I am not a salad lover.
I’m the plant-based eater* who generally sighs and cringes when the only option available to me is a salad. As if it’s genuinely offensive that people assume because I eat plants I must love leaves.
Confession two: I do not love all leaves.
But I love some of them, notably spinach, kale and rocket. These are some of the most nutritionally dense leaves and I find them less tiresome to eat than a bowlful of iceberg.
So maybe this ‘I hate salad’ belief just comes from a time of salad being a sad bit on the side of a plate, with predictable iceberg, flavourless tomatoes and the odd raw onion. Or from a fear of being served a super low-calorie meal that will leave me feeling super hungry- we’ve all been there!
Wherever the little salad-hating voice comes from, I’m on a mission to change its mind! I had an amazing salad last week at the Black Bear Café in Belfast, so I’ve been creating in the kitchen to try and share my version of it with you all.
This salad has a light sweetness from the caramelized carrots and a beautiful earthiness from the tahini dressing and chickpeas. Please let me know what
you think of it in the comments section!
- 200g carrots
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (eg. rapeseed)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 150g quinoa- well rinsed
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 garlic clove- crushed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 120g chickpeas
- 100g rocket leaves
- salt and pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (200 if it is not a fan oven)
- Chop your carrots length-ways so that you have strips of carrots
- Chop the onion thinly, resulting in rings
- Place the carrots and onion into a baking tray with 1tbsp of vegetable oil and 1tbsp of maple syrup
- Put the baking tray into the oven to roast for 25 minutes shaking the tray occasionally
- Place your rinsed quinoa into a pot with 500ml of boiling water and your vegetable stock cube, bring the pot to the boil and reduce the temperature on the hob until the quinoa reaches a simmer- simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on until the water has been absorbed
- While everything's cooking, make your tahini dressing by whisking together your tahini, crushed garlic, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and lemon juice with enough hot water to combine
- Take the quinoa off the hob when cooked and remove the carrots and onion from the oven when ready
- Layer up your salad with the rocket leaves, carrots, onions and chickpeas- pour over the tahini dressing and enjoy
You may want to add some nuts to your salad, if you do I think hazelnuts would be a delicious addition.
*I call myself vegan in real life but I’m very aware that some people perceive this as a very restrictive lifestyle and I really don’t want to make anyone feel alienated- as if they should only cook the following recipe if they’re vegan.
I would totally love it if everyone decided to go vegan today- to end the exploitation of animals, save the planet, improve their health, embrace their compassionate nature. But I don’t see that happening and as a researcher I completely understand the difficulties people face in making significant dietary changes.
I’d love to know in the comments what you folks think about this. Do you think it’s necessary to put a label on the way you eat? Do you find it helpful to identify as a vegan/vegetarian/omnivore/flexitarian/etc?