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)
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.
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!