Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

I’ve been thinking about roasted carrots a lot recently – so sweet and lovely when roasted, taking on an entirely different quality to when  raw or boiled/steamed carrot.

Doing some research online I came across a roasted carrot salad by Jamie Oliver that serves as the inspiration for this dish. I can’t deny it’s an unusual salad but it certainly works, and I enjoy trying more challenging combinations. I made the carrots sweet and very spicy which paired nicely with the avocado and coriander yogurt. The seeds are a must, to add crunch, and the bitterness of the alfalfa is a nice contrast to the sweet carrots and creamy avocado. All in all pretty different!

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 2

  • 2-3 carrots, washed and cut into batons
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2 handfuls salad leaves
  • Alfalfa
  • Sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsps dairy-free yogurt mixed with 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Coriander
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

– Parboil the carrots for 2 minutes

– Drizzle the carrots with the honey, cumin, chilli and a trickle of oil. Roast for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.

– Meanwhile combine the yogurt with the cumin and some chopped coriander – set aside.

– In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, dijon mustard, oil and seasoning. Set aside.

– Arrange a large handful of salad leaves on each plate and drizzle with dressing.

– Scatter the carrots and avocado on top, again drizzling with dressing.

– Sprinkle the alfalfa and seeds over the top and finish with a dollop of coriander yogurt and a few coriander leaves placed on top.

 

 

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The Ultimate Mexican Avocado Sandwich

This recipe uses my delicious avocado mayonnaise and propels a standard avocado sandwich to the realms of ‘ultimate’. I remember eating the most delicious sandwiches in Mexico, and this combination whisks you straight there with its bundles of fresh flavour. No other sandwich since has lived up to this one!

The Ultimate Mexican Avocado Sandwich (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 1

  • 1 ciabatta roll
  • 1-2 tbsps avocado mayonnaise
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cherry tomatoes/1 tomato, sliced
  • coriander
  • salad leaves
  • drizzle of fridge salsa, or any other salsa

– Build the sandwich with the ingredients listed above!

– Make sure to season well.

– Enjoy, with plenty of napkins!

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Avocado Mayonnaise/Dressing

This avocado mayonnaise makes a wonderful rich and unctuous dressing, all with no egg in sight and a darn sight tastier than a shop-bought egg-free mayo. The lime tang gives a real Mexican vibe which I love, but if you rein it in the resulting gorgeous gloop makes a perfect mayonnaise to be used in sandwiches, salads etc.

This recipe was inspired by Thomasina Miers ‘Mexican Food at Home‘ as the dressing for a salad, and it does work wonderfully for that purpose, but I think it rocks as a mayo alternative, and doesn’t that avocado colour look wonderful? Just like your grandmother’s bathroom suite back in the day!

Avocado Mayonnaise (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan) N.B. contains mustard

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  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime (use less for a non-Mexican mayonnaise)
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsps sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup

– Whiz together the avocado, lime and vinegar in a food processor.

– Season.

– Add the other ingredients and whiz until smooth.

– Taste and adjust the seasoning.

– Add a little more sunflower oil if too thick.

– Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days

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The Best Avocado Sandwich

This humble sandwich recipe is so very simple, but the end result is divine. Rich, smooth avocado pepped up with the tang of balsamic, the crunch of shallot, a hint of aromatic basil and sandwiched in crispy toasts. I did say it was simple, but Mmmmm, one of my all time favourite lunches.

The Best Avocado Sandwich (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 1 sandwich

  • 2 slices good quality wholemeal or (better still) sourdough bread, toasted
  • 1/2 perfectly ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsps good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4-6 basil leaves, roughly torn
  • salt and pepper

– Toast the bread

– Mash the 1/2 avocado over both slices

– Mix together the balsamic, oil, shallot and seasoning. Drizzle over the avocado.

– Scatter the torn basil leaves on top. (If you eat dairy add a few slivers of vegetarian parmesan-style cheese)

– Sandwich the 2 slices together.

– Cut in half and devour!

Giraffe Salad

No, not made of Giraffes, just from the restaurant chain! We had an unusual Easter Sunday… A very early morning Easter egg hunt (luckily the Easter Bunny had visited) followed by a day out with some friends, and luckily enough, lunch at Giraffe. We’ve always managed to eat well at Giraffe, with all of us catered for by some excellent service…. every time (and we’ve eaten at a lot of Giraffes). A review will follow when I get round to the review section of this blog.

Anyway, I was rather boring and went for my ‘usual’ salad, the Super Healthy Veggie and Feta Salad. It was nice, but since I’ve recently been doing my own version at home I maybe prefer this one!

Giraffe Salad (egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegetarian, can be vegan and dairy-free if you leave out the feta)

serves 2

  • 2/3 bag of salad leaves
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 small head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched for 2 minutes
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 tin of borlotti beans
  • 1/2 pack of feta, cubed (optional)
  • big handful of toasted sunflower seeds (plus pine nuts if you can tolerate them)

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • seasoning

– Whisk together the dressing

– Dress and mix together the ingredients

– Top with the toasted seeds

Slowly slowly guacamole!

Great guacamole can be divine – the stuff bought in tubs is just yuck. There must be countless guacamole variations but for me this is the best. No garlic, which is just wrong and overpowers the other flavours, but plenty of tomatoes to give the required creamyness. A top tip is to make the ‘salsa’ part of the guacamole a couple of hours in advance for the flavours to combine and the salt and lime to draw out any juices. Then fork or mash in the avocado and let sit (with the stones put back into the mix) for about half an hour before devouring. The slowly slowly approach makes all the difference.

We think a big bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips, followed by simple quesadillas and the remaining guac makes a perfect relaxed friday night supper. Well actually, I had to make it twice last night after a bit of a disaster involving falling glass jars, broken bowls and salsa everywhere!

Guacamole (dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, vegan)

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 firm ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 medium strength fresh chilli (leave it out if the kids don’t like spice), very finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a touch of pepper
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 perfectly ripe avocados

– Chop and combine the spring onions, tomatoes, chilli and coriander. Add the lime, salt and pepper. Leave to marinade for a couple of hours.

– Mash the avocados and combine with the ‘salsa’. Put the stones back in to prevent discolouration. Leave for half an hour for the flavours to mingle.

– Check the seasoning.

– Eat!

Quesadillas – serve two tortillas per person.

Cheesy version (serves 2)

  • 4 soft tortillas
  • 4 tsps chilli jam
  • 2 handfuls of cheddar cheese

Vegan version (serves  2)

  • 4 soft tortillas
  • 4 tsps chilli jam
  • 2 handfuls of roasted veg (I recommend either mushrooms and onions, or peppers and corn)
  • vegan cheese (if liked)
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves

– Heat a dry frying pan to a high heat

– Place a tortilla in the pan and warm through until the top feels hot to the touch

– Flip. Spread on 1 tsp chilli jam, and either the grated cheddar or roasted veg. Sprinkle over the coriander

– Fold in half and press down until the outside looks brown and crisp.

– Serve with remaining guacamole on top.