Spelt Salad with Broccoli, Walnuts and Pomegranate

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Having developed a recent interest in the macrobiotic diet and its emphasis on whole grains, I am a recent convert to spelt. They call it dinkel in Germany and I think that is a much nicer name, making it sound more whimsical. I actually prefer the spelt raw and soaked for about 24 hours. I add it to stir fries and salads but I know that some people find it irritates their digestive system, so I have cooked it here. I made this really spicy with some great locally grown chillies I bought in a big bunch on the market  in Berlin yesterday but you can leave it out all together if you prefer. This really is a meal in itself and it is delicious. It is chewy and crunchy and sweet and very savoury, all at the same time and, of course, incredibly nutritious. I served it on a bed of baby spinach leaves and we ate it with the soba noodle salad but we are greedy.

Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

50g of raw spelt boiled for about 20 minutes until it is still chewy but not hard

A handful of raw broccoli very finely shredded

A handful of finely chopped cucumber

2 large handfuls of fresh coriander chopped

Seeds from half a fresh pomegranate

A large handful of walnuts, toasted in the oven for 10 minutes and roughly chopped

A tablespoon of olive oil

A teaspoon of cider vinegar

The juice of half a small lemon

2 teaspoons of tahina

Half a teaspoon of dijon mustard

A tiny amount of crushed raw garlic

1 large chilli very finely chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all of the fresh ingredients with the spelt in a large bowl. Combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, tahina, mustard, garlic and chilli to make a dressing. Pour dressing onto the salad. Season to taste.

 

 

 

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French Bean and Walnut Salad

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I refuse to buy French beans brought in from Kenya or South America but when they are in season in Europe I love to incorporate then into salads or sauté them in garlic oil. They remind me a lot of trips to Paris where the beans are always tiny and tender. This salad feels very French. You could add black olives or capers for a salty bite.

Preparation time and cooking time 10 minutes

Makes a large bowl

150g of French beans topped and tailed

Half a romaine lettuce

Balsamic dressing

Two handfuls of toasted walnuts

Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the beans in boiling water for five minutes and then refresh in cold water so that they keep their colour. Shred the lettuce coarsely and place into the bottom of a large salad bowl. Throw the whole beans on top and scatter the coarsely chopped nuts over the salad. Pour over a tablespoon of balsamic dressing and season to taste.

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.

Roasted Figs and Toasted Walnuts

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Part of me is a little sad that we are now into the fig and plum season and the strawberries and cherries are over but part of me is also nostalgic for the crisp days of Autumn. It also helps that I love fresh figs. I was able to buy 4 beautiful specimens in my corner supermarket for 59 cents each. I love them raw but roasting them briefly in the oven makes them even more succulent.

Serves 2
Total preparation and cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredient

4 fresh, ripe figs
4 teaspoons agave syrup
A small handful of walnut halves
Soya cream to serve

Cut the figs in half and drizzle with the syrup. Place the figs and walnuts in a baking tin and roast at 170 Celsius for about 8 minutes until you can start to smell the toasted walnuts. Remove from the oven and crush the walnuts with the back of a spoon. Serve the figs with the walnuts sprinkled over and soya cream poured on top.

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.