Warm pumpkin salad

I love my salads … but as the cooler weather comes, they don’t quite hit the spot like they do in Summer.

This is a great way to be able to enjoy salads all year ’round!

  • 1 kg butternut pumpkin
  • 400g can chick peas
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp pink salt flakes
  • 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • avocado to serve

Dice the pumpkin and toss it in the olive oil. Place it in a lined baking tray and sprinkle with the rosemary and salt.

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Place in a preheated 200C oven for about 45 minutes.

Add the chick peas to the pumpkin and mix in well to coat in oil. Return to oven for further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with the vinegar.

Then add in the spinach and mix well so that the leaves are coated.

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Serve into bowls and top with avocado.

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Enjoy 🙂

If you are going to eat this one over a couple of days, store in an airtight container in the fridge  leave the avocado off so that you can warm the salad before adding fresh avocado each day.

‘Coleslaw’

As well as the common allergies we have in our home, we also have a few more unusual ones. Raw cabbage is one of those.

Last time my biggest boy came across raw cabbage it took 4 days for the swelling in his lips and face to go down. So …. add in the usual dressings and that’s coleslaw out for us then!!

This is our delicious alternative – loaded with veggies, has all the lovely fresh crunch of standard coleslaw and an awesome creamy, yet healthy dressing!

Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 raw beetroot
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 4 tbsp creamy avocado dressing
  • OPTIONAL: a good handful of toasted pine nuts/walnuts

Peel the beetroot and then grate it and the carrots – food processor is easiest. Or you can do them julienne style with a mandolin.

Chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces.

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Place all of the veg into a large bowl, add in the avocado dressing and toss through until well coated.

Top with a sprinkling of pine nuts or walnuts if you are able (toast them on a baking tray under the grill for just a few minutes – watch them carefully and toss part way through to get even browning).

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Serve as a side salad at a bbq, with the protein at your main meal, or even top it with a tin of salmon as a delicious lunch.

Enjoy!

Creamy Avocado dressing

Salad dressings are bit of a challenge when you are dealing with food allergies, or if you want healthier options! The store bought variety are mostly loaded with sugars plus stabilisers and emulsifiers that we tend to avoid when possible.

As such, we  have just mostly avoided dressings – when I do use them, a vinaigrette of some description is my normal ‘go-to’, but occasionally the mood strikes for something a bit different and creamy!

This super simple dressing is amazing! Creamy and rich, it holds beautifully to salads that you toss through it and it’s delightful  drizzled on salmon or chicken … maybe even lamb or beef, but I haven’t tried that yet!

  • the flesh of one avocado, very ripe
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped dill
  • a good pinch pink salt flakes
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Optional: If you want a more liquid version of the dressing, add in 1 tbsp of Aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas)

Place all ingredients into your blender/processor/bullet/thermal cooker and process until smooth. (Speed 5, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

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Oops – I forgot to take a photo of the whole batch!

Tonight we tossed a good tablespoon of the dressing through a raw broccoli and beetroot salad and then topped our baked salmon with some more! Divine!

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This quantity of dressing is probably enough for 5-6 people, and lasts a couple of days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Roasted Balsamic Beetroot, Pear and Sweet Potato Salad

With the warmer weather approaching in Perth, I am excited to be back to eating more salads for dinner.

I love this simple, tasty salad because it is warm and sweet and crunchy and so filling.

  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 medium gold sweet potato
  • 1 large pear
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • good pinch Himilayan salt

Peel and cube the beetroot, pear and potato to roughly the same size.

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Mix together the oil, salt and vinegar and toss the veggies in the mix.

Place in a baking tray and roast in a preheated 200C oven for about 45 mins, turning once at about half way.

Divide the spinach among 4 bowls and place the warm vegetable mix on top.

Add some slice avocado and some extra balsamic vinegar if you’d like.

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If you want to bulk up the meal even more, it also taste great with some added lamb or chicken.

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Serves 4 adults.

Enjoy!

Warm Balsamic Chicken Salad

When we lived in Roxby Downs (a tiny mining community in the middle of South Australia), options for going out to dinner were fairly limited, and things I could eat on the menu were limited even further still by our diet.

There was one place we went to fairly regularly as a family, Chives, and their menu had two items I could choose from; steak and veggies or a warm chicken salad. Although very basic, that salad was really tasty and I always looked forward to it!

Since we’ve been back in Perth it is something I have made regularly on our warm weather menu. It feels a bit wrong for adding a ‘recipe’ for something so very simple but I love that it shows that you can have fresh, healthy, tasty, filling and simple meals that are allergy friendly.

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • a dozen cherry tomatoes
  • a couple of preserved baby beets
  • cooked chicken
  • 1 avocado (quite ripe and soft)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt

Divide the spinach between 2 bowls.

Very finely julienne the carrot and cucumber (I did this with a sharp toothed peeler) then place on top of spinach.

Halve the tomatoes and dice the beets then add to bowls.

Warm the chicken (use the amount you desire – we did about 120g per bowl) and add to the salad.

Top with sliced avocado.

Mix together the oil, vinegar and salt then pour half over the top of each salad.

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Enjoy straight away.

