Salads

Puy Lentil and Tomato Salad

Puy Lentil and Tomato Salad

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 75g dried Puy lentils, rinsed OR use 250g pouch of ready cooked Puy lentils
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 300g tomatoes, sliced
  • 100g radishes, topped and tailed, sliced
  • 20g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 20g fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • ½ tsp runny honey
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Cook the lentils in 3 x water or stock for 35-40 minutes, until soft but still with a little bite, drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl and let cool OR use a ready pouch of cooked Puy lentils if you are pushed for time
  2. Add the sliced onions, tomatoes, radishes and fresh herbs and gently combine
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients together thoroughly, season well, and pour over the salad
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle a few fresh herbs over the top to finish

This dish works brilliantly as a side dish at a summer BBQ and is great to take to work as it will keep you feeling satisfied.

Lentils originate from Asia and North Africa and do not require pre-soaking before cooking, unlike other pulses. They are a great vegetarian / vegan protein source and also provide complex carbohydrate and fibre. They are a rich source of folate and a good source of other B vitamins and minerals.

Puy lentils are grown in the French region Le Puy, they have a delicious nutty taste and hold their texture well after cooking. You could easily use green or brown lentils in this recipe but the texture may be a little softer.

tomatoes

Tomatoes are delicious at this time of the year, smell your tomatoes to check they are tasty (no tomatoey smell = no flavour) and keep them out of the fridge to maximise flavour too. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of antioxidants, including lycopene and are a key ingredient of the healthy Mediterranean diet. They also contain vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, vitamin K, vitamin A, minerals and B vitamins.

Radishes provide a lovely crunch to the salad and are also a great source of fibre for your gut microbes. They are a natural diuretic, helping to keep the urinary system healthy and are also great for relieving congestion and preventing respiratory problems.

Nearly Niçoise with Asparagus and Endive

Tuna Niçoise with Asparagus, Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Endive

Make a change to a Tuna Niçoise by adding seasonal asparagus and different salad leaves like endive.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks if too large
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1 endive, washed and chopped
  • 8 asparagus spears, woody ends discarded
  • 10 Kalamata olives
  • 1 tin sustainably-sourced tuna steak in olive oil, drained

For the dressing

  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 10 mins, until done - if you have left over potatoes this is a great way to use them up and cooked potatoes that have been cooled overnight are a good source of resistant starch*
  2. Boil the eggs for 6-8 minutes, depending on size and how soft you like them. Drain, run under cold water to cool, then peel and halve
  3. Steam or boil the asparagus for approx. 3 - 4 mins until al dente, drain and refresh in cold water to stop them becoming too soft
  4. Meanwhile whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic together to make the dressing, season well
  5. Place the lettuce, endive, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and olives in large bowl and gently combine with the dressing. Divide between two plates and top with the asparagus, tuna, anchovies and halved eggs. Season well.

 

Asparagus, lettuce and tomatoes

Asparagus are a rich source of vitamin C, vital for the immune system and contains vitamin K, fibre and prebiotics which feed your friendly gut bacteria. They are in season from the end of April until June in the UK – so make the most of these super spears while you can!

  • Try drizzling with olive oil and lemon juice, then grilling – delicious!
  • You can boil for 3-5 minutes or steam for 4-5 minutes then serve with Hollandaise or melted butter for a traditional side veg.
  • Try them roasted in the oven, for 15 minutes, then served with sea salt, lemon zest and some grated parmesan.

New potatoes are delicious in this salad and many people avoid eating too many potatoes due to their high starch content, however, did you know that allowing potatoes (as well as other starchy foods like rice or pasta) to cool overnight results in changes to the starch structure. Once cooled the potatoes contain *resistant starch which is harder for us to digest and extract calories from but feeds our friendly gut bacteria. Eating resistant starch has been shown to have a number of health benefits including:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced appetite
  • More balanced blood sugar levels
  • Improved digestion

If you reheat the cooled potatoes that is fine, it’s the initial cooling process that makes the changes to the starch structure.

