I love a nice salad, so many possibilities and combinations, but one thing that is an absolute essential is a delicious dressing, which adds flavour, good fats, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols!
This also has the added benefit of probiotics and its absolutely delicious too!
If you brew your own kombucha then I'm sure you have let a batch ferment too long, resulting in rather sour and vinegary kombucha, which isn't very pleasant to drink!
Sour kombucha still contains probiotics and lends itself very well to salad dressings, in the same way that vinegar and lemon juice do!
So this amazingly fresh and vibrant dressing is packed full of polyphenols from the basil, vitamins from the lime, good fats from the oil and probiotics from the kombucha.
It works really well with any green salad so watercress, rocket, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, chard, sorrel, kale, endive, fresh herbs, or any other combination of greens is sublime with this vibrant punchy dressing. It just screams summer!!
Basil is one of my favourite summer herbs, and I also love lime so this is right up my street!!
So here is my recipe
In a blender, combine the kombucha, lime juice, honey, garlic, salt and pepper and blitz until well blended.
With the machine still running, slowly add the oil through the hole in the lid and blend until emulsified.
Add the basil and blend for a few seconds, don't overblend or the basil will lose its vibrant green colour.
Taste and add more lime juice and/or salt if needed.
Will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in a covered jar.
Serve with any green salad.
I'm a huge fan of potato salad and usually make it with a delicious garlicky vegan mayo, until I came across this recipe by Deliciously Ella. The photo caught my attention first, I love anything green, anything with avocados and I'm a sucker for a lovely big vibrant serving bowl and since
Deliciously Ella had all three I had to try it!
I have to admit I wasn't disappointed! This takes potato salad to new heights of flavour and nutrition. Avocado, lemon, asparagus, mint, basil chives, olive oil and new potatoes are a wonderful combination, all green, healthy and delicious.
It is the end of British asparagus season so frozen peas or edamame beans are great alternatives!
I grow lots of herbs in the summer and I have loads of mint, basil and chives and I'm always looking for new recipes to use them in. They just taste great and are packed with all sorts of beneficial antioxidants, minerals and vitamins along with essential oils.
And now for the sciency bit......
I came across some research on resistant starch recently, which is present in many foods to varying degrees. It is resistant to digestion so reaches the colon intact, where our gut bacteria use it for food and convert it into short chain fatty acids, namely acetate, butyrate and propionate.
Butyrate is of most importance and has unique health benefits including increasing metabolism, reducing inflammation and increasing insulin sensitivity;
and guess what....?
Resistant starch is much higher in cold cooked potatoes than hot ones, a
good enough reason to eat lots of this delicious cold potato salad!
Add a delicious creamy dressing packed with healthy fats and vitamins, some heart healthy olive oil, alkalising lemon juice and a nice crunch from the asparagus with digestive benefits from the mint and you have a superstar salad, which is a perfect accompaniment for a summer BBQ or buffet spread. This salad will keep quite happily in a covered container in the fridge for a few days, if it lasts that long!
I hope you try this, it really ticks a lot of boxes for me in the nutrition and flavour departments.
So here is the recipe....
CREAMY AVOCADO POTATO SALAD
1kg new potatoes, washed
Bunch of spring onions, 4 or 5
2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
Bunch of asparagus or a cup of frozen peas or edamame beans
1 lemon, juiced
2 ripe avocadoes
Mint, basil and chives, to taste, roughly a small handful of each
......your health in your hands.....
I still can't decide whether summer has arrived or not! I'm going between boots and fit flops at the moment, that's Scotland for you, every season in one day!
Anyway I was in Waitrose earlier this week when the sun was shining and bought a rather lovely big salad bowl!
I love colourful salads so I thought I'd share one of our family favourites.
It's Tabbouleh, a middle eastern dish, based on bulghur wheat with loads of vibrant herbs, lemon, olive oil, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion.
It really does taste of summer, all herby, lemony and nutty!
I have mint popping up all over the garden at the moment, which pleases me no end! I can't begin to explain the warm fuzzy feeling that envelops me when I just go out and pick plants that I've grown myself for our dinner.
Its just awesome and miles ahead of buying them from the supermarket wrapped in plastic!
As you probably know I am a big advocate of eating loads of colourful fruits and veggies and this recipe doesn't disappoint!
We have lemons, packed with Vit C and antioxidants.
Vine ripened tomatoes, packed with vitamins, minerals and lycopene an antioxidant proven to reduce risk of several cancers, including prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
Cucumber, really hydrating and cleansing. Its 90% water and also contains useful amounts of vitamins and minerals, notably silica and vit C great for skin health.
Mint, which is great for the digestion and relieving symptoms of IBS
Coriander, a brilliant detoxifier, especially of heavy metals
Red onions, great infection fighters and really high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Extra virgin olive oil contains a great balance of essential fatty acids and vitamin E, great for skin health. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol so great news for your heart.
A point to note is the wonderful synergy going on in this salad. The high levels of vitamin C enhance the absorption of iron from the herbs. The olive oil enhances the absorption of lycopene and also of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
This is one of the things I love about eating real food, combining natural ingredients to amplify the health benefits. A wee bit of knowledge goes a long way and in actual fact so many traditional dishes have been developed in this way to take advantage of these natural synergies.
