Tag Archives: salads

Recipe: Cauliflower, Carrot, Crouton and Beetroot Thing of Great Yumminess (Vegan!!)

As you might have discerned, I have no idea what to call this recipe.  It’s sort of technically a main course salad, though a salad with absolutely nothing green in it doesn’t seem quite salad-y to me.  I know that ‘Bowls’ are the current big thing, but calling it a Bowl just seems pretentious to me.  Mélange sounds right to me, but probably sounds pretentious to everyone who isn’t me, so that’s no good.

The important thing to know about this meal is that it is *delicious*.  Picture this scenario: it’s the end of a long day at work.  The grants have just opened on RGMS.  I’ve gotten home late, because I was running choir after work.  I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in about a week.  I’m tired and I am cranky and I am sulking because basically I want fish and chips or takeaway, preferably something with lots of creamy cheese in it like four cheese pasta, or alternatively all the chocolate in the world, and here I am with stale bread, leftover beetroot dip, a cauliflower and a bunch of slightly elderly carrots.

This is not the stuff of which comfort food is made.

And yet… honestly, I feel like this is the best thing I’ve eaten all week.  It was sooo good.  Warm and earthy and crunchy and soft and squidgy and aromatic and sweet and savoury and probably nowhere near as good for me as I’d like to pretend, though better than fish and chips, eh, and actually not too much of a pain to make.

So here I am, desperately wanting an early night but unable to rest without writing down just what I did, because I will need to do it again sometime.  Sometime soon.  And maybe so will you.

(I apologise for the slightly vague quantities and the terrible photos – this is what happens when you are making dinner from the fridge and don’t really have plans to write it up because you are sulking at having to eat vegetables when all you want is cheesy cheesy pasta or maybe cheesy cheesy chips.)


Your Shopping (or leftovers) list

1 cauliflower – fairly large, I’d say
1 red onion
olive oil
1 tbsp ras el hanout or other moroccan spice mix
6-8 smallish carrots (no idea how many really, more or fewer will be fine, and colourful is good)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
about half a baguette’s worth of sourdough olive bread, or any other good chewy bread
a tablespoon of parmesan (optional)
400g tin of chickpeas
about 100 – 150g of beetroot dip – I had about half a pot of beautiful beetroot and hazelnut dip with dukkah from Shouki and Louise, which is what I used here.

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Recipe: Crisp Vegetable Salad for Spring

I haven’t been doing much cooking recently, or at least, not much that is creative, but this little salad has been a nice change from the usual lettuce-cucumber-tomato-capsicum deal, and is a nice, fresh, crisp-tasting side-dish for spring.

Today’s version is brought to you by my friend A, who gave me a bag of baby carrots – really carrot thinnings, so even cuter – mint and other goodies from her garden when we went to pick her up for a freecycling trip.  The amounts are vague, because I am vague too, but the combination of small, sweet, crisp carrot with spicy radish, fragrant mint and aniseedy fennel is very tasty, and very easy to bring together on a plate.  You can use any light tasting vinegar – cider or white wine vinegar would work – but strawberry vinegar seemed to fit with the spring-like theme of this salad.

This recipe serves two as a side dish.


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Recipe: Winter Tuna Salad with Fennel, Orange and Hazelnuts

I love salads, but it feels weird to buy tomatoes and capsicums and cucumbers and other summer vegetables when it’s freezing cold outside and probably pouring with rain, too.  So as the year changes, I start swapping out my summer greens and vegetables for more wintry fare – red cabbage, apples, celery, citrus fruits, fennel, kale, and lots of nuts and legumes.

This is a recent lunchbox favourite of mine, making the most of the cooler weather and the beautiful things that are in season even now, when the idea of getting out into the garden isn’t terribly inviting.  I think I even prefer this to my summer tuna salad – I like the acidity of the orange and the earthy flavour of the hazelnuts and chickpeas, and even fennel has started to grow on me.

But mostly I’m posting this recipe because it made my office-mate envious last time I brought it in for lunch, which is a good indicator in my book!


Your Shopping List (serves 1)

1/4 red onion
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 125 g tin chickpeas
1 small or half large fennel bulb
1 orange
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
2 handfuls baby spinach, rocket or parsley, or a combination of both (or any other likely winter greens that aren’t too bitter)
1 x 90g tin tuna packed in olive oil

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Recipe: Strawberry Salad with Fennel and Parmesan

fennelThis is a salad that I’ve made twice recently, prompted by the unexpected availability of strawberries at local markets, along with the more seasonal fennel that is everywhere right now.  It’s inspired by – and quite similar to – a savoury strawberry salad by Michael and Cindy of Where’s the Beef, which is to say, I was sitting there with some strawberries and fennel which I wanted to turn into a salad and was trying to decide what to do next, and then I remembered that Michael and Cindy put parmesan in theirs and realised that this was clearly the ingredient I was missing.  Now I look at their version, I realise that toasted nuts of some kind would indeed have been fabulous, so I encourage you to add these.

Judging by the leftovers we had of this at dinner tonight, I would say you might profitably marinate everything except the salad greens and perhaps the parmesan in the dressing for an hour or so before serving (think balsamic strawberries), and then just toss the greens with everything at the last minute.  But you don’t have to.  It was lovely as is.

