Superfood SPROUTS Salad…Sprouting healthy & tasty beans!!

“We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables – the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers – to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences. “
Jane Elliot
Sprouted Mung Dal Salad
Fresh mint & a squeeze of lime…
I posted some bits about this wonderful sprout on the CLICK post for May ’08, where the theme was ‘Beans & Lentils’. Sprouts are easy to make at home, & you don’t actually need special bowls or ‘sprouters’. I sprout the dal at home almost every week, & can hardly stop marvelling at the cute little ‘sprouts’ the dal obliges me with each time.
A super healthy salad, & a very fresh & crisp one at that!
Check out an interesting article about sprouts on Oprah.com, where sprouts are called Superfood No. 9. Sprouts are a highly nutritious food. Grown locally year round, sprouts are a good source of protein and vitamin C. All nutrients necessary for life are contained in seeds—a food category that includes grain kernels, beans, legumes, and nuts. Because sprouts are so fresh, and do not sit for days or weeks in warehouses, we know that we are getting optimum nutrition. ”

Other Great Ways to Serve Sprouts
Use in coleslaw (cabbage, clover, radish)
Try in wraps and roll-ups (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
Stir-fry with other vegetables (alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, lentil)
Blend with vegetable juices (cabbage, mung bean, lentil)
Mix with soft cheeses, tofu, yogurt of kefir for a dip (mung bean, radish)
Stir into soups or stews when serving (mung bean, lentil)
Top omelet or scrambled eggs (alfalfa, clover, radish)
Combine in oat, barley or buckwheat dishes (fenugreek, lentil, mung bean)
Add to sushi (radish, sunflower)
Sauté with onions (mung bean, clover, radish)
Puree with dried peas or beans (mung bean, lentil)
Add to baked beans (lentil)

“Why Sprouts?…

…There are a great many reasons to eat sprouts. As we age, our body’s ability to produce enzymes declines. Sprouts are a concentrated source of the living enzymes and “life force” that is lost when foods are cooked or not picked fresh from your own garden. Additionally, due to their high enzyme content, sprouts are also much easier to digest than the seed or bean from which they came.

Sprouted Mung Dal Salad

Ingredients:

Mung dal beans – 1 cup / soaked for 3-5 hours (till you see them start splitting open)
Tomatoes – 2-3 / deseeded & chopped small
Spring onions – 2-3 / chopped fine (can use 1 small regular onion too)
Mint leaves – a handful / chopped fine
Cucumber – 1 small / peeled & chopped fine
Juice of 1-2 limes
Green chili – 1 / deseeded/ chopped fine (optional)
Salt to tasteMethod:

  • Once the dal begins to split, drain it & put it into a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a plastic colander, with a bowl underneath. Cover it keep it in a dark place for 10-12 hours or overnight.
  • Wash gently the next day, taking care not to disturb the roots (sprouts) too much, to enable them to grow long. Cover & keep in dark place again.
  • In summer, my sprouts are ready in a day & a half. Check to see if they are done, rinse gently, drain & refrigerate.
  • Toss all the salad ingredients gently & chill well. This can be made a couple of hours in advance. Try not to keep sprouts for more than 2-3 days as they tend to taste bitter after that. Also, fresh sprouts offer maximum food value.

My son asked me a ‘prudent’ question this evening while eating his salad, “Mama, if we plant these seeds, will these sprouts grow out on the branches?Hmmmmmmmmmm….another long month of vacations!!

This salad is on its way to SnackShots # 4 ‘SALAD’, to Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet.

…& also to Lisa @ Lisa’s Vegetarian Kitchen for her colourful No Croutons Required which she is hosting for the month of June. The theme for June is soups or salads featuring legumes because beans and pulses are an important part of a healthy vegetarian diet. Whole, or split, big or small, anything belonging to the legume family qualifies. (Thank you Arundathi for letting me know!!)

Bon Appetit!

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READY,STEADY,COOK…Pasta, Grilled Cottage Cheese & Salad!

“The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
A Vegetarian challenge…

Wonder how many of you have heard of the BBC daytime show ‘Ready Steady Cook’? I used to watch it often while visiting the UK years ago. Two members of the public, or occasionally sporting or other celebrities, provide two celebrity chefs with a bag of ingredients they have bought, usually to a set budget of £5 The chefs proceed to make several dishes out of the said ingredients (and a generously stocked kitchen containing basic ingredients and spices), in 20 minutes, with the help of the contestants and the programme host (things have changed a bit now, but the show goes on!). Ainsley Harriott was the presenter then…charismatic, larger-than-life & flamboyant. I googled about the show, & was absolutely delighted to find he’s still on this addictive food show, “My aim is to make cooking fun,” he says!
A medley of flavours…Healthy, wholesome & exciting!
These days my philosophy of cooking is vaguely based on ‘Ready Steady Cook’…without the 20 minutes clause of course! There was a time I used to shop with the end product in mind. Of late, I walk into the supermarket or local vendors shop, & pick up whatever catches my fancy. Then proceed back home to make a meal out of it with no specific plan. Makes cooking fun, & pushes my own creativity to different levels. I enjoy this a lot as it breaks the everyday monotony…& I find it encourages the kids to eat as they look forward now to different stuff showing up on the table!
So here’s what I picked up at the bazaar…baby potatoes (which seldom show up), bell peppers, sweetcorn on the cob & cottage cheese. I had some portion of multigrain elbow pasta which I wanted to use up…& then of course plenty of garlic, basil & mint! Here’s what my home show created on the go…
Baby Potato Sweetcorn Salad
Ingredients:
Baby potatoes – 500 gms / boiled, peeled & halved
Sweetcorn – 1 cup ( I used 2 fresh cobs; you can use frozen/canned)
Hung yogurt/Greek yogurt – 1 cup
Cream – 1 tbsp (optional)
Ranch Buttermilk dressing powder- 2 tsps / heaped (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh mint leaves – 1 handful/ chopped
Red Onion – 1/ finely chopped
Salt Method:
  • Whisk the yogurt + cream + lime juice + salt + buttermilk dressing till smooth.
  • Put the baby potatoes + onion + sweetcorn+ mint in a bowl. Toss well.
  • Pour in the dressing, toss well. Serve either at room temperature immediately or chill until required.