Awesome Aubergines

Raw Aubergines with Lemon and Coriander

Aubergine and Coriander 2 ways

 

Sautéed Aubergine Salad

Serves 2 as a main salad or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes light olive oil for frying
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 100g peppery salad leaves like rocket or watercress
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Sauté the aubergine in a large fying pan with plenty of oil, until golden brown on each side and nice and soft
  2. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a mixing bowl
  3. Mix in lemon, chopped coriander and season well
  4. Serve on a bed of the rocket or watercress leaves
Delicious with houmous or tahini dressing
Also great as a side dish with roast lamb

 

Houmous recipe

  • 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  •  Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ½  tblsp tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 – 3 tblsp water to create smooth consistency, if desired
  • Dash ground paprika & olive oil, for serving

Method

  1. In a processor blend the tahini and lemon juice until creamy, about 1 minute
  2. Add the olive oil, pressed garlic, cumin and approx. ½ tsp salt and blend for 30 seconds, scrape the mixture off the sides of the mixing bowl and blend again for another 30 seconds
  3. Add ½ of the drained, rinsed chickpeas and blend for 1 minute, then scrape the mixture of the sides of the bowl, add the remaining chickpeas and blend again until smooth. You may need to add 1 – 3 tblsp of water to get a creamy consistency, depending on how smooth you like it. Or you can keep a few chickpeas back and serve them on the houmous with a drizzle of olive oil

Tahini dressing

Ingredients

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tblsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Whizz the ingredients altogether with a wand blender, start with 1 tblsp water and add more if too thick
  2. Or if you’d rather use a pestle and mortar - grind the garlic (no need to press it), tahini and salt. Slowly add in the lemon juice until all combined, then add water 1 tblsp at a time until a bit thicker than you want it and finally add the olive oil.

 

Baked Aubergine with coriander, cumin and lemon

Baked Aubergine with Coriander, Cumin and Lemon on Sourdough

 

Ingredients

Serves 6 as a dip or side dish

  • 2 whole aubergines, washed
  • Large handful of chopped coriander
  • Pinch of cumin seeds
  • ¼ lemon juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional – chilli powder or fresh chopped chilli

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c
  2. Bake the aubergines whole for around 50 minutes until nice and soft
  3. Allow to cool and remove the green stalk
  4. Whizz in a blender with the chopped coriander, cumin seeds, lemon juice and zest and season well

Serve as a dip or salad or on wholemeal, seedy or rye sourdough

Other ideas:

You could also whizz up the baked aubergine with a tin of drained chickpeas, a large handful toasted pinenuts, a regular handful of breadcrumbs, a clove or 2 of garlic, a large pinch of cumin, a large handful of chopped mint and some chilli to make veggie burgers. Then just gently heat through in a frying pan.

 

Aubergines, also known as Eggplant, are related to tomatoes, peppers and potatoes (from the Nightshade family*). Aubergines are technically berries -they are the fruit of the Solanum Melongena plant, with many seeds. The large purple varieties available in the UK are rich and buttery when cooked and do not need salting, rinsing and draining, which is often recommended in recipes to remove the bitterness of other varieties.

The main health benefits of aubergines come from the antioxidants they contain. One of the key antioxidants, Nasunin, an anthocyanin, gives aubergines their rich purple colour and helps protect the fatty acids we need for optimal brain function. Aubergines are also believed to be beneficial for managing blood glucose levels and cardiovascular health.

 

* Nightshade family vegetables are rich in alkaloids, which may not be tolerated well by those with auto-immune conditions. Cooking Nightshade family vegetables, avoiding green tomatoes and green/sprouting potatoes and peeling potatoes will help keep alkaloids to a minimum. It is always best to take advice from a health professional or registered nutritional therapist before removing food groups from your diet.

Char-grilled Courgette & Mozzarella Salad with Red Onion, Chicory, Olives & Basil

Char-grilled Courgette, Chicory and Mozzarella Salad

Char-grilled Courgette & Mozzarella Salad with Red Onion, Chicory, Olives & Basil

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 courgettes, cut lengthways into slices
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 2 small red chicory, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil to coat the veg prior to grilling, plus extra virgin for drizzling
  • 100g mozzarella, torn into pieces (buffalo is most delicious)
  • 50g black olives
  • handful of basil leaves
  • lemon zest (from ½ lemon)
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Toss the courgettes, onion and red chicory slices in olive oil.
  2. Get a griddle pan hot (or get a BBQ ready for cooking – charcoals will need to be white hot and then cool slightly)
  3. Place the courgettes slices side by side in the griddle pan (or on the BBQ grill), don’t let them overlap, they will need around 2-3 minutes on either side. Set aside when done
  4. Then do the same for the onion and red chicory
  5. Arrange the grilled vegetables on a plate then add the mozzarella pieces, olives and basil leaves.
  6. Finally sprinkle over the lemon zest, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season

Also lovely with….

Radicchio instead of red chicory

Leftover roast chicken instead of mozzarella

Sun-dried tomatoes

This salad will keep well in the fridge for a day or two if kept in an air tight container, make sure you bring it to room temperature before eating. 

Other things to do with courgettes….

Raw Courgette ‘spaghetti’

Works well as a replacement for pasta or as a base for a salad.

