We get a box of organic veggies delivered to our house each week; it’s so fun experimenting with the goods. I’ve enjoyed so many beets in these boxes and thought it was time for me to get more creative with them. As well as adding sweet chunks to my salad, I began adding the odd cooked beetroot to my smoothie (e.g. Red Velvet Smoothie recipe), and now this Golden Pesto has further expanded the potential! I love both deep purple and precious golden beetroot; the golden is softer in colour and flavour, handy for not dyeing everything in its path. By combining these with toasted pine nuts, you get a lovely shade of sunshine pesto – perfect for springtime.

I like to activate my nuts. This means soaking them in order to remove some of the natural enzyme inhibitors. You don’t have to do this step but it does make them easier to digest, increasing their available nutritional value, so if you have time, I recommend it. It’s so easy, just calls for a little planning ahead. I also love lightly roasting nuts as it enhances their flavour so much, doubling their nuttiness!

You can stir this deeply flavoursome pesto through pasta or courgetti noodles, spread into your sandwich or keep it thick and use it like hummus to dip your crudités and potato wedges. The options are endless and once you’ve blended it, you will no doubt be eating this pesto straight from the spoon!

Ingredients:

2/3c Pine Nuts (activated)
1c chopped (2 large, 3-4 small) Golden Beetroot
1 large Lemon
3 tbsps Olive Oil
1 large handful on Basil (my generous ‘handful’ may be considered two handfuls by some)
1 large clove Garlic
3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (I always use the one fortified with b12 which is an important vitamin we generally don’t get from a plant based diet. This is an optional ingredient altogether.)
Sea Salt to taste
Water to desired consistency (I recommend about 1/3c)

Soak pine nuts (5-7 hours). Heat the oven to 180 degrees and place the whole beetroots into the oven to cook for about an hour. Drain and rinse the pine nuts and place on a tea towel to squeeze out excess water before putting into a baking tray and adding to the oven to dry and toast until lightly golden, this will only take about 10 minutes or less; keep a close eye on them, you don’t want them to burn! When the beets have been cooked for an hour (note: if using smaller beetroots they will take less time to cook; large ones will take the full hour), you can take them out of the oven to cool, before peeling off the skins, chopping, and adding to your food processor, along with the pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend well to give a thick, creamy consistency, then add the water slowly so you can stop when you reach the consistency that suits. Taste test to see if you like it just like me or perhaps want a little more sweet basil, punchy garlic or zesty lemon. Enjoy!

Advertisements

I have chosen to write about the three main cities of Peru, which are in fact bursting with healthy hotspots. As opposed to them being ‘international’ hubs, they serve true Peruvian cuisine. Peru is the home of many western ‘superfoods’, from root powders like cacao, maca, lucuma, to grains such as quinoa, and even nuts from the Andean mountains like sacha inchi. I found so many plant based option, it was easy to enjoy the delicious food. One thing is for sure: potatoes are always on the menu when the country grows hundreds and hundreds of different kinds!

Cusco is a tourist hub due to its rich history. It is surrounded by ancient ruins including, of course, the famous Machu Picchu. We only spent 4 days around Cusco but with excursions to hike Rainbow Mountain, explore the sacred valley, and a day at Machu Picchu, it left us with only one full day for Cusco itself and I would have loved one more day here in this bustling city that has many quiet, peaceful streets with hidden treasures.

9DA347D5-C03A-4340-8138-A6BB7621716C

San Pedro Market
Cusco’s central market was my favourite of all the markets I went to. The senses come alive within the rainbow of colour from the ripe and juicy fruits to the aromatic flower stalls with an abundance of textures and shapes. There are many stalls selling nuts and dried fruits by the kilo. We chose one and stocked up. The woman who owned the stall kept generously giving us tastes of pretty much anything we looked at. We filled up with a selection of golden berries, brazil nuts, sacha inchi, dried figs, bee pollen, almonds, walnuts and pecans. The pecans here are HUGE and taste a lot fresher than at home. These snacks kept us going throughout the next week of adventures with hikes and plane journeys and excursions where our included breakfast were really nothing more than bread. (Top tip: take avocado and a lime everywhere! We did and it made every piece of bread so much more delicious, nutritious and therefore, satisfying.)

