Couscous is a perfect option for batch cooking. Cooking in batches at the start of the week or over the weekend is the secret to maintaining a healthy diet or working towards a nutrition goal.
As it is officially summer at home in Ireland, it’s time for salads. Adding some grains to your salad is an easy way to bulk up your lunchbox at work. I have used giant or Israeli couscous here but regular couscous, bulgur wheat, rice or quinoa would be perfect replacements.
Serves 4 as a side.
- 200g couscous grain
- 400ml boiling hot water
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 dried apricots, diced
- 2 tbsp raisins
- Mix the couscous with the water in a bowl or saucepan. Cover and allow the grain to absorb all the water or cook the grain as per packet instructions.
- Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Taste and if you prefer a stronger curry flavour just add some more.
Sun, sea and salad – just a few of my favourite things about summer!!
Salad is one of the easiest things to make at home, you can create a really tasty meal super fast and with very few ingredients.
Transporting salads can be notoriously difficult and can end in a sad, soggy mess. Using a jar is not only great for the environment but also the ideal way to create a simple layered salad. So next time, keep a big one aside for your next salad feast.
When using a jar or lunchbox, the key is how you layer the ingredients. I prefer to put the messy ingredients – yes I’m looking at you tomatoes or beetroot at the bottom. Add a layer of grain on top followed by your remaining ingredients. Finish with the delicate leafy greens on top. Keep dressings separate in a small jar or tub and add when you are ready to eat .
- 1/2 large tomato
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp Curried Apricot & Raisin Couscous
- 1/2 carrot
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- black pepper
- 50g smoked mackerel
- 1 large fistful baby leaf spinach
- Dice the tomato and mix through a pinch of sea salt.
- Spoon the tomato into the bottom of the jar followed by the couscous.
- Create carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
- Add the vinegar and a pinch of black pepper to the carrots and mix well.
- Place the carrot ribbons on top of the couscous, followed by the mackerel and top it all with the spinach.
- Place in the fridge until ready to eat.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I love salads!! It’s not just because they are healthy but I love the texture of salads, the crunch of cabbage, the burst of flavour that fresh herbs add and the juicy sweetness of sun-ripened tomatoes. This recipe is a very colourful slaw that combines lots of vegetables, seeds and a simple vinagerette that will add a serious burst of colour to your plate.
- 200g red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
- 1/2 medium courgette, coarsely grated
- 2 tbsp pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley or coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- Place all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the seeds and combine well.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until well combined.
- Combine the dressing, lemon juice and freshly chopped herbs to the vegetables and stir together until well coated using a fork.
Fuss-free dishes are my favourites; roasting vegetables is one of the easiest things to quickly add bucket loads of flavour and produce tender, melt in your mouth grub in no time!
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 tsp vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 large handfuls kale, de-stalked
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- Preheat an oven to 180C.
- Halve the pumpkin and spoon out the seeds. Slice the pumpkin into half moon shaped wedges.
- Wash the seeds in a fine sieve, place in a separate roasting tray and roast in the oven until crisp.
- Stir the honey, oil and cinnamon together in the bottom of a roasting tray before adding the pumpkin.
- Roast in the oven for 20mins.
- Whilst the pumpkin is roasting cook the bulgur wheat: place the bulgur, water and stock in a saucepan, cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer on the lowest heat until all the water is absorbed. Allow to cool.
- Roughly tear the kale with your hands and massage in the salt.
- To serve: mix the kale and bulgur wheat together in a serving dish, add the roasted pumpkin on top and scatter over the pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.
I know what your thinking…cauliflower… it’s not that tasty, I hate it, ugh how could you eat it?? Well I promise you, it’s not any of the above. Blanching and slow roasting, allows it to tenderise and burst with flavour. I learnt this cooking method whilst attending a course recently with the Dublin Cookery School and it’s been a constant on my weekly menu since! The cauliflower is perfect on it’s own as a side dish or add some salsa verde, carrot ribbons and sauteed cauliflower leaves for some colour and texture as a main dish. It also works great with a big juicy steak or roast beef.
- 1/2 whole cauliflower
- 8 inner cauliflower leaves
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp salsa verde
- 1/2 carrot
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and pre-heat an oven to 180°C.
