Adzuki Bean Salad

roasted capsicum1I cannot tell you exactly since when, but I have to admit I love a bitter taste such as bitter chocolate, black coffee, green herbs and veggies. In fact, not only do I like astringent foods but also I feel better after eating them because it is detoxifying, purifying and easy on digestion. Anything in excess is not good though. Too much bitter foods can actually cause gas, constipation and imbalance in your digestive system. So what you need to do is start with small amount, balance out raw and cooked foods and add digestive spices such as turmeric, fenugreek, basil and ginger.
roasted capsicumHere is a salad I made up today. Cooked adzuki beans, shredded cabbage, chopped parsley, sweet roasted red capsicum and slices of avocado dressed with mustard – olive oil dressing. Beans are soaked overnight and cooked well for a good amount of protein and better digestion. There is raw crunchy bitter cabbage and parsley. Roasted capsicum and avocado adds sweetness and creaminess. Slightly bitter taste of olive oil harmonise all salad ingredients. It can be served as a complete meal or sides. Enjoy x
adzuki bean salad
Ingredients (serves 2-4)

100g dried adzuki beans, soaked overnight
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 bunch of parsley leaves
1 roasted capsicum
1/2 avocado
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syryup
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cover adzuki beans with water in a pot and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside. Roast red capsicum in the preheated oven (190) for about 20 minutes, peel the skin and roughly chop. Put cooked beans, cabbage, parsley, capsicum and avocado in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or jar. Drizzle over the salad and toss well to combine. Transfer to a serving plate.

Warm Lentil Salad

warm lentil salad
Here is a perfect heart-warming salad. I make a lot of salads throughout the year, but this one is on top of my list when I get cravings for something hearty and flavoursome. I can make a big batch and happily eat every single day. Roasting vegetables is so easy and healthy way of cooking. All you need to do is wash, chop, dress and place vegetables in the oven. My favorites are roasted carrots, pumpkin, parsnip, beetroot and cauliflower. The oven does all the hard work for you so that you can enjoy a glass of wine while dinner is getting ready. Caramelised sweet vegetables smell and taste amazing. This salad is not only a great accompaniment to a roast or grilled meat but also is good enough for main on its own. Feel free to double up the recipe for a work lunch or potluck party.

Ingredients (serves 2)

a bunch of baby carrots
1 cup of diced pumpkin
1 cup of French lentils, soaked at least 1 hour
water or stock to cook lentils
1 cup of salad leaves
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
50g blue cheese
a drizzle of olive oil to serve

Mix melted coconut oil, cumin, thyme and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Put baby carrots and diced pumpkin into a bowl and toss well. Transfer veggies to a baking dish and place in the preheated (180) oven for 20 minutes or until cooked. In the meantime, wash and drain soaked lentils. Cover with water or stock and bring it up to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked for your liking. Take it off the heat and drain. Place roasted carrots and pumpkin and cooked lentils in a large bowl together with salad leaves. Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a good quality of olive oil and crumble blue cheese on top. Serve warm.
warm lentil salad1

Antipasto Quinoa Salad

antipasto saladI’m so excited about this fabulous salad rich with herbs and vegetables, some cooked and some raw, and all intense with the saltiness and flavours of summertime. This quinoa salad takes on Mediterranean flavours and and ties them together with a simple dressing. It is fresh and light yet has bold, strong and hearty taste from the tapenade. It is also a breeze to make and looks as pretty as picture because of colourful vegetables I used. Quinoa is such a great vehicle for flavours and becomes magical when combined with other ingredients like fruits, veggies, herbs and nuts. Here, refreshing parsley, soft and mellow pumpkin and zucchini, crunchy beans, nutty quinoa are all balanced well with the antipasto flavour. It is the perfect thing to bring to a picnic or potluck as it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature or straight out of the fridge. Just a reminder, once tossed with the dressing, the quinoa will soak up and go a little soggy. So do not overcook quinoa and add dressing a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy x

antipasto salad1
Ingredients (serves 4)

2 cups of cooked tricoloured quinoa
1 cup of chopped parsley
10 black olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup of sun-dried tomato strips
1 tbsp coconut oil to cook veggies
1/2 cup of chopped zucchini
1/2 cup of chopped butternut pumpkin
handful of yellow beans
2 tbsp of green olive tapenade
1 tbsp e.v.o.o
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
salt and pepper to taste

Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chopped zucchini, pumpkin and beans into a pan, season with salt and peppr and cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked. While veggies are cooked, make a dressing by mixing tapenade, e.v.o.o, vinegar and honey in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside. Take cooked veggies off the heat, cool it down and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add cooked quinoa, chopped parsley, olives, sun-dried tomatoes into a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Check seasoning and transfer to a serving plate.

