Bahn Mi Salad

 

vegan bahn mi salad bowl

I’ve had this idea of turning Classic Bahn Mi baguette filling flavours into a salad for quite a while, and now the weather has turned super hot (albeit briefly!) it’s the perfect opportunity for exciting salad eating.

In my day job, I work in two different locations, so I spend rather too much time walking the streets of the City or sitting on London buses. It does give a lot of looking out the window and contemplating opportunities, and time to draw inspiration for my recipes. Just off one of my regular bus route there are two Bahn Mi shops within meters of each other (crazy, huh!), hence my thoughts turned to recreating the classic Vietnamese hot spicy, pickled, herby flavours of  a Bahn Mi baguette into a salad.

free-from vietnamese salad, no milk, no nuts, no eggs

In this salad bowl I have marinated noodles which are topped with Sriracha roasted beans, quick pickled red cabbage, cucumber and carrot ribbons, tomatoes and plenty of coriander. It makes for a delicious and very moreish bowlful. The noodles are best prepared in advance and cope very nicely with a couple of days in the fridge if need be. Same with the red cabbage. Just make sure you put all the topping on at the last minute to retain freshness and crunch.

Bahn Mi Salad

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free vietnamese noodle salad

serves at least 4 (multiple the veg for more people as there will be plenty of noodles and cabbage)

 For the quick pickled red cabbage:

1/4 red cabbage

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp water

1/2 tbsp salt

  1. Massage the cabbage with the 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside for at least half an hour. Pour away any juice which have seeped out.
  2. Combine the water, vinegar and rest of the salt. Pour over the cabbage. Cover and leave to pickle for at least half an hour.

For the Sriracha roasted beans:

1/2 tin white beans or chickpeas

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp olive oil

A few good squirts of Sriracha

  1. Toss the beans in the paprika,oil and chilli sauce and roast in a medium oven (180 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the marinated noodles:

4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsps soy sauce

3 tbsps balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps sugar

1 tsp salt

1 pack of wheat noodles (250g) or equal amount of spaghetti

6 spring onions, finely sliced

  1. Mix together the oil, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside
  2. Cook the noodles or spaghetti according to the pack instructions. Make sure they are slightly undercooked and then drain and run under cold water to halt the cooking process.
  3. Mix the noodles into the marinade. Add the spring onions and set aside. Marinate for as long as possible for really tasty noodles.

For the veg:

2 spring onions, sliced

1 carrot, shaved into ribbons

1/2 cucumber, shaved into ribbons

1/2 red pepper, finely sliced

Large handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Coriander

To assemble:

  1. In a bowl, cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of marinated noodles
  2. Top with strips of pickled cabbage, roasted Sriracha beans and veg
  3. Add carrot and cucumber ribbons around the edge
  4. Top with a scattering of coriander and a few squirts of Sriracha
  5. Eat straight away

vegetarian noodle salad, Bahn Mi style

Coronation Rice Salad

dairy-free, egg-free coronation rice salad

I don’t know about you, but for us June and early July heralds peak picnic and barbecue season. It’s a quick succession of one outdoor event after another, fingers crossed for good weather (always the bane of outdoor plans in England) for Sport’s day this Friday which would be unusual for this summer!

So, I’m on a mission to perk up our picnics with some exciting additions, as I find picnics can be particularly challenging with a restricted diet. There’s none of that ‘oh I just pop into M&S and get a whole picnic spread to take to sports day!’ it’s more a case of what can I cobble together at 7am with minimal fuss and which will happily sit around in a sweaty picnic basket until lunch time – quite a tall order there!

Salads are obviously a good way of pepping up your picnic, but clearly it has to be robust and not based on delicate and easily wiltable leaves. This rather moreish coronation rice salad is based upon one I learnt at Le Cordon Bleu but with all the excessive calories and cream transformed into a light but creamy spiced dairy-free rice salad. Call it a rice based riff on the classic and ever popular coronation chicken salad.

Feel free to add in suitable extras to make more of a meal of it – blanched almonds work really well if you can tolerate them, and I particularly like mini raw cauliflower florets for an added bit of interest. If you eat chicken, some freshly shredded roast chicken would work extremely well with the rice and curry flavours.

vegan curried rice salad

Coronation Rice Salad

(Dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free, dairy-free curried rice salad

serves 4

1/3 cup egg-free mayo such as Veganaise or mayola

1/4 cup mango chutney

1 tsp mild curry powder

squeeze of lemon juice

seasoning, to taste

1 cup cooked basmati rice

1/4 cup raisins

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup frozen peas, cooked through and then cooled

1/4 cup blanched almonds [optional]

handful of parsley, finely chopped

  1. Mix together the mayo, mango chutney, curry powder and lemon juice. Taste and season as desired.
  2. Stir in the other ingredients and garnish with the parsley.
  3. Serve.

vegan coronation rice salad

 

Antipasti Jewelled Couscous

 

antipasti jewelled couscous

Fluffy couscous salad, studded with rich antipasti and pistachios (if you can tolerate them) is a wonderful, wonderful thing. But it seriously has to be fluffy, there is nothing more disappointing than stodgy, clergy, water laden couscous!

You may be wondering about the sudden introduction of nuts on my site – well Little S passed a supervised food challenge and we’ve been ordered to introduce these nuts into her diet – scary stuff when you’ve lived in a nut-free house for a few years. Well, to be fair it shouldn’t be that scary, as the challenge was to nuts she’s never been allergic to, but we avoided due to cross contamination and, to be honest, a bit of fear. So the ‘challenge’ was really just an exercise to give us confidence with a few nuts. All good, and an important step forward, but not without problems. Where on earth do you buy pistachios, cashews and almonds which are totally free-from peanuts and sesame seeds?? Any pointers gratefully received!

