Fresh and vibrant.
Summer has finally arrived here in the South of France! Or, at least I noticed my training tan lines are making a come back. Just over a week ago I also noticed every other farm was selling cherries, nectarines, strawberries, and peaches by the kilo and it reminded me of this salad I created last summer. My summer salad is fresh, vibrant, vegan and it will put you in a summer mood whether you eat in the sunshine outside or under the duvet to the sound of spring rain.
To make this a more impressive dish, serve it on a big base of puff pastry (or vegan substitute) like a square pizza. Leave the herb leaves whole and keep the spinach by mixing in the fresh baby leaves with the roasted veg. Not a veggie? Switch the chickpeas for roasted chicken.
Serves two hungry athletes.
2 medium carrots
1 large corgette
1 large red pepper
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
sea salt and pepper
1 tin of chickpeas (or approx. 1 1/3 cup cooked chickpeas)
2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
1 nectarine or peach
2 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tbs fresh mint leaves
2 tbs fresh basil leaves
4 tbs balsamic vinegar or prepared balsamic glaze
Ready for the oven: Chopped vegetables with garlic, sea salt and pepper lightly tossed in olive oil.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F and lightly grease a roasting tray with olive oil or line with lightly greased tin foil.
Wash and chop corgette, carrots, red pepper, and onion into bite sized chunks for roasting. Finely dice garlic.
Lightly toss chopped vegetables and garlic with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
Roast vegetables for 30-45 min or until edges are browned and carrots are cooked through, tossing half way through.
While the vegetables are roasting, drain and rinse chickpeas, gently wash the fresh herbs and spinach.
I used a ready made reduced balsamic glaze but home made is always better.
Next, sliver the nectarine/peach and, if necessary, make the balsamic reduction by heating 4 tbs of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stirring the vinegar occasionally, heat until the amount is reduced by half.
When vegetables are done, stir through the chickpeas so they warm.
To serve: Put 1 large handful of baby spinach in each bowl, removing any long stems. Top with half the roasted vegetable chickpea mix and sprinkle each bowl with 1 tbs of sunflower seeds. Pile half the nectarine slivers in the centre of each bowl. Garnish each bowl with fresh mint and basil leaves and a lightly drizzle with balsamic dressing.
Take a bite into summer…
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