Life’s a Feast: Two wintry salads


We’ve just come out of a relatively warm autumn, apparently 1.5 degrees higher than normal! This has resulted in some of our favourite vegetables and herbs still selling at affordable prices, without the steep winter increase. Beetroot, broccoli, kumara and pumpkin are among this bunch, some sitting at nearly half the normal price for this time of year. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables (i.e. those ripe at the time) makes a healthy diet far more affordable and nutritious! Enjoy!

PREP TIME: 15 MINSĀ (for each salad)
SERVES: 4-6 PEOPLE (for each salad)

Beetroot, mint, lentil and wholegrain salad

1/2 cup wholegrain freekeh or other grain
1 cup edamame, blanched
1/3 cup slivered almonds or green pumpkin seeds
2-3 medium raw beetroot, peeled
2 bunches mint leaves, remove from stalk
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
400g tin of lentil rinsed and drained (or cook your own if have time)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or coriander
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Cook the freekeh or chosen grain according to instructions and set aside.
2. Toast the almonds in a small pan over a medium heat until starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
3. To prepare the beetroot, simply chop into bite-sized pieces. You can use raw but I prefer to soften them in the oven with a little olive oil at 180 degrees for about 15 mins then set aside.
4. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing until combined.
5. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl.
6. Drizzle with dressing just before serving and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve.

Chargrilled broccoli and spinach salad

1 head broccoli, washed and cut into florets
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 long red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
3 good handfuls baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Zest and juice of lemon
Sea salt and black pepper


1. Tip one tablespoon of oil on the broccoli, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Heat a griddle/fry pan until it is hot and add broccoli. Turn so the florets char a little or get some colour.
2. Place the remaining oil in a small saucepan with the capers, garlic and chillies. Heat gently over a medium heat for 30 seconds or so until the garlic starts to turn golden. Take off heat and immediately pour over char-grilled broccoli.
3. Combine broccoli with spinach leaves, parsley, mint lemon zest, salt and pepper and mix well. Squeeze over the lemon. Serve immediately.

Note: You could add feta, chickpeas, kumara, courgette or pumpkin to either of these salads for added taste, flavour, nutrition and texture.