So, we’re proceeding with caution, adding a few nuts here and there whilst at home (and trying to persuade her to like them, which is a whole other story…..). Hence, the couscous with added pistachios!

Best eaten at room temperature, this couscous salad/side is a perfect picnic or barbecue dish, just right at this time of year.

Antipasti Jewelled Couscous

(dairy-free, egg-free, can be nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan tomato and pepper couscous

makes one big bowlful, serves about 4

 1 cup couscous

1 cup water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

4 sundried tomato halves, roughly chopped

1/2 jar roasted pepper antipasti, roughly chopped

3 spring onions, sliced

Large handful pistachio nuts (if can tolerate them, otherwise omit or use sunflower seeds)

  1. Pour the couscous into a flat-ish bowl
  2. Place water, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, pour over the couscous. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the other ingredients.
  5. Serve

dairy-free couscous

‘Sunday roast’ salad with mint sauce vinaigrette

Sunday roast salad, dairy-free

Sometime you just really fancy a flavour combination, and the other day I really hankered after a flavour I haven’t had for many years – roast potatoes with mint sauce. Even before I turned veggie, it was always the sauces and veggies that I preferred. Mint sauce ( which for those who don’t know is a sauce made of chopped mint, malt vinegar and sugar) is a traditional accompaniment to roast lamb in the UK, but in my opinion is a great accompaniment to roast veggies!

Since mint sauce is predominantly a vinegary taste it came to mind that it would make a fantastic vinaigrette for a salad, and as it’s the middle of winter, roast veggies from the veg box delivery are the way to go. So we ended up with his hearty, delicious Sunday roast salad –  a kind of fusion of a classic Sunday roast ( minus the meat) and a warm composed salad. It’s a great combination, with that homely Sunday roast warmth but with a freshness and crunch that gives a wonderful full texture and flavour to the dish.

Sunday Roast Salad with Mint Sauce Vinaigrette

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegetarian Sunday roast salad

Serves 4

For the roasted veg:

4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into batons

2 parsnips, peeled and cut in batons

1 onion, peeled and cut into chunky slices

5 small broccoli florets per person

3 marinated artichokes per person

Chilli flakes

Herbs de Provence

Salt, pepper and olive oil for roasting

  1. In one pan toss the potatoes, carrots and parsnips in olive oil, herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Roast at 180 degrees centigrade for approximately 40 minutes until cooked through and crispy
  2. In another roasting pan, toss the onion in oil and chilli flakes, roast at 180 degrees for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli, toss and roast for a further 5 minutes before adding the artichokes. Continue to roast for 10 more minutes until cooked through and turning golden round the edges.
  3. Once cooked place all the veg on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil and keep warm.

For the rest of the salad:

Salad leaves

Halved cherry tomatoes

Toasted unfollower seeds

For the mint sauce vinaigrette:

60 ml malt vinegar

Large handful of mint, finely chopped

2 tbsps caster sugar

3 tbsps olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

  1. Gently warm together the malt vinegar, sugar and mint until the sugar has dissolved. Cool
  2. To make the dressing: whisk together 1 tbsp mint sauce with the mustard and 3 tbsp of olive oil, season .

To assemble:

  1. Lay the leaves on the place, place the roasted veg and tomatoes on top. Drizzle with dressing and scatter over the sunflower seeds.

vegan Sunday roast salad

Cannellini bean and olive salad

white bean and olive salad, veganAs you might imagine we have a lot of beans being used in this household at the moment – I’ve got to get the chickpea/bean water from somewhere for all the meringue based recipes! This is a neat and tasty way of quickly turning a tin of white beans into a flavoursome and interesting salad. Use the best tomatoes you can for the perfect accompaniment for any lunch of choice.

If you can, soak the onions in cold water for a while before using – it takes that sharp edge off them that can otherwise wise be too overpowering.

Cannellini Bean and Olive Salad

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

white bean salad

serves 4 as a side

1 tin cannellini beans, or other white beans (drained, water used to make meringues! And rinsed)
1 large handful tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 white onion, finely sliced and placed in icy water for 20 minutes, then drained
1 handful mixed olives, halved
1 large handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt and pepper
Extra squeeze to lemon before serving

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oil and seasoning. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  2. In a beautiful serving bowl, mix together the other ingredients. Pour over the dressing, mix gently and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to mingle.

Rainbow Salad Platter

rainbow salad plate, vegan

Do you struggle to get your children to eat salad? It used to be a real problem for us – while I could easily live off salad, my children weren’t keen; other than happily wolfing down bowls of cucumber or perhaps the odd carrot, salads lay sadly ignored on the side of the plate. This salad platter changed all that – effectively a rainbow themed plate of yummy salad style ingredients to help yourself to, accompanied up a classic French dressing – they both dived back in for seconds. Result! Besides, it does look appealing and there is something nice about taking what you please.

Think of this platter as more of a template rather than a recipe – as long as you have all the colours accounted for, and I’m a great believer that food should be colourful, with a central starch then you’re good to go!

dairy-free, child friendly salad plate

Here are a few suggestions:

White centre – rice, couscous, boiled new potatoes, pasta, quinoa,
Red- tomatoes, red pepper
Orange – orange pepper, carrots, roasted squash
Yellow – corn, yellow pepper, roasted yellow courgettes
Green – lettuce leaves, avocado, cucumber, green beans
Blue – this one is a bit tricky! – purple sprouting broccoli, blueberries
Indigo – red cabbage, olives
Violet – beet root, dark red salad leaves, olives

rainbow salad bowl, dairy-free

For the dressing:

1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper and a pinch of salt

salad for children