Cous Cous Salad

Recipe: Roast Beetroot, Walnut and Feta Cous Cous Salad

Eating the Ayurvedic way means that crisp, cold and raw salads are not always the best way to get your five-a-day.  Raw foods can be difficlt to digest and according to Ayurveda, cool salads should be reserved for the heat of the Summer months, when we will benefit most from the crunchy, refreshing goodness. Luckily for me I LOVE warm salads and adding cooked ingredients and healthy grains can really improve what can sometimes be quite a boring meal option.  Salads are the ultimate customisable meal so ditch the lettuce-cucumber-tomato combo and look to more inspiring ways to enjoy salads.  Healing Foods talks about food variety being of optimum importance when eating for wellness and that adding dressings, chutneys and spices to your dishes increases the molecular variety of the food your body digests, thus increasing the health benefits.

“Including more spices and herbs in your food can also boost it’s flavour and nutritional density: adding a handful of chopped fresh herbs to lettuce in a salad, for example, can add upp to 75 percent extra antioxidants to the food.”

– Neals Yard 2013:13

This recipe is perfect as a vegtarian main or as a filling accompanying dish to meat (For my carnivorous husband!) and works great as a nutritious packable lunch too.

Roast Beetroot, Walnut and Feta Cous Cous Salad

Serves 4 as a sidedish or 2 as a main.

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked Cous Cous
1 1/4 cup hot vegetable stock (I use a kallo organic stock cube)2 medium beetroots, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
1 cup spinach leaves, washed
A handful of walnuts, chopped and toasted slightly
A handful of fresh chives, chopped
100g feta or goat’s cheese, chopped into 1cm cubes
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4, 180 or 160 (fan assisted)
  2. Place your chopped beetroot onto a baking tray, season and drizzle over 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil. Mix well and spread into a single layer. Roast for around 15 mins until tender, checking regularly.
  3. Meanwhile, place the cous cous into a large glass bowl and pour over your hot stock. Cover with a plate or tea towel and allow to sit for around 10 mins, until tender. Stir in the spinach leaves and cover for a further 5 mins to allow the spinach to wilt slightly.
  4. Once the beetroot is nice and tender stir into the cous cous and add the chopped feta, toasted walnuts and chives.
  5. Give it all a good mix and drizzle over a glug of rapeseed oil and balsamic vinger, season to taste. Serve onto warm plates and enjoy!

This recipe keeps really well in the fridge and is so versatile.  Use any nut you like and why not substitute the beetroot for other root veg such as carrot, squash or parsnip? Supplement the spinach with any of your favourite greens – just adjust the method by lightly cooking hardier greens such as kale, prior to adding to the cous cous.

Question about this recipe? Feel free to comment below with your questions, suggestions and tips.

Jaime xx

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Purple Healing Juice

I love this time of year. The world around us is filled with the colours, sights and sounds of Autumn and best of all, we are reeping the rewards of the Summer’s vegetable harvest. With the change in seasons however, come some familiar battles. Our skin and hair may begin to suffer as the sunlight wanes and central heating clicks on for those chilly, misty mornings. Colds and viruses too, cling on and linger in the cool, damp air and chesty coughs can seem to last forever. I always feel tired this time of year, the heat and fun of Summer are a distant memory as we begin to wake up in the dark and plan for the coming festive season.

Diet plays a huge part in how we feel, so in addition to your hearty vitamin-packed soups, fresh local fruit and plenty of water; I’ve created a fabulous seasonal juice recipe to heal and refuel this Autumn.

Pomegranates are incredibly high in vitamin C and potassium. Pomegranate juice is also high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidant. The three types – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are present in many fruits, but fresh pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three.

As well as all the vitamins, beetroot juice has been proven to have beneficial effects on blood pressure and fitness output. So instead of your usual caffeine hit, feel energised, refuelled and refreshed with the juice of this beautiful Autumn vegetable.

As a natural anti-inflammatory, a large dose of ginger is the perfect antidote to the lingering coughs and colds of Autumn and will help to soothe the worst of the seasonal aches and pains away. I love ginger and try to drink it steeped in warm lemon water as much as possible, but here it makes an appearance in another delicious juice recipe.

You will need:
1 pomegranate
1 – 2 medium sized beets
Minimum 1/4 inch piece of Ginger
1 carrot
1 apple
A large handful of dark leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale or cavolo nero all provide excellent nutrition and a large boost of chlorophyll)

To Prepare:
1. Wash and soak your greens.
2. To open your pomegranate; cut a circle at the top of the fruit about an inch wide around the brown ‘nib’, remove this lid. Then, make five or six (depending on the size and shape of your pomegranate) cuts down each ridge on the main body of the fruit, but take care not to break the plump seed pods contained inside. Carefully remove all the seed pods and pop in the juicer. (For a clear step-by-step on preparing your pomegranate, click here, for a handy fact sheet by Waitrose.
3. Wash, top and tail your beetroot and carrot and add to the juicer.
4. Pop the soaked greens and slice of ginger into the juicer and juice, finishing with your apple to push through any remaining pieces.

Drink fresh and feel revived!

*Tip: For maximum output, I always rehydrate my leafy greens (especially if they’re pre-cut) in a bowl of cold water for around 15 mins prior to juicing.

Jaime x

Image Credit: The Jolly Beetroot

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