seafood and avocado salad

This fresh little beauty is adapted from Lee Holmes’ Supercharged Food. Her selection of tasty recipes and simple dressings make feeding the masses that much more joyful.

Regarding the health benefits of this salad, she writes:

An exceedingly good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, prawns also contain high levels of vitamin B12 – an important vitamin for those with digestive difficulties, as it is essential for making blood red blood cells and nerve cells. Prawns also contain immune system boosters such as zinc, phosphorus, potassium and selenium, as well as iron, calcium and magnesium.

Excellent. So with this – and Easter traditions – in mind, I went one step further with an all out seafood salad fiesta. This went to the table alongside my ruby red grapefruit, smoked salmon and roquette salad for Easter Sunday lunch in my attempts to nourish and impress my beloved family on their trip to Sydney for the long weekend. Dare I say, I think it worked… With a splash of pinot gris in our glasses, this proved to be a delightfully festive yet simple, light lunch with all the feel good factors – tasty and healthy – WIN!

  • 12 cos lettuce leaves
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber (or half a continental), thinly sliced
  • Half a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 red onion (optional, or sliced so that it’s easy to dodge!)
  • 1 cup cooked prawns, shelled and cleaned
  • 1 cup cooked crab meat

Lemon & Garlic Dressing:

  • 125mls extra virgin olive oil
  • 125mls grape seed oil
  • 2 tblsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tblsp lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

(This dressing will keep in fridge for up to 5 days.)

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I bought my prawns and crabmeat from my local fish shop – shelled, cleaned, cooked and just asking to be tossed around with a bunch of greens. Too easy. Arrange the lettuce so that it lines a big salad bowl. Toss the rest of the ingredients in on top, leaving the seafood to sit on top. Drizzle with the dressing – you will only need about half of the mixture so pop the rest in the fridge ready for other salad concoctions – and serve.

Serves four.

cheesy roast pumpkin salad

When I discovered that coconut oil was in fact NOT bad for me, my arteries or my heart, my kitchen took on a whole new world. According to Dr Joseph Mercola’s article in the Huffington Post, not all saturated fats were created equal…

Back in the 1930s, Dr. Weston Price found South Pacific Islanders whose diets were high in coconut to be healthy and trim, despite high dietary fat, and heart disease was virtually non-existent. Similarly, in 1981, researchers studying two Polynesian communities for whom coconut was the primary caloric energy source found them to have excellent cardiovascular health and fitness.

Dr Mercola goes on to say that coconut oil is actually good for us and outlines a number of health benefits:

  1. Improving heart health
  2. Boosting thyroid function
  3. Increasing metabolism
  4. Promoting a lean body and weight loss if needed.
  5. Supporting the immune system
  6. Benefits the skin such as anti-aging and regenerative effects

There is plenty of people out there banging on about how great the coconut – oil, water, flesh…it’s all good! But my favourite part is the way the intoxicating sweet smell washes over the house when I cook with it. And I haven’t even begun to start in on the flavour. Needless to say, I use it as my one-stop shop for cooking with oils. Extra-virgin olive oil would be the other main one I use and other times a splash of sesame oil for particular dishes, but as a rule, I heart the coconut. And when it comes to the sweetness of a vegetable like pumpkin, these two were made for each other.

  • 1/4 pumpkin, chopped into big chunks
  • 1 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Nutritional yeast flakes
  • Linseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds to serve
  • Mixed lettuce to serve

Other optional additions that go amazingly with pumpkin..

  • blue cheese, crumbled over the top
  • walnuts, crushed

Chop the pumpkin into big chunky pieces and steam until it softens slightly. If you have time, you don’t need to steam at all, simply pop the pieces in the oven, drizzled with coconut oil to bake until golden brown.

Alternatively, in a deep frying pan heat the oil and add the garlic and ginger. Once it is hot, add the par-steamed pumpkin, turning in the oil until golden brown.

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Sprinkle the pumpkin with nutmeg and toss in the oil again briefly.

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Remove from the heat, serve on a bed of your choice of lettuce leaves or greens.

Sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes for a dairy-free cheesy flavour.

Add any seeds you like and serve!

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quinoa tabbouleh

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This gluten-free (and guilt free!) alternative to the much loved traditional Greek dish is just as moreish as the couscous version. The fragrant, fresh herbs are such a wonderful assault on the senses in preparation. The quantities here made enough as an accompaniment at a dinner party or a weeks worth of lunches for one! I even went so far as to exclude the oil…and if you’re so inclined, give it a try.

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  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked (see notes)
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped finely (frucmal friends take note: only the dark green part!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare the quinoa, place 1 cup (200g) uncooked and 600ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well and leave to cool.

Place the quinoa in a bowl.

Half the tomatoes and scoop the pulp from the tomato over the quinoa.

Chop the tomato flesh finely and spread over quinoa. Refrigerate for an hour.

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Combine the quinoa and tomato mixture in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for later. Too easy!

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ruby red grapefruit, smoked salmon and roquette

This fresh, summery salad is ridiculously quick and easy. Inspired by a love of Japanese food, it’s perfect as a delicate little entree, a light lunch or for all those ‘I-can’t-be-bothered-cooking’ dinners. In fact, I couldn’t even be bothered crushing the cashews on this particular occasion. Reckless or just plain lazy? Who cares! Less chat. More salad tossing.

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  • 300g smoked sliced salmon
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 150g mizuna (a Japanese mustard leaf) or roquette
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped coarsely

Optional additions…

  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly (frucmal friends – I left this one off!)
  • 3-4 tsp capers

Pop four slices of salmon aside and slice the rest into thick pieces.

Segment the grapefruit over a large bowl and slice along the spine of each to remove any pips and release some of the juice. Add oil, mustard, mizuna or roquette, nuts and salmon slices. Mix gently.

Divide salad among serving plates and top with the remaining salmon. Serves four.

Note…I’ve used a couple of generous handfuls of roquette here as mizuna was nowhere to be found at the time I happened to pop to the shops. It has a similar bold, bitter mustardy character so the two are easily interchangeable.