Method

  1. Create long strands of courgette by running the long side of the courgette along a grater. You could also use a spiriliser to make noodles or veg peeler to make ribbons.
  2. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season. Simple.
  3. You could also add lemon zest and pumpkin seeds or soaked almonds

Sautéed courgette Salad

Method

  1. Cut courgettes in round slices, about 1/2 cm thick
  2. Gently fry in light olive oil for around 5 mins
  3. Add crushed garlic to the pan and cook for another minute or so
  4. Add fresh mint & oregano, sun-dried (or cherry) tomatoes and walnut halves.
  5. Drizzle a little olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
  6. Or combine with feta cheese and pine nuts

Courgette facts....

Courgettes, also known as zucchini, are in season in the UK from June to September/October. They are a popular member of the squash family and are best when firm to the touch with a glossy, green skin. They keep well in the fridge but a cool larder or cupboard will do. 

They do not need peeling or de-seeding. Courgettes provide folate and other B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and a range of antioxidants as well as being an excellent source of potassium. They have a low glycaemic load, meaning they have little effect on blood sugar levels making them a great choice if you are watching your waist-line.

courgettes, red onion, red chicory, basil and olives

Speedy Summer Salad

Easy Summer Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 100g mixed salad leaves like rocket, mizuna, baby spinach, baby beet, radicchio, oak leaf etc. washed and dried
  • large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • handful of walnut halves
  • ½ pomegranate – seeds removed
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 50g hard cheese like Manchego, thinly sliced (using a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler)
  • Extra virgin oil for drizzling
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Method

Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, avocado and cheese slices. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and walnuts on the top. Drizzle with oil and a little balsamic, if using.

 

Nutritional benefits of this salad

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, vitamin C and betacarotene for immune health.

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin K helps keep our bones strong and blood vessels healthy by keeping calcium out of the body’s blood vessels and in its bones – particularly important for post-menopausal women for whom loss of bone density is an issue but also for those with a history of cardiovascular disease. Pomegranates pack a serious antioxidant punch and taste deliciously sweet, yet tangy. They are considered a natural aphrodisiac as well as having anti-cancer properties.

Walnuts provide plenty of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and folate along with some B3 and B5 as well as being a rich source of the minerals magnesium, copper and manganese. They contain omega 6 essential fats for hormone and skin health and also some omega 3 fats, which help reduce inflammation. Walnuts are also beneficial for keeping levels of LDL cholesterol down.

Manchego is a sheep’s cheese from La Mancha region in Spain. Sheep’s cheese is naturally low in lactose, so may be tolerated by those with lactose intolerance.  The proteins in sheep’s cheese are also generally easier to digest. It is high in calcium and protein and also contains some vitamin A, E and D. You could use other hard cheeses if you don’t have any Manchego.

Avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E as well as vitamin C, B5 and folate.

This salad will keep you feeling satisfied due to its fibre and fat content. Fibre is also important for gut health and fats are important for mood, brain function, hormone balance and for providing slow-release energy.

 

Top tip

How to tell if your avocado is ripe: give it a gentle squeeze, it should have a little give, but shouldn't be soft or squidgy. If it is still too firm, help it ripen by putting in a brown paper bag with a banana. You can also tell by picking off the tiny stem and looking at the colour underneath. If the stem comes away easily and it’s nice and yellow-green underneath, your avocado is ripe. If it is brown, your avocado is overripe and won't be at its best - you could make it into guacamole instead!

Summer Salad

Cauliflower Couscous with Cumin and Coriander Spiced Trout

Cauliflower Couscous, Cumin and Coriander Trout

Ingredients

For the trout:

  • 2 whole rainbow trout
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Olive oil

 For the cauliflower couscous:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, blitzed or grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • A large handful of toasted pine nuts (toasted flaked almonds would also work well)
  • Salt and and freshly ground pepper
  • A handful fresh coriander, and/or parsley, finely chopped

Method 

  1. Preheat the grill to high
  2. Rinse your trout and pat dry. Cut 1cm-deep slashes into the skin, about 3cm apart, on both sides of the fish
  3. Mix 2 tbsp cumin seeds with 2 tsp coriander, salt and pepper. Rub the mix all over both fish and into the slashes.
  4. Tuck a few lemon slices inside the belly of each fish. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Grill for approx. 7 or 8 mins on each side, the skin should be crisp and the fish cooked (pink & opaque flesh). Cover and leave to rest
  6. Remove leaves and thick base/stem from the cauliflower. You can use the leaves as you would cabbage in another dish like stir fry or soup
  7. Cut the cauliflower into 4 and either blitz in a food processor (be careful not to over-blitz or it will go to mush) or coarsely grate into a large bowl
  8. Toast the pine nuts (or flaked almonds) in a hot (large) frying pan (no oil needed) until just golden – watch them they can easily burn! Remove and set aside
  9. Heat some olive oil in the same pan, add the garlic until just softened then add 1 tbsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp ground coriander. Stir and heat for 1 min
  10. Add grated/blitzed cauliflower to pan, lower the heat and cook,  stirring well, until slightly softened and warmed through
  11. Add the toasted pine nuts (or flaked almonds), lemon zest and juice and chopped fresh herbs, season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  12. Serve the grilled trout (either with or without the skin, as you prefer) on a mound of the cauliflower couscous and some lemon wedges.

