Everyday Salad

Monday, February 3, 2014

I often eat a bowl of salad for breakfast. It's kind of crazy in a western context if you grow up eating cereal and toast. Our bread parting was amicable and these days I am happy to turn down a slice. A couple of years back I cut out all grains from my diet and exercised like crazy. I lasted just over two weeks on this strict regime before binging on bread. The almost instant effect was disastrous, my belly ballooned to the proportions of full term pregnancy. Fraught with concern bordering on hysteria the swelling eventually deflated, a couple of days later. It was around this time that I began to read about gluten and gradually cut back on my daily bread. I haven't actually tested myself in fear of a gluten intolerance diagnosis. I prefer to rationalise that anyone who abstains then eats an entire loaf of bread in one evening is obviously going to experience repercussions right?

I started to eat oats for breakfast and include spelt in my baking because of the more digestible gluten. Once when I visited my Turkish friend for breakfast I was surprised to see her eating chopped capsicum, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and a Turkish cheese similar to feta drizzled with olive oil. My moment of ignorance passed and I began to feel a little normal as I started to prepare salad type dishes for breakfast, always with a pulse of some sort. It does take more time to prepare but I prefer to excuse this away using "delayed gratification". When I venture out for breakfast I order the ful medames,the Middle Eastern breakfast of stewed fava beans. Whenever I see it on the menu a little prayer of thanks passes my lips for living here on these Arabian shores. If I'm lucky then I might spy the South Indian breakfast of idli and sambhar.

I often start my day with a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with warm water, it's highly alkalising. Then a salad or beans and greens followed by a cup of Rooibos tea. I'm foregoing the coffee at the moment. Whichever way you choose to enjoy this salad, as an accompaniment or entree, it's easy to throw together at the last minute.

Everyday Salad
Makes enough for one. I find canned chickpeas from Italy are better tasting. If you do cook from scratch it's best to avoid purchasing chickpeas with a production date over 12 months and if you have the time soak the beans overnight as this will save time in the cooking. And improves their digestion.

1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 bunch of rocket
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
large pinch of alfalfa sprouts or heaped tablespoon
10 pieces semi-dried tomato
half an avocado, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp French salad dressing, recipe follows

Start by toasting the sunflower seeds in a frying pan, over a medium heat. Stirring over a few minutes until they are golden in colour, remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool.

Wash and trim the rocket leaves. Dry and break into bite size pieces. Place in a bowl along with the chickpeas, alfalfa, semi-dried tomato and avocado. Add the dressing and gently combine. Top with the sunflower seeds. Serves 1.

French Dressing, makes extra
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until you get a nice thick emulsion. Keeps well covered in the fridge, just bring back to room temperature before using.