Mexican Rice and Beans Salad

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The sun is shining and it’s starting to feel a little warmer – yippee! After the long dark, cold months there suddenly light and colour, oh what joy! I was intending on cooking another hearty vegetable soup for lunch but the sun’s warming rays made me quickly shelve that idea. What we needed was some vibrancy and colour; some freshness and zing to match the weather.

So a quick rummage in the larder later and I had the ingredients I needed for this wonderfully zingy and alive rice and bean salad, which also handily continued the Mexican theme that started with pinto bean soup the other day.

The vegetables add jewels of colour and flavour and the lime makes the dish zing. Wonderful eaten on the day, this salad also keeps well for a couple of days. For me, however, its best use is as the base of a delicious taco salad (pictured below): rice and beans salad combined with fresh salsa, lettuce, avocado, dairy-free soured cream and topped with crunchy tortilla chips and coriander – divine!

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Mexican Rice and Beans Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves at least 4

  • 1 cup of rice, cooked
  • 1/2 tin of beans, ideally borlotti or pinto
  • 1/2 tin sweetcorn
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped into small dice
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp chipotle Tabasco sauce, or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

– Whisk together the lime, oil and salt (and chipotle sauce, if using)
– Pour over the other ingredients and mix well

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Coronation chickpeas

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Coronation chicken is such a ubiquitous buffet dish and sandwich filling in the UK, and its something I had yet to replicate as a vegetarian. So here’s a recipe for a fully meat free version, inspired by one I saw a while back on a lovely blog I follow called ‘more than greens‘. I never tried out her recipe but the idea for chickpeas replacing the chicken stayed in my head. So last weekend for lunch with had homemade bread, salads and coronation chickpeas, and very nice it was too. There’s noting like a mild, creamy curried addition to add a bit of excitement and spice to such a basic meal.

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

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  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup mayo, I used Plamil egg-free
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 apple, peel left on, cored and cut into cubes
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • Parsley to garnish

– Mix together all the mayo, mango chutney, curry powder and lemon juice

– Stir in the chickpeas, apple, spring onions, sultanas and parsley.

– If possible, let sit for about half an hour before serving for the flavours to combine.

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Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw

IMG_5356 Whenever I buy a beautiful red cabbage I always end up with a good portion hanging around in the fridge looking forlorn and unwanted. And because they last for so long, it sits there and sits there, making me feel a little guilty every time I look in the vegetable rack.

Well this deliciously tangy red cabbage ‘slaw is the ideal way to use it up – sweet from the apple, savoury from the cabbage, creamy from the mayo, spicy from the oodles of black pepper and tangy from the vinegar – all singing together nicely.

Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian and vegan) IMG_5350 makes 1 bowlful

  • 1/2 red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 apple
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped

for the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp egg-free mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, a pinch to taste
  • Lots of back pepper

– Whisk together the dressing ingredients, taste, adjust to your own preference. – Toss the vegetables in the dressing – Garnish with a little more parsley IMG_5354

Fiery beetroot salad

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Why buy a ready-made salad pot when this one tastes far better, can be whipped up in moments and you have the satisfaction of homemade food? Beetroot can certainly divide opinion – when I was in primary school I distinctly remember beetroot being served with everything (and I mean those cold vinegary slices) – sausages and beetroot anyone?! It took me a long while to come to like those earthy red roots after that chilling start!

But I’ve really come round to the earthy vegetables. Such a fine colour, great in salads, make beautiful soup. This one’s a salad dish that’s sweet but sharp and punchy,  versatile and very simple.

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

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  • 4 beetroots, cooked and cut into cubes
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp smokey chipotle Tabasco sauce, or other chilli sauce of choice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

– Mix together the vinegar, oil, Tabasco, sugar and salt
– Pour over the beetroot and spring onions
– Mix delicately so the spring onions don’t go completely red! Some redness is inevitable.

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Black Bean Salsa

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This is a nifty little recipe for an interesting variation on a ‘regular’ salsa. Inspired by a delicious lunch I had at the fabulous the Gate Restaurant the other day, this is my take on black bean salsa. Wonderful scooped up with tortilla chips, as an addition to a wonderful Mexican main course (recipe coming soon!) or a topping for nachos or any tortilla based dish. It’s also the kind of dish that is enjoyable to prepare, just simple ingredients put together in an uncomplicated way.

There’s nothing wrong with a tomato salsa (especially this awesome salsa), but it’s good to have more in your locker, and for me a great new way with beans that is fresh and zingy.

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

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  • 1 bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped fairly small
  • 1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste if you have a dry old line that gives little juice!)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

1. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about half an hour for the flavours to mingle

2. Taste and adjust the salt and lime juice accordingly

3. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Salad

 

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I guess you could say this is a combination of a salade Nicoise and a Greek salad – featuring the punchy flavours of olives, roasted peppers and basil mixed with the fresh vibrancy of ripe cherry tomatoes and fine green beans. Ideal at any time of year, I think this salad particularly sings in early autumn when tomatoes are at their very best and the beans are still vibrant and delicate.

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

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Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course

  • 2 peppers
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes (a big handful!)
  • 1 handful French green beans, stalk end chopped off
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • Small bunch of basil leaves

Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

– Skin the peppers, either by blistering the skin over a flame/under the grill. Or peel with a vegetable peeler, roughly slice
– Place in a baking tin, sprinkle with the oil and herbs, (plus some salt and pepper) and roast for 10-20 minutes in a hot oven until sweet and slippery. Cool.
– Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside
– Mix together all the salad ingredients with the dressing
– Serve on a pretty platter with some rustic bread

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