Think that hearty, heavy and often calorific comfort food is your only option in the colder months? Think again. Stay full and stay healthy by tucking into a warming salad this winter, and reap the many health benefits of seasonal dark greens, root vegetables and wholesome grains.
Squash, feta and bulgar wheat salad
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
- 2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 50g pumpkin seed
- 100g bulghar wheat
- juice 2 limes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp harissa paste
- 3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
- Place the squash on the baking tray and toss with the harissa and some seasoning, before roasting until tender or until golden. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Cook the bulghar wheat in a large saucepan, covering with water and covering for 15 minutes, before draining and allowing to cool.
- Place half of the onion in a small bowl and cover with half the lime juice.
- Leave the mixture to sit for 5 mins and for the flavours to infuse.
- Add the mixture to the bulghar wheat along with the feta, cooked squash, spinach and coriander.
- In a frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds until they begin to gain some colour.
- Chop 2 tbsp of the toasted seeds and put in a bowl, before pouring the rest of the seeds over the salad.
- Add the remaining lime juice to the chopped seeds, with the oil, and seasoning and pour over the salad.
- Spinach: Spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities and abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. Highly rich in iron which plays a central role in the function of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen around the body, spinach has great benefits when it comes to exercise. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Bulgar Wheat: Studies show that people who consume high-fibre whole grains like bulgur wheat are more likely to maintain a healthier weight, cardiovascular health and even live longer. Rich in antioxidants as well as phenolic compounds that are linked to disease prevention, fibre-rich bulgur wheat is beneficial for heart health because it helps lower inflammation.
Warm lentil, halloumi and clementine salad
- Handful of black olives
- 200g halloumi, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 100g pomegranate seeds
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 3 clementines
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 250g Puy lentils
- Grate the zest of 1 of the clementines into a bowl, and squeeze in the juice of the same fruit.
- Whisk with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard and seasoning.
- Peel and pull the remaining clementines into segments.
- Place the chunks of halloumi into a frying pan and fry until golden on all sides.
- Add the clementine segments, and fry for a further 2 mins.
- Tip the contents of the pan onto a plate and set aside. Now tip the Puy lentils and the dressing to the pan.
- Warm through for a few minutes, before adding the herbs and pomegranate seeds.
- Tip all of the contents of the pan onto a large plate and top with the halloumi and clementines.
Warm Kale, goats cheese, pine nut and sweet onion dressing
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 60g chopped yellow onion
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tsps cane sugar
- 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
- 1 bunch kale
- 60g pine nuts
- 110g goats cheese, crumbled
- Heat the olive oil in a small-medium fry pan, before adding the garlic and frying off for around 30 seconds.
- Add the onions, salt, and sugar to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are soft
- Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Add the balsamic and blend the mixture until smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the kale and mix through thoroughly. Toss the kale mixture with the pine nuts and goats cheese.
- Kale: Well known for its antioxidant and detoxifying properties, the antioxidant properties of kale are important in their counteraction of the damage caused by ‘free radicals’. Chemicals that we come into contact with every day, free radicals have been linked to cardiovascular diseases and cancers. A natural detoxifier, kale not only helps remove toxins but also helps eliminate them from your body. If you're keen to burn calories, try eating kale salad in conjunction with these great exercises.
Warm Roasted Vegetable and couscous salad
- Feta cheese, cut into chunks (optional)
- 200g couscous
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 red onions, quartered
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 40g sultanas
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 12 baby carrots, peeled
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthways
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly toasted
- Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place carrots, parsnips and onions on tray and drizzzle with oil, vinegar and seasoning.
- Toss to coat and bake for 45 minutes or until tender and browned.
- Meanwhile, toss the couscous in a heatproof bowl with spices, sultanas and salt.
- Stir in 400ml boiling water until combined and cover with cling film before standing for 5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and add the oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss lightly.
- Serve topped with vegetables and nuts.
Warm chicken and orange salad
- 2 large handfuls couscous
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 3 oranges (juice 2 only, leave 1 whole)
- Glug or two of olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of cooked chicken meat, shredded
- Handful chopped fresh chives
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- Handful pea shoots
- Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over some boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave to stand, until the cous cous has absorbed the liquid.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and the orange juice with the olive oil and season well.
