4

Two easy salads – creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot, and black bean, olive and rocket

This cauliflower salad has become a firm favourite as part of work lunches over the last few weeks. It’s great eaten straight away, but the creaminess really seems to intensify over a couple of days! I’ve given the recipe here to include baby carrots, as I had some pretty little orange and purple ones in, but it works just as well using only cauliflower.

To pair with the creamy salad, the second recipe is brightly flavoured, with olives, rocket and lemon enhancing the black beans. Herbs are welcome in this salad too, I’ve used mint but parsley, coriander or basil would be great too. Even tarragon thinking about it.

The bean salad keeps well in the fridge for 3 days or so, we ate the salads for lunch the day after making them, and then three days later and they were great both times.


makes 4 servings


 

for the creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

400 g cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

200g baby carrots (or use 600 g total of cauliflower)

2 tbsp oil

Salt

2 heaped tbsp. light tahini

30 ml hot water

100 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper

for the black bean, olive and rocket salad

1 400 g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed (240 g drained weight)

75 g green olives

50 g rocket, roughly chopped

Juice of half a lemon

10 g fresh mint, roughly chopped (or use coriander, or parsley or basil)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

In a large roasting tray toss the carrots with the oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and mix, then roast for a further 25 minutes, turning once. There should be some lovely caramelised dark brown bits on the cauliflower and the carrots should be tender. Cool.

In a smallish bowl, add the hot water to the tahini and mix it carefully to combine. The water being hot helps the tahini to soften as it can be quite stiff. Beat in the yoghurt, salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Mix the dressing with the vegetables and coriander.

 

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Creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

 

For the black bean salad, simply mix all the ingredients together!

 

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Black bean, olive and rocket salad

 

 

By E.

0

Sausage, apple, parsley and parsnip rice salad

So here’s second recipe using our delicious sausage mix! This time the sausage is rolled into little balls and baked, before being combined with a lovely warm salad of brown rice with apple, parsley, and cubes of roasted parsnip and potato.

The mixture of flavours here with sweet roasted parsnip, nutty rice and tart apple works beautifully with the sage and spice in the sausage. They feel like very English flavours, and are lovely and comforting!

The sausage balls bake for quite a long time, but it’s worth it as they form a good crust on the outside. They can be frozen after baking (and cooling), and reheat very well, either in the oven or microwave. It’s great to have a few on hand for quick meals!

 

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Sausage, apple, parsley and parsnip rice salad

 

makes 4 servings


for the rice
200 g brown rice, rinsed
2 apples, peeled and diced
400 ml water
a pinch of salt
20 g parsley, stalks chopped finely and leaves roughly
for the vegetables
4 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 potato, diced
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
for the sausage balls
1 tsp gluten free yeast extract (the marmite type stuff)
100 ml hot water
400 g firm tofu (or 1 standard pack, usually 396 g for some reason)
80 g gluten free rusk
0.5 tsp ground allspice berries
0.25 tsp crushed caraway seeds, or a little less ground caraway
2 tsp dried sage
20 g tapioca starch
30 g coconut oil, melted (we melt it in the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds or so)
6 g salt


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

First make the sausage balls. Dissolve the yeast extract in the hot water.

Next add the rusk, allspice, caraway, sage, salt and tapioca to a large bowl and mix together. Crumble in the tofu (no need to press it first), pour in the coconut oil, and then the water and yeast extract. Mix well and leave for 10 minutes to allow the rusk to soak up the water. I find it easiest to squodge it all together using my hands. You can use a food processor if you like.

Divide the mixture into 4 and then make 7 balls from each quarter, 28 in all.

Spray or drizzle the balls with a very little oil, and roast for 45 minutes. After they’ve been roasted the sausage balls can be cooled and frozen. They can then be warmed through in the oven for 10 minutes, or also in the microwave for a minute or two.

For this recipe, add the vegetables to the oven (same tray if it’s big enough) after the sausage balls have been in for 15 minutes.

Once the sausage balls are in the oven get the rice on to cook. Add the rice, apple and water to a rice cooker or saucepan and simmer for around half an hour (with a lid mostly on if using a saucepan), until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, and the apple has softened into a sort of sauce.