Cauliflower benefits

Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family and is rich in glucosinolates – these super phytonutrients help increase the activity of enzymes that help the body eliminate carcinogens and help protect us against certain cancers. Cauliflower is also a rich source of fibre, vitamins A, C B3 and folate and provides minerals like calcium, potassium and zinc.

Gluten-free and low carb

Replacing conventional wheat couscous with cauliflower helps reduce the glycaemic load of the meal (a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels are raised), therefore helping weight management. It also means the meal is gluten-free.

If you have never tried cauliflower couscous then now is the time. Cauliflower are still in season. You can also use other Mediterranean herbs for flavour.

Also works well with...

This dish also works well with other oily fish such as sardines or salmon and would make a lovely dish to serve at a BBQ. Cauliflower couscous makes a great salad base to take to work, you could try it with leftover roast chicken, avocado, tomato and salad leaves and a lemon and oil dressing.

Cauliflower, garlic, coriander, cumin, lemon, toasted pinenuts and parsley

Superfood Salad

Superfood salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 100g quinoa, rinsed under running water
  • 1 raw beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 tub of marinated artichoke hearts (find in the deli section at the supermarket, usually near the olives and houmous)
  • 2 handfuls of Edamame beans or peas, easiest to use frozen
  • 1 handful each of pumpkin & sunflower seeds
  • 80 – 100g rocket, washed
  • 1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

For the dressing

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Cook the quinoa in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes (see cooking instructions on packet) until tender. Rinse, drain well and allow to cool. Alternatively you can buy ready cooked quinoa.
  2. Place the Edamame beans (or peas) in a saucepan, pour boiling water over them and simmer for 2 minutes, drain and allow to cool. If you buy the Edamame beans in the pod then remove the beans from the pod once cool enough to handle.
  3. Mix together the quinoa, diced beetroot, Edamame beans/peas, and artichokes.
  4. Serve on a bed of rocket leaves
  5. To make the dressing mix together the oil, vinegar/lemon juice, honey & mustard in a clean jam jar, and with the lid firmly screwed on shake up, then pour the dressing over the salad. Any leftover dressing can be stored in the jam jar in the fridge.

This also works well with brown rice or puy lentils instead of quinoa or carrot instead of beetroot. You can also add other salad you like for example halved cherry tomatoes or diced pepper is nice. You can also keep any leftovers in the fridge and take to work the next day.

Benefits of Artichokes

Artichokes are rich in vitamins A, C and folate. They are also a good source of manganese. Artichokes have traditionally been used for indigestion and to support liver function. They help stimulate bile flow (bile is produced by the liver to aid fat digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, bile also serves as the route of excretion of metabolic bi-products). Research has shown artichoke may help lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood.

Artichokes are lovely as part of a tapas selection or tossed into salads. They work well with garlicky / chilli dressings.

Did you know an artichoke is a type of thistle? The bit you eat is actually the flower bud before it blooms. Greeks and Romans considered artichokes to be a potent aphrodisiac and women were banned from eating them in many countries right up until the 16th century!

Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroot is a good source of iron, calcium, vitamins A & C and folate as well as packing a punch with its antioxidant power. You can eat the leaves of beetroots too, they are in the same family as chard and spinach. Beetroot is often served cooked or pickled but try it raw, it adds a lovely crunch and has an earthy but sweet flavour. The beetroot has traditionally been used to support liver health. The pigment betacyanin, that gives beetroot its deep purple colour, is thought to have cancer-protective properties. Beetroot is also rich in fibre and has been shown to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes in body, boost immune function and provide an important amino acid called glutamine, which helps keep the lining of the digestive tract healthy. Beetroot has also been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure.

You can juice beetroot (lovely with apple and celery); grate it; spiralise it and serve as a replacement for noodles; make into soup; or cook it and slice into salads.

NB eating a lot of beetroot can cause beeturia in some people – that is pink urine and / or red or pink faeces. This is due to the excretion of the pigments and is harmless.