Super Food Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, Pomegranate and Cranberries

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All of the ingredients in this salad are highly nutritious and it is super tasty. I am impressed with the versatility of quinoa and it is so easy to prepare. Walnuts, pomegranates and cranberries are all great foods for the Autumn. This dish is a complete meal but and it could also be served with a casserole when you want to impress or inside a wrap with some baba ghanoush as a snack.

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients
Makes a large bowlful
100g of quinoa
A handful of toasted walnuts roughly chopped
Seeds and juice from half a pomegranate
A tablespoon of dried cranberries
2 spring onions chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Half a tablespoon of olive oil
A handful each of fresh coriander, fresh mint and fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa in cold water. Place in a pan with enough water to cover the quinoa plus 2cm. Bring to the boil and turn to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for about 7 minutes until the quinoa is half cooked. Turn off the heat and leave for another 5 minutes till all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.

Place the cooled quinoa and all of the other ingredients in a large bowl and combine.

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Raw Mushroom and Pine Nut Salad

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I stole this idea from Twelve Apostles restaurant in Berlin where I ate something similar last weekend. There it was made with rocket but I used a crispy Lollo Rossi lettuce instead. Pine nuts are expensive but they are really delicious and transform this salad to something quite special.

Serves 4
Total Preparation and Cooking Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
Three large handfuls of crispy lettuce leaves roughly chopped
A medium carrot very finely sliced
Five mushrooms shaved finely
A handful of pine nuts
A tablespoon of honey mustard dressing or another sweetest salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a cast iron frying pan and toast the nuts evenly, shaking the pan to stop them from burning. When cool combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Baba Ganoush with Pomegranate

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When we lived in Cairo, Baba Ganoush was definitely my favourite Egyptian dish. I never could take to the Fuul Medames though. I love the silky, smoothness of this dip and the sweetness and crunchiness that the pomegranates add. Pomegranates have just started coming into the shops in Berlin now that the summer is over and the aubergines available at the moment are huge, so this is dish is very in season. Pomegranates are so good for you. I intend to use them as much as possible in the coming weeks and months.

Makes a small bowlful
Total preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
A very large aubergine
A tablespoon of olive oil
A teaspoon of tahini
A quarter clove of garlic
A teaspoon of lemon juice
A few leaves of fresh coriander
Two teaspoons of pomegranate juice and seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and place on a baking tray. Dry roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the flesh is very soft inside. Leave to cool then remove the skin and discard. Place the flesh of the aubergine and all the other ingredients, except the pomegranate into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning and then spoon into a small bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander, olive oil and the pomegranate.

Roasted Corn and Butternut Squash Couscous Salad

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Couscous can be very dull and you need to add a lot of flavour to make it into something wonderful. This dish has sweetness from both the squash and the corn plus bags of freshness from the mint and coriander. We like our food spicy so you can also add chill like I did to give an extra punch but it can be left out. Chickpeas are added for extra protein but green lentils would also work.

This could be served on its own or as part of a vegan mezze platter. It could also be put inside a wrap with some red pepper hummus from the previous recipe. You could add a handful of toasted walnuts for extra texture.

Makes a large bowlful
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
150g couscous
Half a small butternut squash
Half a tin of chickpeas
2 ears of fresh corn
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
A handful of fresh mint chopped
Half a clove of garlic
A tablespoon of honey mustard dressing
A teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (optional)
A spring onion finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste?

Cut the butternut squash in half and place on a baking tray with the corn ears. Roast in the oven at 170 Celsius. Remove the corn after about 10 minutes and remove the squash after a total of about 30 minutes. Leave to cool.

Place the couscous in a pan and add just enough boiling water to cover the couscous. Leave with a lid on for 10 minutes then remove the lid and stir with a fork. Put to one side.

When all the ingredients are cool, place the couscous in a large bowl and add the chickpeas, mint, garlic, coriander and onion. Chop the squash into bitesize pieces and remove the corn from the cobs. Add the squash, corn and dressing to the couscous mixture and season to taste. Add the chilli if using. Chill before serving.

