‘Bruschetta’ Salad

I made a fantastic risotto the other week for our extended family. While risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, other family members have often commented that it is too rich and stodgy to eat by itself. To offset these characteristics, I wanted a crisp and tarty salad. I took the idea of finely diced vegetables, mixed with basil and a simple dressing to make a ‘bruschetta’ salad.


'Bruschetta' Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dressing
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salad
  • 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes*
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled
  • ½ medium red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • Salt/pepper to taste

* I prefer to make this with a mixture of field and cherry tomatoes.

TLDR instructions
Mix dressing ingredients and place in a non-reactive bowl. Finely chop all vegetables and place in the same bowl. Roughly tear basil leaves by hand and add to salad. Mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Leave salad to ‘stew’ for 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves.

Detailed instructions

Dressing

Prepare the dressing by pouring the lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a non-reactive bowl. You will now add all the ingredients to this bowl; do not keep the dressing and the salad separate.

Salad

Wash all your ingredients. I find it best to halve celery length-wise to make sure you get the dirt out of the inside curve.
Finely chop the tomatoes until you have around one cup. Peel the cucumbers, and quarter them length-wise. If the cucumber is particularly fat, halve again length wise. Placing the cucumber lengths together, chop into small bits. Follow a similar method for the celery. Finely dice the capsicum. Add all chopped ingredients to the salad bowl.
Remove basil leaves from the stems. Roughly tear them by hand and add them to the salad bowl. Mix all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to leave the salad to stew in the acidic juice for at least 30 minutes, to allow the basil flavour time to ‘spread’.
Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves.

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Hummus

Hummus – gloriously protein filled and so damn tasty that it is devoured by almost everyone, from fussy children to snobby foodies. Although we’ve been making hummus long before becoming vegaquarians, our love of this simple spread has grown exponentially. We seem to make a batch at least once a fortnight; it adds a depth to wraps and sandwiches and is an easy and simple dip for entertaining (or gorging yourself while having a lazy Sunday). As a bonus, not only does homemade hummus taste better, it is cheaper too.
Considered a staple of middle eastern and Arabic cuisines, hummus is generally considered to be a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-6; depending on the amount of tahini you use, it also offers calcium, but at relatively low levels.

Hummus

Hummus

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 dessert spoons tahini (medium to heaped – depending on your taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or 2 heaped teaspoons of jarred garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional extras
  • Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
Directions

Combine chickpeas, half the lemon juice, tahini, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and garlic in a food processor. Process well. If the hummus is too thick or gluggy, add remainder of lemon and oil slowly, processing in between until you have the consistency you desire. Salt and pepper to taste.

Optional extras

For entertaining, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil on top of the hummus and cover with a few pinches of paprika
For an extra kick, you may like to include 1 teaspoon of cumin; simply add the cumin with the rest of the ingredients prior to processing.