These days, carbohydrates have become a food group to avoid and as a result, we now live in an era of salads. Not just your tomato, cucumber and cubed cheese salad – but a smorgasbord of food groups that sustain and satisfy with an endless array of nuts, seeds, slow-releasing grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and protein. The important thing to remember is to use a small ratio of each, making this meal balanced and highly nutritious.
This new take on salads means almost anything goes and creativity abounds! Colour, texture, flavour can be interpreted in all sorts of ways and the end result can be quite magnificent. My Grandmother is a true believer in the saying “a balanced diet is a healthy one”, and you can apply this to every meal, and be on your way to healthier, happier you! Your bowl of Special K can be topped with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, handful of blueberries, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. You may even find that this sustains you for an extra hour in the morning without reaching for those sneaky snacks like muffins, M&M’s or extra coffee. Such small effort for big gains!
The message for today – try including something small from at least four food groups in any one meal!
2 chicken breast fillets, trimmed
Peel of 1 lemon
2 cups light coconut milk- ‘Organic Coco Quench’
2 large red capsicums
100g pine nuts
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bunch broccolini
1 bunch asparagus
½ bunch mint leaves
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan-forced. De-seed capsicums, quarter and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast the capsicums for 1 hour.
Place the coconut milk, lemon peel, some salt and pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and turn to a medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until completely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool.
Cook the quinoa according to the packets instructions, using a stovetop works best. The quinoa should take roughly 15 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat a fry pan to a high heat and add the pine nuts, toss the nuts after a few minutes to toast on both sides but be careful not to burn, set aside. In the same fry pan, add a little olive oil and heat the oil until it’s hot. Trim the broccolini and asparagus ends off, chop the greens into 3 cm pieces and add the broccolini to the hot fry pan. Toss in the fry pan for 2 minutes on a high heat and then turn down to a medium heat. Add the asparagus and give the pan another toss, the greens should only take another 2 minutes to cook, set aside when cooked.
Add you cooked greens the bowl with the quinoa. Chop the capsicum and chicken into 1 cm pieces and add to the bowl. Add the toasted pine nuts and tear the mint leaves into the bowl.
To make the dressing, whisk the honey, dijon mustard and salt and pepper into the olive oil and drizzle over the salad. Use your hands or two salad spoons to lightly toss the salad until everything is coated in the dressing. Now serve.
Tip: this salad is great for packed lunches!