Grilled Cottage-cheese Slices

Ingredients:
Cottage cheese – 500 gms / cut into 8 slices
Oil – 2 tbsp
Oregano or crushed dried mint – 1 tsp
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt or rock salt
Freshly ground pepper
Paprika – 1/2 tsp Method:

  • Whisk the oil with oregano + lime juice + sea salt + paprika + pepper.
  • Marinate the cottage cheese slices in this for at least an hour.
  • Just prior to serving, pick out a slice gently from the marinade & put onto a hot grill pan. Turn once, & pour a little marinade over the second side.

Multi-grain Elbow Pasta with a basil-walnut Pesto Dressing

Ingredients:
Elbow pasta – 250gms
Red bell pepper – 1
Yellow bell pepper – 1
Garlic – 2 cloves
Salt to taste
Fresh basil leaves – 5-10 / chopped

For the dressing:
Walnut-basil pesto – 2 tsps (I’ve made my own & keep a jar in the fridge)
Olive Oil – 4 tbsps
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Roasted red chili flakes

Method:

  • Char grill the bell peppers & garlic cloves & seal in a ziploc until cool.
  • Put the pasta onto boil.
  • Whisk the olive oil + pesto + red chili flakes + lime juice + salt to make the dressing.
  • Drain the cooked pasta & mix into the dressing. Keep aside.
  • Clean & chop the grilled peppers. Chop the grilled garlic cloves with basil leaves. Toss both these into the pasta & mix in well. Adjust seasoning.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be served chilled as a nice cold salad!

ENJOY!!

This one had a fairytale ending…let’s see what happens when I set out next!!

WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING WITH NASTURCIUMS…the pretty edible flower!!

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
William Blake
Weekend herb blogging with flowers & herbs!
Summer is almost beating down on us & we harvested the last of the nasturtiums over the weekend. The garden was literally over-run by these very pretty & hardy flowers.
Even a bunch of caterpillars visited to enjoy the leaves…they chomped their way through an entire flowerbed overnight!!
The burst of colour has now gone…but I have a fine bunch of pressed flowers & leaves, & seeds collected for next year.
Ever since I read online that nasturtiums are edible flowers (their leaves too), have been keen to throw them into a salad. These pretty flowers are said to have a peppery taste & do well in salads & stir-fry’s. Not sure if they added much to taste, but certainly made the salad worthwhile with visual appeal & Vitamin C! I served individual portion on nasturtium leaves … even the boy willingly tried a bite if only to prove he could chomp a ‘flower’ (no thumbs up though)!! Basil is universally loved in our house & I have more basil in my corner patch than I can handle. I use basil everyday…even in flower vases for centre-pieces!!
Here’s my bowlful for my Spring salad…
…Tomatoes, basil, grapes…& nasturtiums!!
Nasturtiums, Tropaeolum majus, are simple and pretty trailing flowers with bright rounded green leaves. They look perfect bunched on the top of an elegant cake iced in white or chocolate and they add a feeling of festivity (as flowers often do) to a mixed green salad of arugula, sorrel, mesclun and spinach. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible and they have much more Vitamin C than plain lettuce as well as a slight peppery flavour. Check out this post at Edible Tulip … an interesting blog.
Just chop everything up, toss in a light vinaigrette,
place on individual nasturtium leaves…
…& serve up a ‘BURST OF COLOUR’!!
This post is headed to Susan @ The Well-Seasoned Cook who is the host for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging. Weekend Herb Blogging is an event created & popularised over the past 2 years by Kalyn @ Kalyn’s Kitchen. Entries can be recipes and/or informative posts featuring any herb, plant, vegetable, or flower.
Some triviaThe nasturtium is a vining plant that produces red, orange and yellow edible flowers. It has a peppery flavor and is great for additions to salads or a stir fry. Nasturtium is often called water cress, or Indian cress in some places.
Did You Know?
1. All parts of this plant are edible.
2. It was often used for blood cleansing when it was first introduced to Europe in the late 1600s.
Some other posts where I have used the nasturcium flower (crystallised)
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