Chimichurri Quinoa Salad |vegetarian | gluten free

The star of this hearty summer salad is most definitely the dressing. A triple-threat of bright and flavoursome herbs with a splash of lime juice this chimichurri inspired dressing soaks into every bite and unites all the other ingredients in summery perfection.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChris and I arrived in New Orleans after a very long day of travelling. Our lovely Air BnB host Georgia recognised two weary and hungry travellers and took us on a tour of the neighbourhood, which ended at the gorgeous St. Roch Market.St Roch Market New Orleans | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf you are staying anywhere in the St. Roch neighbourhood or nearby, you need to stop by the marketplace. Walking inside you are welcomed by a line up of vendors on either side of the historic building each offering a different taste experience or regional cuisine. Chris fell in love with the ‘Dirty Mac and Cheese’, which features smoked gouda, crawfish, and bacon. My heart, however, belonged to the team at JuiceNOLA from the very first bite of their Greek Goddess Salad. When I tasted their Chimi Chimi Bang Bang Salad for lunch one day, and had to return for a second round at dinnertime that night, I knew I had to find a way to keep getting this salad in my face when I returned home.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe base of this salad is quinoa and your favourite green. I used oak leaf lettuce because I have a serious leafy green crush on it that will never end. To this you add butter beans. The team at JuiceNOLA used black beans so mix it up as you wish. The magic is in the dressing. Chimichurri is essentially a mix of parsley, coriander, chives, and basil with a spark of bright acidic sharpness and garlic. It is absolutely what makes this salad such a stand-out.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe magic dressing aside, there are just so many bits and pieces in this salad that make every nibble unique and moreish. Into our solid base of quinoa + greens + beans we add chopped roasted capsicums and a healthy dose of pumpkin seeds. Toss everything together with the dressing and make sure all the nooks and crannies are coated in green deliciousness, and then top the bowl with avocado and feta. I may not be in New Orleans anymore, but I can bring some JuiceNOLA magic to work in my lunchbox everyday!Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3 generously | Leftovers will keep for up to two days in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 head of oak leaf lettuce (or 4 cups of your favourite greens)
  • 400 gram can butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/3 cup crumbed feta

For the chimichurri dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or use oil from roasted capsicums)

Method

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then cover with the saucepan lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the dressing. Place basil, coriander, parsley, chives, lime juice, garlic, and olive oil into the bowl of a small food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped and then pulse until pureed.
  3. To assemble the salad place cooled quinoa, lettuce, butter beans, roasted capsicum, pumpkin seeds and dressing into a large bowl. Pour chimichurri dressing over the top and then toss gently but thoroughly until everything is well mixed and coated in dressing.
  4. Thinly slice the avocado and place on top of the salad. Crumble feta over salad and serve.

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

It’s officially the second day of spring! Let’s make a hearty salad perfect for welcoming the warmer weather and getting our bodies ready for the summer months. This salad features grilled zucchini, crispy green beans, nutty brown rice and a spicy-sweet harissa and honey dressing. Flavoursome, filling, and sturdy it’s perfect for filling lunchboxes all week long. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBeing told by your doctor that you aren’t allowed to eat veggies, fruit or wholegrains for three days might seem like heaven to some people. Yay: bring on the white bread, white pasta, ice cream! But for me, last week’s restricted diet was a nightmare. So when I woke up on Saturday morning all I could think about was making big luscious, green and grain filled salads to wake my body up again and get my eating back on track.  This spicy, hearty salad was just what the doctor  blogger ordered!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeGreen beans were abundant at the greengrocer on the weekend and I helped myself to a large bag of them because nothing beats the crunch of a green bean snack while I’m cooking, and they are so versatile! I love grilled green beans because the outside gets a little crispy while the inside stays totally fresh and snapable. Zucchini is very sweet around this time of year as the season begins and it begs to be thrown on my little grill pan for just a few minutes to soften and char. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe best thing about this salad though is the two finishing touches that bring a big boost of flavour to this hearty green bowl. Firstly, we have a spicy harissa and honey dressing that soaks into each grain of rice and is the perfect partner to crunchy sweet spring greens. Secondly, we finish the salad with a chopped mix of parsley and salty, crumbled feta. Taste explosion! Make a big batch of this gorgeous green salad and eat liberally to celebrate the coming warmer weather, the jacaranda trees that are starting to show signs of life outside my window, and the pure green light that filtered through my weekend walks last weekend. I’m so happy spring is here! I’m going to eat some more salad to celebrate!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 very generously. Easily multiplied | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 large handfuls of green beans
  • 1 spring onion
  • 3 cups butter lettuce (or other greens)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa (I used dried, you can use paste instead)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 50 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) flat parsley leaves

