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

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

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

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Plump summer cherries are the highlight of this hearty salad that celebrates the height of summer and the end of the cherry season. Sweet cherries contrast with salty feta, and pair perfectly with puy lentils, quinoa, toasted almonds and spinach for a vegetarian dish sure to please all palates.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSeeking balance can be hard. Adjusting your sails is necessary on a daily basis to counter the winds that seek to knock you off your middle path. Sometimes I feel like I am balancing on a high wire trying to keep it all together and not lose my footing and plummet to the depths below. Some days I win, some days I lose. And down I fall, down, down, down into the depths from which escape is a hard climb up slippery walls. As I’m climbing I fall again, and wail, and cry out in the darkness, but I keep climbing towards the light. And there, just when hope seems lost, someone throws me a rope. I climb, and they pull, and then out I come into a sunset so beautiful I wonder whether this is why our eyes were created.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe’re all on a journey, and sometimes balance is hard. Balance between work and life, balance between rest and activity, balance between inner pressures and a happier outer world, balance between healthy choices and indulgent bites. This salad is here to help you with balancing those last two.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCherry season is fast approaching the end, but before we bid farewell to this dark temptress of stone fruits, we must celebrate its beauty one more time. Here, the cherries are merely stoned and halved, and then combined with basic store cupboard ingredients to ensure that the natural beauty of fresh fruit shines through. Hearty lentils and quinoa are cooked (together, to save time) and allowed to cool before being tossed with baby spinach, and topped with roasted almonds and crumbled, savoury feta. A simple dressing completes the dish. When you take a bite of sweet cherry flesh, salty feta, and crunchy roasted almond you will taste the halcyon days of summer when all is still, spare the breeze, and balance is oh so easy to find.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 generously | Leftovers will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days

Note: to roast almonds preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spread almonds on a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before proceeding.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried Puy (French) lentils
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved (I use this method)
  • 60 grams feta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jam
  • Generous pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse lentils and quinoa well, and then place in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, place a lid on top and simmer without stirring for a further 15-20 minutes or until lentils and quinoa are firm to the bite, but cooked. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before stirring with a fork. Place in a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa and lentils are cooling, make dressing: place olive oil, balsamic vinegar, jam, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside until required.
  3. Once quinoa and lentil are cool add spinach leaves, cherries, and dressing and toss well to combine.
  4. Place in bowls and sprinkle over crumbled feta and chopped almonds.

Cherry, Lentil, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | 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?

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Crisp shredded summer vegetables come together with a spicy-creamy dressing in this fresh summer salad that is the perfect side for any of your summer meals.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeSummer has firmly established its humid grasp on Brisbane and our appetites are changing in response to the longer days and warmer nights. When people in Australia talk about the weather, we aren’t just being polite and passing time. The weather here is a living, breathing entity unto itself. An afternoon thunderstorm can bloom in a clear blue sky and bring a city to its knees; the streets become canals and suburbs become islands. A long, clear stretch of blue skies and hot days with no relief cracks the land and drives stoic farmers to tears. Here in the land down under we are in tune with the weather because this wide, red land demands that we are.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeI try to live in tune to the seasons, try to tailor what we eat to how our appetites respond to the weather outside. Our thunderstorm last week heralded the beginning of our summer season. The days have been reaching for higher and higher temperatures and come nightfall we aren’t craving our usual weekly rotation of pasta, rice, and mashed potatoes. Our bodies are ready for bright summer vegetables in large quantities, we are ready for clean spicy flavours and the crunch of freshness.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeIt’s time to bring out bright, brash, bountiful salads to pair with Chris’s fish and my chickpeas and this one delivers on flavour, crunch, and substance – and it’s midweek-after-work-easy too! All things that are a must have for summer sides in our house. First you shred some carrot and zucchini (super easy with a julienne peeler), add some finely sliced capsicum and green onion, toss through roughly chopped coriander (or Thai basil if you aren’t a coriander fan – Mum…) and then anoint each portion with the spicy red onion, lime juice,and coconut milk dressing. A perfect combination of flavours, heat and spice, cool and crunchy for the stormy summer ahead.

If you are cooking for younger, or more delicate tummies you can reduce the red curry paste or just use a sprinkling of curry powder instead. If you want to make this ahead simply leave the salad and dressing separate until serving. This vegan, gluten free, clean salad is perfect for every member of the family (and bikini friendly too, ahem) and will be on high rotation in the Thoroughly Nourished house all summer long.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeShredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing

Serves 2 generously, easily multiplied | Gluten Free | Vegan

Note: I served my vegetarian portion with some chickpeas and extra macadamia nuts, while Chris suggests some panko crusted baked chicken breast.
Also, note: this recipe makes a large quantity of dressing. If you do not use the whole amount (we certainly didn’t) it will last up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. It also makes an excellent marinade for chicken breasts.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum
  • 2 stalks green (spring) onion
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

Method

  1. Julienne (or very thinly slice) carrots and zucchini and place in a large bowl.
  2. Thinly slice red capsicum and green onions and add to bowl.
  3. Roughly chop coriander and add to vegetables. With clean hands (or salad servers) toss everything until well mixed.
  4. To make dressing: whisk together light coconut milk, lime juice, crushed garlic, and red curry paste.
  5. Pour desired amount of dressing (see note) over salad and sprinkle with macadamia nuts. Serve immediately.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Do you try to keep your eating in line with the seasons? What is your body craving right now? I think mine might be a little confused by all the wonderful treats my Northern Hemisphere friends keep making because I am craving peppermint after seeing this post today!