- Pour the dressing over the couscous and let it infuse for around 10 minutes.
- Peel the remaining orange, making sure to remove the skin and pith, and cut into good sized chunks.
- Add the orange, chicken and herbs to the couscous and mix gently – being careful not to overmix.
- To serve, divide the pea shoots between two plates or shallow dishes and then gently top each with the chicken and couscous mixture.
Anchovy and Winter Vegetable Salad
- ½ a red cabbage
- ½ a white cabbage
- 2 large carrots
- 4 spring onions
- a few shoots from winter cabbages, such as kale or cavolo nero, optional
- 300 ml milk
- 4 anchovies
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tesapoons Dijon mustard
- 1 handful of mixed seeds, such as poppy, sesame and sunflower
- ½ a bunch of fresh mint
- Quarter and finely shred the cabbages, peel and finely slice the carrots and trim and finely slice the spring onions.
- Place in a large bowl and if you’re lucky enough to have any other interesting winter cabbages leaves, you can add those into the mix too.
- Put your milk in a pan on a medium heat with the anchovies. Peel and add the garlic, then bring to a simmer.
- Let it cook for 10 minutes until the garlic cloves are soft, then pour everything into a liquidiser.
- Add the vinegar, oil and mustard and blend for a few minutes, then stop and have a taste. You want it to be quite acidic, but if it’s too acidic add a bit of oil for balance.
- Add good pinches of sea salt and black pepper, then pour it over the sliced veg.
- Use your hands to toss and dress everything and get everyone around the table.
- Heat the seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until warm, then scatter them over the salad. Pick and tear over your mint leaves, then eat it immediately.
Warm farro, cauliflower and asparagus salad
- 200g farro
- Few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 250g asparagus
- Olive oil
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Few fresh chives
- 90ml extra virgin olive oil
- Head of 1 cauliflower, (of half broccoli and half cauliflower) cut into florets
- Few sprigs of fresh dill
- 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- Cook the farro according to instructions before draining, setting aside and leaving to cool.
- Cook the cauliflower florets in a pan of boiling, salted water until just soft. Drain well and leave to cool.
- Heat a griddle pan until hot and drizzle the asparagus with a little oil before cooking on the pan until lightly charred and cooked through.
- Boil the eggs for around 6 minutes to hard-boil. Peel and cut into halves.
- Chop the dill and parsley for the dressing. Chop the chives and combine with the oil and vinegar. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
- Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan with no oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the farro, cauliflower, asparagus, pine nuts, raisins and leaves with the dressing.
- Farro: Farro contains a very high level of fibre, making it good for maintaining good heart-health, digestion and beneficial for preventing blood sugar spikes and dips. Even small servings of farro contain high levels of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Due to its high fibre content, farro is extremely filling. Since it is an unprocessed grain, it is extremely high in protein and fibre, key in keeping you satisfied for longer than refined grains.
Beetroot, pomegranate, and feta salad
- 1 red onion
- 6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 150g feta cheese
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 bulbs of fennel
- A small handful of fresh mint
- A small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 acorn squash
- 6 small beetroots
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.
- Cut the squash in half, removing and reserving the seeds and cut into eighths
- Lay the squash pieces on a roasting tray and add the beetroot to the tray after cutting into smaller pieces.
- Peel and slice the onion into sixths and add to the other veg in the tray.
- Cut each fennel bulb in wedges and add to the tray.
- Drizzle the whole tray with a little olive oil.
- Grind the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, adding a good pinch each of sea salt and black pepper.
- Sprinkle this over all the vegetables on the tray and toss to coat.
- Roast the vegetables for about 40 minutes and turn halfway through. The veg should stay in the oven until slightly golden and just starting to caramelise.
- Combine the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, mustard and seasoning in a small bowl to make the dressing.
- Dress the roasted veg while still warm then pick and sprinkle over the herb leaves.
- Cut the pomegranate in half and whack the back of each half with a wooden spoon to release the seeds, then add to the vegetables. Crumble over the feta, then gently toss everything together.
- Beetroot: Beetroot has a number of benefits when it comes to lowering your blood pressure, improving your stamina and improving your ability to fight inflammation. Studies have found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points. High in nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body, beetroot juice goes far in helping to relax and dilate your blood vessels during exercise, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.