Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Salad with Lime and Garlic Dressing #Vegan

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” 
~ A. A. Milne

It’s a known fact that historically Ben won’t eat two things – Brussels Sprouts and Cottage Pie (which he calls Poo Pie!) after bad experiences at boarding school back in the day.

I have managed to win him over to a good Cottage Pie (which we are only allowed to call Savoury Mince Thing with Mashed Potato on Top) but have not been able to convince him of the deliciousness of Brussels Sprouts, until I invented this Salad.

This warm salad was born from the need for me to whip up something healthy and yummy for lunch but EASY because I am still unwell and lacking stamina so I wanted something nurturing that I could chuck together with minimum fuss. You can eat this as a main meal and proportions given will serve two, or four people as a tasty side.

Baking the Brussels Sprouts gives them a nutty flavour – super yum. Don’t be afraid – they really are delicious. The addition of apple gives a sweet note that contrasts well with the fresh tangy dressing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • two cups of cubed sweet potato
  • one green apple cut into cubes
  • two cups of Brussels Sprouts cut in half lengthways
  • a tablespoon of olive oil
  • cumin and smoked paprika to sprinkle on your roasting vegetables (or leave it off if you don’t have these spices at home)
  • 2 to 4 cups of fresh green spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup of walnut halves
  • 1/2 an avocado cubed
  • Dressing: 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 to 2 cloves of garlic minced (use to your own taste – I love garlic!), 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of coconut aminos or Braggs or soy sauce or tamari sauce or a pinch of salt (use what you have to hand)

Directions:

  1. Place cubed sweet potato, Brussels Sprouts and cubed apple onto baking tray and toss with one tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle some cumin and smoked paprika over and then roast in a moderate oven ( 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit ) for 30 minutes or until cooked and golden.
  2. Scatter spinach over the bottom of your serving bowl or plate.
  3. Make dressing by putting all ingredients in a jar and shaking well so that they emulsify and blend together. Taste dressing and adjust to your liking by adding
  4. Add baked vegetables to top of spinach. Scatter the avocado and walnuts over and then pour on the dressing.
  5. Serve on its own or as a side dish.

Five Dishes to Cook for a Fabulous Easter Feast

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love. ” 
~
Craig Claiborne

If you’re looking for inspiration for a tasty and easy meal to share with your family this Easter I have some simple suggestions for you.

There’s a creamy Celery Soup for starters, followed by Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb with a Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad and Hasselback Potatoes, and Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan I’ve added some tips and twists in for you too.

Then all you need are a few drinks, some family or friends, some music and some relaxation time. Easy!

Just click on the link to access each recipe.

Soup: Cream of Celery Soup Recipe This is a super-healthy and totally delicious soup that is also useful for boosting your immune system and warding off colds and flu bugs. It makes a lovely first course and is gluten-free and can easily be made as a vegan dish.

Note: If you couldn’t be bothered with a big meal or you’ve eaten too many Easter Eggs why not have some cheese, crackers and fruit as your first or last course and pair that with this soup. Make sure you have some good bread to go with the soup – you’ll find it tasty and satisfying.

Salad: Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad

This is a scrumptious and very pretty salad and the acidity of the grapefruit goes well with the richness of the lamb roast.

Vegetarian? Throw in some extra avocado and feta cheese, double the size of the salad and forget about the lamb roast. Make sure you have some yummy bread as an accompaniment. A good rye bread or grainy sourdough is a great choice for this salad.

Vegan? See tips for vegetarians and omit the feta cheese.

Carb:Hasselback Potatoes? Opera House Potatoes? Best Ever Baked Potato Recipe!

This potato recipe is a favourite in our household and I will often make them for special occasions or when friends come to visit (which is often for us because we are blessed with good friends and good neighbours). They are crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and you won’t be able to stop at just one!

Main: Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Herbs and Red Wine

Easter and Lamb Roasts go hand in hand. This is a simple recipe – it takes little effort and the results are always a show-stopper. It’s a moist, flavour-filled, melt-in-your-mouth dish that is easy for beginner cooks. It’s almost impossible to stuff up. But you do need five hours of cooking time, and fifteen minutes prep, as well as fifteen minutes to rest the roast after it has cooked. Totally worth the wait though!!!

Note: Sorry, vegetarians and vegans. If meat is not your thing I have no substitute for this one.

Dessert: Hot Cross Bun Bread And Butter Pudding

This pudding is made several times over the Easter period in our house, as it’s so simple and easy for feeding guests and we don’t seem to tire of it either! It’s a silky smooth bread pudding with a lightly spiced sweet custard – heavenly!

