Chickpea, Couscous, Apricot, Pistachio and lots of other tasty things Salad

I started a new job this week and yesterday the whole office took part in a shared lunch. This was no ordinary office shared lunch, my new colleagues are foodies!

A list was left in the office kitchen for everyone to write their contributions on, this way there wouldn’t be too much of the same food, a quick glance showed a huge variety of inventive and exciting dishes that ranged from mini calzones to filo parcels to pumpkin cake. The pressure was on and I was keen to make a good first impression, especially as word had got round about this blog! After a closer inspection of the list I figured a salad would be a good addition but as I say it needed to be impressive. When I got home I was immediately drawn to Veggiestan by Sally Butcher, I knew there would be some interesting salads in there…..I settled on Spinach, Apricot and Bulghar Wheat Salad.

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The following recipe is based loosely on this, it would have been an exact copy but as I decided to try and buy the ingredients from my little local supermarket at 8pm on Tuesday night I had to make a number of adjustments.

I have to say though the finished product was yummy and it all got eaten J

Makes a big sharing portion, probably enough for 10 as a side

Salad Ingredients

2 tins of chickpeas

Apple juice (optional)

1 sachet of lemon and coriander couscous (I only used this because I couldn’t get plain)

1 big or 2 small carrots

1 small bag of spinach

½ red onion

150g dried apricots

1 bunch each of parsley and coriander

75g unslated/shelled pistachios

For the dressing

Olive oil, 1 lime, Cumin, Chilli flakes and Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Drain the chickpeas and put in a saucepan, cover with 50/50 water and apple juice until just covered. Put on a medium heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain and cool. This step is probably optional but I like to make sure my chickpeas are really soft and the original recipe calls for the bulghur wheat to be cooked in apple juice.
  2. Roughly chop the apricots, cover in warm water and leave to soften up for about 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the couscous according to the packet instructions. If you are using plain couscous make up about 110g and you might want to use vegetable stock.
  4. Shred the spinach, finely dice the onion and grate the carrot(s) and throw in a big serving dish or Tupperware (if taking to work). Sprinkle over the nuts.
  5. Chop the herbs and add to the veg and nuts.
  6. Grate the zest of the lime into a jug, add the juice and top up with twice as much oil. Stir in 1 teaspoon each of cumin and chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the chickpeas and couscous are cool add to the bowl/tub. Drain the apricots and add to the mix – give it all a big stir at this point to combine everything.
  8. Finally pour over the dressing (I didn’t use the full amount so add a bit at a time and make a judgement)
  9. Stir again and serve or stick it in the fridge and don’t forget to pick it up on the way to work!

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Another Low Calorie Recipe for January

One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to try to eat healthier and lose some weight (original ey!?). I’m hoping that reverting back to a mainly vegan diet (only sometimes picking the vegetarian option when eating out) will automatically contribute to this but I’m also going to make an extra effort by doing the 5:2 diet.

I know it might be ‘faddy’ but to me intermittent fasting makes some sense and I feel like I need structure otherwise I too easily drift into eating rubbish again. So, twice a week I am only eating 500 kcals. I am also going to do ‘rawtill4’ on these days – any raw recipes welcome!

Anyway I made this for my low calorie evening meals this week and it’s pretty tasty and filling so I thought I would share….

Moroccan-style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Totals 600 kcals – either 2 large portions or 3 or 4 smaller ones

Ingredients

8 spring onions

600g vegetables – I used celery, carrots and butternut squash but you could also use cauliflower, courgette, celeriac, peppers, turnips or swede etc…

200g tomatoes – I only had baby but it would be easier to use big ones

1 tin of chickpeas

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp chilli flakes

4 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Slice the spring onions and chop veg into bitesize pieces
  2. Put the onions and veg in a pan on highish heat with 4 tbsp of water and a sprinkling of salt, cover with a lid (or baking tray like I did) and steam
  3. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and assemble the rest of your ingredients
  4. When the veg is starting to soften around the edges chuck in the rest of the ingredients (nicely pre-assembled) and 250ml water
  5. Give it all a stir, bring to the boil and simmer until the veg is cooked.

Adapted recipe from 5:2 Vegetarian by Celia Brooks

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