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

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Quick announcement: Thoroughly Nourished Life now has a Facebook page. Come and join me at the table for the latest updates, interesting articles, and recipes.

On Saturday I went to see The Hundred Foot Journey. In addition to being a great story about love, family, and the power of the human spirit, this movie made me want to do nothing but cook for a week. The wide panning shots of fresh market vegetables, and watching the characters prepare and devour delicious dishes with the same intense love I feel for food got my cooking brain hungry for some time in the kitchen. Having this in my head when I went grocery shopping after the movie may have been a bad idea. I ended up with a basket overflowing with lush spring vegetables and fruits. Luckily I have so many ideas for recipes to enjoy them in, and share with you.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I couldn’t resist this beautiful eggplant while I was shopping on Saturday, especially after the French market scenes of tables laden with eggplant and its summertime brethren. Eggplant is one of those foods that falls into the ‘love it or hate it’ category of vegetables. I’m a lover. I’m hoping that after you try this salad you will be an eggplant lover too.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The first important step to take when approaching an eggplant dish is to pick out the perfect eggplant. You want to find one that has tight shiny skin with few marks and no soft spots. Eggplants can vary in skin colour from dark purple to the stripy version I found in the fruit market on Saturday. They are all tasty and delightful. I think there’s a metaphor there somewhere. Our eggplant is cubed and coated in a mix of warm spices and oil and then spends some time roasting in the oven before meeting our other ingredients: roasted almonds, brown rice, and mixed green leaves. The whole bowl is then coated generously with a paprika and roasted garlic dressing. The honey and garlic based dressing is worthy of the hearty ingredients in this salad.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you are searching for a sturdy salad to fill your lunchbox throughout the week then you have found it. I found that the flavours of the dressing developed and intensified over the week. You can also leave the dressing separate and add it just before eating if you are worried about the greens becoming soggy. I’m hoping that once you take a bite of crunchy toasted almonds, nutty brown rice, crispy fresh greens and olive oil softened eggplant you will fall in love with this salad, and make room for some eggplant in your next dish.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Vegan option: replace honey with maple syrup or agave nectar

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 3 stalks spring onion
  • 1/4 cup (packed) basil leaves

For the dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Top and tail eggplant and dice into two centimetre (1 inch) cubes. In a small mixing bowl mix eggplant with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet. Wrap the cloves of garlic in aluminium foil and place on baking tray too. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggplant is softened.
  3. In the last ten minutes of baking spread almonds across another baking tray and roast. Remove from oven and cool then roughly chop.
  4. While the eggplant is cooking, place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer rice for 30 minutes or until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked but still firm to the bite.
  5. In a large mixing bowl toss together eggplant, almonds, brown rice, and rinsed chickpeas.
  6. Finely chop spring onions and basil and add to the bowl along with the mixed greens. Toss well.
  7. To make the dressing whisk all ingredients together. Add to salad and mix well so that the dressing can permeate every bite.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

So, dear reader, have I convinced you to try eggplant in your next salad? Have you seen The Hundred Foot Journey yet?

Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado and Greens Salad

It’s a little bit unconventional, but one of my favourite comfort foods is salad. Before you write me off as crazy, let me explain. When I am under the weather all I want is a big chubby salad. I’m not talking about a wimpy iceberg lettuce and pink watery tomato creation. The big chubby salad I’m talking about is a bowl filled with crunchy baby greens, protein-packed beans and nuts, flavoursome herbs, healthy fats, and salty cheese. I want a salad that fills a flu-shrunken tummy, but fuels my body to get better again. There is nothing worse than feeling better after a cold and realising that you have existed on grilled cheese and chocolate milk for the past week. I have learned from experience.

Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This salad brings together my favourite ingredients and highlights them with the grassy clean taste of parsley. I don’t cook with parsley often, but sometimes I yearn for its strong presence among the creamy flavours of avocado, chickpeas, and feta. It’s perfect mate is lemon so I’ve doused this salad with a very lemony dressing. Toasted almonds are the all important crunch, and instead of one type of baby green, this salad stars both baby spinach and rocket. It was so easy to assemble in fact it almost feels like cheating to call this a recipe. This salad is probably my go-to lunch and quick dinner during the winter months when tomatoes and corn and all the yummy summer things are resting for a few seasons.

This salad was a perfect lunch when I was feeling poorly this week. After putting it together I took a big bowl to bed and had a ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ marathon followed by a nap in the winter sunshine. Of course, it works equally well when you are healthy. Make it for a lunch date with a girlfriend, or pack it into your lunch box for a desktop picnic.

Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeParsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 quite substantially

Make it vegan: leave out the feta cheese | Make it for the meat lovers: add some crispy fried bacon bits

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 large handfuls rocket leaves
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup torn parsley leaves
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons seeded mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous pinch black pepper and salt

Method

  1. First, toast almonds. Preheat oven to 180C and spread almonds across cookie sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes or until almonds are fragrant. Remove, roughly chop and set aside until required.
  2. Add rocket, baby spinach and parsley to a large bowl. Toss lightly.
  3. Drain chickpeas and rinse well. Add to bowl.
  4. Dice cucumber. Halve and peel avocado. Dice into chunks. Add both to leaves.
  5. Crumble feta over assembled salad and add chopped almonds.
  6. For dressing: whisk together lemon juice, seeded mustard, and olive oil. Pour all over salad. Season well with pepper and salt.
  7. Toss lightly and serve.

Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

The past three weekends have been majorly food-centred: weddings, birthdays, Easter…to be truthful it’s been going on for the past two months…or maybe there hasn’t been a break since Christmas… In light of the season of skinny jeans and tight sweaters I am feeling the need to lighten up a little.

Let’s have a little more balance around here readers, a few weeks of salads and complex, vitamin-filled nutritious stuff, shall we?

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

I’m not talking crash-diets, fad diets, or paleo anything; rather, I am talking about reducing my dessert every night habit to a once a week treat. I am talking about increasing my incidental exercise, squeezing in a few more weights sessions, and being more mindful in my food choices.

Don’t worry, this is not about to become a weight loss blog – I have a coconut ice recipe coming your way on Friday – I am just getting back on track to a thoroughly nourished life in the most delicious way possible of course.

This salad came at the beginning of the Easter feasting. Luckily, because I ate more than my fair share of brownies, cookies, and peanut m&ms… This Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale salad is filled with crunchy green kale leaves and raw capsicum, soft baked sweet potato and salty cashews. Everything is coated in a spicy thai-inspired dressing that soaks into every fold in the frilly leaves. I felt bright and light and full after finishing my lunch. The protein from the chickpeas and cashews keeps you full for hours. You could add some leftover cooked quinoa for a bigger protein boost and to make this a more substantial meal for dinner.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Serves 2-3. 

If you do not like kale try another dark leafy green or even baby spinach would work. To make this vegan replace the honey with agave syrup.

 Ingredients

  • 1 medium bunch of kale
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Thai  Seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400C). Peel and dice medium sweet potato. Spread out on a baking paper lined baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced with a toothpick. Remove sweet potato from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Rinse kale well and pat dry with paper towel. Cut thick rib out of each leaf and then roughly chop the leaves. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Chop capsicum and cucumber into a large dice. Place into bowl with kale.
  4. Rinse chickpeas well and add to bowl.
  5. Once sweet potato is cool add to kale mix. Toss all ingredients well.
  6. To make dressing place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously.
  7. Add dressing to bowl and toss well so that all is coated.
  8. Sprinkle cashews over the top and serve.
  9. This salad will last well overnight in the fridge but will become softer as the dressing soaks into the leaves.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten FreeChris is definitely not a kale fan, which is fine by me because I get it all to myself. Are you a kale salad fan? No? 

Anyone else trying to lighten up a little after Easter feasting?

Lunchbox Love: Blueberry, Chickpea, and Kale Salad

Warm summer days with plenty of sunshine means tables laden with produce every Saturday at the farmer’s markets. Which, naturally, means that I am enticed into buying beautiful vegetables that I don’t necessarily always cook with, or know how to get creative with.

Wandering through the colourful stalls last weekend I picked up a thick curly bunch of kale.

Oh kale, purveyor of so much healthy goodness. Held up and praised for its anti-cancer potential, high levels of calcium, flavonoids, fibre, and vitamins C, D, and K – and most importantly for me: high levels of iron.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet can provide the daily requirement for iron, but if you have funky blood like I do, which doesn’t absorb iron really well, you need to pay special attention to getting as much iron in your diet as possible.

Iron from vegetable sources (called non-haem iron) is helped in its absorption by pairing it with a source of Vitamin C – the technical term is ‘increasing bioavailabilty’. Fancy nutrition stuff, huh.

So, I may know about kale’s deep green secrets, but when it comes to inspiration for getting it from my fridge to my belly I need to consult one of my favourite bloggers.

DSC01078

Today’s salad was inspired by Tracy from Shutterbean. Tracy lives in San Francisco (my favourite place in the world), takes awesome photos, makes my favourite listen-to-while-running podcast (with her cool best friend), and conjures up amazing food for her family. I have been inspired by (in no particular order) Tracy’s baked donuts, her Instagram feed, and her tasty salads.

DSC01086

Tracy knows how to wrangle kale from pretty flower looking stalks into delicious, moreish recipes. So when I was looking for some Lunchbox Love this week, I was inspired by Tracey’s Broccoli Kale Slaw, which become the Thoroughly Nourished Life Blueberry, Chickpea, and Kale Salad.

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Blueberry Chickpea Kale Salad (gluten free, vegetarian)

Inspired by Tracey’s Broccoli Kale Slaw from Shutterbean

Serves 4 and keeps quite well for 3 days in the refrigerator. I made this at the beginning of the week and had a delicious, healthy packed lunch all week long. You will need a very large bowl for mixing this salad. This salad can be made vegan too. Just leave out honey, or replace with maple syrup or agave nectar. If you can’t find dried blueberries, you can use dried cranberries instead. I found my blueberries at a health food store.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 250 gram bag rainbow salad (also called ‘beetroot slaw’)
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 spring onion stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 x 400 gram tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Method

  1. Empty rainbow salad into your very large mixing bowl. Add finely chopped kale, spring onions, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Add well rinsed chickpeas and using salad servers (or freshly washed hands) toss salad to disperse all ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper.
  4. Add dressing to bowl and toss very well so that everything is coated in dressing.
  5. Serve, or divide between airtight containers and store in refrigerator for up to three days.

See – healthy lunches can be quick and easy! Come and be part of my cool lunch crowd, won’t you?