3 brain-boosting Summer salads for healthy al fresco dining

Stay sharp this season with the help of these superfood sensations

Buddha Bowl topped with Super Seed Sprinkles

Who doesn’t love a Buddha Bowl? This one, in particular, is packed with seeds which are rich in omega-3, whose fatty acids are important for normal brain function and development at every stage of life. It’s thought they may even benefit mild memory loss and help to relieve depression.

You will need: (Serves 2)

150g quinoa; 450ml water; 2 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut in cubes; 250g mushrooms cut in quarters; 3 tbsp grapeseed or pumpkin seed oil; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp pepper; 1 avocado; 2 handfuls of your favourite raw veggies (we used kale, cherry tomato and radishes); 3 tbsp Pimp My Salad Super Seeds  

  1. Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, decrease the heat a bit to maintain a gentle simmer.
  2. Cook on low heat until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from heat, cover, and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 180c.
  5. Arrange the mushrooms and the sweet potatoes in a roasting tray in a single layer, drizzle with 2 tbps of oil, and sprinkle with salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
  6. Bake for 15-20 mins.
  7. When you’re ready to serve, divide cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and veggie mixtures into 2 bowls. Slice the avocado and add into the bowls.
  8. Lightly drizzle remaining oil over the bowls, generously sprinkle Super Seeds and serve. Enjoy!

Ultimate Superfood Salad

A simple way to incorporate more leafy green veg into your diet is to throw some leaves into a salad. This one contains watercress, which is known to improve brain health and boost immunity. In fact, it’s so good for you that it’s been dubbed a ‘powerhouse’ vegetable by disease control and prevention experts.

 You will need: (Serves 2)

85g watercress; 100g quinoa; 1 pomegranate; 1 ripe avocado; 100g roasted sweet potato; 1 small punnet alfalfa sprouts or mixed sprouts; 1 clove garlic; 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets; 25g mixed nuts, toasted; sea salt and black pepper; pinch chilli flakes; juice of 1 lime; 75ml olive oil; 25g chopped coriander

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, then chop the sweet potatoes into inch cubes with the skin on.  Place into a roasting tray, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Place a frying pan on a high heat and add 1 tbsp vegetable oil.  Season the salmon on all sides with sea salt, then when the oil is smoking place the salmon skin-side down into the pan.  Fry on high for 2 minutes, or until skin is crisp, then transfer onto a baking tray skin-side up and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Cook the quinoa in salted boiling water according the packet instructions.  Place the broccoli into a metal colander and set over the boiling quinoa.  Cover and steam the broccoli for three minutes.
  4. Once cooked, drain and rinse the quinoa and broccoli under cold running water.  Remove the sweet potato and salmon from the oven.
  5. Cut the pomegranate in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a large bowl.  Add the olive oil, chilli flakes and lime juice, whisk together and season to taste.  Add in the coriander, alfalfa, quinoa and sweet potato and toss well.
  6. Peel the avocado, remove the stone and roughly chop.  Spread the quinoa and sweet potato mixture onto a serving plate and dot the avocado over the top.
  7. Finally, bash the second half of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to knock the seeds out and scatter these over the plate along with the toasted nuts.  Serve with the rested salmon fillet on top.

Warm Salmon Salad

Oily fish is great for cognitive function and this simple, speedy recipe makes a great lunch or dinner. It’s also a brilliant way of using up leftovers. Alex Head of London catering firm Social Pantry suggests adding any spring onions, cucumbers or other green veg that you have lurking in the back of your fridge.

You will need:

250g chickpeas; 2 tsp of good quality olive oil; 1 salmon fillet; 1 courgette; 1 bag of mixed leaf salad; 250g butter bean; bunch of flat parsley; bunch of mint; juice of 1 lemon; zest of 1 lemon; salt and freshly cracked black pepper, edible flowers, to garnish

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Dice the courgettes, season, cover with a teaspoon of olive oil and cook for 15 minutes. Heat up a frying pan and a teaspoon of olive oil.

Cook the salmon fillet on a high heat skin side down for 5 minutes before turning the fillet over, sprinkle on the juice of half the lemon and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Drain the chickpeas and butter beans.

Chop the herbs and mixed through the washed salad in a large bowl. Zest the lemon into the salad. Mix the beans and cooled courgette through the salad. When the salmon has cooled, gently remove the skin and flake through the salmon.

Mix two teaspoons of lemon juice through the salad. Season and serve in a bowl.

In season: Watercress

Did you know watercress contains more than 50 vital vitamins and minerals? Gram for gram, it also contains more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange, more folate than banana and more Vitamin E than broccoli! It’s rich in Vitamin A and iron and is a great source of fibre. 

Plant irons can’t be absorbed by the body unless they are converted into a more easily absorbable form such as haem iron as found in meat. To do this, to be vitamins A and C need to be present. Because watercress has such high levels of both, the body is better able to absorb the iron in watercress than in most other green veg or salads. That’s great news for everyone, but especially for vegans!

Pimp Your Salad!

On a mission to ‘make healthy eating effortless and exciting’, Pimp My Salad has launched an exciting new range of vegan and gluten free meal toppers!

Coconut Bacon, Cashew Parmesan and Activated Super Seeds will soon be readily available in UK shops, including independent health stores, this Summer. They contain only the best ingredients, sourced from ethical suppliers, and are vegan, gluten free and keto and paleo friendly.

Each is made using slowly dried cooking techniques, to make sure the nutrients in their ingredients stay intact, and each sprinkle of topper adds extra goodness to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And while they bring a pop of crunch and bold flavours to salads, they also add an extra dimension to pizzas and pasta, as well bowls of grains, veggies and soup – or they can be eaten straight from the jar as nutritious, plant-based snacks.

Available from today (July 1).

Bit on the side

Nutritious, sustainable, and delicious, the ChicP hummus range is made entirely from surplus fruit and vegetables. Completely gluten, dairy, nut and pesticide-free, these dips and sides are suitable for vegans, low-waste lifestyle lovers, and health-conscious cooks! Ideal for dunking, the dips can also be added to salads or smeared in sandwiches. Available from independent health stores and delis across the UK.

Mizkan Gomashabu Sesame Dressing from Sous Chef is made with a mix of sesame paste, sesame oil and soy sauce, it’s wonderful simply tossed through crunchy leaves, or served alongside a seaweed salad mix.

Pomegranate molasses is another way to make salads that little bit more exciting. It’s a great alternative to vinegar or lemon and adds a sweet, sharp tang. I love drizzling the sweet fruit syrup through giant cous-cous, or a salty halloumi salad. 

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