If you like your food fast and healthy, these salads make delicious quick and easy nutrient-packed dinners
This fennel, raddicchio and gorgonzola salad from the Treviso region of Italy is ideal for an elegant appetiser. Just make it bigger for a more filling main!
2 fennel bulbs
1 head radicchio
100g roughly chopped walnuts
175g diced Gorgonzola
For the dressing:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Cut off the fennel leaves and rinse for the garnish. Wash the bulbs, remove the hard core and cut the bulbs into thin strips. Put into a serving bowl.
Wash and trim the radicchio, shred it (not too finely) and add to the bowl. Add the chopped walnuts and diced gorganzola to the bowl.
Make a dressing from the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Serve immediately, garnished with the fennel leaves.
For a vegan variation omit the gorgonzola and honey. Instead, dice three oranges and add to the salad just before adding the dressing.
Radicchio is a great source of vitamin B and vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus. It also contains anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that have antioxidant activity.
Rich in fibre, B vitamins and magnesium, walnuts boast plenty of health benefits. They also lower LDL cholesterol.
Components of fennel reduce inflammation of the stomach and intestines and promote nutrient absorption from food.
Rice and pepper salad with grilled chicken breast
This vibrant yellow salad speckled with red pepper is fragrant and tangy and great for eating at home or taking to work for lunch at your desk
450ml vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
225g long-grain rice
4 tablespoons of corn or canola oil
2 red peppers, cut in strips
1 ripe tomato, finely diced
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan and add the turmeric. Bring the stock to the boil. Add the rice, stir, cover the pan and bring the stock back to the boil. Turn the heat down to very low and cook the rice for about 20 minutes.
Once all the liquid has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat, drain the rice, rinse with cold water and put into a large salad bowl.
Heat a little corn oil in a frying pan and sauté the peppers and tomato. Add to the salad bowl.
Season the lime juice with salt and pepper. Whisk the rest of the corn oil into the seasoned lime juice to make a vinaigrette. Wash the chilli, dice finely and stir into the vinaigrette. Add the dressing to the rice and vegetables. Set aside.
Fry chicken on both sides for about five minutes. Remove from the pan. When cool enough to handle, slice the breast at an angle.
Spoon the rice salad onto individual plates, top with chicken slices and serve. Garnish with coriander.
For a variation, try replacing the chicken with ham or tuna instead. If you’re not keen on peppers, why not try garden peas?
Turmeric may prevent and slow the progression of alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque build up in the brain.
Due to the content of B vitamins and folic acid, red peppers are great for supporting heart health.
Orecchiette with beans and rocket pesto
In Italy, the word orecchiette means ‘little ears’, which perfectly describes the domed pasta shapes. They require slightly longer cooking than regular pasta and have a deliciously chewy texture.
225g kidney beans
1 clove garlic, chopped
100ml white wine
100ml vegetable stock
450g spinach, chopped
For the pesto
1 bunch fresh rocket, roughly chopped and tough stems removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1 clove garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
Drain the beans and rinse gently. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and briefly sauté the garlic. Add the drained beans, then stir in the white wine and stock. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes, then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large salad bowl.
Cook the orecchiette according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and add to the kidney beans.
To make the pesto, put pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and a little olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process, adding more olive oil in a thin stream, until the pesto is smooth and creamy.
Add the spinach to the beans and pasta. Then add the pesto and toss to combine. Season to taste before serving.
Try omitting the pesto and whisk two tablespoons balsamic vinegar with three tablespoons olive oil and one and a half teaspoons of wholegrain mustard.
Kidney beans are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre and can increase your energy by helping to replenish levels of iron.
The secret weapon of spinach is the high lutein content. Lutein prevent cataracts, as well as age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness.