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.
This lovely recipe is from Christine Bailey‘s The Top 100 Baby Foods, which is one of my favourite books at the moment. Full of recipes that are truly healthy – all catering for little tummies, so either no- or low-sugar, lots of gluten-free and dairy-free, packed full of nutrition, and the recipes are truly easy to make. Cod is full of high-quality protein that’s easily digested by your baby’s immature gut. Although cod is not as rich in omega-3 essential fats as oily fish, it contains good amounts of these brain-boosting nutrients. It also contains plenty of B-vitamins, which help your baby’s body unlock the energy stored inside the food she or he eats. Make sure you check the fish carefully for any stray bones before you begin cooking. I made double the amount as I’d just bought 2 large cod fillets from the fishmongers.
gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free
About 4 servings for little ones Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes
- 4 tomatoes, halved
- 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped into chunks
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 175g/6oz skinless, boneless cod fillet
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 handful of basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/Gas 4. Put the tomatoes and peppers in a small roasting tray. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and half the olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softening.
- Remove the roasting tray from the oven. Nestle the cod fillet among the peppers and tomatoes and drizzle with the remaining oil and the lemon juice. Scatter with the basil leaves and bake for a further 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
- Serve hot or put the fish and vegetables in a food processor and process to form a purée if you’re making this for a baby.