Method

  1. Place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook without stirring for 30 minutes or until rice is al dente. Drain off any excess liquid, place in a large bowl, and allow rice to come to room temperature.
  2. Chop zucchini into coins about 0.5cm thick and top and tail beans. Heat olive oil in a grill pan over medium heat and add zucchini coins and beans in a single layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until softened but not sloppy. Turn over and cook for a further minute or two. Drain on some paper towel and cool to room temperature. Then add to the bowl with the rice.
  3. Slice green onion into thin slices and place in the bowl with the cooled vegetables and rice.
  4. Tear lettuce into large pieces and add to bowl. Toss salad thoroughly.
  5. To make dressing whisk all ingredients together and then pour over the salad.
  6. For the feta topping mix together feta and parsley leaves and pile on top of your salad.
  7. Divide salad between two plates, ensuring both get a decent amount of the feta topping.

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comYesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a talented and tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad. Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet of strawberries (250 grams)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams haloumi
  • 6 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  3. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

A simple bright salad that will add a burst of flavour to your meal whatever you are serving up! Take a big dish of this on your next summer picnic, or serve it next to your roasted veggies in the middle of winter. Whatever the occasion this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean, and Feta Salad is the perfect side dish.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI love complex, multi-layered salads that are meals unto themselves, but sometimes a simple but powerfully flavourful side salad is exactly what you need. When you are using only a few ingredients you want to make sure that you choose the best quality produce and let each ingredient shine by highlighting its best incarnation. For capsicum, that means roasting them until they are soft, slippery sweet pieces. I love roasted capsicum, and golden capsicums are especially sweet after their time blistering in the oven. You could just as easily use red capsicum here if yellow is unavailable, but I wouldn’t substitute green as they are too young and grassy.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet roasted capsicums find their perfect pairing with salty Greek feta, peppery rocket, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Butter beans are a mild but toothsome protein source and soak up the vinaigrette nicely. This salad is deceptively simple in ingredients, but the flavour is far from meek and mild. This is one stand out side dish. As someone with special dietary needs I often find myself making meals out of the side dishes available, so I take a little extra care when creating side dishes to serve to my friends because I don’t want them to be merely expected offerings, but tasty morsels in their own right. That doesn’t mean slaving over side dishes for hours – you just need to consider a few elements to create the perfect side salad.

My side salad tips:

  • Choose the freshest greens available – try a mix of leaves if you want to boost the flavour even more. This mix here included both baby spinach and baby rocket.
  • Have one super star ingredient and make it shine – roasted yellow capsicums in abundance anyone? Yes please!
  • Sprinkle on something salty – feta, parmesan cheese, toasted nut or seeds – make it interesting and choose a few!
  • Add some protein to keep it hearty – butter beans, chickpeas, quinoa, maybe a few halved boiled eggs? Make your sides simple but substantial.

I think this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad is my new favourite combination! What’s yours?Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

 