If you manage to have any as left-overs it is great eating cold as well. (We have been known to eat the leftovers with a big mug of tea or freshly brewed coffee as breakfast when we have had a late night at Bluesfest.)

Note: Choose gluten-free buns or bread it needed. You can also use your favourite type of non-dairy milk, a butter substitute, and if you need to be egg-free replace the eggs with one cup of applesauce.

I encourage you to give these recipes a try.  Hopefully some of them will become an Easter Tradition in your household too.

Much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx

Easy Kale and Orange Salad with Miso Dressing

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
~ Hippocrates

 

This is a super-scrummy salad that is easy to prepare and chock full of goodness.

It’s satisfying enough that you could eat a bowl on its own, but it’s also a great side for roasts and barbeques.

I use kale leaves as a base and then add whatever other raw vegetables are in the fridge to make up four cups. Needless to say it tastes a little different every time I make it!

The dressing is also stupidly easy.

This salad will feed your gut microbes, adding in friendlies from the miso paste, and using the acid in the orange juice to make everything more digestible. The umeboshi plum has a myriad health benefits, and your gut will love it!

The salad will only keep for 24 hours once you add the dressing, so it is best made close to serving, and any leftovers eaten the next day. Want to make a higher protein meal in a bowl? Add some white beans, grilled or cold cooked chicken, pork or seafood.

The dressing can also be used as a glaze (don’t make it quite as thin) for baking/grilling salmon.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of shredded kale leaves (not the rib!) and a selection of the following to make up another two cups of shredded vegetables: carrots, zucchini, beetroot, apple, red or green cabbage. Plus one small red salad onion, an orange and a couple of tablespoons of your favourite seed and nut mix. I sometimes use a trail mix that also has dried cranberries and sultanas for some OMG yumness.

For the dressing you’ll need two heaped teaspoons of white miso paste, juice of half an orange (give or take) and if you like, add a 1/4 teaspoon of umeboshi plum paste to give a salty tartness to the dressing (and for the awesome health benefits of this condiment).

Method:

Shred or finely cut your kale, cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables of choice to make 4 cups. Add to a large bowl. I like the act of slicing and chopping. I use it like a mindfulness meditation, especially at the end of a long day of psychic work. It gives me decompression time. But if you are in a hurry or would rather decompress in front of Netflix using a mandolin or a food processor will have this job done in no time! Ridiculously time poor? Buy a bag of salad to add to your onion and orange combo. Finely dice the red onion, peel the orange and cut into small cubes, removing any seeds.

Chuck the onion, orange and seed and nut mix into the bowl of vegetables.

Dressing: Add the miso to a cup, and the umeboshi if you are using it. Umeboshi is strong flavoured, while white miso and orange are sweet and mild so be cautious about adding too much at first. Then add a small amount of orange juice and mix. Keep adding juice until it is thinned to a good consistency but still creamy. Taste and adjust juice or miso flavours if necessary. Pour over salad and mix well.

It doesn’t take much juice to go from thick to creamy. This pic below is with a tablespoon of juice. A bit more of a stir and it would be great as a glaze. But for dressing we’ll need to add more juice.

Pour over the dressing just before serving. Yum!

Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad

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‘Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?’
~ Curly Howard

 

This is such a simple salad, and it’s easy to throw together, but it tastes like a celebration!

It might seem like a little work to segment the grapefruit, but it makes for a pretty result, and no chewy pith or seeds!

Serve this salad on its own or as a tasty side with your next barbeque, fish fry or roast dinner.

 

 

Salad Ingredients:

Four handfuls of rocket and spinach (arugula) or your favourite salad green leaves, one small red onion, one ruby grapefruit, two bunches of fresh asparagus, 1/2 cup of fetta cheese, 1/2 cup of roasted cashews, olive oil

*If you’re cow’s milk intolerant, use a good sheep or goat fetta.

*If you’re dairy-free, substitute some chunks of avocado.

Dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic – crushed and pressed or diced finely, 1 teaspoon honey, pinch of salt, grind of black pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake well. The mixture will become thick and creamy. USe what you need on your salad and store the rest in the fridge for up to one week.

 

 

Method:

Layer the leaves in the bottom of a large serving bowl.

Halve the onion and cut into thin slices. Separate the rings with your fingers.

Slice the ends of the grapefruit and then remove the rest of the peel. Using a sharp knife, cut between each membrane to remove the segments of flesh. Set aside.

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Cut the fetta into bite-size pieces.

Add a dash of olive oil to your frypan. Snap or trim the ends off the bottom of the asparagus spears. Toss over a medium flame for two to three minutes or until cooked but still crunchy.