- Peel the leaves off the cauliflower, roughly chop the inner paler coloured leaves for later. Divide the cauliflower into florets or wedges.
- Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower wedges and blanch for 2 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
- Add 1 tsp coconut oil to a large baking tray and melt in the oven. Add the blanched wedges onto the tray with the peeled garlic cloves and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Place the tray in the oven and allow the cauliflower to roast for 20-30 mins until soft through.
- Prepare the salsa verde. For the carrots, use a vegetable peeler to create long thin carrot ribbons, stir through the olive oil and apple cider vinegar until lightly dressed. Place both in the fridge until required.
- Once the cauliflower has roasted, remove from the oven and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Place a pan on a medium heat and lightly sauté the roughly chopped cauliflower leaves.
- To serve: place a layer of cauliflower leaves, top with the cauliflower wedges/florets, spoon over the salsa verde and add the carrot ribbons to finish.
This salad doesn’t get much easier, it’ll be ready in three easy steps and demolished in minutes!! Salmon and avocado are packed full of healthy fatty acids so perfect for all diets and great for bone, muscle and heart health.
- 1 head baby gem lettuce
- 1/4 cucumber
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cooked beetroot
- 2 radish
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 portion hot smoked salmon (substitute regular smoked/tinned salmon either)
- 2 tbsp Frenchie dressing
- Roughly chop the lettuce. Thinly slice the celery and radish. Cube the cucumber, beetroot and avocado.
- Gently flake the smoked salmon fillet into chunks.
- Divide the vegetables amongst the 2 plates, sprinkle over the salmon and drizzle with the dressing.
I have a serious obsession with beetroot, simply can’t get enough of it. About three years ago, I wouldn’t of touched one with a barge pole but at the moment it seems to end up on most of my plates or lunchboxes. Beetroot and a strong flavour like goat’s cheese or Feta are a great tasting combination. If you are bringing this for lunch to work, I’d recommend you bring the dressing separate in a little jar and mix through just before eating.
Serves 2 as a starter or side-salad.
- 2 handfuls kale
- 1 handful rocket leaves
- 1/5 of cucumber
- 1 medium freshly cooked or vacuum packed cooked beetroot
- 1/2 pear
- 1 tbsp pumpkin & sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp crumbled Feta cheese
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Roughly tear the kale into bite size pieces.
- Cut the cucumber in half length-ways, spoon out the soft center and thinly slice into half moons.
- Finely grate or Julienne the pear.
- Place the pear and vegetables in a bowl.
- Mix together all the dressing ingredients and stir through the salad ingredients.
- Transfer to a serving plate and spoon over the seeds and cheese.
Food waste is a major sin in my mind so this recipe is great to use up lettuce or type of cabbage before it goes off. I used a grill pan but these would work well on the BBQ too just make sure to oil the lettuce first and stand over the BBQ to make sure they don’t blacken on you!! If you don’t have tahini or Dukkah (find it in your local health food shop or large supermarket; I make my own using Ottolenghi’s recipe), sprinkle some balsamic vinegar or a spoon full of your favourite herb/spice/chopped nuts on top.
- 2 baby gem lettuce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp Dukkah
- Remove the stalk of the lettuce and cut lengthways in half.
- Bring a dry grill pan to smoking point, reduce the heat a little, roll the lettuce in olive oil and place onto the grill with a sizzle.
- Flip over once nicely charred on one side.
- Remove from the pan and sprinkle the tahini and Dukkah on top.
This salsa simply sings with all the best things about food: colour, texture, flavour and goodness. Fresh corn on the cob works best but tinned corn will be fine too. Serve alongside some Citrus Chicken and smoky paprika sweet potato wedges, add to a crunchy lettuce cup as a quick snack or simply eat directly off the spoon.
- 2 vacuum packed fresh corn on the cob or 1 x 400g tin corn
- 1 x 400g tin kidney beans
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 2 spring onions
- 1 fistful fresh coriander
- 1/2 fresh lime
- Cook the corn on the cob as per packet or rinse tinned corn. Once cooked, heat a grill pan until smoking and lightly charr the corn on all sides.
- Allow to cool and cut the corn off the cob.
- Drain and rinse the kidney beans, dice the tomatoes, finely slice the spring onions and finely chop the coriander.
- Place all the vegetables in a large bowl, squeeze in the lime juice and mix well.