The Shaman Restaurant
We ate the set lunch menu here and were blown away at how much food we got for such little cost. They claim to prepare and cook their food in line with shamanic principles. We had 4 or 5 courses here including soup, quinoa and vegetable dishes and an almond milk rice pudding to end. It was lovely.

BE6C6403-B33E-428C-BB0F-0A8324D5B32F.jpeg

Green Stop (shop & restaurant)
The tea and herbs sold here are sourced from the sacred valley along with many other dried goods. They also make their own fresh produce; cashew cheeses, raw brownies, plant based cookies etc. I got to sample a mouthful of the chocolate chickpea brownie and it was out of this world! Just around the corner is the sister restaurant; the food looks incredible, although fairly pricy, but I didn’t get the chance to try as I was still full from our shamanic feast for lunch.

C50FBD0C-C750-4386-88D3-009F2FACD118

Arequipa was probably might favourite place I went to in Peru. This city feels much more like a town due to the many pedestrian-only areas and therefore, the much calmer atmosphere. It has a rich history just like the rest of these incredible Peruvian towns, a beautiful main square with lush green gardens and the city is surrounded by three huge, dramatic, snow-covered volcanoes which you can choose to hike up or admire from afar.

52ED4E92-D77C-461B-8A97-494CEC549190

Chaq Cacao
This chocolate haven has a shop, cafe and chocolate kitchen (not to mention the daily cacao workshops they hold daily which I will do a full post on soon!). The cakes are made daily at a bakery close by with their organic cacao and, oh my, they are not to be missed!!

Las Gringas
This restaurant is next door to Chaq Cacao, sharing the lovely courtyard (where a really great walking tour of the city begins), and serves local, organic produce. By day it serves açai bowls, salads and focaccia sandwiches and by night it become a pizza restaurant, making top notch thin crust extravaganzas in their pizza oven. I actually went back on my last night before an overnight bus because it was so good. They have innovative takes on an international favourite by incorporating Peruvian crops, such as (gluten free) purple corn crust and quinoa bases. There is the option for avocado instead of cheese. Las Gringas also specialises in beers although I can’t tell you anything more on that topic as I don’t drink it.

El Buddha Perano
The food at this vegan sushi bar is amazing! I was the only person dining there so it didn’t have much atmosphere but the food is fresh, colourful, healthy and so tasty.

E51BC792-C3F5-4CB0-B539-3F57CEC1629D

Omphalos
I came here for lunch on my last day and again got a big set lunch menu for just 10 sol which is about £2.20! From potato to soup to a huge main, that I was able to pick from 4 options (I went for a bean stew), all the way to dessert, it was another seemingly never-ending lunch. I enjoyed it but was a total carb overload. It was a heavy meal and that was without eating the desert which was some sort of mango jelly (not my jam), however I would definitely recommend for those wanting to try the local non-meat food on a budget.

B9138A19-6997-4290-AD7F-EAC5F9D471F0

Lima is the capital of Peru and is far larger than any of its other cities. This is evident when you arrive; the streets are crowded with cars and loud with honks. However, because it’s on the coast, you get this whole sea (literally) of open space and a sense of serenity.

Germinando Vida
I came here with friends that live in Lima and work in Barranco, which is known as the bohemian suburb of this big city. There are many options for cafes in Lima and particularly in this area, but I was so glad we came to Germinando, mostly because of the starters. We ordered a couple of entrees for the 4 of us: mango cerviche (a vegetarian take on this coastal fishy delicacy) and another bowl featuring all of the local food: potatoes, avocado, corn etc. Again these vegetables were so fresh and ripe and the combination of flavours was amazing! My bean burger and salad for main was pretty tasty too.