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 small yellow capsicums (substitute red if yellow are unavailable)
  • 400 gram can of butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups (4 large handfuls) baby rocket leaves
  • 75 grams Greek Feta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and place an oven shelf as close to the top broiler as possible. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cut capsicum into large pieces around the core and place skin side up on the baking sheet.
  3. Place sheet under the broiler until the skin is blackened and blistering. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place capsicum into a container with the lid only loosely on. Allow capsicum to cool.
  4. Once capsicum is cooled peel blackened skin off and cut into capsicum flesh into large strips.
  5. In a large salad bowl toss together butter beans, rocket, and capsicum strips.
  6. Crumble feta over the salad.
  7. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Let the winter light in. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts in a salad that’s all about celebrating the nourishment of winter produce.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I eat chocolate like it’s my job. Sadly, it’s not my job, and sadly a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. (Although, I am willing to give it a try!) Because woman cannot live on chocolate alone, and this one cannot afford to keep buying new pants if she did live on chocolate alone, there is the salad. I am all about the salad as you know by now. And, as you know by now I’m not talking about your backyard barbecue iceberg lettuce and pink tomato species. I’m talking about Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBig, fat, juicy, hearty salads full of grains and interesting greens, and crunchy, nibbly bits that you want to save until last. I’m about the salty and the creamy and the crispy fresh bite. I’m about salads that leave you full after you eat them, not wondering where your second course is. This is my latest Big.Fat.Salad. Our base: hearty, protein-packed quinoa. Our interesting green: handfuls of peppery baby rocket. Our crispiness: sweet, seasonal Bosch pears with their golden skin left on. Our crunchy nibbly bits: roasted walnuts. Add some salty feta and a maple, mustard and verjuice dressing and you have the perfect winter salad.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have tasted so many incarnations of the fruit, nut and cheese salad. In fact, if there is one on the menu it is often the first place my tastebuds go. I have fond memories of a beetroot, apple, candied pecan and goat cheese salad on a blustery afternoon in San Francisco; pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad at the Coronado in San Diego; and oh so many in between. There are myriad incarnations of this simple but delicious formula, and this mix is my latest obsession. The addition of quinoa makes this a suitably substantial lunch salad, or a hearty but light dinner. Open up the curtains, and settle in for season, let the winter light in and make some Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 2 (easily multiplied)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1 large Bosch pear (you can substitute another variety if these aren’t available)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons verjuice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Place washed quinoa into a medium saucepan with vegetable stock and place, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Bring quinoa to the boil. Once it is boiling, cover with a tightly fitting lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook without stirring for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then fluff grains with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spread walnuts over a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Make the dressing: place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  4. Once the quinoa is cool assemble the salad. Place rocket and quinoa in a large bowl. Quarter, core, and thinly slice pear and add to the bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine.
  5. Portion salad onto plates and sprinkle over toasted walnuts and crumbled feta.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free

Filling, healthy comfort food perfect for autumn evenings. Chunks of sweet pumpkin roasted in cumin pair with a pilaf of brown rice studded with plump dried apricots and toasted cashews highlighted with fresh, peppery rocket and a spicy lime and coriander dressing. This is a simple, easy to make meal made with high flavour ingredients to satisfy your tastebuds and quell comfort food cravings.

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOn Saturday night I rescued a dog. I was out for a second walk in the afternoon (after some major cupcake testing) when I came across a very friendly, very lost looking, little white dog. There were no open gates nearby, no owners calling out for the puppy to come back, so I approached and gently picked the little puppy up. She obviously belonged to someone because she was plump and well-cared for and very friendly. After knocking on doors in the street for 20 minutes, and encountering some helpful neighbours, I still had a little puppy with no home.

Luckily we have a 24 hour vet close by, so with the help of one of the neighbours and his rope-tying skills (it’s a good thing to live near a marina in these times) the little pup and I walked the 3km to the vet in the growing dark. Though we were complete strangers to each other, our companionship was thick and fast. When we reached a road I would carry the little pup across and in turn she would snuggle into my chest and keep me warm from the wind. On arrival the vet scanned the pup and luckily found a microchip with all the owner’s details. I knew that in an hour or so my little walking companion would be safe and sound in her parent’s arms. Lesson learned: when the universe leads you to go on a second walk in the afternoon you should listen. It feels good to do good sometimes.

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAfter my walk back home through the chilly night I was cold and wishing for a bowl of something hearty to soothe a hungry belly. I needed spice and whole grains and sweet roasted winter vegetables. This salad was exactly what I was craving.

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIt all starts with a pot of brown rice boiled with spices and chunks of golden butternut pumpkin rolled in cumin and olive oil and roasted until they are soft and golden. These two are joined by fresh peppery rocket, sweet dried apricots and crunchy roasted cashews. The dressing is easy to whisk together, lime juice, fresh coriander, and more spices. Every layer of this salad echoes a mix of spices. The result is a simple, easily-made salad with layers of flavour and texture. This is healthy, nourishing, autumn comfort food at its best. Being kind and nourishing to your body gives you the reserves to be kind and nourishing to others.

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 4 as a light meal | Leftovers will keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 small butternut pumpkin (500-600 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cashew halves
  • 4 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Gather all your spices so that you know you have everything you need.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Place brown rice in the bottom of a heavy-based saucepan along with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place over a medium heat and toast until spices become fragrant. Turn the heat to low and add the water. Be careful as it may sputter a little. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Once boiling,  and reduce to a simmer. Cook, without stirring for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, drain the excess liquid and allow to cool.
  4. While rice is cooking prepare the pumpkin. Peel butternut pumpkin and dice into large-ish cubes (about 2.5cm/1 inch cubed). Place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle on 2 teaspoons ground cumin. Roll the pumpkin around so that everything is coated in oil and spice. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender all the way to the centre. Add the cashews in the last 5 minutes of cooking to roast them.
  5. Once your pumpkin, cashews, and rice are cooked you are ready to assemble the salad.
  6. Place rocket leaves and apricots into a large bowl. Add pumpkin, cashews and rice.
  7. Whisk together lime juice, remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, remaining spices, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and toss gently but thoroughly. Sprinkle chopped coriander on top and serve.

