There are a lot of people out there who think that salads are “rabbit food” and that those who eat them must purely be at it to loose weight, because there can’t possibly be choosing to eat them for pure enjoyment.
Well you know what I say to people like that?! Poppycock. (In a strong British accent, obviously). They can be one of the tastiest and easiest things around, when the weather is hot I can’t think of anything better for lunch than a gorgeous, refreshing salad. The trick to any salad (well, really to any dish at all) is getting amazing, fresh produce that works well together.
A salad is, rather obviously, a pile of ingredients. They haven’t really been played with or dressed up, so the produce has to sing on its own. The other thing you have to get right is the perfect combo of ingredients. Just whacking a bunch of things into a bowl can usually result in a boring (and often lacklustre) creation. But a balance of flavours that marry well will create a sensational, light and super tasty dish. I often like to think of food as having good friends… Peas and mint always hang out. They just work, they click. So do tomatoes and basil. As do chocolate and orange (less great for a salad however).
You see what I’m getting at? If you can pair your salad down to a a handful of “matches made in heaven” you will be onto a winner in no time.
Here’s my all time favourite salad. Its easy, simple and always makes me damn happy.
Beetroot, Pea & Walnut Salad with Fresh Mint
- 4 fresh beetroot
- 1 Tbs of coconut oil
- 1 cup of peas (defrosted/podded/however you get your peas)
- A couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 100g of walnuts
- A handful of mint
- 1/2 Lime
- Seeds (I used activated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but this was a textural thing, so use what you have/like)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
I start by roasting my beetroot. To do this, take your fresh beet, chop off the leaves and pop it in an oven dish with a wee bit of coconut oil and seasoning. Bung it in an oven at 190 for 45 minutes. (Often when I do this I’ll make a big batch, and store some in the fridge. They are obviously best when freshly roasted, but they keep well, and make salad preparing super easy if you just have everything ready to go.)
When the beets have around 15 minutes left, lay your walnuts out on an oven tray and pop in the oven too (watch these though – nuts have a knack for going from raw to burnt in the blink of an eye). Once the walnuts and beet are smelling amazing and looking all lovely and roasted – take them out, and leave them to cool off a bit.
When the beet is cooled, peel and slice into nice bite sized chunks. (If you’ve made more than you need and intend to store some, leave the ones heading for the fridge unpeeled and tupperware them up now.)
Get your bowl or plates ready with your spinach, peas. Roughly chop your mint
Once the walnuts and beet are cooled enough so that they won’t wilt your spinach – put these together on your plate too.
End with a generous sprinkle of mint, seeds and a squeeze of lime. Season to taste.
For those of you who eat dairy, a great feta or crumbed goats cheese would go perfectly with this salad too.
The earthy richness of best buds’ beetroot and walnut pair well with the fresh zing of mint, peas and lime. As well as a bangin’ flavour combo, the nuts and seeds are high in protein and fat – keeping you fuller for longer. Beets contain a great amount of carb and slow releasing sugars to keep you going and going and spinach is basically just the most nutritious bloody thing out and should be consumed at all times by the fist full.
So, there you have an insanely balanced wee dish, both in taste and nutrition.
If thats what a rabbit gets from his food – sign me up.