A simple and delicious salad for warm humid days or when you just want a quick light lunch. With watermelon of every shape and size available in all their bounty this season, the Watermelon Bocconcini Arugula Salad is easy to put together.
There’s a new Diet in town, and the members of the Foodie Monday Blog Hop are focussed on it, in the theme for this week, Pegan Diet. My recipe for a Roasted Tomato Black Rice Salad with Pesto is from ingredients suitable for this diet. As you will see, the Pegan diet is an interesting blend of some of the features of vegan and of paleo diets.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. I only promote brands and products that I trust.
The black rice or Forbidden Rice, is the star of the salad. Black rice, being a grain, is limited to less than 25% of the meal, under the pegan diet. Said to have more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries, it also contributes fiber and Vitamin E (click for nutrient benefits). Fresh parsley pistachio pesto is mixed with the black rice, roasted tomato and orange segments for a lovely bouquet of flavours.
The brand I used for this recipe was FOR8 Aromatic Black Rice- Forbidden Rice purchased from Amazon from the Link here: Black Rice
Roasted pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch as well as have protein and several minerals (click for nutrient benefits). Pomegranate arils, lemon juice and arugula make up the remaining ingredients of the roasted Tomato Black Rice Salad.
The Pegan diet advocates more vegetables than any other foods. In the roasted tomato black rice salad, I have therefore included a number of ingredients. I have kept in mind their nutritive benefits, so that most vitamins, some protein, minerals etc are collected on one plate. The roasted red peppers and the oranges may be left out if you want to reduce the number of ingredients. I have adapted this recipe to a more Pegan compliant one: Tomato and Basil Rice Salad
Pesto is an important component of this salad. Here are links to recipes from this blog that you may refer for making pesto:
Basil Pesto with Pinenuts. Substitute pistachio nuts if pine nuts are not available. Omit the parmesan, for a pegan recipe.
Parsley Pesto with Pistachios Use unsalted shelled pista nuts along with parsley and coriander leaves.
The Pegan diet has taken some elements from the vegan diet and some from paleo. In fact it has taken the middle ground from both these diets. As the founder of Pegan, Dr. Mark Hyman, explains: … that middle ground is “real whole, fresh food in its natural state free of processed ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and additives.” This article from Healthline gives a summary of the health positives and downsides to the diet.
The rules are fairly simple.
NO: Dairy; gluten, whether from whole grains or alternatives; processed foods; seed oils such as sesame, mustard, sunflower, canola or corn oil. No sugar; starchy vegetables (good bye, sweet potatoes), soybean or soy products.
Quite a few food items, actually. My list is not exhaustive, but you get the picture:
Any fruit or vegetables with a glycemic index of between 55 and 69. This includes cherry, blueberries, blackberries and other dark coloured berries that posses anthocyanin, apples, kiwi, watermelon, citrus fruits (lemon, orange etc), pears. (Banana, grapes, melon are not preferred.)
Greens of all kinds – lettuce, collard greens, mustard, amaranthus, radish and turnip greens etc. Purple coloured greens are more than welcome.
Vegetables such as tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum and other peppers, eggplant, leeks, mushroom, bamboo shoot, moringa (drumsticks).
Foods with Omega-3 fats: Avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, anchovies, sardines
Meat that is sustainably sourced, and from grass fed animals. Certain fish and sea food, ie sustainably harvested/farmed and with low mercury, such as salmon and shrimp. Eggs. All animal foods are however taken in limited quantities.
Products from goat and sheep, like goat cheese and goat milk
Almond milk and other nut milks.
Lentils are ok, but in limited quantities. Legumes are not favored in this diet.
Foods with natural sugars, such as honey, dates, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut sugar.
Nuts but not peanuts.
Non gluten whole grains and pseudo grains such as quinoa, rice, millet, amaranth.
Olive oil, coconut oil.
At least 75% of your meal should comprise of vegetables and fruits, choosing darker coloured ones, greens and non starchy, low glycemic items.