Combine the rice with the parsley, then toss through the roasted veg, and top with the sausage balls.


By E.

0

Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with dill and peas

So last year, flower sprouts were flower sprouts, a cross between a brussel sprout and kale and we’ve blogged quite a few recipes using them.
This year however, they appear to be called Kalettes… Which I think sounds like either a helpful 1950’s electrical kitchen implement, or a mysterious item of ladies underwear.
So I’m sticking with flower sprouts, it’s straightforward and my mind is less likely to disappear off on flights of fancy and am much more likely to get some cooking done.
So, to the recipe! The flower sprouts are slightly bitter, and so go beautifully with the sweet peas and pea shoots. With chewy savoury tofu and lovely fresh dill it all comes together very nicely.
I’m increasingly using the sachets of ready cooked rice as a base for lunch salads at the moment, mostly for speed to be honest, but there’s some lovely varieties around at the moment with all sorts of nice seeds and grains added.

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Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with peas and dill

makes 4 servings


200 g flower sprouts, washed and patted dry on kitchen paper
400 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm ish cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons or 1 clove chopped garlic
3 tbsp tamari
75 g frozen peas
100 g pea shoots
15 g fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
500 g cooked rice, (I use 2 of the ready cooked sachets, this time the Tilda brand brown basmati with quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Toss the tofu in 1 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to brown.
Move the tofu to one side of the tin, turning the cubes over as you go. Add the flower sprouts to the other side, drizzling the remaining 1 tbsp of oil over them. Sprinkle the ramsons or garlic, and tamari over the tofu and flower sprouts and then bake for a further 15 minutes.
The flower sprouts should be crisp in places and cooked through. Leave to cool.
Cook the rice according to the sachet instructions, and tip into a large bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.
Stir through the frozen peas, and the vinegar. This helps to cool the rice quickly, but stir it around often too. When it’s stopped steaming pop it in the fridge to cool completely.
Mix the tofu, flower sprouts and dill into the rice and peas, and serve each portion on top of 1/4 of the pea shoots.


By E.

0

Butternut squash, tofu and radish salad

Both Alex and I have been ridiculously busy with work recently, without much time for making a note of recipes. Which will never do!
However we did have this colourful, pretty salad for work lunches over a couple of days and it really helped to brighten the mood.
I baked the squash and tofu one after another, as there wasn’t quite room for them both in the same tin, the squash was quite large.
But if there’s space cook them both together to save time!

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butternut squash, radish and tofu salad

makes 4 servings


1 butternut squash, halved
1 tsp oil
6 – 8 radishes, sliced
4 small cucumbers, diced
4 handfuls rocket
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon depending on size
salt and pepper
200 g cooked rice (I used a sachet of Tilda whole grain rice and quinoa)
1 400 g tin green lentils
for the tofu
1 400 g block of tofu, cut into cubes
2 tsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons
2 tbsp tamari


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Rub the butternut squash halves with a little oil and put cut side up in a roasting tin. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning half way through, until tender and cooked through.
Cool a little, and then scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin. Chop into chunks.
In the same roasting tin, toss the tofu with the oil and bake for 20 minutes until starting to brown.
Mix in the tamari and ramsons and cook for a further 10 minutes, cool. To assemble, mix the squash, radishes, cucumber, rocket, rice and lentils together with the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the tofu through at the end.


By E.

0

Broccoli, butterbean and basil salad

I seem to have slipped into making pretty uninspired salads for work lunches recently, so this time I wanted something a little more coherent, with complementary flavours and textures.
Enter broccoli and basil!
I go through phases with broccoli, sometimes I can take it or leave it and other times I really crave it. It’s so nice in salads and paired with basil makes a lovely dish for the end of summer.
I’ve also added butterbeans for a creamy texture, olives and sun dried tomatoes to complement the basil, and cucumber for crunch. Lovely!

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Broccoli, butterbean and basil salad

serves 2


1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 400 g tin of butterbeans, drained
30 g fresh basil
3 tbsp water (save it from steaming the broccoli if possible)
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
4 sun dried tomatoes from a jar, and 1 tbsp of the oil
20 small olives
about 6 cm cucumber, diced
salt and pepper


Steam the broccoli until just cooked. I did mine for 3 minutes in the microwave, with a little water.
Pick and separate about 1/3 of the basil leaves and set aside.
Blitz the rest with the oil from the tomato jar, vinegar, water, and salt and pepper.
Mix together the drained broccoli, butterbeans, olives and dressing. Leave to cool completely and then fold through the cucumber and basil leaves.


