FAJITAS!

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Fajitas

Preparation & cooking time: 30 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

I hope everybody likes Mexican food because I am making Fajitas!

Sometimes all I want to do after a day at work or for a quick lunch on the weekend is throw a meal together that isn’t anything fancy, doesn’t take long to make but tastes so fresh and amazing! These fajitas do all of the above and you know that all of the ingredients are going to wonders for your health. I have to say that this is one of my favourite meals to eat as it has all of the flavours that I love; I just love the freshness of the avocado and salsa with the charred vegetables, it is the perfect combination.

Ingredients:

For the fajitas:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • A handful of broccoli florets, cut into slices
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ a lime
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • Black pepper
  • Tortilla wraps, to serve
  • Spinach, to serve

For the salsa:

  • About 15 ripe cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ of a cucumber, chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • A small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ a lime
  • Salt and pepper

For the guacamole (click guacamole to see the recipe)

fajitas collage

Method:

1. Put all of the fajita vegetables into a large bowl along with the paprika, cumin, coriander, juice o f1/2 a lime, oil and black pepper. Stir all of the ingredients together to make sure that all of the vegetables are nicely coated by the spices and leave to the side to marinade for 5 minutes.

2. In another bowl add all of the ingredients for the salsa and mix together and leave to the side.

3. Place a griddle pan/wok/large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Once the pan is hot, put the marinated vegetables into the pan. Keep the vegetables moving in the pan to stop any sticking; don’t worry if there is a little bit of charring as it actually tastes great when you get bits of charred veg. Keep on moving and cooking the veg for around 10 minutes.

4. Whilst the veg is cooking you can make the guacamole. Follow this link for the recipe and method:

5. Now that all the elements of the meal have been prepared, warm the tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave and put all of the dishes and the spinach into the middle of a table and let everyone dig in.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Red bell peppers have a higher vitamin C content in comparison to green bell peppers. They are also a moderate source of vitamin B6.

Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Spinach: Spinach is an ingredient that is delicious and is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of around 90% water which means that it is really hydrating. They are also a moderate source of vitamin K.

Chilli: Chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese, iron and potassium.

Avocado: Avocados are such an amazing ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids (fatty acids that your body can’t produce itself but can get them from foods).

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HEART HEALTHY BEANS ON TOAST

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Baked beans on toast 2

Preparation & cooking time: 20 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

Beans on toast was always one of my favourite go-to meals when I was growing up. It was so quick to make and there was something so great about a tin of Heinz baked beans!! Now that I am older and have realised that the baked beans from the tin are not the healthiest option for you, I have decided to make my very own healthy baked beans; trust me, they will blow you away and you will never want to have the beans from a tin ever again! They are really easy to put together and the flavour that you get is really amazing. I have used healthy ingredients to make this dish so that you can enjoy them and be guilt free. I hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tins of beans (cannellini beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans etc.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Thick slices of brown or granary bread
  • 1 avocado
  • Mixed seeds

Method:

1. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes to soften them up. After 5 minutes, add the tomato puree, agave syrup, soy sauce and mixed herbs to the pan and mix together and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the beans and the tomatoes to the pan. Bring the beans to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

3. Whilst the beans are simmering, toast the bread. There is a few ways of serving this meal; you can either put the beans in a bowl and have the toast on the side with cubes of avocado on the top of the beans; you can put mashed avocados onto the toast and then top it with beans; and my personal favourite is to have a mountain of beans on the toast topped with the avocados and seeds!

4. After the beans have finished cooking, season generously with black pepper and then serve the dish in the way that you prefer from point 3.

VEGETABLE BIRYANI

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VEG BIRYANI

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 large bowlfuls 

I made this meal over the weekend because it is one of my girlfriends all time favourites! She absolutely loves biryani so I though I would treat her and make a big bowlful. The flavours that you get from this dish are great; it all starts by making your own curry paste, this really makes a difference and it is so easy to make! You can use different vegetables as well but I have just gone for our favourites; I especially love the cauliflower with the curry spices.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 large handfuls of frozen peas
  • A large handful of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons of white mustard seeds
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • A handful of coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

For the curry paste (makes three large tablespoons of paste): 

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • A green chilli

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 220C. Place the oil in a large roasting tray and place the tray in the oven and get the oil nice and hot. Once the oil is nice and hot, place the cauliflower, onion and potatoes in the tray along with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together so that all of the vegetables are coated in oil. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until the veg starts to get a nice colour to it.

2. Whilst the vegetables are in the oven, you can make your curry paste. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the seeds and toast them for a couple of minutes until they are starting to turn golden brown. Put the toasted seeds into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until you have a nice smooth paste.