Raw Beetroot Salad

We had a particularly successful crop of beetroot from our veggie garden this year – and I was a bit stuck as to what to do with them. My friend, Kym, put me on to a lovely raw beetroot salad.

I have tweaked it a bit – but you can find the original here: http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2013/01/22/raw-beet-carrot-apple-salad-with-ginger-lime-dressing/

  • 2 beetroots
  • 2 apples (I like Fuji’s and that’s what grows on our fruit trees – or pears to be safe for William)
  • 2 carrots
  • a large piece of cucumber 
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup

Grate the fruit and veg – food processor is easiest.

In a jar, add the ginger, lime, honey and oil and shake until well combined.

Place the salad in a bowl and mix well, then dress.

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I have served this on it’s own as a side dish at BBQ’s, but my two favourite ways to eat it are with some crumbed chicken or with a good handful of spinach and some lemon pepper salmon.

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If you are making the salad ahead of time, I suggest keeping the beetroot separate until closer to serving time so it doesn’t bleed quite so much and turn everything very pink 😉

This makes about enough for 8 and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days (I often make a half mix and have it for lunch over 4 days).

Enjoy!

Summer jewel salad

I love summer salads – fresh and juicy and bursting with flavour. The perfect accompaniment to Aussie bbq’s.

This is a super simple one and so pretty to look at … William thinks the seeds look like jewels and I tend to agree!

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  • 2 small, ripe mangoes, diced
  • 2 small, ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice.

Mix all ingredients together and serve cold.

Yum!

Taco Steak with Mexican Bean Salad

This is a super-easy idea that I pinched from my Mum. Sadly the kids don’t enjoy it much but Peter and I have loved it … and its left overs for multiple days afterwards!

  • 2 tbsp Mexican seasoning.
  • Steak of choice approx 100g per person (We used a thick scotch fillet)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 whole tomatoes)
  • 1/2 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 tin corn kernels, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tine kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium stalk celery, chopped
  • lime juice
  • fresh coriander.

Rub the seasoning into the steak on both sides, then either bbq or pan fry to your taste.

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While the steak is cooking, mix together all the salad ingredients.

Allow the steak rest for a few minutes before carving in to strips and serving on top of the salad.

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This quantity of salad was enough for about 4 adult serves.

Such a quick and fresh summer meal. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Chicken Quinoa

You know me … always on the look out for all things quinoa – so I was quite pleased when this was so well received by my family – and my parents … who aren’t quite accustomed to all of the weird ingredients currently in their pantry and my ‘alternative cooking’!

I got the base of this recipe from my clever sister-in-law then made some additions.

  • 5 large chicken thighs, fat removed and cut into strips
  • Rice bran oil for cooking
  • 1 tsp Massel chicken stock powder
  • 2.5 cups quinoa (I would normally use white but could only buy red today – tasted just as yummy but didn’t look quite as pretty)
  • 80g slivered almonds (optional – but gives a great texture if your diet allows)
  • handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1.5tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5tbsp lemon juice
  • the seeds from 3 pomegranates

In a large pot, set the quinoa to soak in plenty of water (ideally for at least an hour).

Optional step: Toast the almonds over a gentle heat, in a frying pan with a small amount of rice bran oil. Watch them carefully – they burn quickly! Then set them aside to cool.

Take my advice - wear an apron!!
Take my advice – wear an apron!!

Seed the pomegranates. This was a first for me and boy did it make a mess! There are apparently all sort of tricks you can use for getting them out more easily – but I have also heard that you can buy jar of the seeds … so I may just investigate this option for next time 😉 Set the seeds aside.

Heat another 2 tsp of rice bran oil in the frying pan and add the chicken, sprinkling with the stock powder then allowing to cook until golden brown. Set aside.

Drain and rise the quinoa then cover in 9-10 cups of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Drain the quinoa and add the olive oil and lemon juice. Stir well. Then add the pomegranate seeds.

Just before serving stir through the mint.

Top with the chicken (and sprinkle with the almonds if your diet permits).

This made a lot! Enough for 4 hungry adults and 3 kids, plus 2 generous left overs for lunch. It won’t freeze well but you could just freeze the plain, cooked quinoa to defrost for next time.

We ate this warm because it is cold here at the moment, but you could also leave out the chicken and almonds and serve cold as a yummy Summer side salad.

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Enjoy!

Prawn salad rolls

I recently made the 2 and a half hour drive from Roxby Downs to Port Augusta.  One of the highlights of the  trip, for this desert dweller, was being near the water … and therefore fresh seafood, again!!

So I stocked up on some beautiful king prawns, and made my ‘happy salad’ when I got home! So many of my favourite foods in one place 🙂

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It is a very quick, super easy and healthy summer meal … I particularly enjoyed mine with half a glass of pear cider 🙂

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  • 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp Thousand Island dressing (I used the Praise fat-free one as it’s made with a maize thickener)
  • 2 finely chopped mint leaves
  • 4 large iceberg lettuce leaves

Mix together the prawns, avocado, orange, mint and dressing, spoon mixture in to the lettuce leaves and then roll. Too easy!

The only way this gets better in my book is when it’s mango season and I can swap the orange for fresh mango!!

This one is best made and eaten straight away. If you leave it too long the lettuce goes soggy and tends to tear.

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