By E.

6

Spice roasted whole cauliflower with beetroot and butternut squash

Doesn’t a whole roasted cauliflower look pretty! Even a little one, like in my photo.
I made this colourful roast to have as a work lunch with a little rice, but it would be great served warm too.
The slightly orangey notes of the coriander seed along with the caraway and thyme match very well with the flavours of each individual vegetable.
You could use a larger cauliflower, as it’s essentially cooked before roasting. You would need to make more of the spice mix though, perhaps double the spices, vinegar and oil.
And of course you can also use raw beetroot, just be sure to cook it a bit (steam or roast) before it goes in with the butternut squash as it takes substantially longer to cook through. I like the ready cooked kind for convenience though!

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Spice roasted whole cauliflower with beetroot and butternut squash

serves 2


1 small cauliflower, about 300 g after trimming
a few of the outer leaves of the cauliflower if they’re good
300 g butternut squash, diced
250 g cooked beetroot, diced (the sort you can buy in a vacuum pack in the supermarket, not pickled)
1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp caraway seed
1 tsp dried thyme
a large pinch of salt
1 tsp vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
2 tbsp oil


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
First steam the cauliflower until just tender, I did mine in the microwave for 5 minutes. I find that the texture of roasted cauliflower is more pleasing if it’s steamed first.
Toss in any larger cauliflower leaves for a couple of minutes too, the smaller ones shouldn’t need it.
Crush together the coriander seed, caraway seed, thyme and salt. They don’t need to be powder by any means, a bit of texture is good.
In the corner of a large roasting tin, mix together the spices, vinegar and oil.
Roll the cauliflower in the spice mix until nicely coated and then toss the rest of the vegetables in the remainder.
Arrange the cauliflower prettily in the centre of the tray with the butternut, leaves and beetroot around it.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until everything is cooked through and the cauliflower is lightly browned.
Cut the cauliflower into wedges or slices to serve.


By E.

9

Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable that I tend not to think of stuffing it. It always seems like a bit of a cop out, stuffed squash is rather a veggie cliche!
But this time I couldn’t help myself, I had dried wild mushrooms, olives and tahini, and when I saw pomegranate seeds in the supermarket, the seeds of an idea for a great recipe were sown…
It really is delicious, sweet roasted squash with a stuffing full of earthy savoury flavours with the mushrooms, tahini and olives.
And the pomegranate seeds and pea shoots finish it off very nicely!
It slices ever so well too, Alex and I ate it for a couple of days of work lunches, a quarter squash per portion.
And of course, it’s very pretty. That always helps with the anticipation of a good lunch!

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Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

makes 4 servings


for the stuffed squash
1 butternut squash, I forgot to weigh mine but it was about 18 cm long before cooking, and quite wide
2 tsp oil
80 g rice (or 300 g cooked rice)
10 g dried wild mushrooms
100 g fresh mushrooms, diced
50 g green olives, halved
2 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper
for garnish
50 g pea shoots
80 g pomegranate seeds


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibrous bit. Rub each squash half with 1 tsp oil and place cut side up in a roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes, flip over and then cook for a further 15 minutes. The thicker part of the squash should be tender enough to allow a fork to pierce it, but not be completely soft.
While the squash is roasting make the filling.
Cook the rice in about 200 ml water until just soft. There should be a very little liquid left. For this recipe I only lightly rinse the rice, as it’s nice if it’s quite starchy and sticky when cooked, it helps the stuffing hold together.
If you’re leaving the rice a while before stuffing the squash, pop it in the fridge to cool down properly.
When you’re ready mix the dried and fresh mushrooms, tahini and olives with the rice and season well.
Scoop a little of the butternut squash out of the ‘neck’ end and mix that into the rice as well.
Now you should have a good space all along the squash for the stuffing.
Put half of the rice mixture in each squash half and pack it in well. It will make a lovely big mound.
Bake the stuffed squash for 45 minutes if the rice mixture was cold when you put it in, 5 – 10 minutes less if it was warm.
Garnish with the pea shoots and pomegranate to serve.


