Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

Cauliflower has officially made a come back. Its no longer that plain, overcooked until watery vegetable but rather the hero of so many different dishes.  We’ve seen it as pizza bases, a rice alternative, in cakes, in bread and of course flavoursome soups. But my favourite way has got to be roasted until the edges are charred and crispy and the inside still has a little bite. Here it is roasted with turmeric, cummin and cinnamon which lifts the mellow flavour of the cauliflower while also adding a little sweetness.

Now don’t get me started on eggplant because it is quite possible one of my favourite things now after years of hating it as a kid. Roasting, like the cauliflower has got to be my favourite way to cook it. Once again the edges get crispy and charred but the inside is buttery soft and so delicious.

I’ve paired these two beautiful vegetables with green lentils, lots of fresh parsley, sweet dates, tangy pomegranate jewels and a creamy tahini dressing to really create a satisfying salad that is perfect for any day or night.

Warm cauliflower and aubergine salad

serves 4 as a side or 2-3 as a main 

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cummin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 aubergine, sliced into wedges
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1/2 C green lentils
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 C baby spinach leaves
  • 5 medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • pomegranate jewels, to serve
  • tahini dressing, to serve (recipe below)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1/2 the olive oil, the turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. Spread out on the baking tray and place in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Slice half way down along the wedges of aubergine, making sure not to cut all the way through. place on the other baking tray and drizzle with the rest of the oil, the chilli flakes and paprika. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, or until charred on the edges and soft and gooey on the inside.
  3. Rinse the lentils before placing in a saucepan and covering well with lots of water. Bring to the boil over medium heat before turning to low, covering and cooking for 20 minutes. Refresh under cold water and set aside.
  4. Combine the cooked lentils, roasted cauliflower, parsley, baby spinach and preserved lemon in a large bowl. Add the roasted aubergine on top followed by the almonds, pomegranate jewels and spicy tahini dressing.
  5. Serve immediately.

Spicy tahini dressing 

makes 3/4 C 

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 C tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water, to thin, about 3/4 c

Method 

  1. Place everything but the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add the water until the desired consistency is reached. Its nice to have it quite runny so its a good drizzle consistency.
  2. Use for the salad and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

 

Moroccan roasted couliflower salad

Even though its the middle of Winter I still have the urge to pack up the picnic basket and head outside for a meal of complete relaxation and deliciousness. Instead of packing salads full of fresh ingredients i tend to make salads with roasted vegetables and warming spices. So even if we are freezing on the outside, at least our bellies are warm. This is one of those salad’s, made with spiced roasted cauliflower, grilled zucchini and lovely fragrant quinoa to make it a little more substantial. Its perfect for a picnic but also a casual lunch or a side for dinner.

Moroccan roasted cauliflower salad 

For the cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

For the grilled zucchini:

1 medium sized zucchini

2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

For the quinoa:

1 C quinoa (white, red or a mixture)

1.5 C filtered water

1 bay leaf

To serve:

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 bunch mint

2 lemons

1/4 C raw almonds

Pomegranate seeds

cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Slice the florets off the trunk of the cauliflower, reserving the stem for soup. Pop them in a bowl along with the cinnamon, cumin, olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper in one even layer. Place into the preheated oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes. They should be starting the crisp up on the edges when you take them out. Set aside.

Place the almonds on a small tray and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Take out and roughly chop. Set aside.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the zucchini and place in a bowl with the olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Toss to coat all slices evenly. Place the slices in a single layer on a baking tray and grill at a high temperature for 8 minutes. Turning once half way through. Set aside.

Wash the quinoa thoroughly and place in a saucepan with the water and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, turn down to very low and cook for 15 minutes. Leave the lid on for another 5 minutes before fluffing the quinoa with a fork. Once cooled slightly place it into a salad bowl.

Finely chop half the parsley and mint and add this to the quinoa. Zest one of the lemons and juice both before adding to the quinoa mix. Now top with the roasted cauliflower, grilled zucchini and roasted almonds. Pull the leaves off mint and parsley from the stems and add this to the bowl along with the pomegranate. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and pack up for a picnic or eat straight away.

Enjoy!

