Summer has arrived!

[donotprint] It’s all about the salads once more!

I had my final physio session last Friday afternoon and I have got the go ahead to ease very (strong emphasis on that very) slowly back in to running. Five minutes on the treadmill at a time…it’s painful both in the literal and head wrecking sense! That said I’m going to stick with it but of course and in the meantime keep up the elliptical and weight training both of which I’ve grown to love.

In other news summer has officially and finally arrived in Ireland! For how long we are unsure but it’s been almost a week and I think the whole country (and all those across the UK) are just making the most of each day as it comes. The heat and sunshine have both have an affect on my eats this past week making me crave a whole heap of smoothies which I’ll get around to sharing next week, and fresh, strong flavours and salads when it comes to savouries.

If there is one sure fire way to make a salad a winner in my books it’s including chickpeas. I almost fell out of my standing (god that is such an old lady saying! ) when one of my colleagues told me they don’t like chickpeas the other day… say what?! I think I eat enough of them for the both of us…or much more than that, it is highly possible that I may turn in to a chickpea should I continue to eat them with such gusto I may turn in to one! Smile

I’ve never made a successful eggplant salad…I’ve only ever tried to make one once before and it was a bit of flop. Forget the flops and fantasise about the favourites (the sun has clearly made me think I fantastic sense of humour!).

I’m not a fan of flops, who is, but to mean they just mean that I need to try and try again until I create something a little more “fantabulous”. Chickpeas, eggplant, red pepper (both of which were grilled) with spinach and figs with Moroccan spices and a tahini dressing….

Wowsers! It was incredible! Cold eggplant was something I was fantasising about…until now! I loved it! The combination of the savoury veggies, nutty chickpeas, the fantastic variety of textures and the hit of sweet chewiness from the figs were delicious together. The tahini dressing was a beautiful last minute addition. I was going to just let it be with the Moroccan spices and the splashes of lemon juice but I just felt it needed more.

That and I hadn’t had tahini dressing in what seemed like forever and had to satisfy my sudden surge of a craving. It did the job in one fell swoop. Not your typical lunchbox salad but super easy to make a change from the salad leaves that are featuring for a whole heap of people on a mission to get bikini ready at the moment (I realise this is a humungous over generalisation of the wider population but there are a fair few following such a plan since the sun peaked out from behind the clouds!)

It actually has a half a bag of spinach in there too, wilted and hiding amongst the rest of the deliciousness so initial lack of green is deceiving. This is definitely one I will be making again. Yum yum…finish that sentence Smile [/donotprint]

Grilled Eggplant and Red Pepper Chickpea Tahini Salad

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Servings – 1

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 15 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2/3 – 1 can of chickpeas (as little or as many as you would like!)
  • 1/2 a medium eggplant sliced in to rounds sliced approx. 1/2 an inch thick
  • 1 small red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 large dried figs finely chopped in to raisin size pieces
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1/4 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tbsp fresh mint + a couple of leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 fresh red chilli finely diced (optional)

Tahini Dressing

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 clove of garlic minced

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to a high heat.
  2. Drizzle red pepper and eggplant with 1/2 of the olive oil and place under the grill for 10-12 minutes, turning at least once during this time.
  3. Whisk together coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper along with lemon juice and remaining olive oil.
  4. Place spinach in a colander, pour over boiling water followed immediately by cold water until no residual heat remains. Squeeze to remove excess water and set to once side.
  5. In a bowl mix together chickpeas,  spinach, eggplant and red pepper (once cool – leave out once cooked for at least 10 minutes to cool) and pour over spice mixture.
  6. Stir threw figs and fresh herbs and place in the fridge until ready to serve. You can serve it immediately but it’s best chilled for at least an hour.
  7. Mix together all tahini dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad before serving. Garnish with fresh mint. Sprinkle with fresh chilli if you fancy a kick (I did!).

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