C0E995D3-5495-4B5E-83C5-1F56E3EEA97A

Raw Cafe
This spot is in Miraflores which is where my friend lives. There are many exciting options and because it’s such a hard decision we came here 3 times! I tried the falafel nourish bowl for dinner and had the flax wrap for lunch as well as a half of the pancakes then on another visit sampled the carrot cake! The meals were full of healthy ingredients however, in all honesty, it wasn’t really anything to rave about in my opinion.

AmaZ
Ending with a bang; amaZ was the best meal I had and is without a doubt in my top 5 restaurant meal EVER. This is a fancy spot next door to the Hilton hotel and it has a price tag to match. In classic Peruvian style, amaZ also does a set lunch menu which happens to be vegetarian, so as well as this being the best value for money, it definitely suited me best. The price was not the standard 10-20 sol but was 270 for the 2 of us. If you’re looking for something special, I couldn’t recommend this more and it actually coverts to only around £30 each which is what you’d pay for a nice 2 course dinner in England anyway! The set menu had 10 dishes but rather than them being brought out one by one and us nibbling for about 5 hours, they brought out the first 4 together for our first course, then another 4 for our main, and finally the last 2 for dessert. Yes, we were full. What’s so special about this restaurant is that all the ingredients come from the amazon rainforest. A few of my favourite dishes were yucca empanadas, mushroom and callampas patarashca, plantain farofa and the homemade sorbets made with regional fruits such as orange, lime and palmarosa. Everything was absolutely amaZing and provided a real experience over and above the taste of the exquisite, creatively prepared food. Here we had our unbelievable feast then got to enjoy dandering back along the coast to return to my friend’s place In Miraflores. In I find myself in Lima again, I would definitely come back here and be excited to see what new Amazonian delights they had crafted.

79DCC779-24C3-41E6-9C32-9E9C7EC72C18

In light of it being International Women’s Day, I wanted to share this feminine beauty. This smoothie is chocolate heaven. It’s creamy, rich and delicious, though soft and comforting and has undertones of earthy beets and malty butterscotch. Here I have crafted a women’s potion that’s filled with blood building whole foods as well as herbal adaptogens which help humans to adapt to stressful situations. I have recently been diagnosed with PCOS and this condition calls for particular awareness over stress in any area. These plant medicines can help.

[Disclaimer: herbs are powerful and should be considered before introducing to your diet. If already taking herbs or are suffering with any condition, consult a healthcare practitioner* before beginning (*meaning Chinese herbalist, Ayurvedic doctor, naturopath or another kind of alternative medicine practitioner).]

Maca Powder is an ancient Peruvian root crop and was used by the Inca people as this superfood grows at extremely high altitudes up in the mountains. It has been valued incredibly highly for thousands of years, helping to alleviate hormonal imbalances, fatigue and infertility. It is still used today and enjoyed for both its nutritional properties and flavour.

Cinnamon is a delicious herb that has powerful properties which help to control blood sugar levels, something which can be functioning at abnormal levels if you have PCOS. It is also anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, helping to fight off any potential yeast infections as well as the common cold and flu. On a basic level, everyone can benefit from cinnamon; as well as its sweet, aromatic flavour, it works to warm the system. Right now we are in early/mid March so should really have a ‘spring’ in our step but actually where I live in Yorkshire, we are engulfed in snow. A little warming never goes a miss.

Cacao is more widely known and is taking the West by storm. This indulgent tasting superfood does wonders on the system and is particularly useful to those suffering with PCOS due to the fact that it is high in magnesium and iron. Magnesium aids insulin sensitivity so can combine with the forces of cinnamon to decrease the elevated insulin production.