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*Warning: Be careful not to eat too much asparagus before it gets to the salad dish!

Lay the asparagus, grapefruit, onion, fetta and cashews over the top of the leaves.

Drizzle with dressing. Toss and serve.

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Pomegranate, Kale and Sweet Potato Salad Recipe

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“Fun fact #1 about pomegranates: Pomegranates are awesome.
Fun fact #2: Pomegranates are like little explosions of awesome in your mouth.
Fun fact #3: A lot of people think you’re not supposed to eat the seeds of a pomegranate – but that’s not true, people who tell you that are liars, and they don’t know anything about life, and they should never be trusted.”
~ Tahereh Mafi

 

This is a tasty and nutritious salad that is also very visually appealing. You could enjoy it on its own, but I chose to serve mine as an accompaniment to roast lamb.

In truth, I’m in the middle of my planning summit, and I wanted an easy dinner that was quick to make. This was a winner on both counts. Plus, my garden is overflowing with kale right now, so I’m afraid it’s kale in EVERYTHING around here. 🙂

I’m quite in love with kale. You can read more about the many health benefits of this awesome leafy green here.

If you don’t have access to kale use spinach leaves or rocket (arugula).

This is also a terrific meal if you have Lyme disease or co-infections as the pomegranate is a great biofilm buster! Food as medicine, and so yummy too. It’s an idea that might catch on…

 

Ingredients:

3 cups of kale (leaf only – rib removed), seeds from one large pomegranate, 1/2 cup macadamia nut pieces, 1/2 cup of fetta cheese, 2 cups of sweet potato (any variety!) and a little olive oil or coconut oil for roasting.

Oil of your choice to dress salad – I used a lemon-myrtle infused macadamia oil.

Note: For a vegan version substitute the fetta for a vegan cheese or use avocado.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a large tray by lining it with baking paper (Prevents sticking and saves on washing up later.) If you’re already cooking a roast or some other dish in the oven all the better!

Wash and dry the sweet potato and then cut into small chunks. Coat lightly with oil (I chuck all the pieces in a bowl, pour in a slug of oil and massage with my fingers to get the job done) and then place the pieces on your baking-paper lined tray. Place into the oven and cook until golden – about 40 minutes, depending on size of pieces.

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De-seed the pomegranate, and wash the arils (seeds) to remove any pith. Drain well and set aside.

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Wash and dry the kale leaves and then shred finely with a sharp knife.

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Cut or crumble the fetta cheese.

Toast the macadamia nuts over moderate heat in a dry frypan. Push them around with a spoon so that they cook evenly and don’t burn on one side. Watch them while you do this.(Note that some of mine got a bit toasty due to talking too much to Dana and not paying attention to my nuts!).  It only takes a few minutes but it’s worth doing as it gives a beautiful complexity of flavour.

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Place the shredded kale in a bowl and dump the hot roasted sweet potato on top.

Tip in the nuts and fetta cheese.

Now add the pomegranate arils. Toss together with a slug of your favourite oil.

 

Serve and enjoy!

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Last night’s dinner. Totally delish. 🙂2015-01-06 19.32.02

 

Warm Lamb Salad with Tahini, Kale and Roasted Tomatoes

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“Don’t just eat McDonald’s, get something a bit better. Eat a salad. That’s what fashion is. It’s something that is a bit better.” ~ Vivienne Westwood

 

One of the pleasures of being on the farm is wandering around the garden in the late afternoon, hunting out things to eat for dinner.

I have an abundance of kale and tiny sweet tomatoes right now, and the basil is fragrant and plump. Perfect ingredients for a simple salad that speaks of summer.

This is a throw-together recipe, so adjust your quantities according to how many people you are feeding, and whether you want left-overs.

The dressing for this salad is creamy and satisfying, and the food is perfectly filling without the need for carbs so it’s great if you are following a paleo, gluten-free or other kind of restrictive diet.

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Ingredients to serve two:

Lamb – roasted, pan fried, or barbequed – 3/4 cup per person or to suit your personal taste. Two cups of kale, two cups of cherry tomatoes  1/2 cup of shredded carrot, 1/2 cup each of shredded red and white cabbage, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Note – if you LOVE salad feel free to throw in some more kale, cabbage or carrot.

Dressing:

2 tablespoons of tahini,1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, 2 to 3 tablespoons of water.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Organise your lamb so that it will be cooked the way you like it. If you’re cooking for one go for a few small pieces of lamb rump or fillet. Pan fry to your liking and then rest for ten minutes. If you’re feeding a crowd roast or barbeque a butterflied lamb leg. You could also cook a traditional lamb leg with the bone in, but your cooking time will be much longer.