Don’t forget Thoroughly Nourished Life has a home on Facebook now! Come and join me to talk about all sorts of yummy and inspiring things from all over this wide web world of ours.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Orange Maple Dressing

A girl needs two things she can rely on when the seasons start to change. One – a good cardigan because the weather can turn on its heel between winter and spring (or winter and summer as it happens here). Two – a good cross-seasonal salad. Something that can be made no matter what looks good at the farmers market, or if you happen to be relying on your grocery store because going to the gym with your sister seems so much more appealing than getting out of bed super early after a challenging week at work. It happens.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Now, I can’t help you on the cardigan choices (although these people here certainly know a thing or two) but I can certainly help you with a salad that crosses seasons and can transform refrigerator and store cupboard staples into a meal (or side dish) that satisfies hunger and delights tastebuds. No matter what the season it’s easy to find a bag of carrots, some fresh baby spinach, and a packet of dried lentils. Even in the dead of winter, this salad will bring a little sunshine to your life, or on a blustery, humid summer night a little comfort without weighing you down.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The natural sweetness of the carrots is brought out by some time in the oven with a coating of olive oil and maple syrup. The lentils are cooked with bay leaves and cinnamon; flavours that both reach down into the earthiness of the lentils and give them real flavour and presence in this salad, rather than just being the good, solid backbone of a hearty salad. The dressing pulls everything together and unites each separate, stunning part into bite after delicious bite. The dressing is a combination of olive oil, maple syrup, orange juice and zest, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper, and just a touch of cinnamon.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf you are searching for a salad that does double duty as a healthy lunchtime meal and a side dish for a family gathering (think of my USA friends preparing for Thanksgiving) then this is the salad for you. For my Thanksgiving friends with tricky to feed guests this salad is vegan and gluten free, which that no matter their dietary constraints, your guests will be pleased. If you are preparing for summer beach season then this salad is perfect for filling your lunchbox. Protein from lentils, healthy fats from walnuts, and the green power of baby spinach will keep you satisfied and help you work towards your summer glow.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRoasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Orange Maple Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Gluten Free | Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried Puy lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing

  • Juice and zest 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Place lentils, water, bay leaves and cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked, but still firm to the bite. Once cooked, drain lentils and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
  2. While lentils are cooking heat oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  3. Top and tail carrots and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) thick rounds. Place in a small bowl with maple syrup and olive oil. Toss to coat and then spread across baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
  4. To toast walnuts add to carrots in the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Allow to cool and chop roughly into large pieces.
  5. To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork.
  6. Combine lentils, walnuts, carrots, cranberries and spinach in a large mixing bowl. Pour over dressing and gently toss until everything is well coated.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Breakfast for dinner has to be one of the greatest inventions of the modern world, and a lifesaver for busy after work dinners or lazy Sunday nights. Fritters are the perfect choice for a breakfast styled dinner: all the happiness of a stack of pancakes (minus the sugar) with a satisfyingly savoury styling (plus the bonus of vegetables).

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These fritters made an appearance on our table early this week and they have already become a favourite. They are a blank canvas for whatever toppings you most desire but, if you want my honest opinion, you need to make the balsamic roasted tomatoes as a chic breakfast-for-dinner take on sloppy diner grilled tomatoes. These tomatoes are the window dressing that spice up the soft, cheesy fritters. They only take 30 minutes to roast in the oven (plenty of time to make the fritters and assemble a salad) but they taste like they have been blistering for hours. The trick is to coat them lovingly at a high heat in balsamic vinegar and oil, and to choose small, sweet tomatoes. The heat from the oven will bring forth the sugars stored within the tomatoes. When you pair the sweet tomatoes with the tart balsamic vinegar you create a fritter topping that will have you craving more. If you end up with leftover tomatoes, try them stirred into freshly cooked pasta and topped with a shower of cheese, or top your morning avocado on toast with a pile of these sweet and tart gems.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Parsley isn’t the most loved of herbs, and not my favourite, but I love this slightly outmoded curly leaf for its bright green, flamenco curled leaves and clean, slightly grassy taste. When parsley meets cheese (in this case ricotta and cheddar) magic happens – there is a reason Mama always said to stir parsley into your cheese sauce. Then the whole lot is spiced up with a decent dose of fresh ground black pepper – my favourite ingredient for adding spice to any meal.

These fritters are my offering for Weeknight Nourishment this week. Breakfast for dinner is the first thing that comes to mind when I am trying to think of a quick dinner that both of us will enjoy, and fritters are the ultimate in breakfast for dinner that still includes vegetables and feels slightly grown-up. The batter comes together easily, and if you don’t have parsley in the fridge, just throw in whatever herbs you have at hand. I serve mine with a salad, and some crispy bacon on the side for Chris. And bonus – leftovers make great lunches.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Makes 8 fritters and about 2 cups tomatoes (both easily multiplied)

For serving: a runny poached egg would take this meal to the next level and for omnivores perhaps add some crispy bacon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low fat smooth ricotta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar
  • Cooking spray (spray olive oil in our house)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and spread tomatoes out in one layer. Pour over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gently shake baking sheet to ensure all tomatoes are coated. Bake for 3o minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes start to split.
  2. While tomatoes are cooking: in a medium mixing bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together ricotta, eggs, and milk.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  5. Add parsley and cheddar to batter and stir gently to fully combine.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking oil.
  7. Place heaped tablespoonfuls of batter onto pan two at a time, allowing room for the batter to spread.
  8. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side or until small bubbles have risen to the surface of the uncooked side. Flip fritter and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm while cooking the remaining batter.
  9. To serve: Place fritters on plates, spoon over roasted tomatoes and their juices. Try serving with a green salad and some butter avocado.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life