3. Boil the water in a kettle. In a large jug, mix together the boiling water, chilli, mustard seeds and curry paste.

4. After the vegetables have been in the oven for 15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and add the basmati rice, peas and asparagus to the tray. Pour over the water-curry paste mixture and combine everything together. Cover the tray tightly with tin foil. Turn the oven heat down to 190C and put the tray in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes the rice should be nice and fluffy and all of the liquid should have been absorbed. To serve the biryani, squeeze over the juice of the lemon and scatter the coriander leaves and seeds over the top. Delicious!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, SPINACH & CHICKPEA CURRY WITH LEMON COUSCOUS

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Butternut squash curry

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 portions

I thought I would give you a curry recipe today seeing as the last curry recipe on my blog was posted ages ago! There is nothing really that beats a good curry and yesterday I had a major cravings for one, so I decided to make my girlfriend and myself this dish which is packed full of amazing ingredients and served with a really light and fragrant couscous. I would usually have rice with this dish but I fancied trying something new and it turned out really well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, deseeded and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • A 2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • A bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 150g spinach
  • 3 large handfuls of couscous
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 a lemon, cut into 4
  • A handful of basil leaves

Cous cous

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put all of the butternut squash chunks onto a large baking tray followed by two teaspoons of curry powder, the ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper and the two tablespoons of oil. Using your hands, toss the squash and the spices together to make sure that all of the pieces are coated. Put the roasting tray into the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is golden and caramelised.

2. Whilst the squash is in the oven, you can get the curry base on the go. Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a glug of oil to the pan to heat up. Put the onions, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and green chilli into the saucepan and fry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add in the remaining two teaspoons of curry powder, stir and fry for a further 5 minutes until all of the ingredients are nice and soft.

3. Put the tomatoes and chickpeas into the pan and bring the ingredients to the boil. Once it is boiling place a lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes all of the ingredients will have combined nicely and the tomatoes will have cooked down.

4. Once the squash has cooked, add it to the saucepan along with the coriander leaves and spinach. Stir all of the ingredients together and leave to cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt down.

5. Whilst the curry is in it’s final stages, it is time to get the couscous ready. This is really simple and quick to do. Boil your kettle and place the couscous into a large bowl with the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, a pinch of salt and pepper, the turmeric, a glug of oil and the lemon. Once the water has boiled, put enough water in the bowl to cover the couscous and then place cling film over the bowl to allow the couscous to absorb the water.

6. Now all of the elements of the meal are ready, it is just time to enjoy it! Sprinkle some chopped basil leaves over the curry and couscous and dig in!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Butternut squash: Butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A, C and E. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium and potassium.

Red onion: Onions are made up of around 90% water and hold low amounts of essential nutrients e.g.vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Ginger: Ginger contains a lot of manganese and iron with moderate amounts of vitamin B3 and B6.

Garlic: Garlic contains several nutrients, but due to the low quantity that is eaten it won’t play a huge factor in terms of getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals. In large quantities, garlic holds a lot of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and phosphorus.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese,iron and potassium.

Chilli: Chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Chickpea: Chickpeas are a nutrient dense food; they are a rich source of protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron and phosphorus. They also provide moderate levels of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin Cvitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin Ecalcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

AVOCADO CRISPBREADS

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Avocado crispbreads

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes: 8 crispbreads

Today I am giving you such a simple recipe that is really tasty, healthy and so quick to make that no matter how busy you are, you will be able to have something that is nutritious and tasty. This is a base recipe that can be played with which is great for breakfast, as a snack or even a light lunch. I always love putting hot sauce on to the top the avocado as well as a sprinkle of cumin and sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. I have used a multi seed ryvita cracker for ease and efficiency but you could always use some toasted wholemeal bread or some baked tortillas if you have a spare couple of minutes. This recipe is really aimed at the people who find it hard to have a quick and healthy breakfast or snack.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ryvita multigrain crispbreads
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, thinly sliced (8 slices at least)
  • Salad leaves (rocket, spinach, watercress etc.)
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

Avocado crispbreal

Method:

1.   Pit the avocado and scrape the flesh into a bowl. Immediately squeeze some lime juice over the top of it to stop it from discolouring. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mash with a fork until you have a relatively smooth texture. I like my avocado to be a little chunky so I only mash it lightly.

2.   Evenly spread the avocado over the top of the ryvita crispbreads and then top with the tomato slices and salad leaves. I love lime juice so I tend to squeeze over some the salad leaves. As mentioned above, you can put some chilli sauce on to the top it as it goes so nicely.

I know this isn’t really a recipe but it is a good way of getting some extra vegetables into your diet if you are strapped for time. This will be so much better for you than grabbing something from a fast food restaurant.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Avocado: Avocados are such a good ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids. 

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin Cvitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

AWESOME SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS!!

