Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Even though it’s officially autumn here, this Vietnamese Cashew Noodle salad has been making a regular appearance on our table. I love it because it’s super easy to make, it’s deliciously fresh, and is bursting with exotic flavours that transport me to tropical locations far far away! It’s also completely plant-based, gluten and soy free.

The only equipment you need for this recipe is a peeler (ideally one that julienne’s but a regular grater would also work), a knife and a bowl of boiling water to soak the noodles. There’s absolutely no cooking required.

The flavours and textures are just amazing. Fresh ginger, lime, garlic and chilli form the base of the Vietnamese nuoc cham inspired dressing. I left out the traditional fish sauce element to keep this recipe completely plant-based, and instead substituted it with coconut aminos (aka coconut tamari sauce).

Bean thread noodles (aka glass noodles) form the base of this salad with their soft sparkly texture, and provide an element of protein. Add to that fresh carrot and cucumber strips for a some crunch, alongside bean sprouts and toasted cashews. Sping onions add a spike of green alongside fragrant coriander leaves.

This salad is so well rounded it’s perfect all by itself. But feel free to up the protein content by adding crispy tofu or tempeh or any other protein that takes your fancy. If you can’t find a particular vegetable, simply swap it for something similar, or just leave it out.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes 

2 bundles (approx 125g) bean thread noodles (glass noodles)
2 carrots
1/2 cucumber
1 cup mung bean spouts
2 spring onions
1 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup cashews, toasted

Chilli Lime Dressing
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos (coconut tamari sauce)
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cm piece ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli flakes

 

To toast the cashews, preheat your oven to 160C fan bake. Place the cashews on a lined baking tray in the centre of the oven and toast for approximately 10 minutes, or until cashews have turned golden brown.

Place the noodles in a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for approximately 10 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain, then use scissors to cut them into shorter, fork-friendly lengths.

While the noodles are soaking, peel the carrot and use a julienne peeler (or grater) to shred into strips. Place strips into a second mixing bowl.

Wash the cucumber and julienne into strips (including skin) until you reach the seeds which you’ll have to discard, then add to the bowl.

Wash and drain the bean sprouts and add to the bowl.

Wash the spring onions, finely chop and add to the mixing bowl.

Wash the coriander, pick the leaves off of the stems and add to the bowl, along with the toasted cashews and noodles.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake until well combined, pour over the salad and toss well.

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, although the coriander will start to wilt. So if you’re making this salad ahead of time, leave the dressing off until just before serving.

 

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad
Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

With summer just around the corner, the weather has been warming up nicely over the last few weeks so salads are finally back on the menu in our house!

I’ve been trying to get more creative with my salads lately because I’ve had this creamy avocado and kale salad with crispy chickpeas on repeat for most of the year! Although I still love it, there’s nothing like adding more variety to your repertoire – especially after 3 months of lockdown cooking.

What I love about this new roast fennel and asparagus salad is the beautiful, anise flavour of the fennel, combined with the nutty crunch of the asparagus. Add to that some creamy avocado, roasted sweet potato, and a tangy, apple cider and ginger dressing, and you have a salad worthy of it’s own dinner party.

If you’re not a huge fennel fan, lightly roasting it will mellow its flavour and texture. Likewise, by roasting or pan-frying the asparagus, you’ll bring out it’s unique, nutty flavour. Just be careful not to overcook your asparagus, as slightly crunchy asparagus is much more delicious than soggy, flaccid asparagus!

Serve this gluten-free, roast fennel salad on it’s own for a delicious, light meal. Throw in some plant-based protein such as toasted almonds, pine nuts or hemp seeds to turn it into a more substantial meal. Or serve it as a side alongside your favourite main dish.

Store any extra dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and is delicious over roasted vegetables or steamed broccolini.

Enjoy!

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 1 hour

2-3 sweet potatoes (any colours)
1 fennel bulb
1 bunch of asparagus
1 avocado
4 large handfuls salad greens
drizzle of avocado/coconut/olive oil

Apple Cider & Ginger Vinaigrette
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch Himalayan pink salt
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan bake. Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks and place on a lined oven tray. Drizzle sweet potato with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Place the tray in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. When sweet potato is cooked through, remove it from the oven and allow to cool.

Prepare the fennel by washing and cutting the bulb into slices. Arrange the slices on another lined oven tray, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the fennel is just starting to brown and soften. Remove the fennel from the oven and set aside to cool.

Save some of the fennel fronds, roughly chop and set aside.

