Rainbow Chickpea Salad

A few tins of organic chickpeas in the kitchen cupboard are always so useful! One of our kitchen staples for sure! Whizz them into hummus, smash them and mix with mayo for a stunning sandwich filler, simmer them in curries and stews, use the aquafaba for making vegan mayo or cakes, blend up with herbs and spices and make veggie burgers or falafels, or simply mix them with a dressing and seasonal veg for a satisfying salad. Here’s the one we’re having on repeat at the moment. A gorgeous combination of colourful, fresh veg with a simple vinaigrette. Goes perfectly alongside a BBQ!

‘Eating the rainbow’ at every opportunity is also a fantastic (and delicious) way to ensure you are getting a diverse range of the essential vitamins and minerals you need from your food. Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 drained tin of chickpeas (keep the liquid in a tub/jar in the fridge to use for something else)
  • a large handful each of chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, yellow pepper
  • the stems from a bunch of rainbow chard, chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off and composted, the rest chopped at an angle
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • a little extra olive oil for sautéing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional extra fresh herbs

Method

  1. Mix the mustard, olive oil and vinegar in the base of a large platter or salad bowl.
  2. Add the chickpeas, red onion, tomato, cucumber and pepper.
  3. Sauté the asparagus and rainbow chard stems with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until just tender. Then add them to the salad.
  4. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Portobello Steak with Chimichurri

This one-tray bake is one of our favourite date-night specials with a bottle of red wine. It’s no hassle at all to put together and tastes incredible! It’s always the simple, organic ingredients that are the stars of the show. Who’d have thought a tray of some simply roasted vegetables could be so special? Portobello mushrooms are rich, juicy and simply spectacular when roasted. Their meaty texture and unique umami make them the perfect steak substitute! The Argentinian, herby chimichurri drizzle really brightens and lightens the dish and brings it all together. It’s a great sauce to add to your repertoire. It’s goes perfectly with BBQ’d and roasted vegetables.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • as many potatoes as you like
  • 1 red onion (or two shallots)
  • 1 bundle of asparagus (or any seasonal green you like – broccoli, kale…)
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 shallot – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli – roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – peeled
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or any vinegar you like)
  • enough olive oil to blend into a loose sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C and find a large roasting dish.
  2. Arrange the mushrooms in the dish and scrub and cut your potatoes into thick wedges. If you have new potatoes, just cut them in half. Add them to the roasting dish along with a peeled and quartered red onion.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season well with salt and pepper. Pop the dish in the oven to roast while you prepare the asparagus and the chimichurri.
  4. Add the herbs, shallot, garlic, chilli, salt and vinegar to a small blender or food processor. Add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and blend into a loose sauce. Pour the sauce into a clean jar and it will stay fresh in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. Bring it out next time you have a BBQ. Alternatively you can freeze any unused sauce to use another time.
  5. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and add them to the compost bin (or pop them in a box of peels and offcuts in the freezer to make veg stock with another time). Put the spears in a large bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to coat the spears in the seasoning.
  6. When the mushroom, potatoes and onions are cooked through and starting to take on some colour (after about 20 minutes or so in the oven), add the asparagus to the roasting dish and return it to the oven to roast for a further 5 minutes or so.
  7. Then dish up. Divide the roasted vegetables between two plates and drizzle the chimichurri over the roasted mushrooms. Enjoy with a glass of red wine.

Steamed Artichokes & Asparagus with Wild Garlic Butter

I love perennial vegetables and think we should all be eating more of them! Perennials are vegetables and fruits which are planted once and come back year after year. They could be a key solution in the fight against hunger and climate change. Perennials develop longer, more stabilising roots than annual crops. That and the fact that there is no digging once they are planted means they are the best crops for soil health. Their long, undisturbed root systems have also been shown to sequester carbon in the soil. Undisturbed crops like artichokes, especially organically grown ones, create wildlife havens and putting back a balance of biodiversity in any agricultural land is so important!

