If you’re looking for something a little greener this Christmas to balance out all of the sweet treats, these recipes are just what you need. Put together by our expert nutritionist, Lucy-Ann these are perfect as a main meal or shared as a side salad with lucky guests.
Quinoa 'waldorf' salad
Ingredients for two servings
- 150g of quinoa (dry grain)
- 2 tablespoons of raisins
- 20g walnuts
- 1 large apple, washed, cored and cut into small pieces
- 4 stalks of celery cut into ½ cm chunks
- 5 or 6 pale green celery leaves, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh “curly” parsley, chopped
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- The juice of a whole orange
- Grated zest from ½ the orange
- 1 tblsp apple cider vinegar
Preparation and cooking:
Firstly preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C). Then place the quinoa in a saucepan. Cook using 2 ½ times the amount of water to grain, bringing to the boil and then simmering on a low heat, part-covered. When cooked, quinoa is tender to the bite, rather like rice. While the quinoa is cooking, roast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes, turning once and taking care not to burn them. Chop the nuts coarsely and set aside. Now in a large bowl, combine the olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add the cooked quinoa when ready, as well as the raisins, chopped apple, celery, celery leaves, parsley and walnuts. Toss all together until the salad is well mixed. Serve immediately.
Use fresh lemon juice and zest instead of orange, another excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C. For extra flavour, cook the quinoa in vegetable stock, instead of plain water.
What’s great about this recipe?
It’s is a real energy-boosting meal for starters! Boosting energy is all about eating slow-release carbohydrates (preferably in their “whole” form) and foods rich in B vitamins, needed to convert food into energy. This meal contains many such foods. From the protein in the quinoa, antioxidants from the apples, B-vitamins from the celery and omega-3 from the Walnuts, this dish is packing some serious nutrition.
Unlike much of the traditional Christmas fare, this dish won’t leave you feeling heavy and sluggish. It is ideal for a super-healthy Christmas table. Serve with our second “hot” festive salad, the delicious chickpea dahl, and if you like, extra steamed veggies too!
Spicy cucumber, mango, and hempseed salad
What you need for two servings!
1 large green or unripe mango – peeled and the flesh sliced and julienned (or cut in to strips)
½ medium cucumber – sliced lengthways in half, deseeded if desired, and then julienned to the same length and width as the mango slices
1 tablespoon of shelled hempseeds (sunflower seeds also work well)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint
Juice of ½ lime
For the dressing
2 tablespoons of flax or hempseed oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon of
1 teaspoon of chopped ginger root
½-1 tsp of finely chopped green or red chilli (or chilli flakes) - depending on taste
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season
Prepare the mango and cucumber and place in a bowl. Add the coriander, and mint, stir, and squeeze over the juice of ½ lime. Leave to stand whilst making the dressing. For this, blend well/whisk all the dressing ingredients and place in a serving jug. Just before serving, sprinkle the hempseeds over the salad, dress to coat all the ingredients, serving the remaining dressing on the side.
What’s great about this recipe?
This zingy, tasty salad contains several known “superfoods”, such as mango, hempseeds, fresh herbs and chilli. Superfoods contain concentrated amounts of health-giving nutrients and plant compounds known to protect that body against disease and premature ageing. The dish also provides excellent amounts of vitamin C from the mango and chilli, alongside vitamin A and B vitamins. Hempseeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, and are the richest plant source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s. They are also an excellent source of complete protein, and even contain the much-needed branched chain amino acids, which are used as an energy source within the muscles.