Roasted fennel, carrot and watercress salad

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I have had a beautiful big bunch of watercress sitting in my fringe for the last couple of days. Whilst contemplating what to do with it I also picked up a big bulb of fennel, its the perfect time of year for these two contrasting vegetables. The watercress was just too fresh and lovely to be turned into a soup so I thought a salad would be perfect. Pairing the bitter watercress with sweet fennel and carrots turned out better than expected and the fresh orange dressing is pretty amazing! It’s like autumn on a plate!

Also, sorry about my lack of posts lately I have been bombarded with uni work but only a few weeks left then I’ll have all the time in the world to play in the kitchen!

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Roasted fennel, carrot and watercress salad with an orange dressing

Ingredients

1 bulb of fennel

3 medium carrots

2 t extra virgin olive oil

1 t honey

a few sprigs of time

1 bunch of watercress

a handful of macadamias

a handful of pepita seeds

Dressing

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 t raw apple cider vinegar

1 t wholegrain mustard

the juice of 1/2 an orange

Method 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Thinly slice the fennel and place in a bowl. Quarter the carrots and add to the bowl along with the olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Give it a good toss then place on a lined baking tray in the oven. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the fennel is starting to caramelise.

Meanwhile, wash the watercress and discard any thick stalks. Place on your serving dish.

To make the dressing place all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. Season with salt and pepper.

When the carrots and fennel have 5 minutes left in the oven add the pepitas and macadamia nuts. Cook until golden brown. Rest the carrots and fennel for a few minutes before assembling the salad. Just before you serve pour the dressing over.

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Enjoy!

A vibrant late summer salad

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Here in Australia autumn has officially arrived, although, it does not feel like it yet as we are still enjoying bright blue sky’s, HOT days and fresh late summer produce. My parents have a mountain of figs coming off their tree’s so I have been putting them in everything, especially salads. I love the contrast of flavours when adding sweet fruit to salads, it really adds another dimension. I have also snuck a little preserved lemon in here, which gives a beautiful mediterranean flavour.

This is the perfect salad to have on its own, take to a friend’s barbecue or pack up for a weekday lunch at work.

Quinoa salad with green beans, asparagus and figs

1 C quinoa, I used a mixture of red, black and white

1 bay leaf

2 bunches of asparagus

200g green beans

2 C baby spinach

a handful of fresh mint

1/4 of a preserved lemon

1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced

4 figs, quartered

2 T sunflower seeds

2 T pepitas

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T lemon juice

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Method

Firstly, rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Place in a saucepan with the bay leaf and 1 1/2 C of water. Bring the the boil, cover and turn to low to cook for 15 minutes. Once cooked remove the lid and fluff with a fork.Place into your salad bowl.

Meanwhile bring another saucepan filled with water to the boil and blanch the asparagus and then the beans until just cooked. After removing from the water refresh under cool water. Put aside.

Finely chop the preserved lemon and stir through the quinoa with the red onion.

To make the dressing combine the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small jar. Give a good shake and pour half through the quinoa.

In a dry pan toast the sunflower seeds and pepitas until crunchy.

Now, assemble! Firstly toss the green beans, asparagus, spinach and mint through the quinoa. Place the figs on top, drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle on the seeds.

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Enjoy the flavours of late summer!

Buckwheat and beetroot salad

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Today I pulled up the last of my beautiful beetroot crop. I have had a delicious supply of these creamy pink beets all spring, using them raw, cooked and in both sweet and savoury recipes. My favourite use is defiantly roasted and then combined with a few other simple ingredients to create a humble yet beautiful salad.

This salad uses buckwheat as the base for added nutrients as well as complex carbs. This way the salad can be served as a meal alone for lunch or a light dinner. It also goes lovely as a side with grilled chicken. Buckwheat is a popular gluten free grain as it is cheap and very versatile as well as packing a powerful punch of iron, magnesium, zinc and copper.

I have used a special heirloom type of beetroot for the recipe, as its what was in my garden, but it would work just as well with regular beets. They all have the same powerful nutrients.

Goats fetta adds a lovely saltiness to the salad offsetting the sweetness of the beetroot and tang of lemon but if you are vegan it may be left out, perhaps adding a few crunchy nuts on top instead. I like to use goat or sheep fetta over cow milk fetta as it has a chemical structure similar to breast milk that our bodies can absorb easily.