Roasted Corn and Pepper Salad with Black Beans

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Yesterday, my friend Claudia gave me some fresh, green peppers of the pointy variety (like large chillis). We don’t have a special word for these in the UK. We had the peppers barbecued last night while sitting in her garden, under a huge walnut tree, in idyllic surroundings, yet right in the centre of Berlin.

I already had some fresh corn in the fridge as well as the coriander and a tin of black beans in the cupboard so it was easy to throw this together.

This is a complete meal but would also go well inside a tortilla with some guacamole or pumpkin hummus. You could also add fried slices of tofu or toasted peanuts for a crunch.

Serves 6 as a side dish or 2 as a main course
Preparation time 12 minutes. Cooking time 30-40 minutes

Ingredients
2 green peppers or 3 large, green chilli peppers
2 whole corns on the cob
A tin of black beans well rinsed
6 cherry tomatoes halved
4 spring onions (scallions) finely sliced
Plenty of chopped fresh coriander, mint and basil
A tablespoon of olive oil and lemon salad dressing
A small red chilli chopped very finely
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the corn and peppers in an oven-proof dish and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. The peppers should be very soft with the skin starting to char. Leave to cool. Remove the corn from the
cobs and place in a large bowl. Chop the peppers roughly and add to the corn with the beans, tomatoes and onions. Stir in 2 handfuls of the mixed, fresh herbs and drizzle over the dressing. Add the chilli and stir well. Season to taste. Place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin and Walnut Salad

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I am really inspired by the colourful dishes featured on other vegan websites. There is nothing more colourful than a pumpkin which stays bright orange even after roasting. To be a complete meal, a salad needs to have a good protein source. I remember eating blue cheese and walnut salad in France before, I was vegan. The walnuts are totally transformed by toasting in the oven for 10 minutes. I used walnut oil in the dressing to give a complete walnut experience. Next time I will add rocket which I think will work really well.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 smaller portions
15 minutes preparation and 40 minutes cooking time

Ingredients
Half a large baby pumpkin
A handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Half a tablespoon of olive oil
1 large, ripe tomato
A handful of walnuts toasted for 10 minutes
10 inner leaves of romaine lettuce or a little gem
A tablespoon of walnut oil
Juice of half a large lemon
A teaspoon of grain mustard
Half a teaspoon of agave syrup
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the pumpkin into wedges with the skin left on and cover with the olive oil and thyme sprigs. Roast in the oven at 150 degrees centigrade for 30- 40 minutes until just soft. Leave to cool.
To make the dressing combine the walnut oil, lemon juice, mustard and syrup and season with a little salt and pepper.
Cut the Pumpkin into cubes. Cut the tomatoes into chunks. Place both on a bed of lettuce. Break up the walnuts into quarters and sprinkle over. Pour over the dressing.

Fennel and Apple Salad

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I got the idea for this when I was in Italy, last summer, on a yoga retreat near Rome, in a place called In Sabine. The villa had a huge vegetable garden and all of the food was sourced from there. I used to go and watch the gardener making the harvest each morning and wonder what we would be eating for lunch. The food was fresh, traditional and delicious. They also had a couple of fig trees and one of the other guests Uma and I used to love finding the fresh figs, just coming into season, and eat them on the way go the yoga platform.

If you have not eaten fennel before, it has a subtle aniseed flavour and is crunchy and light -ideal for a salad.

Ingredients
Half a bulb of fennel sliced finely
Half an apple finely sliced
Half a romaine lettuce or a whole baby gem
Tablespoon of toasted sunflower seeds
A tablespoon of balsamic dressing. I make my own with 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar then add Dijon mustard and agave syrup. I keep a bottle in the fridge.

You just need to combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Don’t overdress the salad, use your discretion with the amount of dressing but keep the salad light and crunchy. Dress at the last minute.