25% of your meal may be taken from animal protein (including eggs). Vegetable protein can be found in seeds, nuts. Healthy fats from avocado, nuts and olive oil.
The pegan diet is rather forgiving though. Even the items noted as not forming part of the diet can be had occasionally, as a treat. And some in the ‘ok’ list should be had in small quantities, as a side dish.
Dr Mark Hyman, the propounder of the Pegan philosophy and diet, explains it all,in this article.
The theme for the 184th Foodie Monday Blog Hop event, Pegan Diet was suggested by Veena Krishnakumar. Veena blogs at Veena’s Vegnation. Do visit her site for a look at the South Indian recipes, the many breads, the curries and side dishes, desserts and so much more.
When Veena first suggested Pegan on our chat group, most of us thought she had made a typo. Vegan or Pecan, that was the question. A little quick googling showed us how far from the mark we were! Over the week we learnt about the Pegan diet and exchanged articles and notes. Veena shared with us excerpts from Dr Mark Hyman’s book.
The yellow tomatoes for this recipe, were from my balcony garden, with seeds from here:
The Pegan diet seems very interesting, though I don’t think I would stay away from diary or all gluten foods, unless health constraints force me to. My Roasted Tomato Black Rice Salad is the first in the recipes I hope to add under this label.
For my other recipes using Black Rice, a soft chewy grain with a nutty taste and a heady aroma, click these links:
** Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. I only promote brands and products that I trust.
This Post is sent to the Event: 184 Foodie Monday Blog Hop with the theme: Pegan Diet
In the search for healthy, nutritious food, I have been experimenting with different grains, vegetables and fruits for salads. I specially enjoy Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine, where the combinations of fresh vegetables, salad greens and herbs gives ideas for very delicious simple meals. Like this Levantine Tabbouleh made of fresh parsley, some mint, juicy tomatoes, a little Bulgar and really good quality olive oil. Fresh ground black pepper and a smattering of salt, complete this plateful of goodness.
My search for interesting salads makes me adventurous, and often gives surprising results. The Avocado fenugreek leaves salad with feta cheese and a pomegranate honey lemon dressing, was actually discovered accidentally. It all started when I had to use methi/ fenugreek leaves in the weekly Monday post (more about that, below). I also had to make my salad for lunch.
Looking around for ingredients, I saw that the avocado I had kept for ripening had turned a pretty red. When sliced it tasted surprisingly perfect. Very often they don’t ripen but turn a dull brown or black and rot away, going straight from unripe to overripe. This time I was lucky and so, added them to the salad.
The methi leaves were washed and dried in the salad spinner. Fresh feta cheese and pomegranate arils, a handful of roasted peanuts, and the salad was ready. All I had done was use whatever ingredients I had on hand!
Next I had to think of the appropriate dressing for the salad. My first inclination was my strawberry dressing, which is both sweet and tart. Then my eyes fell on the pomegranate juice, left over after I removed the arils for the salad.
I could have used juice from a carton, but I had the one tablespoon I needed, right there. A large dose of honey, some fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and there, the pomegranate dressing was ready.
The theme for the 177th Foodie Monday Blog Hop is ‘Magic of Fresh Methi Leaves’. I often have a salad with bread or soup for lunch. Instead of using the methi leaves in an Indian recipe, therefore, I decided to make a salad. I like the taste of bitter greens such as arugula or chicory in salads, and thought the raw methi leaves couldn’t be far different.
Happily, the creamy avocado and the sweet pomegranate dressing with honey and lime juice, completely disguised the bitter taste of the fenugreek leaves.
The avocado fenugreek leaves Salad tasted really good, what with the feta cheese, the just ripe enough avocado, the methi leaves and the pomegranate. The pomegranate honey dressing was delicious and took minutes to make. Roasted peanuts gave a crunch to the salad.
Adding a little cooked couscous or brown rice or dalia would make this a complete meal, though I found it filling enough because of the avocado.
