Food

Pimp Up Your Salads

Salads…so often made up of limp iceberg lettuce, a few slices of cucumber and a tomato. Sounds mouth-watering? Didn’t think so. It’s no wonder so many people find healthy eating and traditional ‘diets’ boring and bland, leaving cravings unfulfilled and bellies still rumbling.

I believe the best approach to healthy eating, whilst keeping sane, is to find new recipes which are flavoursome, easy to make, filling and contain a balance of macro/micro nutrients.

A couple of years ago, I worked in a cafe where I live, making breakfast and lunch dishes from scratch everyday. I’ve always been a keen cook, but this experience really inspired me and definitely urged me to try new combinations, to jazz up my everyday meals.

I thought I would start with a salad recipe, seeing as it’s probably the first meal that springs to mind when people think of healthy eating. This was one I made for some friends a few weeks back and safe to say it was a success!


Sweet potato, sun-dried tomato and feta salad:

  • Watercress
  • Sweet potato (cut up into cubes, mix with rapeseed oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and roast on a shallow baking tray at 200°C for 20-30 minutes until soft and slighlty crispy on the outside)

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  • Green olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Feta cheese crumbled (vegan? Swap for avocado)
  • Mixed seeds
  • Optional: add strips of chicken breast for a lean protein source

Dressing:

(There are no exact measurements that I use for this as it completely depends on personal preference, so just make sure to keep tasting while you make it). In this order add:

  • a clove of garlic (crushed)
  • half a teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • slowly stir in a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • lastly gradually add in the olive oil while continuing to stir

Nutritional Profile:

  • Watercress, a leaf used by Hippocrates himself to help heal his sick patients, it is surprisingly high in protein, as well as vitamins K (essential for blood clotting), C (supports the immune system, regulates cholesterol, forms collagen in the skin) and A.
  • Sweet potato is a great source of slow releasing energy, fibre and micronutrients, including vitamin A (which helps to maintain good eyesight and healthy skin, hair, bones and teeth). It is also a very good source of vitamin B1, B2 and B6, vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and potassium.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes contain lycopene which is classed as an antioxidant (helping to prevent free radicals and believed to lower the risk of some cancers). They also contain vitamins C and K and iron.
  • Healthy fats found in the olives and seeds slow down release of sugars in the body and help you feel fuller for longer, while also being good sources of vitamin E (helping to prevent cell membrane damage). The seeds are high in protein too, they’re small but mighty.
  • Feta (although should be used in small quantities), is a good source of protein and calcium, helping to maintain healthy muscle and bones. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk products, and contains probiotics which are beneficial to gut health, as well as histidine, a protein which supports the immune system.

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