If you are roasting the lamb make sure there’s room on another shelf for your tomatoes!

No matter how you cook your lamb, set the cooked meat aside for at least ten minutes before slicing so the meat can rest and the juices can reabsorb into the meat, giving it extra flavour and tenderness.

Wash your tomatoes and then cut them in half. Place halves on a baking-paper lined tray and roast for thirty minutes. They will have shrunk in size, and be a little caramelised on the edges or underneath. Yum!

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Shred your carrot and cabbage.

Strip the kale from the tough middle rib and slice it very finely.

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Mix the cabbage, carrot and kale together in the bottom of your serving dish.

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Toast the pine nuts in a dry frypan over medium heat. This will take a few minutes. Keep moving them around so they don’t burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Shred the basil leaves finely.

To make the dressing add tahini, garlic and lemon juice to a small bowl and stir well. Then add the water a little at a time until the dressing is smooth, creamy and can be poured.

To assemble the salad place the roasted tomatoes on top of the raw greens.

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Slice the lamb and add to the salad.

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Drizzle the tahini dressing over the top, scatter the toasted pine nuts and then place the shredded basil in the centre of the dish.

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It was a positively delicious dinner, so I was delighted there were left-overs for today’s lunch!

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Simple Tomato Salad

tomato salad recipe

“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.”
~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

 

One of my favourite salads involves ripe tomatoes, a little oil and a handful of herbs picked fresh from the garden.

Right now my Spring vegetable garden is still in its infancy, and my tomatoes are not yet ripe. But I found some delicious Green Spanish tomatoes at the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets yesterday.

green spanish

 

Heather, from the wonderful Coopers Shoot Tomatoes told me these ones are a variety that are meant to be eaten firm and green – with a little oil and salt.

Here’s my take on them, using a few extra ingredients from my garden. I whipped this up as a side for slow roasted lamb and baked sweet potatoes. Yum!

Ingredients:

Nasturtium leaves (nasturtium leaves have a slightly sweet and peppery taste – if you don’t have access to any use some rocket or any other slightly peppery green), red salad onion, one marigold flower, two large green tomatoes or any other favourite variety, salt, a good oil. I used a local lemon myrtle infused macadamia oil, but a good fruity olive oil would be lovely too!

garden

 

nasturtium recipe

Method:

Wash and dry all leaves and fruit. Line a serving tray with the nasturtium leaves, or place a bed of rocket on your plate.

Thinly slice the tomatoes and a few slices of the red onion. Dice any remaining tomato ends. Layer the tomato slices with the onion rings, and then dump the diced tomato on top.

Sprinkle marigold petals over the tomatoes and then pour a liberal slug of oil over the dish, followed by a good sprinkle of salt.

Serves one as a main or two as a side dish.

Eat with gusto!

nasturtium recipe

Delicious Fig, Feta and Walnut Salad Recipe

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“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”Epictetus

My farmer friends, Rob and Robby, have a wonderful commercial stone fruit orchard and a couple of handsome old fig trees. In the fig season we often trade produce, and I have the pleasure of coming up with ways to use all of those luscious fruits.

This is a super salad, and satisfying enough to be eaten on its own, although it makes an interesting side dish too.

The combination of the sweet fleshy figs with the crisp lettuce, slightly salty cheese, tangy dressing and those little walnut chunks is, well… 😀

Why not make it and find out? Did I mention this salad is also easy to assemble!

This will serve two to three hungry adults as a main meal, or give four to six side servings. Recipe is easily adapted to smaller or larger serves.

Ingredients:

1 cos lettuce, 2 ribs of celery, 2 green shallots (scallions/spring onions), 1 small apple, 4 to 6 ripe figs, 1/2 cup of walnuts, a few thick slices of good feta cheese.

Dressing:

1 heaped tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, 1 small teaspoon of mustard powder, salt and pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of vinegar (I used coconut vinegar and it was sublime!)

Figs Large

Method:

Take a wide, flattish salad bowl or platter.

Wash and dry your lettuce leaves. Rip the lettuce into bite size chunks putting them straight into the salad bowl. Then slice the celery, apple and shallots into small pieces. Toss with the lettuce.

Slice the figs into wedges and place them on top of the greens. Then scatter the walnuts and feta (cut into small cubes) over the figs.

