One of the biggest challenges I found when I began cooking plant-based meals was elevating vegetables and salad ingredients from their supporting roles as side dishes to making them the meal itself.
It requires a shift in thinking, especially if you were brought up on meat and three veg.
These three salads are easy to make, super healthy and filling.
Broccolini, asparagus and spinach salad
This salad is freshness on a plate. Make it as big as your head!
Small bunch asparagus
Small bunch broccolini
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 small, red salad onion
Tbspn pine nuts
1/2 tspn Dijon mustard
Prepare your asparagus by breaking the woody ends off each spear, and chop the broccolini and asparagus into inch-long pieces.
Heat a frypan with a little olive oil and throw the asparagus and broccolini into the pan. Toss a little to coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, giving the pan an occasional shake.
In a mug, mix Dijon mustard with lemon juice and a little olive oil.
Toss the baby spinach leaves and salad onion in a large bowl with the dressing. Serve in large bowls, top with asparagus and broccolini and garnish with pine nuts.
If you are in Korea, red onions can be found seasonally in local markets and all year round at the foreign food mart in Itaewon, along with pine nuts. Look for smaller, less woody asparagus stalks. I often found baby asparagus in Shinsegae department stores and although by no means cheap, prices were reasonable.
For the broccolini, substitute broccoli.
Black bean and pepper salad
The recipe is also very flexible. No need to have all the ingredients. You can substitute different types of onion, add tomatoes, substitute kidney beans (especially in Australia, where tinned black beans aren't readily available). Go nuts!
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 large tin black beans
Sweet corn - tinned, fresh or frozen
1-2 peppers, diced
2 spring onions/green onions, sliced
Fresh coriander leaves
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 tspn chilli powder
Drain and rinse tinned beans (and corn, if using) well. This will remove a little of the salt.
Season the rice by adding chilli powder, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil.
Stir the vegetables, coriander leaves and beans through the rice.
Note: if you are making this in advance, do not add the avocado until just before serving.
Roasted carrot and chickpea salad
If you are in Seoul and you haven't been to the potluck, you should go! Held every month, the potluck brings together an wide variety of people who produce some very creative dishes. Don't worry about your cooking skills being up to scratch; take a bowl of seasonal fruit or a simple pasta salad and join in!
Check out the fb page for upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/SeoulVeganPotluck
Feel free to
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 tspn ras el hanout spice mix
1 lemon, sliced
1 red or spring onion, sliced
Peel and slice the carrots and place into a bowl. Add a glug of olive oil, and the tspn of ras el hanout and toss to coat the carrots.
Note: Ras el hanout is a north African mix of spices. The mixture varies, but usually includes cumin, chilli, coriander, pepper, paprika and turmeric. Use any or all of these spices to substitute, or even the trusty curry powder!
Roast the carrots on a foil-lined tray in a 180 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through and golden brown.
Add carrots, chickpeas, onion and lemon to a large bowl and toss with a little olive oil, a pinch of salt and extra lemon juice to taste.