Your Shopping List

1/2 a red onion (how does one write that, anyway?  Writing out ‘half’ looks silly in a list, but there’s no doubt about it, 1/2 a red onion looks pretty damn silly too…)
2 tbsp blackberry vinegar, or balsamic vinegar, since I realise that not everyone is lucky enough to have blackberry vinegar, which is a truly sad state of affairs
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and if it happens to be infused with blood orange, more power to you!
1 medium fennel bulb
375 g beautiful sweet strawberries
150 g mixed salad greens
20 g shaved parmesan
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Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food: The Substantial Salads Challenge

Vegetarian food can be awesome.  I mean, for one thing, most cakes are vegetarian – not to mention chocolate! – and I don’t think anyone is going to seriously claim that cakes and chocolate are not awesome.  And savoury vegetarian food can be fantastic, making the most of all the gorgeous vegetables, grains and legumes out there, as well as pasta, rice, polenta, and, if you are lacto-ovo vegetarian, eggs and dairy products such as yoghurt or cheese.  Who doesn’t love eating these things?

And yet, a lot of people are intimidated by vegetarian cooking (and let’s not even get started on the terror that cooking vegan can inspire!).  In all honesty, I’m one of those people.

I’m an omnivore with vegetarian tendencies.  I like cooking and eating vegetarian and vegan food, and I usually go vegetarian for a couple of months each year, during Lent.  I do this because I think it’s a good idea both ethically and health-wise to reduce reliance on animal sources of protein.

Despite this, I find vegetarian cooking really hard when I have to do it every day.  All my easiest, no-brainer meals all tend to have meat in them.  Which means the busier and more stressed I am, the less likely I am to cook vegetarian, despite my best intentions.

I want to do better than this.

My plan is, therefore, to start a monthly Everyone Can Cook Vegetarian Food festival over here on my blog.  Every month, I will pick a theme – which will probably be seasonal for those of us Southern Hemisphere types, so I hope you are all ready for Vegan Christmas In July – and provide a linky where you can add your dish.


Here are the rules:

To join in, simply post a vegetarian (or vegan) dish on your blog by the last day of the month and:
  • Link to the challenge page at Cate’s Cates (or link to both the challenge page and Cate’s Cates, if someone else is hosting)
  • Use the Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian logo in your post
  • If you use twitter, tweet your post with @catescates and #easyvegetarian and I will re-tweet it to my followers.
  • If you don’t have a blog, email me your recipe (17catherines at gmail dot com), along with a picture of the finished product, and I’ll post it for you and add it to the list.


  • Follow the current theme when creating your recipe
  • Entries can be vegetarian or vegan.  If your recipe happens to be suitable for any other dietary requirements so much the better – and please say so!
  • Entries don’t have to be new blog posts!  I’m hoping these challenges will hang around as an index of handy recipes (so that people in the Northern Hemisphere can come looking for salads when it’s seasonal for them).  Just edit your existing blog post with the link and icon for this one, and add your post to the linky.
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the first day of the following month (ie, February 1 for this challenge).

The January 2013 theme is substantial Salads.

(because in this weather, who really wants to cook at dinner time?)

I look forward to seeing (and tasting) some amazing salads! Add them to the linky below.  If you’d like to make this into a blog hop from your blog, click on the link below after you’ve entered your contribution to get the code, and everyone else’s salads will appear on your blog as if by magic!

NB: It seems that links are taking a while to turn up below.  Please be patient, but if your link hasn’t shown up in 24 hours, let me know and I’ll follow it up for you.


Recipe: Tuna Salad

salad2We’re getting into the really hot days now, when any recipe that doesn’t involve switching on the stove, oven, or even toaster, is a recipe to be valued.  And in these post-Christmas weeks, there is a certain urge towards salad, to balance out all the rich foods we have been eating recently…

This recipe is another one of those embarrassingly simple ones, but it’s so very useful I’m putting it here anyway.  There’s a lot to be said for a recipe that requires no measurements, is portable, and gives you a reasonably filling and balanced lunch at the end of it.  Now, if only I had a really good vegetarian version of this… (stay tuned, however – I have plans!)

Your shopping list (serves 2)

1 lebanese cucumber
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
350g – 500 g  (1 1/2 – 2 punnets) cherry tomatoes, any kind, or 3 nice tomatoes
1 x 185 g tin of tuna or salmon, in olive oil if possible
2 x 125 g tins four bean mix
black pepper
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar

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Not a proper recipe for not entirely Greek Salad

I think I may have to start a section of this journal for recipes that aren’t proper recipes but which people ask me for. You know, for recipes like pasta bolognese or fruit crumble, which are a handful of this, and one of those, and a sprinkle of that, and a whole tin of the other, and actually, maybe we need another handful of this after allThese kind of recipes are only ever going to be recordable by weighing all the ingredients you might possible want to use before you start cooking, and then weighing the packets again after you finish and calculating the difference.  Which is something I never think of until it’s too late. 

Inevitably, recipes like this are also the ones people ask for.  And this is very sad, because I have so many recipes I can describe, but when it comes to these ones, all I can do is wail “I don’t know what I put in there!”.  Because it changes every time.

Anyway, my mother in law asked for this recipe, so here it is.  Sort of.   I’m totally guessing at the quantities, especially for the dressing, so use your best judgment.  On the bright side, it’s a salad, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong on.  And sometime soon I really will figure out what I put in my fruit crumbles, too.  Promise.

Your shopping list

100g persian feta (the soft creamy kind that usually comes marinated)
100g marinated green olives (inauthentic, but I like them more than the black ones), stoned and halved
half a small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil infused with blood orange, or plain extra virgin olive oil and a little blood orange juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt, black pepper
250g of good cherry or mini Roma tomatoes, or whatever little tomatoes you have in your garden that have not been eaten by the very hungry caterpillar, cut in half
one largeish lebanese cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthways, and chopped into thick chunks
one red or yellow or orange capsicum, cut into thick slices and the slices halved
leaves from about half a small lettuce (I like butter lettuce for this), gently torn
a handful each of fresh mint and fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, gently shredded, and if you have some nasturtium petals or other herb flowers, why not add them too?

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