Wash the asparagus and slice into bite size pieces. Either toss with a little oil and add to the fennel tray for 5 minutes. Or heat a little oil in a small pan over medium heat and pan-fry for about 5 minutes. Aim for the asparagus to be cooked but still crunchy. Set the cooked asparagus aside and allow to cool.

Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.

Rinse the salad greens and place in a large serving bowl. Combine with the cooled sweet potato, fennel and asparagus. Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle with the fennel fronds.

Just before serving, drizzle the salad with apple cider vinaigrette. Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

Roast Fennel, Asparagus & Sweet Potato Salad

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Here is my favourite summer kale salad that I’ve had on high rotation over the past few months. It has a deliciously creamy dressing made from massaging avocado into the kale, which also softens the leaves making them easier to eat and digest. Add in cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, sauerkraut and crispy chickpeas and you have the most delicious salad.

This is an easily adaptable recipe so if you don’t have all the ingredients you can usually sub in something else and it will still work. That said, the one ingredient you can’t really sub is the avocado. This is because it forms the base of this salads creamy dressing and there isn’t really a good substitute for an avocado used in this way.

Of course, avocado provides a good dose of healthy fats, while kale brings a hefty dose of antioxidants and doubles down on the fibre, sauerkraut brings the probiotics and chickpeas provide a delicious plant based protein element. I think this might just be the perfect salad!

In terms of substitutions, if you don’t have any kale or are simply not a fan, then by all means swap it out for your favourite lettuce leaves. If you’re not a cucumber fan then swap it for any other crunchy salad vegetable such as sugar snap peas, celery or radish. Cherry tomatoes should be fairly easy to find, but if you need to sub these then you could use sun-dried tomatoes, fresh strawberries or even peach slices. And if you can’t be bothered making your own crispy chickpeas you can simply buy them or substitute for some crispy seed crackers.

 

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Serves: 2
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 10 minutes (optional)

2 extra large handfuls of curly kale or cavalo nero
1 ripe avocado
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt + pepper
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1/4 telegraph cucumber
1 handful of cherry or heirloom tomatoes
2 handfuls crispy chickpeas (store bought or see recipe below)
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

If making your own crispy chickpeas follow the instructions below.

Wash the kale well, break into bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

Remove the skin and stone from the avocado and add to the bowl along with the lemon juice and nutritional yeast.

Season with salt and pepper, then use your hands to massge it all together. You’re aiming to create a creamy dressing by mixing the avocado, lemon juice and nutritional yeast, while massaging the kale to make it easier to eat.

Wash and cut the cucumber into bite sized chunks and wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Fold both through the salad along with the crispy chickpeas.

Sprinkle with hemp seeds if desired and serve.

Salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but the chickpeas will lose their crunch so if possible only add them right before you wish to eat the salad.

 

Crispy Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas
2 tsp avocado, macadamia or coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Drain the chickpeas, rinse and pat dry with a clean tea towel.

Transfer the chickpeas to a small bowl and toss with oil, curry powder and salt. Place the chickpeas on a baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy.

 

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad With Preserved Lemon & Sumac Dressing

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad With Preserved Lemon & Sumac Dressing

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon & Sumac Dressing

 

Last week I felt uninspired by all my go-to lunch options which usually look like a nourish bowl, avocado on paleo toast with all the toppings, or some kind of leftover dinner.

I usually love creating a huge plant based nourish bowl for lunch topped with tahini, hummus, dukkah, nut cheese and kraut, but every now and then I crave something different.

So I did something I never normally do. I went to a deli up the road and bought my lunch! Radical I know.

This particular deli is well known for their amazing raw salads and other lunch offerings of loaded veggie sandwiches, wraps, filo pies and hash cakes. In winter these turn to more hearty root vegetable salads, soups, pies and tray bakes.

 

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon &

 

The salad that caught my eye was a vibrant Moroccan carrot and kale salad with a preserved lemon and sumac dressing.

Wow was it good!!

This salad had everything. Crunchy sweet carrots, a generous helping of kale (king of the greens no less), fresh herbs, toasted spices, sliced almonds, a sprinkling of Medjool dates, and a dressing that was so more-ish I actually licked the bowl.

In fact, it was so good I’ve been back several times under the guise I needed to be sure of the flavours so I could share it with you 😉

So while I don’t know the deli’s exact recipe is for this amazing Moroccan carrot & kale salad, this is my attempt at recreating it and I think it comes pretty darn close to the original.

 

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon &

 

The secret to this salad is in its exotic dressing which is no doubt where my version differs slightly from the original.

While the deli’s dressing was quite clear, my version is more creamy which I suspect is from using a whole lemon and orange. If you prefer a less creamy, thinner style dressing, simply use the juice instead of the whole fruit. Also, preserved lemons are not the easiest (or cheapest) ingredient to come by, so I’ve included a substitution of regular lemon in the ingredients list to help keep things as simple as possible.