I could go on after spending hours and hours researching this topic, however, truth be told I am listening to my body and feel that it truly knows exactly what it needs. When we eat in tune with our bodies, we don’t have such a need for external sources; we are our own greatest doctor, herbalist, naturopath, carer and friend. Let your body be your temple!

 

1 (frozen) Banana
1 small cooked Beetroot
1 handful Spinach
1 tbsp Cacao
1 tsp Maca
1 tsp Cinnamon
1c Nut Milk (I use homemade Cashew Milk)
Water to taste (depending on your desired consistency)

You may choose to freeze your banana overnight or perhaps add ice if you like your smoothies cold. Simply blend all of the ingredients, sit back, relax, and enjoy the taste and feeling of nourishing your body.

Mushrooms are so fascinating; so many varieties, flavours and uses. I have been buying these woodland mushrooms from my green grocer which look amazing but I have also made this soup with chestnut mushrooms that arrived in our weekly organic veg box (from Abel & Cole) and it tastes every bit as delicious.

F17E22C1-DE13-4968-AB8E-2D8CF5BE00D2

The combination of leek, sage and mushroom is absolute gold and this soup may truly be one of my favourites ever! I’ve been making it on repeat and now you can too.

I read recently that homemade soup is like velvet for the tummy and I couldn’t agree more. Soothe yourself from the core…

Ingredients (serves 3):

250-300g Mixed Mushrooms (wild, woodland, portobello, chestnut, whatever you can find!)
3 Leeks
5 sticks Celery
1 Onion
1c Red Lentils
1 handful of Sage
1\4c Apple Cider Vinegar (non pasteurised ‘with the mother’)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
Mixed Herbs
Black Pepper

First, heat the coconut oil in a big pot, then add the onion; sliced and diced. Let this fry for about 5 minutes before adding the finely chopped celery, mixed herbs and black pepper, followed by the mushrooms and leeks. Allow the veggies to cook together for a further 5-10 minutes before adding the chopped sage and apple cider vinegar plus boiling water to cover the mixture. Allow the pot to come to boil before adding your washed lentils then leave on a very low heat and put the lid on the pot. Leave for about an hour before turning off the heat and blending the soup. You may want to check the mix half way through and add some more water as the lentils thicken the mixture. Know you can always add more water to thin it out as it will also thicken over time if you’re eating more the next day.

Many animals, such as brown and grizzly bears, go into winter hibernation. They do this to adapt to their natural surroundings, in order to survive the cold weather. We humans also have conditions we must adapt to. Personally, I’ve been living away in Australia and travelling through very hot climates for over the past two years. When I came home this autumn I had so many people suggesting I was crazy coming home to the cold, but do you know what, a real winter was what I needed…

Although much of the Western world likes to act as if we humans are somehow above nature, really we are governed by it; the time of sunrise/sunset, the phase of the moon, the temperature; we are not immune to the cyclical nature of the world. The hot, summer, bright days are beautiful and bountiful but they are very much a yang energy which cannot be sustained. We need a balance. The cold, winter, darkness brings us the yin. During this special winter time, the nights are longer while the days are shorter, this is nature’s way of asking us to sleep. We must take the time to deeply rest if we want to feel rejuvenated again when the longer days approach.

Hibernation
To me this means turning inward. I chose to take this January to focus on my true needs; I considered what it is that nourishes my body, mind and soul, while also looking at the things I could benefit from letting go of. Have a go, tune in and perhaps write a ‘Bliss List’ (previous blog post) to see clearly the things that make you happy or do what I did and separate the three sections and make sure you’re watering your seeds on all levels of your being.

Relaxation
What relaxes you? I realised that reading relaxes me therefore I committed to reading more. On the other side of this coin is what causes you stress? And I don’t necessarily mean pulling your hair out stress, I mean the minor stresses that cause you daily discomfort yet may well go under the radar. For me, it’s technology and social networks in particular. I deleted my Facebook account over two years ago and felt such relief from it. This time I decided to log out of Instagram for the month of January and vow to only use my phone when necessary. I would check it every other day or so to look at emails and messages in case there was anything from work, then the rest of the time had it on aeroplane mode in a drawer. I felt so much more at ease, not constantly waiting for some sort of interruption or distraction. I regained my control over these things, reaffirming that I can use them, they cannot use me. We don’t need to be constantly available or ‘up-to-date’. Instead, I am able to consciously indulge in being here, now.

