It’s a little bit unconventional, but one of my favourite comfort foods is salad. Before you write me off as crazy, let me explain. When I am under the weather all I want is a big chubby salad. I’m not talking about a wimpy iceberg lettuce and pink watery tomato creation. The big chubby salad I’m talking about is a bowl filled with crunchy baby greens, protein-packed beans and nuts, flavoursome herbs, healthy fats, and salty cheese. I want a salad that fills a flu-shrunken tummy, but fuels my body to get better again. There is nothing worse than feeling better after a cold and realising that you have existed on grilled cheese and chocolate milk for the past week. I have learned from experience.
This salad brings together my favourite ingredients and highlights them with the grassy clean taste of parsley. I don’t cook with parsley often, but sometimes I yearn for its strong presence among the creamy flavours of avocado, chickpeas, and feta. It’s perfect mate is lemon so I’ve doused this salad with a very lemony dressing. Toasted almonds are the all important crunch, and instead of one type of baby green, this salad stars both baby spinach and rocket. It was so easy to assemble in fact it almost feels like cheating to call this a recipe. This salad is probably my go-to lunch and quick dinner during the winter months when tomatoes and corn and all the yummy summer things are resting for a few seasons.
This salad was a perfect lunch when I was feeling poorly this week. After putting it together I took a big bowl to bed and had a ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ marathon followed by a nap in the winter sunshine. Of course, it works equally well when you are healthy. Make it for a lunch date with a girlfriend, or pack it into your lunch box for a desktop picnic.
Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 quite substantially
Make it vegan: leave out the feta cheese | Make it for the meat lovers: add some crispy fried bacon bits
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 2 large handfuls rocket leaves
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup torn parsley leaves
- 400 gram tin chickpeas
- 1/2 small cucumber
- 1 medium avocado
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons seeded mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Generous pinch black pepper and salt
- First, toast almonds. Preheat oven to 180C and spread almonds across cookie sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes or until almonds are fragrant. Remove, roughly chop and set aside until required.
- Add rocket, baby spinach and parsley to a large bowl. Toss lightly.
- Drain chickpeas and rinse well. Add to bowl.
- Dice cucumber. Halve and peel avocado. Dice into chunks. Add both to leaves.
- Crumble feta over assembled salad and add chopped almonds.
- For dressing: whisk together lemon juice, seeded mustard, and olive oil. Pour all over salad. Season well with pepper and salt.
- Toss lightly and serve.