Dressing:

Place condensed milk, mustard, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and stir until well combined. Adjust to your taste. Thin if necessary by adding a little water or milk.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

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Roast Cauliflower and Pomegranate Salad

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Fun fact #1 about pomegranates: Pomegranates are awesome.
Fun fact #2: Pomegranates are like little explosions of awesome in your mouth.
Fun fact #3: A lot of people think you’re not supposed to eat the seeds of a pomegranate – but that’s not true, people who tell you that are liars, and they don’t know anything about life, and they should never be trusted. 
~ Tahereh Mafi

 

Isn’t this salad just the prettiest thing?

Last night I cooked. Something simple. Something that wasn’t even vaguely like one of my husband’s dinner staples… (Don’t get me wrong – I’m not unappreciative of his catering efforts, but let’s merely say that heaven was being back in my kitchen, no matter how briefly!)

Pomegranates, those tart and sweet little delights, are food as medicine, especially for those suffering from Lyme disease or other antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. There is a substance in pomegranates which busts the biofilm of these bacteria, enabling drugs and herbs to effectively target the naked pathogen and eradicate it! Other reasons to eat pomegranates? They taste zesty and delicious; they’re packed with Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese and B-group vitamins, and they’re high in fibre. Pomegranates support healthy blood sugar, aid wound healing and reduce inflammation.

Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, boosts Phase 1 detox of your liver pathways, as well as being an anti-inflammatory and cancer-retardant.

This speedy salad is easy to make and super-good for you, as well as being fresh and delicious. Eat it on its own, or as a side dish for fish, chicken or barbequed meats.

Ingredients:

1 pomegranate, 1 head of cauliflower, 2 cups of rocket (arugula) or other bitter greens, 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 heaped teaspoon of garam masala (or just use more cumin), 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or ghee if you prefer), cold pressed olive oil and fresh lemon juice to serve.

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 degrees fahrenheit) if fan forced, or 220 degrees celcius (440 degrees fahrenheit) if not.

Split open the pomegranate with a sharp knife and then use your thumbs to break open the segments and release the tiny jewels (seeds) inside. Clear off most of the white pith. Set pomegranate seeds aside until later.

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Chop your cauliflower into chunks. Toss in the coconut oil and then the turmeric and garam masala or cumin. (For ease you can place all in a plastic bag and shake if you like.)

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Place cauliflower on a baking-paper lined tray for easy clean up. Pop into oven for fifteen minutes or until golden.

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Remove from oven and cool slightly. Try not to eat too much before it makes it to the salad bowl…

Combine with the pomegranate and rocket leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Eat with gusto.

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PS: If you want to serve this as a cold salad let the cauliflower cool completely before combing with the rocket and pomegranate so that the rocket doesn’t get all sad and wilted.

PSS: OMG, I have missed cooking!!!

Tasty Green Bean Salad Recipe with Miso Dressing

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“What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.”
~ Augustus Saint-Gaudens

I love salads any time of year – as a main event, or as a side for anything from soup to roasts. I made this one to go with a roast lamb dinner. The crunchy beans paired with the salt of the cheese, the sweetness of the tomatoes, capsicum and onions, and the zesty citrus dressing are a delectable combination!

We ate this salad again yesterday for lunch, with some of the cold meat tossed through it.

Did I mention I am a huge fan of left-overs?

These salad ingredients nurture your lower chakras, boost your immune system, stimulate your heart chakra, and aid digestion. The walnuts and sesame oil are good for brain function too. Did I also mention yum? 🙂

Ingredients to serve four:

Four big handfuls of fresh green beans, one cup of halved cherry or baby roma tomatoes, one small red capsicum (bell pepper) seeded and chopped, one red salad onion halved and cut into thin slices – separate out, one small block of *fetta cheese – cubed, half to one cup of walnut pieces.

These ingredients came easily be halved or doubled, depending on the size of your crowd. Don’t be afraid to make too much of this salad. It’s delicious and keeps well for lunches or as a side for another meal.

*Vegans – use your favourite cheese substitute or replace with tofu!

Method:

Wash, top and tail beans. Slice up onions, capsicum and tomatoes. Cube your cheese.

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Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and drop in the beans. Cook for two to three minutes, so that they are blanched but not completely cooked. Hint – test one by carefully removing from water with tongs or a fork. When you bite down the bean will have softened slightly but still be crunchy.

Drain beans and run some cold water over them to halt the cooking process. Drain well.

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Place beans into a serving bowl and later other ingredients over the top. Pour dressing over finished salad and let it sit for five minutes to absorb flavours.

Dressing:

Juice of half an orange, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root, 1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite miso paste, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, tiny pinch of salt.

Shake all ingredients together in a lidded jar until well combined. Pour over salad.

This salad makes a good light meal, but is also the perfect accompaniment to roasts, barbeques and bakes.

Will store well, refrigerated for three to four days.

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