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Buckwheat and beetroot salad

Ingredients

1 C raw buckwheat groats

1 ½ C filtered water

1 t Himalayan salt

1 t extra virgin olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 bunch of beetroot

1 handful of parsley, chopped

2 lemons

2 T unrefined macadamia oil

100g rocket

50g goats fetta

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Rinse the buckwheat groats and then combine in a saucepan with the water, EVOO, bay leaf and seasoning. Bring to the boil then turn down to low and cook for approximately 12 minutes. You still want the buckwheat to have a little crunch.

Meanwhile trim the beetroot and wash thoroughly. Individually wrap each beet in aluminium foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Juice 1 lemon and place the liquid in a salad bowl along with the macadamia oil, chopped parsley and seasoning. Add the cooked buckwheat and give a good mix.

When the beets are cooked remove from the oven and peel the skin off carefully. Slice in quarters and halves and place in your bowl with the buckwheat. Add the rocket and crumble over the fetta and give a good squeeze of lemon juice on the top.

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Enjoy!

Golden beetroot!

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I have been having an absolute ball trawling through the farmers markets here in Perth and down south in Busselton. The difference in produce from the tropics is amazing even though i do miss some of the tropical fruit and vegetables here, there is enough here to keep me entertained. I have enjoyed experimenting with purple carrots, persimmons, rhubarb, blood oranges and of course golden beetroot.

Beetroot are a fantastic vegetable as you can eat the whole plant and its full of nutrients. It is from the same family and spinach and chard, so the leaves are packed full of calcium, iron and vitamins A and C. The actual beetroot itself is a good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. With all these wonderful benefits i urge you to go out and get yourself a bunch!

This salad is perfect on its on or as a side dish to grilled salmon or veggie burgers. As not all the leaves are used in the recipe, save the rest for green smoothies or use as a replacement to chard and spinach.

Roast beet salad

Serves four

Ingredients 

1 C quinoa

1 bay leaf

1 bunch golden beetroot

1/4 C hazelnuts

1/4 C parsley

2 T tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

2 t honey

2 t EVOO

Method 

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Place in a saucepan with 1 1/2 C filtered water. Slowly bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove the lid, fluff with a fork and let cool.

Meanwhile pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Cut the leaves off the beetroot and reserve half for the salad, washing these and spinning dry. Individually wrap the beetroot in foil and place on a baking tray in the oven. Cook for 35-45 minutes, until just tender.

Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes.

To make the dressing combine the tahini, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

On a serving platter place the cooled quinoa, hazelnuts, beetroot leaves, parsleyvand dressing.

When the beetroots are cooked remove from the oven and peel. Toss with the honey and EVOO and place on the platter.

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Enjoy!

Mediterranean quinoa salad

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Quinoa is actually a seed not a grain and related to leafy green vegetables such as spinach and chard. This makes it gluten-free, high in protein, fibre and full of nutrients. Its a great alternative to rice, cous cous and pasta. It can be cooked sweet or savoury, there is an abundance of options to do with this superfood!

Quinoa salad is one of my favourite lunch or dinner options. It’s a perfect accompaniment to grilled meat or fish but also satisfying enough on its own. Combinations for quinoa salad are endless, this recipe is one of my favourites but I will post many more options in the future.

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Quinoa, aubergine and zucchini salad

Ingredients

1 aubergine

1 zucchini

1 red onion

1 T dried mint leaves

1 T coconut oil

1 C quinoa ( I like to use red or black)

1/4 C fresh mint leaves

1 C spinach

2 T sunflower seeds

1 Lemon, juiced

Method

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Chop the aubergine and zucchini into 2cm x 2cm cubes, place in a baking tray.  Slice the red onion into 8 wedges and add to the baking tray. Sprinkle over the dried mint leaves, coconut oil and season well. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Place in a saucepan with 1 1/2 C water. Bring to the boil on the stove then turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Place the sunflower seeds in a small baking dish and bake for 5-10 minutes until golden.

To assemble, combine the quinoa, roast veggies and spinach. Place on a platter and top with the mint, sunflower seeds and lemon juice.

Perfect served on its own or with grilled fish.

Serves four.

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Enjoy!