It is so much easier to eat healthily in the Summer I find. I actually crave salad, whereas in the Winter I crave stodge. Occasionally I pick up lunch on my way home from work, before I pick up the kids. Unfortunately, in my line of work, your job is to cook other people lunch, not cook or eat your own! Marks and Spencer is probably best for ready-made salads. Although I know that Waitrose also do quite and extensive range. Most of the ones I have tried, may sound nice, but are usually disgusting. They always seem to try just a bit too hard, chucking in any combination of trendy ingredients – black quinoa seeds, Camargue red rice, cranberries, amaranth leaf, black barley - and the dressings are always really nasty – too much Japanese rice vinegar and Yuzu!.
The other day I bought a selection of two different salads, both which unannounced contained seaweed! Surely if you are going to add seaweed to your salad, you would mention it in the name, not just hidden in a long list of ingredients which are far too small to read with human eyes. Well my eyes anyway. I couldn’t work out what this slimy, sort "off-fishy" taste was in my salad. Narrowed it down to the Wakame which was eventually mentioned in the list of 30 ingredients, now that I had been forced to put my reading glasses on. I even like seaweed, on say nori rolls, where it is meant to be, but this was disgusting and both pots of salad ended up in the bin.
However, I am pleased to say, after much trial and error, I finally found a ready-made salad that I really liked. Marks and Spencer Nutty Superfood Salad. Featuring green beans, peas, broccoli, carrots, black-eyed beans and quinoa plus peanuts, almonds and pistachios, it is absolutely packed with delicious ingredients. It comes two ways, either on its own or served alongside a dollop of cannellini bean hummus and with a soy and ginger dressing.
It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it is super easy. Make up a large batch and dress it as required. What is so fab about making it yourself, is you don’t have to skimp on your favourite expensive ingredients, which inevitably the supermarkets always do!
Nutty Super-food Salad
To serve 4
2 Broccoli florets, shredded
1 Handful of peas
100g French beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large carrot, finely chopped
100g spelt (wheatberries, barley or farro) you can buy ready cooked
100g soya beans
200g cooked black eye beans (or another type of bean – haricot, cannallini)
50g quinoa (You can buy ready cooked)
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 handful pumpkin seeds
1 handful peanuts
1 handful pistachios
1 handful almonds
A little freshly chopped coriander
For the dressing, mix together:
2 tbsp. soy
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame
1 tsp honey
Juice ½ lime
½ tsp. chilli paste
Put three pans of water on to boil. In the first add the quinoa. Cook 12-15 minutes until all the quinoa has gone squiggly. Drain well. In the second add the farro, cook for 20-30 minutes until tender. Drain well. In the third pan, add a pinch of salt and then the green beans. When cooked, add the shredded broccoli, bring back to the boil and add the peas and soya beans. Bring back to the boil and drain. Drain well.
Combine the salad ingredients.
Mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over each portion or alternatively, toss through the entire lot in a large bowl.