That's where many supplements pale into insignificance, once the active ingredients have been extracted from the whole food, they don't work in the same way.
Nature is so clever, and in my humble but informed opinion, we can't improve upon it.
It's real seasonal best quality organic food for me every time!
Tabbouleh is a brilliant dish for lunch and will keep in the fridge in a covered container for 3 or 4 days. You can add chickpeas, goat’s cheese, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, olives, avocado and chopped peppers.
Frozen peas and sweetcorn are also good. It's also great at a BBQ or any other gathering where lots of people need fed!
Bulghur wheat is a high fibre wholegrain, containing all the B vitamins, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium and magnesium. Topped with pumpkin seeds and toasted walnuts lifts it to superstar status in the nutritional stakes!!
Bulghur wheat comes in fine, medium and coarse grain and all the supermarkets stock it. It doesn't require cooking, just add boiling water, cover with a plate and leave it for 20 to 30 minutes. Perfect!
Feel free to use any combination of herb; flat leaf parsley, basil, coriander and mint are all good, even better if you've grown it yourself!
So I give you TABBOULEH...
.......your health in your hands......
It's just not Christmas without brussel sprouts! They really are a love them or hate them vegetable. I'm actually not that fussed either way, I can take them or leave them!
I think most of us, well certainly of a certain age, can remember soggy, bitter brussel sprouts at Christmas! Overcooked veggies are one of my pet hates!
Now I'm all for seasonal food and brussel sprouts are certainly seasonal. Since we don't eat turkey, or any other animal for that matter!! I like to include some sprouts with our Festive Feast!
I came across this recipe on the Food Matters blog and was intrigued to give it a go. I've certainly never considered sprouts as a salad ingredient but then I never considered kale as a salad leaf before until I tried it in Awesome Wild Rice Salad and now I'm hooked!
The key to using tougher greens in salad is to use enough dressing and pour it over your salad ingredients an hour or so before you serve it to soften them a bit, making them easier to digest.
This particular salad is packed with nutritious ingredients with a festive twist from the cranberries and nuts. It is bursting with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins from the radishes, carrot, beetroot and flat leaf parsley.
The dressing packs a real punch with good fats from the rapeseed oil, immune boosting and digestive benefits from the garlic and apple cider vinegar and a delicious sweetness from the maple syrup!
All in all this definitely ticks all the boxes on flavour and nutrition!
I hope you give it a go, it could just transform your opinion of brussel sprouts!
Here is the recipe.
INGREDIENTS for SALAD
1/2 bag (approx 200g) of brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
4 radishes, cut into strips
1 small raw beetroot, thinly sliced or grated
1 small to medium carrot, grated
seeds of half a pomegrante (optional)
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
handful of pumpkin seeds to garnish (optional)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt, black pepper and a large pinch of cinnamon.
1. Give all your veg a good wash and cut the bottom off the sprouts.
2. I used my food processor to thinly slice the sprouts and grate the carrot and beetroot which is really easy but if you don't have one then just slice the sprouts as finely as you can and grate the carrot and beetroot.
2. Thinly slice the radishes then cut them into strips.
3. Pile your veggies into a large salad bowl, just use your hands to mix it all together.
4. Add the walnuts and cranberries.
4. Measure all the salad ingredients into a glass jar and give it a good shake.
5. Pour over the salad and mix well.
6. Garnish with pomegrante and pumpkin seeds.
BRUSSEL SPROUT CRISPS
This was another OMG moment this festive season when I realised that sprouts make damned good crisps!
I'm a huge fan of kale crisps, which are just delicious and so light and crispy and I've perfected the recipe here.
Brussel sprout leaves are a lot thicker than curly kale so need a bit longer in the oven at a higher temperature.
I've found that if you trim off the outer leaves from your sprouts, you can crisp them up, then oven roast the middle bits with other veggies like red onions, cubed butternut squash and parsnips or thinly slice them and use them in the Sprout Salad.
.It becomes increasingly difficult to remove whole leaves since they are so tightly packed the nearer the middle. Initially I just sliced the middle bits thinly but they didn't crisp up like the outer leaves did so if you want crispy leaves just use the bigger outside leaves.
Right so all you need to do is wash your leaves well and dry in a salad spinner. I also dried mine on kitchen roll. Put the sprouts in a bowl and drizzle over about a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and massage the leaves to make sure they are all coated in oil. Then tumble them all onto an oven tray, arrange in a single layer, season with seaweed flakes and/or Himalyan sea salt.You may need more than one tray since they need to be in a single layer to crisp up!
I love Mara Seaweed, they do a great range of Scottish seaweeds with great flavour and health benefits!
Right then put them in the oven at around 160C for 15 minutes, shake the tray and put them back it for another 10 minutes or so until nicely browned and crisp. Ovens vary a bit so just use these timings as a guide and keep an eye on your crisps to make sure they don't burn.
Although some of mine did look a bit brown, they still tasted delicious!
This really is a great way of using up extra sprouts over the Festive Season.
Even my husband Alastair, who hates sprouts, actually ate these and said they weren't disgusting! He went back for seconds so I know he liked them, he just didn't want to admit it!!
Anyway sprouts like all veggies are extremely nutritious so I hope you eat loads of them this Christmas! It's certainly easy with these delicious recipes!
. .....your health in your hands......
🍃 Health educator🍃