This month has been so much fun with all the holiday parties, brunches, school events and gatherings with friends of family. Lots of comfort food too and unfortunately a little bit too much sugar, alcohol and treats.
This salad was made out of a craving. A craving for crunch. A craving for raw vegetables. A craving for a simple lunch. A craving for something nutritious and easy in the middle of dark December.
Happy Spring! What are your plans for Mother’s Day? I always love that we get to celebrate Mother’s Day in the U.S. in May surrounded by beautiful blossom and spring sunshine.
If someone is going to cook for you this Mother’s Day (hint, hint!) why not try a simple tropical minty salad paired with some roast chicken and a glass of bubbly? This is a simple salad with bold flavors. I love to add fruit to salads and I experimented a with papaya and it worked. You could also add green apple slices or spinach or kale for extra greens and crunch. Have a wonderful time celebrating!
Papaya and Mint Salad for Mother’s Day
1 papaya, peeled and seeds removed and diced into 1 inch cubes
2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 sprig mint, cut into thin slivers
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup black beans
Prepare all the ingredients and combine well in a large salad bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the salad and you can also add an extra drizzle of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Tis the season for holiday parties, feasts and gatherings! We have a lovely tradition with our Brooklyn friends every year of gathering during the holiday season and making some different seasonal dishes to share. We’re all foodies and love to eat, so this year the menu is already looking pretty impressive. I like to think we’re a little competitive too and want to make the best dishes we can to impress everyone. This year, I wanted to bring a hearty winter salad which featured kale (but of course) but also some seasonal ingredients which included the humble Brussels Sprout.
As temperatures are rising this month and we’re all eagerly awaiting the summer holidays, it got me thinking about how we can stay cool in the heat. During the winter months, we rely on soups, stews and rich comfort food to keep our bodies warm. Right now we need to switch our grocery shopping and cooking around to lighter and fresher meals. Here are my top 3 tips to stay cool this summer so you can stay cool and happy all season long.
- Stay hydrated. This is the number one rule of the summer. As we are more active and sweat more, we need to stay well hydrated every day. Increase the number of glasses of water you drink or try a green juice or smoothie. Coconut water is also very hydrating. Just try to steer clear of iced coffee, soda and alcohol which you may think are refreshing but are actually very dehydrating.
- Eat lighter meals, especially salads and chilled soups. What I love about the summer is not having to use my oven so much. You can make hearty salads like my massaged kale salad or Greek holiday in a bowl and add some smoked salmon or sardines on the side. Why not make a big batch of gazpacho too for lunch throughout the week? Cooling snacks such as watermelon, grapefruit and cucumbers are perfect to beat the summer heat.
- Eat smaller portions. I’m sure you don’t feel like sitting down to a roast dinner or huge curry in the summer. Lighter meals and lots of cooling snacks will hydrate you and give you energy throughout the day.
What are you favorite ways to cool down naturally with food or drink over the summer? I’d love to hear your tips!
Greek Summer Holiday In A Bowl
Our local food coop in Brooklyn organizes monthly cooking classes with students from the Natural Gourmet Institute. It’s a fantasy of mine to attend this school one day, but for now I’m happy to attend these monthly classes and learn from the culinary masters. Recently, we were shown how to make this delicious Greek (or Mediterranean inspired) chopped salad and here’s my version of it. It’s so fresh and perfect for picnics and summer gatherings and will be sure to impress your friends.
I love this kind of summer cooking: using the freshest ingredients with the freshest of flavors. The original recipe calls for sour cream but I think it makes it too rich and I love the tangy taste of Greek yogurt here. This salad has beautiful notes of lemon and dill and tastes just like a Greek summer holiday in a bowl. Enjoy!
Summery Greek Chopped Salad
Makes 8 servings
1 tub organic cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large long cucumber, diced (you can peel it if you want to)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
6 oz feta cheese, diced into small pieces or crumbles
1 small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tbsp dried dill
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and black pepper
- Mix the Greek yogurt, zest and juice of lemon, dill and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes so that the flavors mingle beautifully together. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Chop cucumbers and tomatoes. Rinse the chickpeas. Chop the feta cheese. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Pour over the yogurt dressing and toss. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I used to be a daily sandwich girl until a few years ago. I still love a good sandwich once in a while but there are so many other healthy options for lunch. This is what I made today. Took 5 minutes. I normally have a batch of cooked brown rice and quinoa in containers in my fridge which are great bases for lunch or quick suppers. Today I mixed quinoa with mint, avocado, kale, lemon juice, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and a splash of olive oil for an easy and nutritious Monday lunch. Open your fridge and play with your ingredients to make something really yummy!
Minty Messy Lunch Bowl (serves 1)
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and eat straight away:
1 cup cooked white or red quinoa
4-5 mint leaves, roughly torn up
1/2 avocado, sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced or cut in half
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
2 leaves of kale, shredded
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Over indulged over the holidays? It’s hard to resist all those lavish meals served at holiday parties and family gatherings. In this quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s, I like to lighten up a little. Get some exercise in. Eat some lighter meals. Get ready for the New Year and all my resolutions which I’ll try to keep.
This sweet potato salad recipe is so simple to make, I almost feel embarrassed writing it down. But I made it for dinner the other night for the whole family at the lake house where we were staying in South Carolina and it got rave reviews so I thought I would post it here. All you do is chop and roast some sweet potatoes, toss with salad and a light dressing and there you go: a perfect healthy salad which is rich and substantial enough in these cold winter days to fill you up. Serve with roast chicken, pork or – if you still have some in the fridge – leftover Christmas turkey.