Dedication
The words ‘rest’, ‘relaxation’ and ‘hibernation’ all suggest this deliciously easy lifestyle but the reality is that these things take hard work. We have come to believe that sitting in front of the tv is ‘resting’ but really it’s just numbing the mind, distraction after distraction in order to stop us from really looking within. Conscious rest takes work, at least at first. Personally, when I am in my routine of daily meditation I feel so much calmer and peaceful, therefore that was a priority for me this January, rejuvenating my mind and spirit. This took work. Meditation is one of those things that you know is good for you but often your mind has a curious way of making you think it’s really the last thing you want to do. The mind is like a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it will become. By training it to meditate each day, instead of training it to scroll mindlessly through social media, you are strengthening its ability to be calm and clear. The more you exercise this the more benefits await!
This same ‘exercise to make stronger’ theory is of course true of eating habits too. If we get into the habit of mindlessly snacking, it becomes normal and we’d feel deprived without it. Whereas if we practice mindful eating, then sourcing, preparing, chewing and digesting food can become a sacred ritual that we are incredibly blessed to enjoy every single day should we choose.

I hope that you can enjoy some hibernation time. Allow yourself to be alone and consider what nourishes you; body, mind, soul. Only you have the answers.

This is dangerously delicious and so easy! I recommend everyone to give this a go because you can’t go wrong. It’s all about rough chopping, chucking things in a saucepan/baking dish and letting the oven do the work. I love Christmas spices and fruits and they compliment each other all so well in this recipe. This is a great one for you to share with your loved ones at this wonderful time of year.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

6 Plums
4 Apples
1 inch grated Ginger
2 tsps Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cardamom
A handful of Raisins

For the crumble topping:
1c Oats
1c Pecans
1 tsp Vanilla Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp pure Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Coconut Oil

Dice the fruit and put into a saucepan with the dried spices, grated ginger and raisins, plus enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by about a centimetre. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, crush the pecans in a food processor (or just bash and break them if you don’t have a machine) and combine with the oats in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Warm the coconut oil in a pan along with cinnamon, vanilla, 2 tbsps of maple syrup and a little extra grated ginger; this will only take a minute. Pour this wet mix over the oats and pecans and combine. When the stewed fruit is ready, pour it into your baking dish (a ceramic one with depth is ideal), then top with the crumble layer. Finally drizzle with 1 last tbsp of maple syrup over the top then put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

My yoga classes throughout December are going to be focusing on reconnecting with primal movement and instinct.

We humans, particularly in the west, are becoming further removed from where we came from. Artificial environments and daily habits are drawing us out of touch with our natural instincts, which is causing both physical and mental suffering.

As a yoga teacher I provide advice to a whole group of students. My instructions are heavily geared towards keeping the class safe, however as soon as I feel like my students have enough knowledge of safe alignment, I hugely encourage them to move more freely, exploring their own pace, depth, even perhaps angling the body differently to create a new stretch of that feels good in their body.

Try rolling out your mat with no plan; no rules or ideals about how yoga ‘should’ look. Step onto your mat and begin to move. You may begin on all fours, in child’s pose, in a comfortable seat, laying on your belly/back; however you please. Just be there for a moment or two then allow your body to move of its own accord. You may begin with some very simple stretching, yawning open the body, and then continue; tuning into what feels good in your unique body. This doesn’t stop at movement in the body but you may also like to draw on sounds; things like heavily exhales with an open mouth ‘HAAAA’ can help to really release (lion’s breath) and gentle ‘hmmmmm’ing exhales through the nose can quieten the mind and relax the whole system (bhramari).

