Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meatless Monday: Salads!

With the heat wave here in the UK (and for my friends and family in the states experiencing similar weather-related circumstances), who wants to spend hours in the kitchen? I thought it would be good to recommend a few salads (my current obsession) to keep cool and well-nourished during this time. So here are my meatless monday suggestions for this week:

Bulgar and Bean Salad
(Includes 2 types of beans so it's good on the protein front. It also includes kohlrabi -  a good source of Vitamin C, as well as magnesium and phosphorous, which are useful in the absorption of calcium. As the UK kohl rabi season normally runs from July to November you might start seeing it in your veg boxes.)

2/3 c dried borlotti beans
1 2/3 c vegetable stock
1 c bulgar wheat
200-300 g string beans
1 kohlrabi, 1 red bell pepper
6 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
4 TBSP white balsamic vinegar (can also just use lemon juice)
1 tsp cumin
parsley (depending on your tastes, usually do about 4 TBSPs)

1. Cover borlotti beans with water and leave to soak over night. The next day, drain and transfer them to a saucepan with fresh water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook the beans until soft, but not mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Heat the veg stock. Put bulgar wheat in largish bowl and pour the stock over it, and leave to stand about 1 hour, or until soft.

3. Wash string beans and pinch off ends. Halve the beans and steam for about 7 minutes, or until firm to the bite. Drain and run under cold water and leave to drain again.

4. Peel the kohlrabi, cut first into 1/4 inch thick slices, then into strips of that thickness. Wash and cut the bell pepper into thin strips.

5. In a skillet, heat 2 TBSPs of oil. Stir in the kohlrabi and the pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the string beans and fry for 2 minutes more.

6. Combine the orange juice with the vinegar (or lemon juice), salt, pepper and cumin then beat in the remaining oil. Drain the beans, combine with the bulgar, vegetables and dressing. Check seasoning. Best to marinate 1-2 hours, but not necessary. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley into salad just before eating.

Orzo, Green Bean and Fennel Salad
From Epicurious

200 g green beans, trimmed
200 g orzo
2/3 c (packed) chopped fresh dill
1/4 c olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cucumber, unpeeled and in 1/3-inch cubes
3/4 c diced fresh fennel bulb

1. Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. (Or steam them, whatever is easiest for you.) Using slotted spoon, transfer beans to plate. Add orzo to same boiling water. (Or cook below steaming beans.) Cook until tender, stirring occasionally; drain.

2. Blend dill, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice in mini processor until almost smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

3. Cut beans crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add orzo, cucumber, and fennel; mix in dressing. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Easy and oh-so-tasty!

Let me know what you think. And please feel free to add other salad recipes below. Or you can email me your favorites at and I'll include them in future posts. 

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