big news! Turns out they are a good source of plant based omega 3 essential fats. They are also high in fibre, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.
The seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia Hispanica, grown in Mexico and these tiny super seeds apparently featured on the menu of the famous Aztec warriors. In fact the word “Chia” supposedly means strength. When they first appeared this side of the world one of the many marketing claims was how it could help with weight loss. This may be true in some sense, but of course it’s highly unlikely that it would help anyone shed pounds all on its own. Weight loss is a lot more complex than just take one magic substance, unfortunately and the sooner we stop buying in to that concept the better (But that’s a topic for another day…)
I think in those early days, no one really had any clue how to eat them or how to make them taste nice. Thing is they swell a lot in any liquid you leave them in, and when they do, turns out they don’t look all that appetizing… The very first time I tried chia seeds it was a tsp of seeds soaked in plain water, just swallowed down. Not the most exciting thing I’ve ever eaten to be honest. Obviously times has moved on – enter Chia Pudding! I’m not sure who originally came up with the bright idea of serving the little guys this way but let’s just say it’s genius! Their ability to gel makes for a nice consistency and when you eat them in this way they can actually help with constipation rather than hinder it.
I have tried lots of different types of chia puddings at this stage but using a good quality full fat coconut milk is by far my favourite. It even reminds me a little of the Christmas dessert we have back home, rice pudding, well actually more like the cold version of rice pudding; Ris á la Malta.
Here you have a slightly healthier version made with just two ingredients: Chia Seeds and Coconut Milk. I’ve chosen to top this pudding with some winter spiced berries. Here I used the blackberries we picked back in the autumn. Grateful for the abundance back then and for the freezer now! If you, like me, live in the Northern Hemisphere where berries are not in season, then use frozen ones. I’d imagine blackcurrants or blueberries could work to. And if you live some where were it’s berry season, well then make the most of it and use fresh ones!
Coconut Chia Pudding – With Winter Spiced Berries
For the chia pudding:
200 ml full fat coconut milk – organic if possible
2 tbsp chia seeds (whole seeds)
For the berry compote:
1 cup blackberries – fresh or frozen
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1-2 star anise (depending on size of the star)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
To make the pudding; mix coconut milk and chia seeds together in a small bowl. Make sure it is well mixed together and stir a few more times over the next five min, to remove any lumps, as the seeds start to absorb the liquid. Then move to the fridge and let it set over a few hours.
To make the berry compote; place the frozen (or fresh) berries in a small sauce pan. Add in maple syrup, ground cinnamon. Gently toss the berries in the maple syrup and spices until evenly coated. Add in the star anise. Bring it slowly to a simmer and let it simmer away for about 10 min until fruit is soft and the compote is fragrant.
Serve the chia pudding in small bowls with topped with the warm spiced berry compote.
N.B This dessert (or even breakfast!) is very filling and not very sweet. You can omit the maple syrup if you are looking for an even lower carbohydrate load.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind me throwing in a picture from the beautiful autumn we had. Worth a reminder of brighter days to come as the longest day of the year fast approaches.
This week we are changing things up a little! I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Shanna Jade who runs the blog Sprouting an Old Soul. Her beautiful recipes coupled with insight and wisdom makes for an excellent read.
To allow you to get to know Shanna Jade a little better, I will allow her to take the lead.
Tell me about you, how did you get into wholefoods & healthy living? Where does your blog fit in?
Well my name is Shanna Jade, I live in fairly small country town just east of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. I was born and raised not far from where I am now. I am fortunate enough to have traveled throughout my life, while being still very content to call this lovely place home.
I am fairly nutty about healthy foods, a health state of mind and living an all around eco lifestyle. I was raised primarily vegetarian, spending next to zero time in the kitchen. My mom has always mean very health conscious, when I was in high school she started her own educational journey to become a Master Herbalist, going on to teach nutrition through a local college. I have memories of her in the kitchen making things like warm gooey from scratch Mac ‘n’ Cheese or baking up a dish full of lentils with tomatoes, however I have far more memories of my dad in the kitchen. He makes the most amazing meals, whipping them up like nothing.
Helping my mother with her schooling was a ridiculously easy way for me to learn as well. I picked things up while helping her study, by reading her textbooks and by general osmosis – none of which was how to cook. Taking from where her classes left off I took it upon myself to continue my learning, digging deeper into specific ingredients and nutrients which I found enjoyable to work with or fascinating to read about. Thus I would call myself self taught. The nutritional knowledge I hold comes from a large number of sources, the culinary flare comes from my heart. I didn’t always cook with healthy ingredients, I didn’t always read labels. For a few years of my life I was completely blissfully ignorant to the trash that I was taking into my body. I knew I wasn’t eating healthy or promoting the things I had learned but I was young and it was easy to eat empty calories.
