The Herb Diaries

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Garlic Mushroom, Avocado and Quinoa Salad

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I am starting to fully understand what people mean when they say that Paris in August is not really Paris…. to me it is a buzzing, lively city, but to those who know it well, it is a ghost town.

After the failed attempt at visiting the famous juice bar, I psyched myself up and decided that a morning at the market was a good idea. I could stroll in the sunshine, buy some nice fresh vegetables, then come back and make myself a delicious fresh salad for lunch.

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But when I arrived, this was the only stall open. I am still a little confused by french opening hours (things don’t open on Mondays, and then everyone takes a few hours off at lunch time…) so I have no idea if I got there too late, or the summer holidays are to blame.

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Luckily I found enough to get by with! It is summery, filling, not too heavy and combines so many of my favourite ingredients…. garlic, mushrooms, basil, avocado and sundried tomatoes.

Mushrooms are always thought of as kind of empty calories. So many people don’t like them, and those that do would never really count them as vegetables, probably because they’re such a dull colour, but they’re actually full of vitamin B which can help reduce tiredness. They are naturally low in fat, and only 4 of these babies make up 1 of your 5 a day!

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Avocado has been a firm favourite of mine since a very young age. They are often avoided due to their high fat content, but people forget that there are so many bodily functions that require fat. Avocados have a wide range of anti-inflammatory benefits, including the nutrients they contain which can help prevent arthritis. Fat is needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, since not all nutrients are water-soluble. Whilst eating a salad without avocado will provide you with lots of great vitamins and nutrients, adding avo can increase their absorption into the body by 200%! The majority of the fat found in avocado is monounsaturated, which is a key component in a balanced diet, they have a high fibre content… I could go on forever. Most importantly they are delish!

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Ingredients:

(serves 2)

2-3 cups cooked quinoa

(I actually used a quinoa/bulgar mix that I found out here, but you can use plain quinoa)

3 big handfuls of lambs lettuce

8 mushrooms

6 sundried tomatoes

1 small bunch of basil

2 cloves of garlic

Drizzle of olive oil

1 avocado

Method:

Thinly slice the garlic and fry with a drizzle of oil and the chopped mushrooms until the mushrooms are golden brown. Chop the basil, avocado and sundried tomatoes. Once the mushrooms have cooled, toss all ingredients except the avo in a big bowl. Plate up the salad and add the sliced avocado. Sprinkle with more basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (if you like).

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