Cumin Roasted Pumpkin and Brown Rice Moroccan Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Tender roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas coated in spice come together in this salad with a sweet mustard dressing for a light seasonal dish with colour and flavour.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! I don’t have any leprechaun/whiskey/shamrock inspired treats to share with you today, but I do have a big green salad with potatoes. Well, they’re sweet potatoes, but just concede the point to me please. I woke up at 4.30 a.m. and wore my shirt inside out to the gym this morning and didn’t realise until I got home again. In other words, it’s Tuesday. Salad might not be a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal, but March in Queensland is most definitely not cabbage and corned meat weather (currently 29C/85F), and stew is still a foreign concept on the faraway winter horizon. Thus, I humbly offer you a sweet potato and spiced chickpea salad.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCubes of sweet potato are transformed into tender roasted morsels in the oven while the chickpeas get rolled with spices and crisped in olive oil on the stove top. Once they’ve both come to room temperature they unite with fresh baby spinach and thinly sliced onion before the whole salad meets sweet and spicy honey mustard dressing. I am not a huge fan of too-sweet honey mustard sauces, so this one packs a double mustard punch with both Dijon and wholegrain mustards and gets an extra flavour boost from a squeeze of lemon.

We enjoyed this as part of our family feast on Saturday night and I had leftovers for lunch for the next two days. I would recommend adding the dressing to each serving as you go so that the leaves don’t get too soggy. The salad holds up quite well for about three days as long as you keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are looking for a fresh and light dinner tonight try this salad, I hear it tastes great with a generously buttered slice of Irish Soda Bread on the side and maybe some Irish Coffee Ice Cream for dessert?

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 as a light meal or 2 more substantially

Make it vegan: replace honey in dressing with maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 750 grams / 1.6 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (400g) can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel sweet potato and cut into large cubes (1.5cm cubed). Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake until golden on the outside and soft in the middle. This should take about 30-40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas and drain well to remove most of the water. Place on several layers of paper towel and pat dry. Allow the chickpeas to dry on towels for about 10 minutes.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and stir well to coat. Fry chickpeas for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid them sticking and burning. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Peel and thinly slice red onion and place in a large bowl with the baby spinach. Add chickpeas and sweet potato and toss well to combine.
  6. To make dressing: combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan

Bright, fresh, grilled sweet corn and coriander pair with buttery millet and hearty grilled portobello mushrooms and creamy lemon-tahini sauce. This dish is just what I want to come home to while the summer sun is still shining, but a heartier autumn wind is setting in. Overall, a simple, elegant, and fast week night meal to make healthy, seasonal eating easy and delicious. Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHas anyone been mushroom foraging before? Me neither, but it is high on my foodie bucket list. Mushroom foraging seems to be a hobby for the landed gentry who drive Land Rovers and wear tweed hats and those puffy jackets that only look good on middle aged women bearing a resemblance to Helen Mirren. Given our recent rainstorms and hot fuggy days our backyard has become prime mushroom growing ground. Not that we are eating any of those mushrooms! Luckily the weather has been kind to our local mushroom growers too, and our favourite varieties of fungi have started sprouting at stalls all across the farmers market too. No need for a tweed hat or puffy vest at all. Today’s recipe uses large portobello mushrooms. I find that they have a lot more flavour than flat field mushrooms, and they are often thicker and more substantial too.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOur long hot summer means that the hot weather harvest vegetables are still going strong, and the corn at the markets is extra sweet. I love the mingling of summer and autumn that happens in March. This plate is a celebration of the end of a sweet summer and the beginning of a rich and nourishing autumn.

