Vegan Mixed Bean Salad While the Kitchen’s Under Wraps!

29134960_UnknownLast week, the kitchen was covered in dust sheets and all the appliances – juicers, blenders, pans, etc. – were scattered about in other rooms. HB had been painting the ceiling, walls and doors all day, the windows were closed because the Men in Orange were laying smelly tarmac on the drive and it was quite a hot sticky day too, so a quick, cool salad was in order for dinner at the end of a long day.


The bottom layer of this nutritionally power-packed salald bowl is a combination of leaves: romaine, rocket, watercress and spinach – did you know romaine and rocket contain protein? Watercress and spinach are a good source of iron and Vitamin C, too. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in the body.

Layered over the leaves are chopped celery and cucumber, then celery leaves, chopped spring onion (a prebiotic for gut health), more protein and B vitamins in homegrown mung bean sprouts*, and topped off with basil leaves, which we grow on our kitchen windowsill. Basil is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and rich in anti-oxidants.

Alongside, we have half a can of mixed beans, rinsed well – another source of protein and B vitamins, as well as dietary fibre.

The whole salad is then dressed with tamari and olive oil dressing, and sprinkled with raw hemp seeds* and plenty of black pepper. Hemp seeds are high in protein and a good source of healthy omega oils.

HB had a large baked potato with his!

*See also Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

Rocket (Arugula) Salad with Sweetcorn, Walnut Slaw, Crisp Red Apple & Lemon Tahini Dressing

Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

img_2566We had a pomegranate and some spinach in our organic veg box that needed using, as well as some homegrown mung bean sprouts,* and this is what I came up with.

This is such a colourful, nutritious and satisfying salad, full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, B viamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.


Romaine lettuce leaves

Thinly Sliced Cucumber

Grated Carrot

Sliced ripe Avocado


Tinned Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed

Mung bean sprouts (or any other sprouted beans or seeds, but not the commercially packed long beansprouts)

(See * Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!  For how to make homegrown sprouts and their benefits)

Pomegranate seeds*

Tamari and Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper


Arrange the torn Romaine leaves around the plate, leaving a space in the centre

Place the thin cucumber slices, then the grated carrot and avocado slices on top around the circle

Lightly warm the beans, stirring gently to prevent them sticking or over-heating, and gently wilt the spinach – this releases the iron in the spinach and makes it more bio-available.

Arrange them in the centre

A few twists of black pepper over the salad

Pour over some Tamari & Olive Oil Dressing

Scatter the Pomegranate Seeds around the beans**

Top with beansprouts

**To remove the seeds, gently roll the whole fruit between your hands, cut in half, invert over a bowl and whack the end with a wooden spoon. If it’s ripe, the seeds should fall out. Otherwise, scoop them out with a metal spoon. See The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes for the health benefits of this bejewelled fruit.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

img_2921This is the salad I had for dinner the evening before I began a 3 week juice programme in what turned out to be a relatively mild January. Given that I’ve scheduled this post for March, it is probably snowing outside, but hopefully the sun has begun to appear and remember …

Salad isn’t just for Summer!

There is nothing wilted or boring about this salad, it has a satisfying crunch and crispness plus it takes no time to put together. It is nutrient-dense, fibre-rich and has a variety of colours, providing a wide range of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Black beans are a great vegan source of protein and they make this salad very filling. ( See Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger and Red Lettuce & Black Bean Protein Salad for more information on the health benefits of black beans plus recipes).

The grapes add some sweetness and the resveratrol which gives them their colour is reputed to be anti-ageing and heart-healthy. They also make a  nice contrast with the spring onions, which contain prebiotics – these promote a healthy gut environment in which beneficial probiotics can grow. (Tiger nuts are also good sources of prebiotics).

The Greens provide protein, iron, B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and aid digestion.

Celery is a good source of potassium, needed for a healthy circulatory system, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C , fibre and vitamin K, required for blood clotting and good bone health.

Hemp seeds are rich in protein, B vitamins and healthy fats. (See Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?! for the full lowdown on these nutrient-dense seeds).

You can add baby tomatoes too if you like, I omitted them because I don’t eat nightshade foods (reputed to increase inflammation and aggravate skin and joint conditions).

Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free and Organic where possible.


Half a tin Black Beans, rinsed

Mixed Rocket, Watercress and Spinach, washed

Celery, washed and chopped

Shaved Carrot (washed with peel left on)

Spring onions, chopped

A few Sugar Snap Peas, washed and trimmed

1 Tbsp Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, sprinkled on

Broccoli, shredded and sprinkled on

Red Grapes, washed

Tamari and Organic Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Arrange as creatively as you can, digestion begins with the eyes.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Rocket (Arugula) Salad with Sweetcorn, Walnut Slaw, Crisp Red Apple & Lemon Tahini Dressing

This is quite possibly the final salad photo I’ll be posting for a while – not that I stop eating salads as soon as Autumn appears, far from it, but I don’t think you’ll be wanting to read about them when the central heating’s on! (I realise of course some of you will be in the summer season, but no doubt you’ll be off to the beach for a barbie or spending your time in the pool or by the river, playing with children, partners or pets, or reading a book in the garden, so again won’t want to be reading about salads – no envy at all in those words, honest!)