Other than that, making the dressing couldn’t be easier! Simply combine everything in a high speed blender until smooth.

Serve this salad as a meal on it’s own or pair it with your favourite main dish. It makes delicious leftovers and keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge.

 

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon &

 

If you make this salad, let me know! Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or Facebook.  Enjoy!

 

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with PRESERVED LEMON & SUMAC Dressing

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep time: 20 minutes

3 cups shredded carrot (approximately 4 large carrots)
1 large bunch of kale (curly and/or cavalo nero)
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh mint
1 handful fresh coriander
1/4 cup activated almonds or slivered almonds
6 Medjool dates (optional)
3 Tbsp dukkah (see recipe below or store bought)

Preserved Lemon & Sumac Dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup preserved lemons (or 1 peeled whole lemon)
1 lemon – juiced
2 oranges – one whole & 1 juiced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp turmeric powder (or 4cm fresh root)
2 tsp sumac
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pink Himalayan salt & black pepper to season

To shred the carrot you can either use a shredder attachment on a food processor or a standard hand grater. Place the shredded carrot in a large mixing bowl.

Wash the kale, remove the stems, tear into bite size pieces and add to the bowl.

Wash the parsley, mint and coriander. Remove the stems, roughly tear the leaves into smaller pieces and add to the bowl.

If using activated almonds roughly slice and then add to the bowl, otherwise just add the silvered almonds.

Remove the pits from the dates if using, slice into small pieces and add to the bowl.

Lastly add the dukkah and toss everything together until evenly mixed.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad add a generous amount of dressing and toss until evenly combined. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To make the dressing:

Add everything to a high speed blender (or good food processor) and blend until smooth. Store any leftover dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Almond Dukkah Recipe:
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
1 Tbsp white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

To make the dukkah, place the almonds into a 160ºC oven and bake until they just start to change colour, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and roughly chop. Meanwhile, place the seeds in a dry fry pan over medium heat and shake around the pan until you begin to smell the spices, this should only take a minute or two. Remove the seeds from the pan and combine with the salt and chopped almonds. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature.

 

Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon &

 

For more carrot and kale recipes check out this Smoke & Fire Kale Slaw with Coconut, Lime & Ginger or these Carrot & Zucchini Herb Fritters

Roast Pumpkin & Lentil Spinach Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

Roast Pumpkin & Lentil Spinach Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying out a completely plant based, wholefoods diet.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time after reading so much compelling evidence about people reversing chronic illness and disease, and essentially thriving on this kind of diet.

My motivation is simply to find a way of eating that works best for my body, while promoting health and longevity to the fullest and being sustainable and kind to our planet.

 

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

Even though I’m only a few weeks in, so far I’ve been feeling great. It hasn’t been super easy, especially when eating out or with friends, but as they say it’s what you eat rodo MOST of the time that counts.

As a result I’ve been getting more creative in the kitchen, particularly at dinner time, and this pumpkin and lentil salad is one of my creations that got the thumbs up from my not-so-plant based husband 😉

He actually preferred this pumpkin and lentil salad with sour cream or grated cheese on top, so if that’s your jam then by all means go  for it.

But, if you eat dairy free or plant based already, then I think you’ll love this salad as is, or with a side of unsweetened coconut yoghurt if you want some extra creaminess.

 

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

One of the best parts about this roast pumpkin salad is it’s unbelievably easy to whip up!

The hardest part is cutting open the pumpkin or squash. Please be careful when doing so (especially if you have a very sharp knife) as many of the most grisley accidents in a professional kitchen come from cutting open pumpkins (believe it or not), and I was unlucky enough to witness one such incident.

 

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

Serve this pumpkin and lentil salad warm or chilled, and it makes delicious leftovers too.

Prep a batch at the start of the week and you’ve got lunch or dinner sorted for days. You can even jazz it up with some freshly chopped spring onion, a drizzle of tahini or a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts.

And, of course, if you make this salad, let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

Serves: 2 to 4

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 30 minutes

1 medium pumpkin or squash (I used a kabocha squash)
2 Tbsp avocado, macadamia or coconut oil
1 can lentils
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 handful fresh coriander

Lemon Chilli dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 red chillies
pink Himalayan salt & black pepper to season

To serve (optional):
2 Tbsp dukkah (store bought or make your own here)
1/2 cup of plain coconut yoghurt

 

Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan bake and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat.

Cut open the pumpkin or squash, remove the seeds and stringey bits, and slice into crescents.

