In between complaining about the cold and longing for summer salads, I sometimes remember that winter is one of the best times to get creative with your meals, and that ‘winter’ and ‘salads’ are not mutually exclusive. In fact, winter salads have become one of my recent go-to dishes. They take full advantage of unique seasonal produce and flavours, delivering a hearty meal that combines the health benefits of eating an abundance of fruits and veggies with the warmth we expect from winter cuisine.
Salads like this one display how healthy eating has to be neither difficult, nor boring and insubstantial even for an appetite as grand as my own (lol), provided you do your research and look beyond how salads are portrayed in popular culture. The key to making them filling usually involves adding a starchy base, such as potatoes in this recipe, and/or a protein. Tofu has to be one of my favourite protein sources for salads because not only can you cook it in such a wide variety of ways, but it also adds a chewier texture to accompany the overall ‘crunch’ of the dish. And if you aren’t a fan of tofu? No problem. Simply emit it or replace with a protein of your choice, such as black beans, lentils, tempeh… The possibilities are really quite endless.
The recipe whatismaria.com brings to you today (since when have I started talking in third person?!) is luxurious as both a main dish and a side. The subtly sweet, velvety flavour of the aubergines harmonises with the ‘crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside’ potatoes which in turn decorate your home in an aroma you will wish to retain for as long as possible (provided you don’t burn them, that is). Serve this straight away, or if meal prep is your cup of tea – store in the fridge for a quick, nourishing pacelunch.
Recently, a week or so of sub-zero temperatures and even a few snowflakes that melted before their collision with the ground gave way to milder temperatures, rendering anything that is not a steaming bowl of oatmeal or soup somewhat socially acceptable. Hence, I will be eating plenty of winter salads over the upcoming weeks. Let me know in the comments if you give this one a go, and whether you like to eat salads in winter too or prefer to keep them reserved for the summer!
Luxurious and full of seasonal flavours, this salad is ideal as a comforting main course or a side. Serve straight away or keep refrigerated.
750g new potatoes, chopped into quarters
1 small aubergine, chopped into thin circles
1/2 block firm tofu (around 200g)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
soy yoghurt, to serve
Preheat an oven to 20 degrees C / 392 F. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
Meanwhile, chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces and toss together in a bowl with the ketchup, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp soy sauce and the lemon juice. Leave to stand aside.
Drain the potatoes and wash with cold water. Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the potatoes, sprinkling with the turmeric, the dried rosemary, the remaining paprika and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, until crispy on the outside.
Cover a separate baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the aubergine slices. Drizzle with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat some cooking spray in a non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry for around 10 minutes, stirring at frequent intervals, until firm and slightly crispy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, the tofu, the cabbage, the spinach leaves, the cucumber, the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve with the roasted aubergine slices and a few tablespoons of soy yoghurt.
I don’t know about you, but to me, toast will always be a classic, either as a snack or a full on meal. There are endless possibilities when it comes to toppings, and there is just something fundamentally cosy about a hearty slice of bread on a cold morning – essentially the only thing that can make crawl out from under my blankets (although, that probably my fault for sleeping with the window open, but I cannot deal with a stuffy room, at all).
I spent this weekend trying out new recipes, one of which was supposed to be a vegan version of a Russian classic – pelmeni, or boiled dumplings with mushrooms and peas. It failed. Badly. Not gonna lie, I wept a bit because it’s always a shame when you come up with a fantastic idea, but the expectations do not accord with reality and it quite literally falls apart before your eyes. After feeling sorry for myself and having something like an existential crisis, I decided to see the whole situation as a sign to make something that’s a lot simpler but definitely not inferior in terms of quality. After all, I am all about making vegan recipes accessible and easy to incorporate into any lifestyle, and toast couldn’t come closer to these parameters – it requires minimal preparation, can be eaten for any meal (although, does anyone else find it strange that we allocate certain foods to certain times of day?! this rule should apply to any food) and is perfect for lunch/bento boxes.
