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.

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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.

Thai style Crunchy Cabbage and Carrot Salad

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Probably the best vegan dish ever is Som Tam Jay. This is a veggie version of the papaya salad that is eaten all over Thailand but originates in Isaan in the North-East. I make many versions of this with whatever is to hand. Everything works as long as it is raw and crunchy. There also need to be toasted nuts. Be experimental and see what works. This is a raw dish and super healthy.

Ingredients

3 handfuls of finely sliced white cabbage
2 handfuls of coarsely grated carrot
Half of red pepper very finely sliced
A handful of toasted peanuts
Two teaspoons of the curry paste from the Penang recipe
Lime juice, soya sauce about a tablespoon of each and sugar in the right balance to suit your taste
A tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander

Add the curry paste to the liquid ingredients and add a sprinkling of sugar until the balance tastes right. Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and pour over the dressing. Keep tasting and adjusting until it tastes right to you. It should be sour, salty, sweet and spicy with no single flavour dominating.