Place the pumpkin slices on the prepared tray, drizzle with the 2 Tbsp of oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the tray of pumpkin into the centre of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until you can easily cut the pumpkin (including the skin) with a knife.

While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients: drain and rinse the lentils well, wash and drain the spinach leaves and coriander, and combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

As soon as the pumpkin is ready assemble the salad so the heat from the pumpkin gently warms the rest of the ingredients.

To assemble: place a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves on a serving plate, top with pumpkin slices, lentils and coriander. Drizzle over the dressing, sprinkle a little dukkah and finish with a dollop or coconut yoghurt if desired.

Serve while warm, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

 

Roast Pumpkin, Spinach & Lentil Salad with a Lemon Chilli Dressing

 

 

 

Homemade Poke Bowls

Homemade Poke Bowls

Salmon Poké Bowl

 

For any who hasn’t come across a poke bowl yet, the best way to describe it is a pimped out salad, usually with raw tuna or salmon, with Japanese inspired condiments.

I was a bit late to the poke bowl party myself, but I’ve definitely I’ve made up for it in volume now! Haha. 

Poke bowls have become our go to meal whenever we want something fast, healthy, and packed with flavour. It also helps that we can conveniently order them from Uber eats.

Lately we’ve also been making our own versions at home and they’re no doubt a lot healthier as we know exactly what’s in them, and we don’t use any pre-made sauces which are often loaded with hidden sugars.

 

Salmon Poké Bowl

 

Poke bowls are an adaptation of the Hawaiian dish Poke, which was traditionally raw fish prepared with minimal condiments such as salt and seaweed. These days Hawaiian poke often comes pre-marinated in a combination of shoyu (soy or tamari sauce), oyster sauce, limu (algae), seaweed, green onions and sesame.

A poke bowl on the other hand, is usually a combination of rice and salad greens, cucumber, avocado, edamame, seaweed and sometimes pineapple, with Japanese inspired seasonings such as siracha mayo, ginger, sesame, crispy onions, furikake or teriyaki. You choose your protein from raw tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu, and they can be easily adapted to suit your dietary requirements or tastes.

When we make our own I usually leave out the rice and rotate between raw, cooked and smoked salmon, but that doesn’t mean you have to! If salmon isn’t your thing, substitute it for any other protein of your choice. Likewise with the condiments, get as creative as you like while keeping the Hawaiian/Japanese flavours in mind.

 

Salmon Poké Bowl

 

I hope this post inspires you to make your own poke bowls, and if you do let me know!

Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

HOMEMADE POKE BOWLS

Serves: 2

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes

1 cup frozen edamame beans or peas
2 large handfuls green leaves (e.g. mesclun, rocket, baby spinach, cos)
1 handful fresh herb leaves (e.g. coriander, mint, parsley, spicy basil)
1/4 cucumber
2 pink radish
1 avocado
1 cup cooked rice (optional)

Protein Options:
2 serves of Salmon (either raw sushi grade, smoked, or baked)
2 serves sushi grade tuna
2 serves sushi grade white fish
2 serves tofu or tempeh, fried
2 handfuls roasted cashews

Marinade (for fish or use as a sauce)
2 Tbsp Tamari sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cm ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 spring onion, finely chopped

Dressings & Toppings (as many as you like from the list below):
Mayonaise or aioli
Lemon juice & extra virgin olive/avocado or macadamia oil
Sesame seeds
Seaweed
Pickled ginger
Chilli seasoning e.g. sriracha

Before you prepare your poke bowl decide whether you want raw, smoked or baked salmon – or one of the other proteins suggested above.

If you choose raw fish be sure to buy sushi grade which essentially means it’s fresh in that day. Cut the fish into bite size cubes and either serve it as, is or marinate it using the recipe above. To marinate, simply combine all the marinade ingredients, add the fish and leave it in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

If you prefer baked salmon, the easiest way to do so is to sprinkle with a little tamari, ginger and lemon, pop into a preheated 180C oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

To prepare the poke bowls, if you want to include rice cook 1/2 cup as per the packet instructions.

Place the frozen edamame or peas in a small pan, add enough water to cover and bring to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling, drain the beans/peas and rinse under cold water. This stops the cooking process and ensures they retain their green colour.

Wash the salad greens and place in serving bowls. Cut the cucumber into bite size pieces and add to the bowls along with the sliced radish and your choice of protein.

Open the avocado, remove the stone and mash the flesh with a drizzle of lemon juice, salt, pepper and dash of chilli if desired. Add a generous scoop to each bowl.

Top with your choice of dressings and toppings from the list above and enjoy!

 

 

 

Salmon Poké Bowl