The sun is streaming into the kitchen and it feels great to be making hot-weather food. Step forward salads – with zingy, fresh ingredients and clean, clear tastes. Making food in this heat becomes as simple as putting some ingredients in a bowl. And when it’s this simple, it’s supereasy to make healthy, nutrient-packed meals.
This salad is full of antioxidant-rich veggies. But the stars of the bowl are the chia seeds. They are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals and the highest amount of omega-3 in any fruit or vegetable. You can use chia seeds to thicken stews, soups, juices and smoothies, to bind flour mixtures together as a substitute for eggs when baking, but also very simply to sprinkle into stir-frys and salads. Ahhh, sunshine and superfoods – a wonderful combination!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes
- 150g/5½oz mixed salad leaves
- ½ cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways
- 2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
- ½ red, orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin matchsticks
- 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced
- 1 small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small jug.
- Using a teaspoon, deseed the cucumber by running the spoon down the centre of the cucumber. Discard the seeds and cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Put the cucumber and the remaining vegetables into a serving bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the dressing and the herbs and mix in gently. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve.
Post-detox – and I have a plan for keeping the weight off and making sure I carry on eating a nutrient-dense diet. The first and easiest thing is to continue having juices/smoothies for breakfast. I’ve always loved doing this but I’d slipped out of the routine. Firmly back into it now, though!
This recipe showcases two amazing ingredients – acai berry powder and chia seeds. Someone gave me some acai berry powder the other day so I tried it out in this smoothie and it gave the smoothie a beautifully rich, complex taste – as well as incredible amounts of nutrients, including phytochemicals, antioxidants and omega-3 and -6. Buy some today – you won’t regret it.
But how can I call this a smoothie, you’ll be wondering?… There’s no yogurt, banana or any of the other things you normally make a creamy smooth smoothie from. The answer is the tiny, nutrient-powerhouse that is the chia seed. Chia seeds are super-rich in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, potassium and iron, they have the highest amount of omega-3 in any plant-based ingredient and also contain excellent quantities of fibre and protein. What’s more, when chia seeds are mixed with liquid, they expand and form a coating of gel. This means that they can act as a bulking ingredient – and this is why you can get a smoothie consistency when used with a juice mix, and why many people swear by chia seeds for weight-loss as they feel fuller for longer. But it also means that they can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking – more of that to come…. So go for it with chia seeds – sprinkle them onto salads or stir-frys, thicken soups and stews with them and try them in this awesome smoothie.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Makes enough for 2 people
2 tbsp acai berry powder
2 tbsp mesquite meal, agarve syrup or honey
300g/10½oz mixed frozen berries
1l/35fl oz/4 cups apple juice
1 tbsp chia seeds
1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.