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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sweet and Spicy Summer Salad

Serves 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes

Summer is here! For real this time. For a whole week now London has been bathing in beautiful sunlight, no clouds in sight, not a drizzle of rain. Seriously this thing called summer is a rarity in the UK, this is a country where people reminisce about the last good summer like it was in 1953.. and it probably was.

On day 1 people everywhere emerged from offices and houses, blinking, blinded and rubbing their eyes as though they had just emerged from a dark cave after 9 months of hibernation! By day 3 the park by my office was full of girls lounging on the grass in bikini tops and mini shorts, and guys kicking footballs around. After day 7 of this amazing weather the forecast announced that the sunshine was well and truly here to stay (well.. for at least another week that is) and I swear I actually heard the whole country sigh a great big collective sigh of happy relief. 'Finally'. The time has come to dust off barbecues and pick nick hampers and head outside, gather with friends, and embrace the most wonderful time of the year. 

For me the last few days have been proof of how true it is that we adapt to our natural environments and that if we learn how to listen to our bodies (mainly by reducing the amount of addictive foods we eat like salt, fat and sugar) then we automatically crave seasonal local produce. My taste buds in the last week have gone from wanting warm creamy mushy comfort food to calling out for great big tantalisingly fresh, crunchy, juicy salads and fruits.

This salad is my 'celebration of summer salad' so grab your picnic rugs, sunglasses, and head to the park with this delicious sweet and spicy roasted vegetable and baby spinach salad!

2 large carrots, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
4 baby potatoes, quartered
1 bag of baby spinach leaves, washed

For the marinade
1 T brown rice vinegar
1/2 T umeboshi vinegar
1-2 T liquid sweetener
1/2 T crushed red pepper flakes
1 T olive or sesame oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh ginger
1 T soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

For the topping and dressing
2 T nutritional yeast
1 t gomachio
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 T soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Even the veggies are ready to get a tan (in the oven)!


Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F.

Place the quartered potatoes in a medium pan, add enough water to cover them and bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until potatoes are cooked but still firm. 

Chop up the vegetables and place them in a bowl with the potatoes, add all the marinade ingredients and toss together until all the vegetables are covered with the marinade. Spread out the vegetables on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning them half way through.

Remove from the oven and in a large bowl toss together the baby spinach, roasted vegetables, chopped apple, seeds (I used sunflower seeds and sesame seeds). Then add the toasted sesame oil and soy sauce for the dressing, toss the salad well and add the nutritional yeast and gomaschio last. 

And voila! You are ready for your picnic :) 

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