It’s just a simple salad I put together in minutes (barring the 40 mins it took to roast the pumpkin in the oven). Pumpkin has never been a contender of favourite vegetable for me. I grew up picking the pieces out of sambar and curries while pulling my face. It still isn’t a favourite, but I learned how it can taste pretty good with other vegetables or in a luscious soup.
This salad is an inspired one. A colleague had a box of paneer and orange for lunch and it tasted so good I wanted to make some for myself. Of course, I added more stuff to it to turn it into a proper salad. For the dressing I mixed together orange juice, honey, mustard and salt. It’s a very light and refreshing salad, perfect for days when you feel bloated or have eaten badly the previous day. I put this salad together in 10 mins with the dressing and packed it for lunch to work.
You want to eat healthy while at work but how do you do it when the cafeteria lunch is less than appetizing? Order in, then. With a growing client base, salad and juice places are delivering super healthy lunches to offices. But spending 300 bucks (rupees, of course) upwards on salads everyday gives my wallet an acid reflux. Packing lunch to work sounds like a lot of work. Is it really a lot of work? I’ve started packing my own salad lunches to work and here’s how I keep it simple and stress free and inexpensive.
The temperature here in Gurgaon is low enough to make me want to crawl into my oven. That’s why soups are my favourite go-to meal in a bowl this winter. Since I make a meal of it, just broth soups don’t cut it. It has to have some body and full of flavour. So far my roasted beetroot and tomato soup and carrot and lemongrass soup have been hits. This soup though was inspired from Nigella Lawson’s after I saw a picture she posted on Instagram. I absolutely loved the bright yellow colour and wanted to cook something similar.
The last few days of December was spent with my husband and my families. First four at my parents’ in Bangalore and another four at his in Mumbai. I can’t even begin to tell you how much we ate and what all we ate. Maybe in another post I’ll elaborate. But once I was on the plane back to Gurgaon, I knew I ate to my heart and stomach’s content and that I had to go easy once I was home. I’m slowly cutting down on sugar and other carbs like wheat and rice. No more chocolates and carb heavy meals every day.
Got stock? Make soup.
In my previous post about mutton roast I mentioned how I saved the stock to use it in another dish. That’s how this soup came about. This soup can also double as a stew. With a very few ingredients, you can whip this up in under 15 minutes. No chopping, cutting or any big prep work needed here. But the stock is a must. If you don’t have chicken or meat stock, use a stock cube with water. Won’t match the real deal, but close enough.
This should ideally be named cleaned-out-my-fridge-salad. It consists of leftovers from my chilli basil chicken stir-fry and my sweet chilli pineapple sauce. I had some old broccoli, sweet corn and basil. Throw in an apple and lettuce, and you have a great lunch. That’s the great thing about leftovers, just a couple of tweaks and bring it all together with a dressing and you’ve recycled your pantry stock quite well.
One of the best things about winter is food in bowls and snuggling up on the couch or in bed watching a movie or read a book. Soups are definitely on top of that list. This beetroot and tomato soup is so good you’ll never order in soup again. Just look at that colour. Ruby red beets roasted in the oven for an hour and pureed with cooked down tomatoes is the base of this sauce. Add some stock – veg or chicken, and you’re good to go.
Some nights are salad night. As easy as salads look, they do take a while to bring all the ingredients together. Or maybe my salads do. It’s probably because I don’t like all raw vegetables and a salad dressing for a meal. I prefer cooked vegetables with some meat along with greens. This time I roasted pumpkin (originally for a soup but I changed my mind) and some boneless chicken, tossed them on some greens and crumbled some feta on it. Now that’s the kind of salad that works for me. For dressing, it was a balsamic, mustard and honey.
If I’m going to have a salad, it better fill me up and be delicious at the same time. I’ve made a few salads before and they’ve all turned out great. This one was pretty good too. I’ve got salad greens, chicken roasted with mustard, roasted cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes among other things. I know people say salads are basically throwing a few veggies and meat together with dressing. Well, you can do that but I certainly can’t. I like roasted vegetables and meat in my salads. If it takes time, so be it. I’ll sure make it worth every minute. In this one the roasting of the tomatoes and potatoes takes a while. You can cook the bite sized chicken pieces on a pan quickly though. My favourite part of this salad is the dressing, actually. I absolutely love balsamic vinegar (the good kind) and honey together with some mustard and paprika.