Millet is one of my favourite wholegrains. It’s actually an ancient seed, and used most commonly in birdseed, but the birds certainly know a thing or two: millet is super nourishing. Naturally gluten free, and filled with iron, B-vitamins and calcium, this little seed is a nutritional powerhouse and a great alternative to quinoa or rice. Millet by itself has a buttery flavour and I cook mine in low-sodium vegetable stock for added flavour and then spice it up at the end with handfuls of chopped fresh coriander. The tahini, lemon and garlic dressing is a creamy and bitey finishing touch.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis recipe is simple, so remember to choose the best of each ingredient. Glossy sunshine yellow sweetcorn, firm portobello mushrooms and the freshest herbs you can find. Hopefully next summer I’ll be foraging fresh herbs from my own garden! Now that’s at the top of my foodie bucket list! Other contenders: picking apples, owning an olive tree (there’s a farm nearby where you can ‘sponsor an olive tree’ and they harvest and preserve each year’s harvest for you), making my own cheese, and going on a wine tour in France, among other things. For now, I’ll settle for a hearty and bright autumn plate and a food magazine to dream over.
Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Gluten Free | Vegan |  Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1 cup reduced-salt vegetable stock
  • 4 large flat portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cobs sweetcorn, husks removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed

Method

  1. Rinse millet and place in medium saucepan with vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing grains with a fork.
  2. Heat a large non-stick griddle pan (or non-stick frying pan) over a medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms cap side down for 3 minutes or until starting to brown. Turn over and cook cap side up for another 3 minutes. Grill corn at the same time, turning frequently so that all sides are cooked evenly.
  3. While the mushrooms and corn are grilling make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper, and garlic until well mixed and creamy.
  4. When corn is cooked cut kernels from the cob. Mix corn and coriander through cooked millet and divide between plates.
  5. Top millet with mushrooms and drizzle sauce over the top.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan

Bright, sauteed vegetables paired with mild and nutritious millet and bright herbs and spices makes for bowls of pure, gluten free, plant-based energy. Millet is a rich source of B vitamin, iron, and calcium making it the perfect seed (not a grain) for those who avoid meat, and it is naturally gluten free so it is gentle on tummies too.

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeEnergy is a funny concept. We are taught in school that ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transformed from one form to another’. (Pardon my science-nerd ways.) And we memorise the different forms of energy recognised by physics theory and pray that we can remember all of Newton’s Laws and leave it at that.

As adults we learn the law of conservation of energy in different ways. Every day you have a certain allotment of energy to use during your waking hours. This precious, precious energy powers every situation, interaction, and move you make. I’m not talking about energy in the form of calories, but the deep down, soul-mined energy reserves that we have available to us when we open our eyes in the morning. Each situation extracts a certain amount from us: automatic tasks (cleaning teeth, showering etc) take very little; situations we enjoy can boost us up (snuggling with Chris in the mornings); and tense, stressful situations or people can drain us like energy vampires.

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOne of my goals for 2015 is to work out what my ‘energy vampires’ are and vanquish them for good. The Huffington Post had a great article that provoked this goal, and in turn, this post. As I was pondering this article the other day I started to list what saps energy from me the most: Fear of Missing Out (majorly when I am sitting at home looking at gorgeous photos of places that aren’t Brisbane); losing just a little more weight (because we are never satisfied are we?); trying to have it all ‘perfect and together’ all of the time (Type A, hello); and worrying about losing my job/disappointing someone (just an old ‘teacher’s pet’ hang up I suppose). After I had made this list I sat down and decided how to avoid/vanquish these situations because I want to use my time and space for good, not for feeling stressed out and ‘time poor’ all the time. It’s a work in progress, and it will take longer than a year because energy vampires will keep appearing in our lives throughout time. But here in 2015 I vow that my precious, precious energy will be conserved for making my life a happy, thoroughly nourished one.

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese bowls of ancient millet, sauteed summer vegetables, and (my favourite) chickpeas are a boost to energy stores for sure, and because this makes enough for four servings, there are plenty of leftovers if you come from a small household, or you can make it ahead for work lunches (leftovers will last up to three days in the fridge) – stress-busting bonus! Millet has a mild buttery-sweet flavour, and I cook mine in vegetable stock to give it extra saltiness.

The farmers markets are bursting with fresh summer vegetables at the moment and in my Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowls they are simply sauteed with chickpeas in olive oil, and dressed with balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and dried thyme. Once the vegetables are silky soft, they are combined with the millet and tossed with summery basil and an extra glug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These bowls are filled with marinated summer night flavours. A smattering of olives doesn’t go astray as an extra topping here.

Make them, sit down with someone who boosts your energy and let the sunshine in.