So add perennials like asparagus and artichokes (rhubarb, fruits, nuts, olives…) to your order whenever they are in season to show your support to this climate friendly type of farming and to enjoy the incredible flavour and nutrition that comes along with them. Here’s my favourite way to enjoy these two crops every spring. It’s so simple and so delicious.

Liz x

Getting close to the tender heart of the artichoke

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 globe artichokes
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • wild garlic butter (wild garlic blended with butter)
  • toast and cheese (I used my fermented cashew cheese)

Method

Rinse the asparagus and artichokes and get a pot of water under your steamer basket on the hob. I like to add lemon slices, garlic and bay leaves to the steaming water to infuse into the vegetables.

Prepare the artichokes. Slice an inch or so off the tops, remove any small leaves on the steam and trim the steam leaving a good inch or two still attached to the flower head. Use kitchen scissors to cut the spiky top off all the outer petals. You can also use a potato peeler or a sharp knife to peel the stalk.

Put the artichokes into the steamer basket, replace the lid and allow them to steam for at least 20 minutes. They are done when you can easily pull a petal off.

Prepare the asparagus spears by simply snapping off the woody ends. Carefully bend the end and it should break off just past the dried out, tougher woody ends. Those can go in the compost bin or into the freezer to be used in a homemade veggie stock.

Once the artichokes are steamed, add the asparagus spears to the steamer and cook them for just 3-5 minutes or so until they are tender but still with some bite.

Serve with melted wild garlic butter or your choice of dip (aioli, salsa verde, hollandaise, vinaigrette…) and some toast and cheese. I melted a slice of wild garlic butter for each of us and can highly recommend it.

Eat the artichokes by pulling off one petal at a time and dipping it in the melted butter. Then scrape off the tender part with your teeth and keep going until you reach the heart.

On top of the heart is a fibrous, hairy ‘choke’. Scrape this off using a teaspoon or a knife.

Then eat the delicious heart and as much of the stem that is tender.

The petals and choke can then be composted. Have a bowl on the table to collect them in as you go.

The asparagus is also incredible dunked in the wild garlic butter. Enjoy!

Spring Risotto

Brr! Spring is here but there are still some pretty chilly spells. Who got that day of blazing sunshine interspersed with freezing hail storms the other day? These erratic-weather days call for a steaming bowl of comforting risotto.

You can’t go wrong with risottos, they are the best way to celebrate and capture the essence of a season. Oozy, umami-rich mushroom risotto is perfect in Autumn, but in Spring I want verdant green colours and bright herby flavours! So here’s my latest creation, an asparagus, courgette and cherry tomato risotto with pesto stirred through just before serving. Light and bright enough to shout ‘Spring!’ But cosy and comforting enough to make you forget about being caught in that hail storm earlier.

Add the ingredients to your next order from Green Earth Organics here. We deliver to every address in Ireland. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 mug of risotto rice
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaped tbsp pesto
  • toasted nuts/seeds to serve

Method

Dice the celery and courgette and soften in a large pot with the olive oil over a medium-high heat. (You could also add diced onions and garlic for extra flavour).

Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the mug of rice and stir well.

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and pop them in the compost bin or in a freezer box to make stock with another time. Then slice off the asparagus tips (a couple of inches from each spear) and put to one side to use at the end. The middle part of the asparagus spears can be sliced into slim rounds and added to the pot now.

Crumble in the stock cube and add a mug of water to the pot. Stir and simmer until the water has been absorbed by the rice.

Add the zest and juice of the lemon and another mug of water. Stir and simmer agin until the liquid has been absorbed. Then add more water, half a mug at a time, until the rice is cooked through but still retains a little bite.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Then add the asparagus tips and simmer for just 3 minutes or so until they are just cooked through, bright green and still crunchy.

Just before serving, stir through the nutritional yeast and pesto to add brightness, herby flavour and cheesy richness to the dish.

Serve in warm bowl with toasted nuts/seeds scattered over each bowl. Enjoy under a cosy blanket on the sofa watching your favourite film!