I know I’m on a roll with these recipe posts recently, and I think that’s because I’m hungry pretty much all the time. Paired with insubstantial sleep, that’s the main effect the cold has on me. So, I cannot think of a better excuse to whip out my creative side, put my appetite to good use and try out a bunch of new recipes.
With starting a new job recently, I have been busier than usual (hence, I do apologise for any delay in comment responses!) which always brings the need for super simple meals I can create up in fifteen or so minutes without compromising taste. Oatmeal falls into this category for sure – no matter how much I eat oats, I never get bored of them. Moreover, they are ideal for storing in the fridge in time for breakfast and giving yourself a few extra minutes in bed! Continue reading “Two Quick, Easy and Vegan Oatmeal Recipes”
Hi dears! Cheers to the second weekend of September: I can definitely sense the colder season creeping in with the recent weather conditions over here, and my nostalgia over summer has grown stronger with each day. Let’s hope Christmas-related excitement replaces it soon.
Anyway, what is a Buddha Bowl? Essentially, it is a combination of nourishing foods thrown together and served with some type of dressing – or, in my experience, they’re just as delicious when eaten ‘plain’. To me, they represent eating in abundance while staying far, far away from portion control and no carb diets which are thrown at us by the mass media on a daily basis. I mean, who wants to live off detox teas when you can reach your health&fitness goals by eating something as delicious as one of these?!
Aside from that, I can think of quite a few reasons for why Buddha Bowls are a big deal in the foodie world:
While delivering a multitude of health benefits, they’re super easy to make and require little preparation. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult, and for those who struggle to ‘eat the rainbow’, a well-crafted Buddha Bowl can be a perfect solution because by throwing together all the fruits, veggies and grains you can find, you’re getting in those crucial vitamins and minerals with little thought.
They’re super satisfying and energising – perfect for those of us who love big portions. I certainly do, and I am not ashamed.
It’s a great way to clean out the fridge and use up leftovers. Whenever I find Tupperware boxes of lentils and failed avocado roses clogging up the fridge, I know it’s time to make a Buddha Bowl.
By keeping yours plantbased, it can be your first step towards doing something good for the planet as well as receiving all the health benefits of including more plants in your diet.
I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve complied a step-by-step guide to making your bowl of deliciousness, also including an example recipe below. You can make yours as simple or as complicated as you wish, skipping some of these steps and/or adding new ones along the way. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to making a Buddha Bowl: be sure to experiment, mix ‘n’ match your ingredients, try out weird combinations, because who knows, you might end up surprising yourself! Continue reading “How to make the perfect Buddha Bowl”
They say comparison is the thief of joy, and this is particularly applicable to food. As someone who’s coming from a background of anorexia, I admit I still struggle with comparing my food intake to other people’s. Difference is, now that I am recovered, I don’t let my perception of their portion sizes influence my own as I would have in the past. However, I know plenty of people who have no experience with eating disorders, but are still wary of what they eat and experience negative emotions whenever they perceive their choice of food to be in some way inferior: they will stick to salads when eating out, refrain from going for seconds at buffets and avoid ordering desert if the people they’re with don’t do the same.
I don’t blame anyone for this, as a pressure to eat in a certain way (ie a 1200 calorie, no carbs, some spinach for breakfast sort of diet which is actually counterproductive and doesn’t deliver the weight loss it promises) is very prevalent in our society. Hence, it’s easy to feel guilty when others seem to be eating ‘healthier’, or less, than you are. YouTube is riddled with that I eat in a day videos. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching and making them as I’m quite curious and always on the lookout for recipe ideas, but certain ones just call for comparison (e.g. The videos conveniently named ‘what I eat in a day as a model/actress/any sort of role which insinuates success’). Some of these do a great job at reassuring me that I’m not the only girl out there with a hefty appetite, but others, even if we logically know the person is starving themselves and their behaviour is unhealthy, can make anyone feel ‘insatiable’.