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl

Serves 4 | Gluten Free | Vegan | Leftovers will last up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked millet
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced salt vegetable stock
  • 2 small red onions (or 1 large)
  • 1/2 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 x 400 gram (14 ounce) tin of chickpeas, rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Small pinch chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Handful of chopped fresh basil

Method

  1. Rinse millet well and then add to a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, or until the stock is all absorbed. Then, remove from the heat and sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  2. While the millet is cooking: peel and thinly slice onions, slice capsicum into thin strips, and slice zucchini into thin rounds.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add onion and capsicum and saute until both are softened. Add zucchini, chickpeas,  1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, and chili flakes (if using), and cook until zucchini is soft.
  4. Once millet and vegetables are cooked combine in a large bowl and gently toss with remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, salt, and chopped basil.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Capsicum, Zucchini, Chickpea and Millet Bowl | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me, dear reader, what are your energy vampires? How do you boost your energy? Anyone love millet as much as I do?

 

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

This is food that makes you want to treat your body well. This plate filled with roasted green beans and tomatoes, with plump grains of brown rice, the fresh crunch of baby kale and corn kernels fresh from the cob, topped with a molten-centred soft boiled egg is a whole-body nourishing meal.

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI’m not good at deprivation. I don’t thrive in an atmosphere of austerity. My pleasures are simple, but I count on them as comforts necessary for everyday functioning, and I am lucky enough to be in a position to fulfil these everyday desires. In this time of ‘cleansing’ and ‘fasting’ and (shudder) ‘dieting’ I am offering a middle way. A thoroughly nourished life is one filled with plates of wholegrains, baskets of vegetables, luxurious eggs, and a rainbow of legumes; a thoroughly nourished life is also one with room for indulgence. I eat chocolate everyday. I’m not ashamed, I’m not bringing out a #guiltynotguilty attitude. I simply know for my version of a healthy life, there needs to be some wriggle room for a daily sweet treat. I allow myself some of my favourite Lindt 70-85% dark chocolate (my favourite since I was about 12, not a recent fad), or a serving of a sweet I am testing, and then I feel satiated, nourished and indulged.

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis salad is an embodiment of a thoroughly nourished attitude to food. Brown rice is boiled and fluffed while green beans and tomatoes are roasted at high heat to soften them and deepen their natural sweetness. Baby kale leave are washed and spun dry and summer sweet corn kernels are trimmed from the cob. Everything goes into a large bowl and is coated with a honey, vinegar, and herb dressing. The eggs are the last and most timely item on the plate. Brought quickly to the boil, simmered only briefly, then peeled under running water, their centres are still soft and the runny yolks provide a decadent note.

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs 3My Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs is a vegetarian, gluten free plate of balanced flavours. The vegetables are naturally sweet, this is the peak of the season where the sun draws the sugars into the bounty of the harvest. The dressing is a play between sweet local honey,  refreshingly acidic balsamic vinegar, and the floral notes of oregano. Each mouthful is filled with something different and pleasing to the taste buds. After a big plate of this for lunch and dinner yesterday I felt like I was finally on the right track for 2015. After a few squares of dark chocolate to accompany my pre-bed reading I knew that this was the way I wanted 2015 to carry on. My nourished life: one of hearty salads, sweaty runs, and chocolate everyday.

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 250 grams baby roma (or cherry) tomatoes
  • 250 grams green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 cobs corn
  • 4 cups baby kale leaves (or baby spinach)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 large eggs at room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Set aside until required.
  2. Place brown rice and water in a medium saucepan and set over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff grains and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. While rice is cooking spread tomatoes and trimmed beans across the prepared baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until tomatoes have begun to split open.
  4. Cut kernels from the cob of corn and place in a large bowl. Add baby kale leaves, cooked rice, and roasted vegetables and their juices.
  5. Whisk together honey, balsamic vinegar, remaining oil, oregano, salt and pepper and add to the bowl.
  6. Gently toss everything together and allow to marinate while you cook the eggs.
  7. Place eggs in a saucepan (use the same one you cooked the rice in) and cover with cool water. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes (for a semi-soft centre) or 4 minutes (for a hard-cooked egg), then remove immediately from the heat. Run under cold water until cool to the touch and then gently (very gently) peel the eggs.
  8. Distribute salad evenly among the plates and top with eggs, cut open and allow yolks to drip elegantly through the salad. Enjoy.

Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me, dear reader, how do you keep the balance? What does your thoroughly nourished life look like?