Category Archives: Side dishes

Pecan and Green Leaf Salad

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This salad has a lovely combination of both flavour and texture.  In summer I would serve this as the main meal with a slice of fresh crusty bread on the side.  In winter I use it as a generous sized side dish with some poached or sauteed chicken and toasted sourdough bread.

The portions in this recipe are for a winter side dish.

Recipe

  • 100 g fresh mixed spinach and rocket leaves
  • 1 bunch broccolini, steamed until just cooked
  • 1/2 sm red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 roasted capsicum, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 lg pieces sun-dried tomato, finely diced
  • 3 T toasted pepitas
  • handful of pecans, chopped
  • 50 g parmesan cheese, shaved

Mix all ingredients together.  Add salad dressing just before serving. Use just enough dressing to lightly coat the salad.

Salad Dressing

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • salt, pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well.

Coconut Cauliflower

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Cauliflower is super healthy.  It is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, fiber, protein and other good stuff.  So it is good to eat cauliflower reasonably often. This dish is quite rich, so I cook it when I am entertaining, or on vegetarian nights.

Recipe

  • 1 sm cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 Kent pumpkin or 1/2 butternut pumpkin, cut into cubes to match florets in size
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 3/4 t ground tumeric
  • 3/4 t ground coriander
  • 3 T macadamia oil
  • 5 T almond meal
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 T parsley, finely chopped

Steam or boil cauliflower and pumpkin separately until just soft.  Be careful not to overcook. Using a mortar and pestle, grind onion, spices, 2 T oil and almond meal into a paste.  It doesn’t matter if the onion remains a little chunky.  Gently fry paste in remaining oil for 1 minute, then add coconut milk and cook over low heat without boiling until mixture starts to thicken.  Add cauliflower and pumpkin and cook until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Carrots with Orange Sauce

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My grandmother didn’t really like plain vegetables – they needed to have some sort of treatment to make them truly delicious.  This is a classic example of the sort of side dish she would make for friends.

Recipe

  • 12 carrots
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 t flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T grated orange rind
  • 2 T butter (optional – this will give a richer taste and smoother texture, so omit for a lighter taste)

Combine orange juice, sugar, flour, rind and salt. Add butter if using. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat stirring constantly. Steam or boil carrots until cooked through but not soft.  Pour sauce over to serve. This recipe will serve 8-10 as a side dish. I usually make half.

Chickpea salad

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hmmm here they are plain...

Dried chickpeas look like gravel.  That gravel that people pay lots of money for to landscape their gardens. Looks good enough in those gardens, but the look isn’t immediately appealing as food.

Most people think of humous when they think of chickpeas.  Our bohemian house of course consumed massive amounts of humous – our excuse for overeating that and other things was that it was healthy and therefore essential.

Humous is great and definitely worth making yourself, but chickpeas are great for so much more. They are actually  fantastic in salads.  You can add some to a normal green salad to add a bit of nutty crunch and extra fibre (the new buzz word in healthy cuisine!) or you can base the salad on the chickpea as the primary ingredient. However, a chickpea salad can be heavy and kind of ‘mealy’ tasting so you need to add ingredients that compliment the textures and flavours. If you get that combination right, it will be a fabulous and genuinely healthy dish.

Recipe

  • 3 c cooked chickpeas (if you cook your own, make sure you don’t over cook them)
  • generous 3/4 c semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 c  toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 med red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 c blanched snow peas, chopped diagonally about 1cm wide
  • 1/2 sm onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c  fresh continental parsley, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c fresh coriander, chopped
  • couple of basil leaves, finely chopped

Combine all ingredientsChickpea salad

Dressing

  • 1/2 c fresh orange juice
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • fresh ground salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.  Try half of dressing first, and adjust gently if not initially enough.

Lentil Tomato Salad

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When I was very young, my mother transformed herself into a new age bohemian – very different to the Eastern European kind.  Our diet was probably one of the last things to fall under the spell of enlightenment, but when it did, we found ourselves eating all kinds of ingredients long before anyone else thought they were edible.  Our household said goodbye to so many delicious necessities: fresh milk, butter, chocolate, red meat, sugar… the list goes on. In their place we had Raw dried lentilspowdered skim milk, cold pressed sunflower oil, sunflower seeds and pepitas, soy beans, chickpeas, honey… the new list goes on too.  And of course no alternative kitchen is complete without large bags of lentils in its pantry! For a long time I really hated lentils, especially the green ones.  Every night for years one member of our household, I will call him Swami, boiled lentils. Plain boiled green lentils; no herbs, no spices, no salt, no anything at all to make them remotely appealing.  And every night this tasteless sploge of lentils would be dumped onto the top of Swami’s equally uninteresting salad and chomped down while standing at the kitchen counter.  It was hard to bear, even when you didn’t have to share.

So after moving out of home I abandonned the mighty healthy but more mightily unappetising lentil.  It was many years before I could contemplate them again, and I am not quite sure how it happened, but lentils have found their way back to my table.  The thing is,  you have to treat them right to make them taste good.   A couple of key points about lentils: 1. don’t over cook them, they are not good as mash, and 2. they need herbs and or spice, desperately. My current favourite lentil recipe is this salad. It is surprisingly light.

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c dried green lentils, boiled til just soft (strain immediately)
  • 3/4 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch continental parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T macadamia or avocado oil
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.