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Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Most Virtuous Salad

This salad is the most virtuous, wholesome, healthy salad ever !!!!! It is so good for you on so many levels. The base for this salad is a combination of brown rice and green lentils. These are both high fibre, wholegrain protein foods which have a low g.i . This means this salad will keep you full for a long time as the energy will be released slowly. The avocado has essential fats, vitamins A & E and a high proportion of fibre. The chicken is poached and as a result is an excellent source of lean protein.

This salad is ultra adaptable - ingredients can be substitued for others depending on personal preference or simply what is in the salad drawer.

There are 2 dressings suitable for this salad or again feel free to experiment - perhaps a balsamic dressing or honey mustard dressing.

Serves 2
30g green lentils
30g brown rice
1 chicken fillet
1/2 avocado
1/4 red onion
1 - 11/2 tomatoes
1/4 red, green & yellow pepper
1 chicken stock cube
Handful fresh chopped parsley & chives
2 boiled egg whites
Handful of fresh spinach leaves
Optional: Low fat feta, steamed brocolli

Curry Dressing
3 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt
1 tbsp low fat mayo
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mango chutney

Basil & Goats Cheese Dressing
3 tbsp skinny basil pesto ( see previous recipe)
1 tsp soft goats cheese
1 tsp 0% fat natural yoghurt

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add in the brown rice and lentil and boil for 30 - 40 mins until they become tender but still with a little bite.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add in the stock cube and chicken fillet, turn down to a medium heat and poach for 20 mins. When cooked, remove from the water, allow to cool and shred.
  3. Hard boil 2 eggs. Place the eggs into a pot of boiling water and boil rapidly for 10mins. Remove from the water and place in a bowl of cold water to cool down. Shell, set aside the yolk and chop into large chunks.
  4. Turn on the grill. Place the segments of peppers under a hot grill until they char and the skin goes black (5-10mins). When blackened wrap them in clingfilm. This will cause them to sweat and then just rub/peel off the skin and what remains are gorgeous, tender roast peppers. Cut into small dice.
  5. Peel and dice the avocado and red onion. Deseed and dice the tomato. Chop the fresh herbs.
  6. To make the curry dressing : combine 3 tbsp 0% fat natural yoghurt, 1 tbsp low fat mayo, 1 tsp mango chutney and 2 tsp curry powder. If you find this too thick, stir in a little of the remaining chicken stock. Some fresh coriander leaves will really lift this dish.
  7. To make the basil & goats cheese dressing : combine 3 tbsp skinny basil pesto, 1 1/2 tsp soft goats cheese and 1 tbsp natural yoghurt.
  8. Now just assemble, place the lentils and rice in a bowl, toss through the avocado, onion, tomato, shredded chicken, peppers and egg whites. Coat in the dressing. Add a little oil ( Irish rapeseed or olive oil ) if the dressing is too thick.
  9. Place some fresh spinach leaves in the base of the serving bowl, place the grain salad on top and sprinkle over with the fresh herbs . To be a little extra indulgent and I do recommend it - crumble over some egg yolk. Yum.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spinach, Bacon, Avocado & Wholemeal Pesto Pasta Salad

This recipe is a take on a rather traditional salad.  When eating a salad it is very easy to believe we are being extremely virtious however they can be ladened down with stodgy carbs and fattening creamy dressings. The full fat version of this salad would be very unforgiving however this version is just perfect - all the indulgence and none of the guilt.  The wholemeal pasta (just 30g per person) adds a wholesome, filling carbohydrate which makes this salad a complete and filling main meal. The avocado gives us essential good fats which our body needs. They can be high in calories hence only 1/4 per serving however with their creamy silky texture this is ample. In relation to the cheddar cheese I am loving Kilmeadan Light Cheddar at the moment. One of the best on the market. The sun-blushed tomato recipe is here on the blog already and is so simple but if you don't fancy that feel free to use cherry or buffalo tomatoes. (A little depth of flavour is required )

P.S. I am so sorry there is no visual here - my camera and I are having a bit of a row at the moment and my camera is refusing to upload the photo. I promise i will have it sorted ASAP.

Serves 2

120g baby spinach leaves
1/2 red onion
1/2 ripe avocado
40g reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 low fat rashers
60g (dried) wholemeal organic pasta (any shape)
12 sun blushed tomatoes
2 dsp skinny basil pesto (see previous recipes)
2 dsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Boil a small pot of water. Cook the pasta for 15 - 20mins until tender or al dente.
  2. Wash & dry spinach leaves. Thinly slice the onion. Peel and cut the avocado into large chunks.
  3. Grate the cheese. Grill the rashers and thinly slice.
  4. Drain the pasta, and allow to cool. (to speed up the process - pop it in the fridge)
  5. When cool stir in the pesto and olive oil.
  6. Now, to assemble. Toss the spinach leaves and pesto pasta together.
  7. Place in serving bowls and top with onion, avocado, bacon and cheddar cheese.
  8. Enjoy.