I was never a fan of the salad. As a wee girl growing up in Scotland the best offering at school was a limp, damp lettuce leaf with an unripe ‘peely wally’ tomato – bad times for inspiring children into healthy eating. Mind you, my school also had the most delicious smoked mackerel pate with wholemeal toast and a cheeky wee melon boat with a parma ham sail propped up with a cocktail stick as the mast and a glace cherry as the crows nest – culinary genius!
So fast forward from 1980s school dinners to todays healthy living lovers. As a private chef I’ve been asked to make a lot of very nutritional dishes, people want high protein, Paleo, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soya free, eat clean, Mediterranean diet, the list is endless and often challenging as a cook. Fret not because as well as being super quick and easy to whip up they can be as wild and adventurous as you like. Another benefit is they can be as cheap as chips to make, pulses, lentils, peas and beans can happily live in your store cupboard or larder. You can buy bags, tins, the trendy new pouch or ready to eat straight from the packet so theres no ‘mithering’ on with soaking the pulses and cooking them.
I’ve gone for chickpeas and Puy lentils for my super salad offering today. Chickpeas are bursting with fabulous fibre which work wonders for our digestive health. The Puy lentil comes from Le Puy-en-Velay in France so lovely and exotic! They are full of vegetarian protein so for all my lovely veggie and vegan chums enjoy safe in the knowledge they are working wonders for you.
For colour and texture I’ve gone for cherry tomatoes on the vine, baby spinach, fresh thyme, garlic, roast organic butternut squash, roast pumpkin seeds, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some wholegrain mustard for a kick.
1 can of chickpeas
1 pouch ready to use Puy lentils
A vine of red and yellow cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
A handful of fresh thyme
A bag of fresh baby spinach
1 butternut squash
Good splash olive oil
Good splash balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and ground black pepper
A good handful pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard. Keeping with the fabulous French theme.
First off peel and chop the squash into bite size chunks
Set the oven to 180 c gas mark 4
‘Shoogle’ (toss) the squash in the olive oil and add the fresh thyme, garlic cloves and seasoning
Roast the squash on a roasting tin for about 20 minutes and then add the cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the tomato skins start to split
Now pop the spinach, Puy lentils, chickpeas into a big salad bowl
Pop the Squash and all its delicious herby, garlicky chums, pumpkin seeds and tomatoes into the bowl.
Now ‘shoogle’ (toss) away until everything is mixed and ready to dress.
A splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the teaspoon of wholegrain mustard finishes this protein packed super salad off a treat. Enjoy!
© Catriona Macdougall cookyourselfhappier.com, 2017
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