Green Top and Brown Rice Salad

green top salad1Sadly a lot of greens that people don’t deem as edible often get tossed to the bin and wasted. When you get fresh produce from the markets, you can simply get rid of old tough bitter bits and use tender green tops for different things like making salads and stir-fries, adding to smoothies and making pickles. Getting maximum nutritional bang for your bucks! My favorite is radish tops and beet greens. They are so wonderful and nutritious. Don’t forget it is better for environment reducing food waste. So try to use the whole vegetables from root to top on your plate 🙂

I’m joyfully reveling in this delicious salad, which is one of the easiest ones I’ve ever made and keeps really well in the fridge. I know tender beet greens and nutty chewy brown rice don’t sound that inspiring combinations though the power of flavour comes when they are all mingled in a zingy spicy dressing! I’m totally addicted to this salad at the moment.
green top saladIngredients

1 bunch of beet greens
1 large tomato
1 cup of cooked brown rice
a handful of toasted pepitas

1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp raw honey
a pinch of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop washed beet greens and tomato. Put all salad ingredients in a large bowl. For dressing, mix all dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or a jar with lid. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle more of toasted pepitas on top.

Fennel Orange Millet Salad

Fennel orange milletWhen I was in 20s, wanting to lose weight and look like a model, my focus was all about protein in my diet. I tried a high protein – low carb diet, having eggs or chicken breast x2-3 times a day and avoiding rice or any kinds of carbohydrates. I developed a fear of eating carbs as if they do any harm to my body and didn’t understand a proper nutrition. I had mood swings, frustration, obsession, indigestion and constipation. Bad bad bad…As I’ve been overcoming my bad eating habits and eating healthy again, my diet is now more based on vegetables, whole grains and a minimal amount of animal protein. And somehow it is easier for me to control my cravings and feel good. Why? We need carbs to survive, generate energy and have optimal body and brain function. It is so so important! We need both simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs found in fruits, coconut water, maple syrup and honey release energy more readily in our body, great for sports. Complex carbohydrates found in whole grains contain vital vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and release slow energy. The ones we want to avoid is refined sugar and hidden sugar in processed food.

So what whole grains? brown rice, wild rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, lentils.. I’m excited just listing all these beautiful names. They all have different texture and flavour, great for making salads, sides, desserts or even mains. They are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. How to incorporate in your meals? Here is an example.

Breakfast: baked oats, overnight oats or oat porridge, pancakes, whole grain granola, breakfast muffins,
Lunch: quinoa salad, millet salad, buckwheat soup, wild rice salad, carrot salad, healthy wrap
Dinner: pea soup, cauliflower rice, tabbouleh, lentil burger, burrito bowl, baked sweet potato
Dessert: wild rice pudding, power balls, raw brownie, raw banana cheese cake

Move onto the recipe. A classic combination of fennel and orange in warm toasted millet. What not to love? Crunchy and licorice taste of raw fennel is so refreshing. This amazing fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fibre. It is also one of the best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods on the planet. Another good news is great for the digestive system, calming flatulence, bloating, indigestion and IBS. If you don’t like chewing on raw fennel, use roasted or braised fennel in this salad for a caramelised mellow flavour. Enjoy x
Fennel millet salad

Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fiver. With only 27 calories per cup (and zero cholesterol) fennel is one of the best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods on the plane – See more at: (serves 2)100g millet, soaked1 tbsp coconut oil

100g millet, soaked
100g water to cook millet
1 large orange
1 cup of thinly sliced fennel
1 block of feta cheese
1 tbsp e.v.o.o
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Drain soaked millet. Heat coconut oil in a pot over medium heat and toast millet until lightly brown and fragrant. Add an equal amount of water and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until water is all absorbed. Remove from the heat, let it sit with a lid on for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Put the millet, thinly sliced or shaved fennel and chopped the orange in a bowl. Gently toss together with a dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crumbled feta cheese. Serve either warm or cold. It is great just as it is or serve with grilled chicken or fish.