After a crazy winter of Christmas parties we have the fun of working at private residences on the weekends, many are rented so the clients come from far and wide and the properties are unique in their own way, at stunning locations across Norfolk. We get asked to do so many different menus and foods, we arrive at the property a few hours before and cook, serve and clear away. It’s a great time to get to know new clients to cook a variety of foods and see some wonderful places.
Yoga retreats are now a huge part of our yearly work, we have taken on many weekends at West Lexham and Henham Park. Over the course of the weekend I have been giving cooking demos, chatting about raw, vegan and ayverdic principles, it is a fabulous way to meet new the clients and chat about food, swap recipes and really get to know each other.
Mothers day is fast approaching! My mother’s favourite meal is steak so I have started to tempt her with all things vegan! She is intolerant to chilli so I have to work hard at making safe but flavoursome for her.
This salad came to be by accident. In a state of impending hunger, I threw together the leftovers scavenged from my fridge: fresh arugula, cooked wild rice, baked sweet potato fries (why not?), and ginger dressing.
I topped it with the leftover toasted nuts and seeds sitting in a bowl by the sink, and somehow summoned the energy to add some crumbled tofu!
Spicy arugula offers a nutritious, green base. Fresh ginger in the salad dressing balances the sweetness of the caramelised sweet potatoes. I’ve been obsessed with wild rice in salads lately, since it offers such a great, chewy-tender texture and nutty flavor.
Crumbled tofu, green onion and dried cranberries round it off to create a bold, beautiful winter salad. This is a meal-in-a-bowl situation.
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium or 3 small), peeled and sliced into 1” cubes
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or almonds, or any combination thereof
- 5 ounces arugula (about 5 packed cups)
- ½ cup crumbled tofu
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
Ginger dressing (this makes extra)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- About 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to boil (Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling) add salt when its cooked.
- Meanwhile, to roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place the cubed sweet potato on the pan, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are lightly and evenly coated in oil. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are caramelised on the edges and tender when pierced through with a fork. Leave the oven on and let the sweet potatoes cool for a few minutes.
- To make the dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Combine the arugula, wild rice and roasted sweet potatoes (keep the parchment paper) in a large serving bowl or platter. Spread the seeds and/or chopped nuts on your parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant (be sure to set a timer; we’re toasting at high heat here).
- Spread the toasted seeds/nuts over the salad. Top with the crumbled tofu, green onion and dried cranberries.
- If you’re serving the salad immediately, go ahead and drizzle most of the dressing on top (you probably won’t use it all). Toss to combine, let the salad rest for a few minutes so the rice has time to absorb some of the dressing, and serve.