Today’s recipe is for one of my favourite salads that’s packed with texture and flavour and everything you need to live your best life. It’s a little like a vegan Waldorf salad, but a whole lot more besides. Quinoa makes it into a meal. I find quinoa is the best pseudo-grain for salad, it’s light and fluffy, absorbs flavour and is filling, and is packed with protein and nutrients. Walnuts are just a wonderful nut, they’re literally brain food (just look at them…) and you can taste how good they are for you, especially fresh they’re one of those foods that scream REAL FOOD when you eat it, and that’s what I love about this salad, it just feels like real food all over, and it makes you feel so nourished.
It’s a lovely salad for this time of year, as summer drifts into autumn, it has substance and bite and is filling and super-giving, helping your body to ward off the cold bugs that are flying around; giving you what you need. Here in the Derbyshire Peaks, after a wet August, summer has shaken out her golden locks and taken a glorious stance and the sun has been shining! Hours spent lying reading in the park have been everything I’ve needed, being away from the domestic pressures of home in a safe beautiful natural space, with Dan, soaking up the warmth of the sun, breathing in the lush green and the flowers, the bees busy all around us. For those moments I felt myself unwind. Such a precious all too rare feeling. And then home to a beautiful salad, a range of greens, bitters, sweetness and crunch that fill you with goodness and make you feel amazing ♥
and that’s what we all need and deserve.
It’s been a roller coaster ride these last weeks, I haven’t been putting too much pressure on myself and have had a little break from posting a recipe as I have so much to cope with right now, and when it rains it POURS, of course. I have had a very bad back, I think I’ve fractured my little toe (again), my hips have been so painful, and my feet, and I know it won’t be long before I actually wet myself in public (seriously, oh the woes of pregnancy!), yes, it goes on and on, and on, as ever. Emotionally it has been tough at times too. I have joined a prenatal yoga class, which is wonderful. I find it hard physically, and socially too, but I know it is everything I need to be doing to help myself and the baby, to prepare for birth and to be as strong as I can be, and that it is good for me to get out by myself and meet other women. I adore the teacher, she is someone I look up to so much, her knowledge and nurturing strong female power is just so inspiring, and she anticipates my physical needs so well, always knowing where I need an extra cushion or an alternative position that I will be able to achieve more comfortably. I have always wanted to learn yoga, but these past years I couldn’t imagine how it would be possible for me physically as I cannot weight bear with my hands and I have arthritis etc. and I also felt quite apprehensive of sticking out as someone who cannot do these things, and someone who so can’t live a ‘normal’ life. No matter how well I cope emotionally day to day, and I do, in such social situations it can cut me to the quick and I don’t often welcome such difficult scenarios as I need to keep my momentum going to keep positive. It is a delicate balance. But prenatal yoga is all about accommodating a body that cannot move in some ways, or be pushed too far, women with back pain and abdominal tightness, sickness and cramp. And if I feel emotional at times, if someone notices, it is not too out of place, however I may feel.
My belly is swelling as the baby grows, and despite going through a phase of feeling physically unbalanced and extra clumsy as my body adjusts to the new weight, there have been times when I have felt so good, so empowered, and so thrilled to be on this new path as a woman. We had another scan, and seeing the baby was just so wonderful, seeing that it is healthy and growing well, and so vigorous. It has undergone a growth spurt and doubled in weight in a week, and is wriggling around like a crazy thing inside me, so full of life!
i need to give us everything we need to grow super strong.
And this salad is it, it’s brain and body food, it’s packed with nutrients, it’s alkalising and anti-inflammatory, it will make you feel super-powered if any food can!
what to expect from this salad:
filling and uplifting
protein packed goodness
gorgeous creamy dressing
fruit add sweetness and sharpness
variety of textures and flavours
I’m trying something new (to me) for the recipe today. Being pregnant is a time of heightened intuition and building such strength, which is so important for all of us in our everyday lives all the time, to trust our inner voice, to develop our ability to be in touch with it and to have the confidence to be able to follow it. A salad is not a prescriptive dish, here I suggest what goes together, and the main ingredients are important for the taste, but as to the proportions, go for it, choose what you want, tweak the dressing to your taste, throw in something you really like, and so I have given a guide but it is not set in stone. I think the most important thing in cooking is to build confidence and enjoy the process, and with a salad this is so good to do! Let me know how you like it and how you make your own, I’d love to hear! ♥
- (ingredients listed inapproximate order of bulk, most at the top)
- Lettuce, I prefer a strong dark-leafed variety
- Spring onion
- Coconut milk
- Raw cider vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Natural sweetness, I use agave or fruit syrup
- Good salt
- Black pepper, optional
Cook the quinoa, 1 part quinoa to 2.5 parts salted water, bringing to a simmer and cooking with the lid on for 10-15 minutes, until the seeds are separating and absorbing the water. Then leave to sit with the lid on for a further 10 mins or so, to absorb all the remaining liquid. I usually transfer the cooked quinoa to a bowl to cool faster than in the pan
Mix the dressing ingredients and stir thoroughly again before serving. Balance the salt, sweetness and richness of the tahini and oil, and don't be afraid to use a good dollop of sweetness, it really works well, especially if your apple is tart. I like salt, but you may have a low salt diet or prefer less than I do so balance it out in a way that suits you. If you let it sit a while the flavours will bind and then give it a mix just before pouring.
Wash and chop your salad, drying as much as possible. If not eating straight away then leave the avocado until you're ready to serve, and I'd grate the apple last too as it may discolour. Mix through the cooled quinoa and drizzle on your freshly stirred dressing and it's good to go!
SONG OF THE WEEK Roy Orbison ‘In Dreams’