This salad supper sort of happened by accident, but I am so happy it did! I really wanted some red rice but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, so decided to improvise with the veggies I had in the fridge. The result was this fresh and delicious salad, packed full of green veg, but also very filling thanks to the red rice, with an awesome nutty crunch from the hazelnuts.
I haven’t had much experience with red rice before now, but I can tell it is sure to become a kitchen staple. It has so much more flavour than ordinary white rice, and contains much more dietary fibre because the bran layer under the hard husk has not been removed. It contains lots of iron which gives your body a brilliant iron boost, and has anti-oxidant and anti-histamine properties.
Although you could use any oil you like for the dressing, I used sunflower oil. It has a deliciously buttery taste and is rich in vitamin E which has a neutralising effect on disease causing free radicals. It is thought to be one of the healthiest oils (especially when used in cooking) and is often overlooked.
Along with broccoli, peas are probably the only vegetables that you can imagine children eating without too much fuss. They are sweet, easy to cook, and freeze so well that you can always have them on hand for when you can’t get any fresh veg. I LOVE peas. You can mix them into anything for some extra greenery, purée them, make them into soup – they are so versatile! They best part is, that not only are peas great for us, they are actually great for the environment too! Pea plants supply soil with large quantities of nitrogen, reducing the need for fertilisers.
2 cups red rice
2 cup peas
1 cup broad beans
2 handfuls green beans
2 handfuls rocket and spinach
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Cook the rice for 30 minutes (some people like to soak the rice first, but it isn’t necessary).
Boil the peas, green beans and broad beans for a few minutes until just cooked, but still with some crunch.
Dry fry or roast the hazelnuts to intensify the flavours.
Allow the nuts, veg and rice to cool before tossing with the spinach and rocket.
For the dressing, chop the garlic finely and mix with the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Toss the salad with the dressing and serve!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
6 sundried tomatoes
1 small bunch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
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).