I started Sprouting an Old Soul as a way to reach out and share with other people in the community, people who wanted to learn about healthy foods and how to live a well rounded lifestyle. I started the blog as a way to keep myself focused and remind myself that in order to never stop learning I needed to apply the skills and knowledge in which I already possessed. That meant cutting out the crap and filling myself up with the most wholesome ingredients and outrageous nutrition.
Do you have any non-negotiables when it comes to what you eat or the products you use?
Absolutely. I make a huge go of using fully BPA free everything. Product wise – I try as much as I can to limit all chemical and synthetics in the house, especially anything that can be inhaled or absorbed. I use fully organic skin care, hair care and as green of cleaning products as possible. Food wise, I do my best to keep things as whole as possible. I don’t eat or drink anything with artificial coloring, I have never had red meat, I don’t do sodas and I strongly dislike green peppers. I am not a purist and I don’t believe in labels. I think that if something makes your cells sing, you should darn well eat it. I think that being in tune and having the ability to notice what makes you feel great vs what makes your belly hurt is a must. Once that’s mastered then everything falls into place because really, KD and McDonalds are not things that make anyone feel good. Being ready to face that is the biggest step. ( I couldn’t agree more!)
What is hands down your favorite thing to eat?
Ooh. Well, I eat mushrooms almost every day, I love love love them. I have always really loved eggs, even when I was following a strict vegan lifestyle (I have genetically high cholesterol so I try to stay away from animal fats) I would dream of going for breakfast and having some sort of scramble.
What sort of things do you do for yourself to get or to stay grounded?
Most importantly I have a very solid morning routine, I feel completely out of whack when I don’t follow with that. Primarily hydration, if I don’t have at least a liter of water before I leave the house in the morning I am simply not myself. I am very liberal when it comes to white sage, I have a smudge stick beside my bed and burn it regularly. I cleanse my room and my self almost nightly before bed. I find myself needing an attitude adjustment when I haven’t had a chance to go outdoors – I am basically a grump and the only cure is forest. People I work with have been known to suggest I take some “tree time”.
Care to share any routines, rituals must do’s that you stick with to keep yourself on track?
Well as I said, I have a solid morning routine. I set my alarm for at least 10 minutes earlier than needed and spend those extra minutes focusing on two words that are written on the ceiling above my bed. Love and Service. I sit with them and allow them to fill me for the whole 10 minutes. I have a giant jar of room temperature water either spiked with liquid chlorophyll or a pinch of high quality grey sea salt. Gentle mind and body cleansing.
I think that having a workout routine, a yoga class, any sort of movement is crazy important. Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating fruits and veggies. It’s about your body, your own personal temple that needs tending and worship. Getting your groove on and respecting that your body is incredible and it craves movement is something that I find incredibly important.
I am so happy to have been able to share this recipe with the Straightforward Nutrition community, to introduce myself and to be able to broadcast the lovely Linn on my own site.
I created this recipe as a way for folks to get other types of greens into their diets. Sure, kale is all the rage, spinach is pretty great and well chard too. What about the garnish on the side of your plate? The parsley, the cilantro, the herbs that are so lovingly placed to add a touch of color only to be discarded by the consumer. This recipe is about variety and the amazing flavor profile of the sometimes overlooked greens available to us.
Freekeh is a very low gluten form of green wheat, it’s picked early on in the cycle and has amazing flavor & texture! If you are sensitive to wheat, or you can’t locate this amazing grain – substitute quinoa, barley or whatever you have handy. (Whole Spelt or Kamut grains would work too)
Green Freekhe Salad
1 Cup Loose Packed Lemon Balm
1/2 Cup Mint
1 Cup Curly Parsley
1 Cup Cilantro
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Dill
1.5 Cups of Freekeh
4 Cups of Water
1/2 Cup Toasted Pine nuts
1/2 Large Yellow Onion
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Green Chili
1/4 of a Preserved Lemon
Add the freekeh + water to a pot and cook for about 45-50 minutes, until the grain has grown and the water has been absorbed. While it’s cooking, make the herb paste. Add all herb paste ingredients to a blender or food processor and whirl until it’s a pesto like consistency. Set aside. Dice the onion then caramelize it in the coconut oil. Once the freekeh is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl along with the onion and the toasted pine nuts. Rough chop the preserved lemon and the chili – toss it in the bowl, then add the herb paste and mix well. Serve at room temperature.