I think it can be nice to do this practice in, or at least with a view of, nature. Being in nature always helps me to reconnect with what makes me happy, what I can shed and most importantly, the present moment.

Being in the body this way can give a sense of freedom, without societal constraints. Our own led movement can lead to us towards feeling far more open, in tune and at ease; mentally and physically.

This porridge is so delicious, warming, comforting, nourishing, wholesome… The list could go on. I love it so much and keep making some variation of this recipe over and over again. It’s actually so easy to make a berry compote but feels rather fancy. I way prefer topping my porridge with this kind of berry goodness rather than cold ones from the fridge.

Ingredients:

1/2c Oats (I like jumbo oats)
1 tbsp Coconut Yogurt (I use Coyo)
1 large handful of Berries (blackberries, blueberries or raspberries)
1 tsp pure Maple Syrup

Optional:
2 tbsps toasted Coconut Flakes
1 tbsp Maca
1 tbsp Flaxseed

Simply rinse the berries and put them in a saucepan with a dash of water (maybe like a quarter of a cup of less) and maple syrup. (I would make the compote in larger quantities then refrigerate and just lightly warm again in a saucepan before use.). Let this simmer for about 5 minutes then get your oats and flax seed, if using, in another pan with enough water to cover. Add the dash of maple to the berries. Now keep the lid off both saucepans to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Turn off the heat and stir the coconut yogurt and maca powder into the oats. Pour the oats into a bowl and top with the berry compote and coconut flakes.

P.s. I always top my porridge bowls with nut butter; one of my 5 desert island foods!

New York was the last stop on my American adventure before I flew to Ireland to reunite with my family, and then back to England. This infamous city was of course bustling and there were so many food options, covering pretty much all cuisines. During my 5 days, I walked the sky line, visited the Friends apartment, explored the One World observatory, wandered through the outskirts of Central Park and indulged in a little shopping spree. It was fun and interesting but honestly, by this point in my trip I was not feeling grounded, I was up in the air with feelings of anxiety and for a girl who isn’t inclined towards city life, New York was a lot. However, I had some yummy eats and most importantly, I found one of my favourite yoga studios ever.

I was shown extreme generosity again and was able to stay with a guy who had a gorgeous penthouse apartment in Brooklyn. He opened his home to me, showed me around the city on bikes and gave me all his top tips for food, bars, things to see etc.

On my last evening in New York, and what was in fact my final night of over a two year trip away from home, exploring the world, the universe opened its forever loving arms to me and blessed me with an indescribable sunset. The unedited photo above (from my iPhone 5c) gives an idea but of course doesn’t even touch on the fluorescent reality. It was a pleasure to witness and made me feel safe and supported.

Laughing Lotus Yoga:

A good friend of mine from Byron had told me a lot about this yoga, I knew she was a huge fan and had travelled from Australia to America as well as India in order to carry out Laughing Lotus trainings. I had this recommendation in the back of my mind but was not prepared to trek across New York to get there. However, when I arrived in Brooklyn and headed to the apartment I was staying in (my friend’s boyfriend’s best friend’s place!), there it was; no more than a 5 minute walk away. There’s only two studios in the whole of New York, what are the chances?! And so, I bought an unlimited two week pass and I fell in love. I went to 6 classes in the 4 days I had the pass; each with a different teacher, each totally amazing in a similar, yet distinct way. The style of yoga taught at this centre is like dancing; it’s fluid, feminine movement which is led beautifully with a true knowledge of and dedication to yogic philosophy.

image

One of the things I love about yoga is that there’s an unlimited number of styles. Each individual has their own yoga but even when distinguishing main stream categories, there is a huge difference from say ashtanga to kundalini. For me, the style at Laughing Lotus is perfect. I felt like my body was transformed into pure liquid love. It was a total privilege to attend these classes and I will definitely keep them in mind for future trainings.

image

Food.

