Summer Recipes

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.

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.

Hey Pesto! Homemade Carrot Top Pesto and more...

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Tops, Basil, Pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Garlic, Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 large handful of carrot tops (large stems removed)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tblsp pine nuts
  • 1 tblsp finely ground Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1-2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Using a food processor pulse together all the ingredients, adding a more oil as necessary to make a nice paste.
  2. Check the taste, season with salt and pepper and add more pine nuts, Parmesan or basil as/if needed

 

Carrot Top Pesto Is Great On Roasted Carrots

Just scrub the carrots, chop into 2 inch pieces and roast in some light olive oil in a medium hot oven (180oC) for25-35 minutes, . giving them stir around after 15 minutes.

Once the roasted carrots have cooled a bit, coat with the pesto and serve. Lovely with a lean beef steak, roast chicken or a lentil salad.

Other ideas for Pesto

Carrot Top Pesto, or any other homemade pesto*– is also delicious with potatoespasta and veggie pasta alternatives like courgette or butternut squash noodles; cheese like mozzarella, halloumi or feta;  on steamed veggies; with chicken or fish; as a salad dressing (you can dilute it with more extra virgin olive oil or some lemon juice); with avocado and tomato.

* If you don’t have any carrot tops you can use any other greens, like rocket, radish leaves, spinach, kale (just remove the tough stems), broccoli or just use fresh basil for the traditional pesto etc. 

You can also use other nuts or seeds instead of pine nuts and add chilli if you like it spicy.

Here I’ve combined the pesto with new potatoes and steamed runner beans and tender-stem broccoli and served with pan-fried salmon steaks.

 Pan-fried Salmon with New Potatoes, Runner Beans, Tender-stem Broccoli and Homemade Pesto

Pan-fried Salmon with New Potatoes, Runner Beans, Tender-stem Broccoli and Homemade Pesto

 

You can store home-made pesto in a glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 days, just drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top before storing, or freeze it.

Nutritional Benefits of Carrot Tops

You may not have eaten carrot tops before and many people throw them away! However, they are nutritious and a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and chlorophyll. I would use organic carrot tops as non-organic ones will likely have been sprayed with pesticides

Other ideas for using Carrot Tops

You can also use them for stock, in stews or as part of a salad or as a garnish in the same way you would use parsley. They taste a bit like parsley but more carroty. Just don’t overdo it as some people are sensitive to them if they eat too many.

 

 

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

Scrumptious Smoothies

Green Goodness / Berry Beet Treat / Instant Energy Smoothies

Scrumptious smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to boost your fruit and veg intake, up the antioxidants and make a refreshing start to the day.

Try these recipes below or make up your own. I purposely haven’t given exact amounts for each ingredient because you can play around with the quantities you like and the amount of fluid needed to make the consistency that suits.

You will need a blender or smoothie maker

They are best drunk fresh but if you have leftovers they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 8 hours, just stir or shake well before drinking. To keep the sugar load down ensure there are plenty of vegetables and other ingredients like nuts, seeds or protein powders rather than just fruit.

Nuts and seeds are best soaked overnight in salty water and then rinsed, this helps make them more digestible by breaking down phytates and enzyme inhibitors present in the nuts and seeds. By breaking these down you will absorb the nutrients they contain more easily.

 

Kale, spinach, kiwi, bananas and sunflower seeds

Green Goodness

  • Handful of kale
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2  banana or 1 small one
  • 1 kiwi
  • handful of soaked pumpkin seeds
  • coconut water

 

 

 

Beetroot, lettuce, berries and almonds

 

Berry Beet Treat

  • 1 beetroot
  • handful of red lettuce leaves
  • handful of berries
  • handful of soaked almonds
  • almond milk*

 

 

 

Instant Energy

  • ½ orange pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • stick of celery including leaves
  • ½ avocado
  • handful of soaked sunflower seeds
  • almond milk*

*To make your own Almond milk  use 25g pre-soaked almonds per 100 ml fresh water whizzed up with hand blender or liquidizer.

To soak the almonds 4 cups with 1 tablespoon salt soaked for around 7 hours

 

 

 

Pepper, orange, celery, avocado and sunflower seeds

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