Hear Me Raw Vege Salad

Hi there, and welcome back from Easter - I hope you had a good one! It has been such a wonderful treat to have Henry and Josh up from Wellington, and while they've been here I have lavished them  (and of course Rich and Nick) with love in my usual fashion - with food. So far we've had slow-roast garlic-studded lamb with fennel and cabbage slaw*, home-made chicken and leek pie, fennel and prosciutto pasta*, pumpkin cheesecake, mini carrot loaves, chocolate whiskey figgy pudding, chocolate layer cake (all recipes from the blog I'm happy to say except these ones*) and of course hot cross buns and chocolate! Now, as you can imagine, we are all ready for something a little lighter, so I am very excited that Henry will be whipping up dinner for his last night here - a soba noodle dish which I can't wait to try :)

If you've read my 'about me' page you'll know I struggle with a wee dilemma with this blog: I should get myself an angle so that I can be known for something in particular (eg gluten-free, vegan, raw, baking, family-friendly, paleo etc etc) - cue book potential and a following. Argh. My problem is I like to eat all sorts of things, and can't bring myself to commit to a limited diet, I would be faking it! Having said that, if you have a good look through my recipes you will see that they are in the main, pretty healthy (not the desserty/cake department obvs), and I have even been congratulated by a few people on my healthy eating blog - whaaat? Is it? I don't know, but my natural preference is for a healthy-ish diet, with sensible portion sizes. I am a believer in all things in moderation - and a diet with plenty of fibre, fresh fruit and veges, good protein and limited bad fats and oils, with sugary stuff as a treat. I fear that makes me really old-fashioned, but whatever! Hmmm - clearly I've got too many words today with this ramble, but the thing is I actually really want you to try this salad which is in fact raw, (vegan even) and even though it looks extremely earnest it is so bloody yummy - I made it originally for Fairfax newspapers, but then kept re-making it for the next week because it is so addictive. Underneath those shredded vegetables is a big smear of garlicky hummus, and the salad on top is doused in a lovely olive oil, cider vinegar, honey dressing. Because everything is chopped quite finely it has a great texture, with the crunch of veges, the smooth creamy hummus and avocado and the salty pumpkin and sunflower topping. Seriously, give it a whirl and if you don't like it you can have your money back. (Not really - you enjoy it OK?!)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon Tamari
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey* (swap for vegan alternative if desired)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup garlicky hummus
¼ red cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup cauliflower florets, finely sliced
1 cup broccoli florets, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup coriander, leaves picked

Line an oven tray with baking paper and pre heat oven to 180˚C (370˚F). Put seeds in tray, drizzle with Tamari and half a teaspoon of the olive oil and mix together with your hands and spread out flat. Bake 7-8 minutes until golden. (Omit this process if you want total rawness - just use the seeds as they are). Put remaining olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, cumin, salt and pepper into a small jar and shake to combine. Put cabbage into a container and spoon over 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Toss and put to one side for 5 minutes. Spread hummus onto the base of a large serving plate (or individual serving plates). Layer on top cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, avocados and coriander. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with coriander and seeds.

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