strawberry + mixed greens salad with toasted nuts

mains, recipes, salads, sides

The bright and beautiful strawberries used in this recipe were picked at Craigie’s Farm. This pick-your-own farm and cafe is one of Edinburgh’s treasures and it is easy to see why city folk like myself flock to the farm on weekends. We wandered up and down the greenhouses and fields filling our baskets with strawberries, raspberries and cherries. This proved to be highly addicting. My baskets were full but I just couldn’t stop looking for deep, red, ripe fruit. I would find one and say, “okay, this is the last one” but it would turn into another fifteen minutes of foraging. Needless to say, the entire experience made me rethink the times I have sat and plowed through a carton of raspberries in 1.5 minutes. This week when I looked at my berries, I thought more about the colors, the textures, the hands that picked them and the joy of finding them- but I still ate them rather quickly. 

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One of the best parts about summer? Salads! And tossing fruit into our salads! Hooray! I love salads because they are customizable and can be easily experimented with. Putting in the stuff you like and picking out the stuff you decide you are not crazy about is easy peasy. The idea of strawberries on salad is not a new concept. There are many wonderful strawberry salad recipes out there, two of my favorites that you can view here are from the wonderfully talented The Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.

This strawberry salad is fresh, satisfying and super… super easy to make.  I always prefer a little crunch in my salad, so tossing in some unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted nuts are delightful additions. They also provide important healthy fats and a protein boost, win-win.
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INGREDIENTS
DRESSING

3 tbs olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tsp date syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix all ingredients in small jar, set aside

SALAD

1-2 c (150-200g) quartered strawberries

200g arugula + watercress mix

200g spinach

3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs raw hazelnut + almond (or nuts of choice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and place nuts on lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes then set aside

Add mixed greens, strawberries, coconut and toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl

Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of balsamic dressing and toss gently

Notes
*Serve additional dressing, nuts and coconut on the side
*Best when fresh. Share it for 2 entrees or 4 small salads
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grilled vegetable skewers with spicy tofu

mains, recipes

Warm weather is made for grilling. This weekend, as we celebrate the first official day of summer, we are definitely in the mood for grilling, even if the clouds and breeze are hanging out in Scotland today. I love to grill because basically, everything and anything you can imagine can be cooked on the grates of a grill – often times with amazing results. A summer salad gets a little crunch with a handful of grilled kale… delicious. Even desserts get a little more interesting when charred, grilled peaches on ice cream anyone?

Firm tofu and if you tolerate dairy, halloumi cheese, are great vegetarian options for grilling because they are firm enough to hold their shape as they cook. The spiciness and saltiness of the tofu (or hallolumi) in this recipe balance out the sweetness from the peppers, courgette and red onion.

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INGREDIENTS

For Vegetables

2 medium courgettes, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices

2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt + pepper

metal or wooden skewers (soaked in warm water 30 minutes if wooden)

For Tofu

1 package (350g) firm tofu, diced into 1-inch cubes

1 tbs olive oil

1 tsp cumin + garlic salt

1/2 tsp red chili powder

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METHOD

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Place the zucchini, red onion and bell pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt + pepper. Gently toss to combine.

In separate bowl, combine cubed tofu, olive oil, cumin, garlic salt and chili powder.

Arrange vegetables and tofu onto soaked bamboo skewers (keeps them from sticking too much). Grill kebabs on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using gas grill, turning over once, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes (timing will vary among vegetables).

Serve with brown rice and spinach.

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NOTES

* Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and squash would make great additions
* Skewers can be prepped 1 day ahead, chilled and covered
* If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, place skewers onto lightly greased tray and cook under the grill for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tofu is golden and the veg are soft, turning halfway through.