I don’t eat mayonnaise which is often the default dressing for cole slaw, this one has a lemon and tahini dressing.

If you have a nut allergy and want to avoid the walnuts, you could use alternatives to give a bit of a crunch, perhaps roasted chickpeas – see Crunchy & Spicy Roasted Chickpea Nibbles

I love adding crisp or tart fruit to a green salad, sometimes red grapes, or slices of kiwi, this time slices of a crisp red apple. The fruit not only adds a contrasting flavour but also extra nutrients and can often tempt a child for instance to try a salad they would otherwise turn their noses up at.

There is protein in the walnuts, tahini, sweetcorn and leaves, while rocket (arugula) is believed to have cancer cell-inhibiting properties and along with spinach is rich in B vitamins, Vitamin K (essential for bone health), Vitamin C, and minerals.


Rocket (Arugula) and Spinach Leaves to line the plate, washed even if prepacked.

Thinly sliced Cucumber, washed and peel left on, layered on the leaves.

Sweetcorn arranged around the outside.


Finely shred washed light green crisp Cabbage and Carrot into a bowl.

Finely chop a Spring Onion and add to the bowl.

Mix some Tahini with a little Lemon Juice, depending on your taste, and water to the desired consistency.

Mix into the slaw, reserving some to drizzle over the finished salad.

Add Walnut pieces, Pink Himalayan Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the slaw in the middle of the leaves.

Thinly slice the Apple and sprinkle with Lemon Juice.

Arrange around the salad.

Drizzle more Tahini Dressing over the salad.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Eat Your Greens! Light Summer Lunch

imageI usually have a juice or smoothie for lunch, but the shopping order had just been delivered and all this fresh salad was calling to me from the confines of the fridge: ‘Let me out, let me out!’ Well, it was a fine day for once even though the sun was still being a bit lazy, and I decided to let them out to play. It’s simple, light and tasty and may look like rabbit food, but it’s full of nutrients, including protein (even in the romaine lettuce!). I’ll be having this today having finished my 7 day juice challenge.


(All organic except the Tamari which is wheatfree)

1 large Romaine Leaf

on which lay

A Large Handful or 2 of Babyleaf & Rocket Salad Leaves

Sliced Ridge Cucumber

1 Thin Stalk of Celery + Leaves (chopped)

3 or 4 Sugar Snap Peas, sliced lengthways

4 Green Olives, pitted & sliced

Lightly Toasted Sunflower, Pumpkin & Sesame seeds splashed with Tamari

Clive’s Organic Humous with lemon*

Black Pepper


Arrange to suit your artistic bent – digestion begins with the eyes – and eat at leisure, sitting down at the table. The more relaxed you are, the longer you sit, the more you chew, the more you will digest and absorb. Oh, and switch off the tablet and phone! (Yes, mum!)


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Too Hot To Cook? Simple & Spicy Summer Chickpea Salad

imageOn an overwhelmingly hot day, we had no will or desire for a cooked or complicated dinner. It was also midweek, so this what we cobbled together.

Chickpeas are good to have in the cupboard, so easy to use and a good source of protein, fibre, calcium and iron.

Cucumber is always cooling and hydrating and nicely offsets the hotter flavours of the spring onions, chilli flakes and black pepper.


In a bowl, empty half a tin of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

Add about 4″ of ridge cucumber, chopped

2 Spears of Asparagus, chopped

Half a Stick of Celery, chopped

2 Spring Onions, sliced

 Some Chilli Flakes to taste or Fresh Chilli, chopped

Chopped Coriander

Black Pepper to taste

Mix together and add Tamari and Olive Oil Dressing

Serve on a bed of babyleaf salad on a large leaf of Romaine Lettuce.


(Meg, Rufus, this one’s for you 😉)

Ps If you’re reading this via email, you’ll need to head to the blog to watch the video.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Leaf Avocado Salad with Walnut & Raisin Slaw & Lemon Tahini Dressing

image OK. So I reckon we’ve had enough smoothies and sweet treats for a while, time we had some more green stuff on our plates.

It was an unusually hot and sunny Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK – we’re used to it raining cats and dogs when you’ve got a family camping/bbq /diy weekend planned. My husband had been painting the garage all day and was all hot and bothered. At 6 pm he downed tools and announced he wanted takeaway pizza and salad for dinner! I forewent the pizza part, but here is this evening’s salad:

Mixed leaves – I had lollo rosso, rocket, lamb’s lettuce and cos – with cucumber and celery

Walnut and Raisin Slaw – Grated Cabbage and Carrot with chopped spring onions, walnuts and raisins in a Lemon Tahini Dressing, and black pepper

Sliced Avocado


Drizzled with more Lemon Tahini Dressing, Pink Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper.

All the colours of the rainbow. Simple as.

Copyright: Chris McGowan