Thanks a mill Shanna for sharing your lovely recipe here on Straightforward Nutrition! Much appreciated 🙂
If you want to see what I shared with Shanna’s readers over on Sprouting an Old Soul, then head over there for a visit.
Time to get back to winter greens. No need to skimp on the raw stuff just because the weather has gotten a little cooler eh? This recipe is one I made for Chelsea – Aka The Naked Fig, back in the Spring as part of our guest blogging swap. As it turned out to be a big hit with her readers, I have decided to feature it here too. It feels like the perfect fit now when all the ingredients are back in season again.
There’s another couple of reasons as why I have decided to post this recipe now. One, as mentioned above – It’s seasonal. Two – I’m currently juggling lots of things (what’s new??) and a little stuck for time to shoot a new recipe… Three – This was one of the featured recipes for the cooking demos I did last weekend. The theme was local, seasonal and autumn /winter (Ok, so Quinoa isn’t exactly local… ). It looked like people enjoyed it! So I hope you will too. And if you were actually at one of the demos, then here’s the recipe.
Personally I love these kinds of salads as the are more of “assembling a meal” so saves on time spent cooking. If you have the quinoa already cooked you are saving even more time. This salad is almost nicer the day after. Perfect for a left-over lunch option. Win-win.
Kale is the perfect winter green and I am delighted it is back in season again. They grow happily this time of the year. Over the past couple of years my cooking has evolved and become more and more adapted to the seasons. Perhaps it has become a little more adventurous too, yet at the same time the way I cook now is a lot cleaner and simpler.
You see, as your start introducing more vegetables and fresh food into your diet, your taste buds gradually change. As you start eating with more awareness and purpose, you’ll find yourself discover new tastes and flavours, and after awhile you will probably find that not just any old vegetable will do. They have to be fresh, colourful & vibrant too.
As we slowly transition from autumn into winter. From raw food to cooked food. From salads to soups and stews. It is nice to still keep some raw foods on the weekly menu. Raw food are food which has not been heated over 46 C. Some nutrients can easily be destroyed by cooking and beneficial enzymes are still retained when we eat foods in its natural state. Some people thrive well on a fully raw diet. Personally I find it hard to eat too much raw, cold food when the weather is cold but including a salad like this as a side to say a piece of pan fried fish or indeed adding the quinoa when still warm does the trick.
Apples are at peak season so you should easily be able to get some locally grown. Adding apples to a salad adds a sweet crunch and they work well with the pomegranates and hazelnuts. To me this is how you construct a “Super Salad”. Some greens, some cooked grains, some raw fruit or other veggies and some healthy fats to balance both flavours and blood sugar. You’ll get the fats here from both the olive oil in the dressing and from the nuts. Protein comes in form of the quinoa as well as the hazelnuts so by the time you have assembled the whole thing you will have a light, yet filling meal to satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters a like. I hope you will like it as much as the people who tried it at last weekend’s cooking demos did 🙂
Black Quinoa Salad with Kale, Apple, Hazelnuts & Pomegranate
Serves 2 hungry people
4 cups curly kale, washed, stems removed & finely chopped
1 cup black quinoa, rinsed – If you can’t find black quinoa, red or white will work fine too.
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
2 small apples, finely sliced – preferably organic. Use a crunchy sort which will give the bet texture and flavour.
½ cup raw hazelnuts
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of sea salt, to season
Heat your oven to 200°C. To toast the hazelnuts, place them on a baking tray. Then toast in the oven for about 10 min. Keep an eye on them, they burn easily. Once you see the skin beginning to crack, remove from the oven. Allow to cool a little before giving them a gentle rub to remove the skins. Chop roughly and set aside.
To cook the quinoa; rinse it well to remove the bitter outer coating. Place it in a saucepan with the cold water and a tight fitting lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to very low and cook covered for 12 minutes, until the grain is tender. Turn off the heat, but leave the lid on for a further 10 minutes. Set aside to cool down
In a salad bowl, add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt. I love using Himalayan Pink Salt as it has great taste. Whisk until combined then add in your chopped kale. Massage the dressing in to the kale gently with your hands. Add in the cooked quinoa and pomegranate seeds. Mix until well combined. Add the sliced apples and hazelnuts, just before serving. Give the whole thing a gentle toss. Tuck in! It will taste even better the following day.
Photos of me cooking at Burren Food Fayre in Lisdoonvarna kindly taken by Finghin Kiernan.