MY FAVORITE SPRING SALAD

I’m obsessed with this salad for a number of reasons: It’s really easy to prepare and contains a number of really healthy nutrients – but most importantly – it’s so tasty. I love to use candy-striped beets because they are so pretty, and because they don’t stain your hands when you grate them.

Seves 2

1 large candy-striped beet ( or regular if you can’t find the candy-sritpe)

2 cups of baby salad leaves

1/2 cup Marcona Almonds (if you live near a Trader Joe’s, you’re in luck because they carry them, roasted and salted.

1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup really good quality olive oil

1tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper

 

WARM LENTIL & ROASTED TOMATO SALAD

I have just made the most delicious winter salad imaginable. I’ve literally just finished eating it, and wanted to share it with you right away. I get a bit tired of regular lettuce salads, particularly in the winter when at lunchtime, I want something a little more hearty – so this is a perfect winter lunch. You can make it a day ahead and take it in a reusable container to work. It also keeps well – for up to 3 days covered, in the fridge.

All the spicy tastes and different creamy textures work so beautifully in this dish, which would also make for a really impressive appetizer – obviously served on small salad plates.

Go ahead and give this a go, as I’m quite convinced you’ll enjoy it as much as I just have!

 

2 cups cherry tomatoes (try to find organic)

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp sea salt

2 cups green lentils

3 cups of water

1/2 cup good olive oil

1tbsp red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 tsp honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

4tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 tsp chiptole paste (I make my past by blasting a can of Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce in my blender. You can find this at the ethnic section in large grocery stores, and once you’ve made your puree, it will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for months).

1 ripe avocado (optional).

 

Serves 4

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Place the tomatoes and onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. It’s best to use your hands here to massage in the oil (great for your cuticles!). Sprinkle with cumin and salt and place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until everything is nicely brown and slightly shriveled.

Place the lentils and the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 25 minutes and then drain off any excess water. All them to begin to cool.

Meanwhile whisk up the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, parsley/cilantro,  honey and seasoning.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 tsp of chipotle paste into your creme fraiche or sour cream.

When the veggies have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Spoon the lentils onto a platter and gently mix in the onions. Top with the tomatoes, taking care not to mix them in – as you don’t want everything to become mushy. Dress the salad and then drizzle your Chipotle Cream over the top.

If you want to, add slices of ripe avocado.

Roasted Beet, Orange, & Hazelnut salad

I have bunches of beets! I can’t seem to stop buying them, and they always come in my farm box. I wanted to have a go at making the ultimate Seasonal Salad – one that is hearty, and that combines different tastes and textures. I was really happy with the result, as I managed to get in two flavors I love: hazelnut and cumin – they pair beautifully together. The only thing I really dislike about working with beets is the red dye that gets on everything. Be sure to pull on your rubber gloves before peeling and cutting your beets!

Roasted Beet, orange, & hazelnut salad

4 or 5 medium beets (this is normally what makes up a regular bunch.)

2 medium oranges

1tbsp red wine vinegar

1tsp honey

3tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted in a hot oven for 10 minutes

1 cup feta or crumbly goat cheese

1 ripe avocado

Serves 2

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Peel the beets and cut into bite-size wedges. Place them in a roasting tin.

Take one of the oranges and grate the zest into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice into another small bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, honey and olive oil together in a jug and season with sea salt and pepper. Divide this dressing between two bowls. Whisk the mustard into one of the bowls and set aside. Whisk the cumin, orange zest and half of the orange juice into the other bowl of dressing and then pour over the beets. Make sure each wedge is well-coated.

Lightly cover the roasting tin with foil, before placing in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove when down and leave to cool (you can do all this the day before if you want.)

Peel the orange and cut away all the pitch. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the segments away from the dividing membranes.

Slice the avocado

When you are ready to assemble, carefully place the beets in a large bowl and add the orange segments. Top with the avocado, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over the mustard dressing, taking care not to toss or mix the salad, as you don’t want everything to turn pink.