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Sweet Potato and bean burgers

Preparation & cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 10 medium sized burgers

Coming into this weekend, both me and my girlfriend really fancied making a big batch of burgers. We both love having bean and chickpea burgers but I wanted to make something a little different this time. I have seen lots of different recipes for vegetable burgers but in the end I decided to make sweet potato and bean burgers; I am so glad that I did because these turned out so well! Sweet potato is really versatile and goes so well with lots of different spices and flavours as well as offering its delicious sweetness to the burger. This recipe makes 10 good-sized burgers and if you are greedy (like we are!) you can polish them of yourself or you could put them on a board and put them in the middle of the table along with some potato wedges and a nice salad to make a perfect weekend lunch. These burgers taste so, so good and won’t leave you feeling guilty for eating them as they are healthy and packed full of fresh ingredients. I really hope you like them 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large sweet potato (or 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tin of kidney beans (400g), drained and rinsed
  • A large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A large bunch of salad leaves, e.g. rocket, spinach, watercress etc.
  • 10 wholemeal rolls, sliced in half

Burger collage

Method:

1.   Place the sweet potato chunks into a large pan of boiling water and boil until they are soft and are easy to mash. This should take about 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the potatoes are boiling you can prepare the rest of the burger mixture. Put the kidney beans, coriander, spring onions and all of the dry spices into a large bowl and mash with a fork until the beans have broken down and you have a nice thick mixture. The key with keeping a good texture to the burgers is to not overwork the mixture and making it too fine. A course mixture will give you a much better burger.

3.   Once the potatoes have cooked, drain them in a colander and leave them for a minute or two to steam dry. Add the potatoes to the bean mixture and again mash with a fork to get all of the ingredients combined.

4.   Once the burger mixture has cooled a little, use your hands to make 10 burger patties.

5.   Put a little drizzle of olive oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. When hot, place the burgers into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the burgers have a nice golden crust on each side.

6.   Whilst the burgers are cooking, place the the rolls under a hot grill to toast. Take them out when they are nice and golden.

7.   Once the burgers have cooked, you can put the burgers together. Put some salad leaves on the bottom followed by the burger, then the cucumber, tomato and avocado. They are now ready to be devoured! I love to have some ketchup and mustard on my burgers, but you can have whatever sauce you like on the top. 

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fibre, and vitamin A as well as being a moderate source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B9 and iron. They are also a good source of magnesium potassium and zinc. I love kidney beans (and beans in general), they are so tasty and really good for you.

Coriander: I love putting coriander in literally everything, luckily for me it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Coriander is also a moderate source of vitamin B2, vitamin B9 and vitamin E as well as iron, manganese and potassium.

Spring onion: Spring onions are a good source of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

Avocado: Avocados are such a good ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids. 

Cucumber: Cucumbers are usually around 90% water. They are not significantly rich in any vitamin or mineral but they are a moderate source of vitamin K.

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Healthy Herb & Avocado Salad

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Herb & Avcado Salad

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions or 4 portions as a side dish

 This is my second raw recipe in a row! It is definitely a way of eating that I am really enjoying and increasingly using it within my everyday diet. The good thing about eating raw food is that there is so little preparation time to actually make the food. Eating more raw food in your diet is great because you will be getting all of the nutrients and goodness from the fruits and vegetables without losing or damaging them (which is a side effect from cooking food). If you are interested in learning more about this way of eating there are lots of books out there and current eating plans such as raw til 4 which embraces a raw diet until 4pm (also let me know and I will write some posts expanding on this). A lot of people have had great success in terms of health, energy and wellbeing following a raw plant based diet.

Salad was a meal that I didn’t really understand (or appreciate) growing up and I generally associated it with a big bowl of iceberg lettuce and not much else, which really doesn’t do a proper salad any justice! The first time that my mind was changed to understand that a salad could be the focal point of a meal instead of an afterthought side element was when my parents made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe. The salad had everything! It was a salad filled with grilled peaches, nuts, rocket, herbs, crumbly cheese, parma ham and a honey dressing. This was a really big point in my food life and how I perceived salads! For obvious dietary reasons, I now would not eat the salad that I had back then but there are elements that I take and use in every salad that I make. I realised that adding fruit to salads could brighten up everything along with herbs and with the added crunch of seeds and vegetables you can create a dish that covers all flavours and textures! The next time you are going to make a salad, be as experimental and creative as you possibly can and I am sure that you will be so happy and also have a new way of thinking towards a bowl of salad!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large handfuls of spinach (roughly 250g), washed
  • 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A hanful of ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A large bunch of basil
  • A large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • A hanful of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   Firstly, make your dressing. There is a general rule of thumb that I follow when I make a salad dressing and that is to always keep the ratio of 3:1 of oil and an acid (e.g. for this recipe I used 3 tablespoons of oil to one tablespoon of lemon juice). This ratio generally gives you the perfect balance of subtlety and zinginess for the dressing. Once you have the base sorted you can add all of the herbs and spices that you would like to the dressing. Now add in the garlic, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if necessary and leave to the side until the salad has been made.

2.   Now you can put together your salad. In a large bowl toss together  the spinach, herbs, cucumber and tomatoes. Once all of the ingredients are nicely combined, neatly place the avocado on top of the greens. Then scatter the seeds and spring onion over the top of the salad. Give your dressing a good stir and then take out the clove of garlic. The garlic will leave a really nice subtle flavour to the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

I really hope you like this recipe and that you are excited to be creative with your salads.