Updated: Apr 16, 2020
A light, simple and easy to make salad that will be a crowd pleaser in any household.
The beautiful thing is that this can be made with almost any ingredients as long as you stick the basic rules.
Rule No 1. Vibrant and plentiful colours
Beetroot, peppers, sweet corn, onions...you name it- anything and everything goes when it comes to this salad.
We're not told to "eat the rainbow" simply because it sounds cute to say.
You could say it is code language for:
"make sure that you eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables so we can make sure that you are getting enough and a variety of vitamins and minerals".
The colours we see in fruits and vegetables in most cases, represent a vitamin or mineral which is in abundance in that particular fruit or vegetable.
For example, vegetables which are red /orange ie
- Sweet peppers
- Sweet potatoes
These are high in an antioxidant called beta-carotene. And foods high in beta-carotene provide a source of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential for eyesight, growth, development, and for the immune system.
Generally speaking, dark green vegetables are typically high in iron (essential for healthy red blood cells) and calcium (essential for healthy bones) and the list goes on.
To find out more about how to get all your vitamins and minerals from food- read this
page produced by the NHS: https://bit.ly/3adRZPY
Rule No 2. Build Up bits
We're taking protein here. Beans, pulses, meat, fish and eggs all count as a "source of protein".
Legally (well under EU law), a food or meal can only be described as providing a "source of protein" if at least 12% of it's total calorie content, per portion, comes from protein.
For a full and comprehensive list of animal and vegan sources of protein, take a look at this page by the British Nutrition Foundation
For environmental and health reasons, we should aim to have 1-2 meat-free meals a day.
The source of protein that would come from a chicken leg or salmon fillet can be replaced with vegetable sources, such as beans and pulses.
I've recently come across Kala Chana, which is a darker variety chickpea (my local supermarket and corner shop ran out of the standard chickpeas so opted for the next best thing!) I did a bit of Googling and found that kala chana is used a lot in Indian cooking and can be cooked in the exact same way as standard chickpeas.
Rule No 3. Don't forget to dress it up
There's nothing worse than looking at something which looks delicious but it actually tastes blander than water.
One of the many reason people are sceptical about trying new vegetables or increasing vegetable portions is because they dislike the taste of them
The solution is simple, add a dressing!
It's surprisingly easy to make and can last ages (approximately 2-3 weeks, depending on the ingredients) in the fridge.
VEGAN | SERVES 6 | EASY TO COOK
250g of giant cous cous (can be swapped with regular cous cous)
1/2 red sweet pepper (chopped) 150g button mushrooms (cleaned and peeled) 4 sun-dried tomatoes (drained in kitchen paper to remove excess oil)
1 can of kala chana (can be replaced with any other pulses such as ordinary chickpeas or kidney beans)
And for the dressing
1 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dried parsley Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add the giant cous cous to boiling water and simmer for 6-8 mins or until soft. Once cooked, empty the cous cous into a sieve to allow the water to drain.
2. Fry the chopped vegetables in a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
3. Once the veggies are cooked, mix with the giant cous cous and add a drizzle of your dressing. Can be served warm or cold