By E.

3

Jackfruit salad with capers, apple and parsley

I do tend to serve jackfruit hot, as in the recipes we’ve published before, but it’s great as a salad ingredient too!
So this time I’ve paired it with salty sharp capers, sweet apple and lovely fresh parsley.
There’s a little bit of pickled gherkin too, and a simple dressing made from unsweetened soy yoghurt and Dijon mustard.
It’s a very moreish salad with great textures! We’ll be eating it for work lunches, with some of our gluten free pittas and a simple salad of carrot, cabbage and sugar snap peas dressed with lemon juice. Yum!

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Jackfruit salad with capers, apple and parsley. With gluten free pittas!

makes 4 servings


1 tin of young green jackfruit in brine, cut into bite sized pieces (500 g tin, 365 g drained weight)
3 tbsp capers, chopped. Use either the little type or the larger caper berries, either is good. Rinse them if they are the ones packed in salt
1 apple, peeled and chopped
15 g parsley, chopped
2 tbsp chopped sweet pickled gherkin
120 ml plain unsweetened soy yoghurt, or use vegan mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard


Put the vegetables, fruit and herbs in a medium sized bowl as you chop them. Add the soy yoghurt and mustard and gently mix everything together until well combined.
The capers should season the salad so you won’t need to add salt.


By E.

2

Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

I got a giant sweet potato from the shops the other day, one of those really huge ones that look so much fun, until you have to try and peel them…
But I persevered, and a good job too as without it I wouldn’t have been able to make this delicious salad!
The sweet potato is roasted so it gets lovely caramelised bits, and then mixed with creamy cannellini beans, baby spinach leaves and crispy baked cavolo nero.
Simply finished with lemon zest, juice and basil leaves it made a lovely work lunch filled with great texture and flavour.

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Salad of cannellini beans, sweet potato and greens

makes 3 to 4 servings


1 400 g tin of cannellini beans, drained
1 really big sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 big leaves of cavolo nero, thickest section of stem removed and cut into pieces roughly 4 x 4 cm
2 tbsp oil
50 g baby spinach, roughly chopped
juice and zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
Put 1 .5 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin along with the sweet potato and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast for around 25 minutes, turning once, until the sweet potato is soft and caramelised in places.
Remove from the tin to cool.
For the cavolo nero, pour the remaining 0.5 tbsp of oil into the palm of your hand and add a little salt. Swiftly rub your hand together to distribute the oil over both, and then rub it into the cavolo nero pieces, making sure they are all coated.
Transfer to the roasting tin and bake for around 10 minutes until crisp. Keep an eye on it and check after 5 minutes, it burns quickly and if that happens it does not taste good.
Toss together the beans, sweet potato, spinach, lemon juice, lemon zest and basil along with a pinch of black pepper.
Add the cavolo nero just before serving, otherwise it will lose its crispness.

By E.

0

Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

Ackee again! To be honest I was going to do a fried rice type of thing and stir the ackee through at the end, but as it turned out I had run out of rice… the horror!
So instead I used butterbeans and ooh it came out well, there’s something about the richness of the ackee with the creaminess of the butterbeans and the crunchy vegetables that’s ever so satisfying.
You could vary the veg, but if you can, do use the dill, the flavour is gorgeous with the ackee and beans.
As well as being delicious, it’s a super quick dish, and is good hot or cold!

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Ackee with butterbeans, vegetables and dill

makes 2 nice big servings


1 540 g tin of ackee (340 g drained weight)
1 400 g tin of butterbeans (240 g drained weight)
1 large carrot, finely diced
100 g sugarsnaps, sliced in half
1 large courgette, diced
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar (or apple cider, or balsamic)
2 tbsp tamari
a pinch of pepper, black or white
3 tbsp fresh chopped dill


It’s dead easy this one! Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and stir fry the courgette and carrot for about 3 minutes until starting to soften. Add the sugarsnaps and butterbeans along with the vinegar, tamari and pepper and stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
Fold in the ackee, and continue to cook, mixing often until the ackee is heated through. Another 3 minutes should do it!
Stir the dill through at the end.


By E.