Whilst recently taking a well needed break to my Aunt’s Jenny’s beautiful farm (http://www.divinegoatsmilksoap.com.au/), I was lucky enough to get cooking in the kitchen with her every night with fresh ingredients straight from the garden! Jen being a vegetarian has become very experimental with interesting salads! This one was so phenomenally yummy that I took the idea back with me to Sydney and I have been trialling different variations since.

Ingredients (serves 4):

– 1/3 medium red cabbage sliced thinly

– 3 cups baby spinach

– 1 red capsicum sliced thinly

– 1 yellow capsicum sliced thinly

– 2 carrots grated

– 1 punnet cherry tomatoes

– 1 pack alfalfa sprouts 

– 2 x zucchinis spiralised & cooked in garlic (1 clove) – you can also just cut them!

– 1 avocado cut into small chunks

– 1 lemon

– 2 x 170g firm tofu –> OR 400g chicken breast OR 100g tinned tuna/salmon per person

– 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

– 3 tablespoons soy sauce

– 3 tablespoons toasted pepitas

– 1/2 cup cooked long grain brown rice or quinoa per person

Dressing (Shake hard before using)

– 1 tablespoon hulled tahini

– 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 

– 1/3 cup of olive oil

– 3 tablespoons grainy mustard

– Pinch of turmeric

– Splash of water if you need a runnier consistency

Method (Using tofu as protein):

1. Cut tofu into rectangle size pieces. Add to a bowl with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Lightly spray frypan with olive oil. Pour tofu, soy and sesame into frypan and cook over medium heat. Turn over both sides. ~5-7 minutes.

2. Toast pepitas on 160 degrees for ~10 minutes until brown *Check regularly.

3. Add all other salad ingredients, rice/quinoa into a bowl except for the zucchini and pepitas. Squeeze lemon juice from lemon into bowl. Mix.

4. Add zucchini noodles on top followed by tofu.

5. Drizzle dressing over the top.

6. Sprinkle with toasted pepitas. 

7. Eat your heart out!

Other optional adds/swaps

– Beans/legumes/lentils

– Cashew cream on top. There is a great recipe here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/vegan-cashew-cream-cheese

– Add in some fresh mint

Nutritional Benefits (I seriously don’t know where to start!)

  • Vegetables are a power house of antioxidants. Their different colours in this salad mean you are also eating a rainbow of different nutrients. For example: The orange and yellow vegetables are a great source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for healthy skin and immunity. The red tomatoes and capsicum are a good source of lycopene, an anticancer compound. 
  • The lemon and red capsicum are potent with Vitamin C, a nutrient important for tissue regeneration and healing. Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron.
  • All of the vegetables as well as the inclusion of seeds and brown rice/quinoa make this salad an excellent source of fibre, aiding in digestion and promoting the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Protein is crucial for filling us up, generating hormones and supporting many other various chemical reactions in the body. It can be found primarily in the tofu/chicken/fish added to this salad.
  • The avocado, pepitas and olive oil as amazing sources of Omega 6 and smaller amounts of Omega 3, supporting a healthy brain and heart.
  • Turmeric has strong history and evidence as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Apple cider vinegar slows the emptying of your stomach and reduces the GI of the meal.

WOW, you better get on this after reading all that. And after all it is SUPER TASTY 🙂

Enjoy, Ash xx