Abracadabra Cafe:

This is on Bedford Ave, basically where it’s all happening in Brooklyn. It is so gorgeous, from the homemade Turkish-style whole food (gf + vegan), to the lovely staff, and to the cute decor with books on offer to have a read of while enjoying your time at Abracadabra.

image

Quinoa
This is also on Bedford Ave (it’s a long street!) and is more of a take-away style. You can sit in by the big window, which I did as it’s the perfect people watching spot. I had a yummy box full including kale salad, sweet potato fries and a quinoa veggie burger.

DeKalb Markets:
These markets are also in Brooklyn but are a totally different side to Bedford Ave, about an hour walk away, or perhaps a little longer. There is an array of different food stalls and I really got a great meal from a place called Three Spoons which was all about that healthy whole food. This was the inspiration for my Ginger Miso Noodle Bowl I posted a couple of weeks ago.

Dō Cookie Dough Confections:
Now, this place is the absolute opposite of anything resembling ‘healthy’ but oh my, it’s the true American experience and it’s amazing to go/see/try! This spot is over in lower Manhattan and must draw tourists from all over the world. First of all, they have a cabinet that looks like an ice cream bar but it’s all cookie dough. I saw it and thought ‘wow, yum’ and sampled a couple of different flavours. Now I swear to you I love sweet stuff but this was just too much, even for me. I felt like I was literally crunching on sugar granuals in my mouth. They looked incredible though with all sorts of different flavours and if you love cookie dough then you would surely drool.

So, there you are thinking I’m this super healthy no cookie dough gal… Wrong! I then saw this big fudgey brownie and my name was written all over it. I bought it and walked to the end of the road to Washington Square Park. This square was like a brownie cake/caramel slice/fudge bar all mixed into one with a thick middle layer of cookie dough caramel. It was UNREAL and I delighted in every mouthful.

image

I absolutely love this salad. It’s easy to make as the pumpkin just sits in the oven and the quinoa on the stove while you assemble the rest of the salad. I like to make this in big batches as it keeps so well so it really is worth the half an hour.

If you’re not a fan of any of these vegetables/herbs, as always, I encourage you to swap them with something you will enjoy. This is the fun of cooking! Here’s my recipe for what suits me but if you prefer to roast squash, beets or sweet potato then go for it. Similarly, if you’d prefer fresh mint or chives, perhaps you want to chop those on top instead of coriander.

Enjoy creating.

3 portions:

1c Quinoa
1 large Cucumber / 2-3 small Cucumbers
3 handfuls of Rocket
1 handful of Pine Nuts
1 handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1 1/2 Avocados (a half per portion)

1 Pumpkin
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Pepper
Mixed Dried Herbs

1-2 lemons
3 tbsps Toasted Sesame Oil
Coriander

First, heat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare the pumpkin. If it’s organic, I always keep the skin on as it adds a lovely texture, if not I cut off the skin in attempt to remove most of the chemicals. Cube the pumpkin and add to a baking tray with the seeds and drizzle with olive oil then add salt, pepper and dried mixed herbs. These can stay in the oven for 25-35 mins depending on the size of your cubes. Be sure to move them around at least once during cooking. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well then add to double the amount of water in a saucepan, along with some dried herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Bring to boil and leave to simmer for 12 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Set the quinoa aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Slice the cucumber longways twice then chop across to create small slices, quarter the cherry tomatoes and halve the avocados. Add the pine nuts to a saucepan on a low heat to allow them to toast. Add all of the vegetables to the quinoa salad and combine the sesame oil and lemon then cut in the coriander while keeping a watchful eye on the pine nuts as they burn easily, keep them moving. Put a handful of rocket and half an avocado on each plate then add quinoa salad mix. You may like to add an extra drizzle of oil/lemon, an extra sprinkle of coriander and a crack of salt/pepper. Enjoy!