Simple salads for lunch

Lunch table

What could be better after traveling than to have a simple, relaxed lunch at home with a friend? Today I was lucky to enjoy just such a lunch, during a brief stint at home between trips. Another friend had left a bunch of groceries with me before going out of town, so the lunch menu was determined by the ingredients I had to use up– hers and mine.

First up- a delicious baby spinach salad with strawberries, cucumber, avocado and sprouts (I used linseed/flaxseed microgreens), in a simple balsamic vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic, a tiny drop of agave, Kalahari salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Baby spinach salad with strawberry, avo, cucumber & sprouts

Next up, a shaved fennel salad. Fennel is one of those foods that I like but never think of buying. Having some given to me provided the perfect opportunity to try out a shaved fennel salad. This one was just fennel (sliced on a mandoline, with a few leafy tops chopped in), pink grapefruit, sugarsnap peas, fresh parsley and dried thyme in a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and agave. Delicious!

Fennel salad with grapefruit & sugarsnap peas

Salad number three was a warm/cooked dish. Quinoa with sauteed vegetables. I had bell peppers, baby corn, broccoli and a little bit of roasted sweet potato left over. Lightly seasoned with cumin, coriander a some vinaigrette (from the spinach salad).

Quinoa and vegetable salad

And while those three salads were more than enough, I couldn’t help trying out a version of sweet potato brownies. I’ve made chocolate cake with beetroot in it before, and I like the idea of using vegetables in desserts– mothers do it to get their kids to eat more veggies, but I think all of us benefit from replacing some of the less healthy ingredients in cakes with vegetables. So I made a gluten-free carob cake (it was too fluffy to be called brownies), with mashed sweet potato, based on a recipe I foundĀ  here.

Gluten free carob sweet potato cake

I used brown rice flour and chickpea flour, my usual staples, and I didn’t make any frosting. It was good, but the flavour was quite subtle. I think next time I’ll use a little more carob, and maybe a little more maple syrup and a little more sweet potato as well. As you can see, I didn’t manage to snap the photo before taking a few bites.

Best of all was just being back in my own kitchen, making my own simple healthy food and enjoying it in the company of a friend. More vegan travel posts coming soon.


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