Make-ahead, Salads

Mixed Bean Salad

As summer draws to a close, and the darker, colder days are on the horizon, tuck yourself into a healthy and colourful salad to keep the spirits high! Less of the summery cucumber and lettuce, more of the wholesome bean. When it starts to get colder outside, and soup season is just round the corner (nearly Christmas!) it is so much easier to just reach for the ‘comforting’ foods. I find that making a big batch of this bright bean salad keeps the hunger pangs, and therefore the temptation, at bay.

Oops, I forgot the pepper and sweetcorn!

Oops, I forgot the pepper and sweetcorn!

In the summer, Liam and I had a barbeque with our parents (where they met for the first time!), and we made a lovely, fresh pearl barley salad and a Moroccan-style couscous salad, inspired by salads I’d seen in the shops. It is incredible how easy it is to make some of the items off the supermarket shelf. I have become a bit of a homemade-food freak as of late. I even asked Liam if I had become the fun police (he said no, and that it is good I have principles!). I just don’t like knowing I am eating all of the preservatives off the shelf, that I could avoid by making food at home. (Told you, fun police.)

This mixed bean salad is a supermarket-salad inspired recipe, where I just worked out the best ratios of the key ingredients and mixed them to create a side/snack that tastes all fresh and light, but is actually nice and filling. I use tinned, cooked beans for this salad, and while you could go the whole hog and cook the beans yourself, it would take a lot of time and effort for something that really should be quick and easy. I can still compromise!

Since moving into our house, I planted the herbs out in bigger pots in the garden, where they have flourished (apart from Greek basil, whom I sincerely apologise to for all the months of neglect on the windowsill). The mint and parsley grow like crazy now, which is great because I needed a big handful of each for the salad. Having fresh herbs growing in the garden draws more appeal to making this mixed bean salad myself too, as the cost comes to less than buying the equivalent from a supermarket.

Both me and Liam eat this as a snack during our day at work (I eat mine mid-morning to fuel me until a later lunch!). As veggies, we sometimes find ourselves lacking in protein-rich meals, so we added this to our day to up our intake. If you split the salad into 6, each serving contains roughly 10g of protein. It’s all win, win, win!

Ingredients:

1 can mixed beans/pulses, rinsed and drained

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained

1 large handful fresh mint, washed and finely chopped

1 large handful fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped

3 tablespoons rapeseed oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

Optional (but well worth it):

1 large red pepper, finely diced

100g frozen sweetcorn

Directions:

1. If using, cook the sweetcorn in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Once cooked, run under cold water in a sieve.

2. Mix the cooked sweetcorn with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and season generously.

3. Chill in the fridge in a sealed tub (it will keep for a while – I’ve gone up to 4 days,  it will probably last a bit longer).

4. Enjoy.

Well, that was easy!

I hope you enjoy all that autumn brings!

 

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Mains

Garden Pea & Sweetcorn Fritters

Forget fritters in their traditional sense: deep fried, unhealthy, batter-covered ‘things’. Eeugh! These are light, delicate fritters that won’t leave you feeling greasy. Also, another staple from the Royal-Smith household! To be specific, these are our Tuesday night regulars. Creatures of habit, I guess!

Other regulars in our house are ‘Soup Monday’, ‘Bean Burger Wednesday’ and ‘Bean Fajita Friday’. Thank god for ‘Try Something New Thursday’, otherwise I would obviously run out of recipes after ‘Treat Yourself Sunday’.
I tend to try new recipes on Thursdays, then if I want to make something for the blog, I will shift around meal plans etc etc to fit it in some time on a weekend. So far that has worked out quite well, and I don’t see why it won’t carry on like that. I’m sure other people probably have a better system, but, not me!

This Thursday I will be trying some new food, but not at home! Liam and I are going to a gig in Camden at the Green Note, a cosy little jazz/blues venue that sells vegetarian food. We first went this year, when I took Liam on his birthday after his afternoon tea treat! Since then, we haven’t stopped listening to the band we saw, so we are looking forward to going back. We also know now how amazing the food looks, so we are saving our stomachs for that instead of pigging ourselves on posh sandwiches, cakes and scones  like last time.

These are slightly adapted from the broad bean and sweetcorn fritters (you can guess the main adaptation) from my favourite recipe book at the minute: Honestly Healthy. I am craving the new book, Honestly Healthy For Life. Maybe I should stop being such a tight-arse and buy it, instead of wishing away the days until Christmas.

We love to serve these fritters with a salad of spinach, cucumber, avocado and feta, and they make a wonderfully scrumptious and healthy dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

100g frozen garden peas, thawed

100g frozen sweetcorn, thawed

50g (roughly 1/3 cup) rice flour (if you don’t have this, you can use plain flour)

1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Handful of coriander, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the thawed peas and sweetcorn and mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season with the salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a pan. Don’t heat it too hot though! A low-medium heat will be best, otherwise the outside will cook too fast and it won’t flip very easily at all! (That is what happened to the fritter in the top right of the picture above – oopsie!) 

Add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan and roughly flatten it out so you have 1 layer of peas/sweetcorn. Cook for a couple of minutes and then flip over and cook for another minute or so.

Enjoy with a salad and dress it with some balsamic vinegar (our default dressing – it is so easy!) Yummy!

 

Stay happy,

 

Alice x

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