Ideally, you should make this avocado fenugreek leaves salad just before meal time. It is very quickly put together if you have all the ingredients ready. Slice the avocado only when you are preparing the salad, and even then, drizzle lemon juice on it to prevent discolouration.
This post has been sent to the event 177th Foodie Monday Blog Hop, with the theme ‘Magic of Fresh Methi Leaves’. The theme was suggested by Sasmita. Sasmita blogs at First Timer Cook. Do visit her blog with its variety of innovative recipes, from healthy to vegan to nourishing grain based recipes.
For other ideas for Salad Dressings:
It is such a pleasure to cook these days. The weather is pleasant and, most important, I seem to have rediscovered my creativity and enthusiasm for trying out new ingredients, flavours and combinations. Adding to all this, there is an abundance of fresh vegetables, greens and fruit all calling out to me to take them home and make something delicious out of them. Bright orange Fuyu Persimmon, fresh mozzarella bought just last evening, basil leaves from my balcony garden, all seemed to tumble over themselves to get into the Persimmon Mozzarella Salad that was my lunch today.
Fresh Mozzarella looks tempting when seen in a Caprese salad or sandwich, but one has to admit, it can be rather bland. One easy way to perk it up therefore, is to marinate the cheese with an interesting marinade. The mustard and balsamic vinegar dressing cum marinade made such a difference to the flavours of this persimmon mozzarella salad. Using good quality mustard and balsamic vinegar makes all the difference between an ok dish and a great one. Thank you Mridula, for the lovely mustard paste you brought for me during your last visit!
The theme for the 174th event of the Foodie Monday BlogHop Group is Potluck Recipes, and the theme was suggested by Preeti Prasad. Preeti blogs at Preethi’s Cuisine. Do visit the blog, it has interesting recipes with clear instructions. I would love to try out her recent recipe for Pesto coated smashed Potatoes, the arachuvitta karamani sambar (a Tamil dish), the sweet and sour mango relish!
The Persimmon Mozzarella Salad would be a great addition to any Potluck gathering. It could be an appetizer or dessert, or a tasty side with pasta, pizza, risotto. With the gorgeous colours of autumn and winter arrayed in one plate, it is bound to be crowd-pleaser.
The mustard and balsamic vinegar serves as both a marinade and dressing. The salad is easy to put together: mix the dressing, slice and marinate the cheese, slice the fruit and then arrange it all together. You could even carry the prepped ingredients with you and assemble the salad at the place where you are getting together for the potluck.
The measurements/ quantities of ingredients in the recipe below are indicative, except for the mustard dressing, which gives the proportions of the ingredients. You can add more of the fruit or greens or arugula or mozzarella.
An easy to make salad that goes with practically anything – colourful, nutritious and with all the goodness of fresh vegetables. Dice the vegetables, add salad greens, make the easy flavourful citrus dressing, and there you go, earning brownie points all around with your Rainbow Fresh Chopped Vegetable Salad.
Last weekend when shopping for groceries, I got some of these fresh green beans, slim and tender and not thick and sturdy as beans tend to be, at least at Bangalore. These beans did not have much string to them and could be easily snapped into pieces. As I am experimenting with different vegetarian salad/ grain bowls for lunch (that do not compromise on taste), and as the FB Group, FoodieMondayBlogHop picked ‘Bean Power’ as the theme for this week, the Pesto Green Bean Ribboned Zucchini Salad with Citrus Dressing was a convenient choice for theme post. The zucchini ribbons and the pistachio pesto were peeled/ made during the cookout last weekend with BYOB friends.
This Gujarati Kachumber Salad is a no-brainer, and goes with almost any type of meal. Or have it for lunch with a bowl of chilled soup on the side. You need basic vegetables – onion, tomato and cucumber as well as lemon juice. The other ingredients are optional and can be mixed and matched with whatever veggie is on hand. The salad doesn’t really need a recipe. I used one as I wanted it to be authentic Gujarati. There are similar versions of the salad found in various Indian cuisines, with variations on the way the vegetables are sliced/grated, and which combination is used. Quantities are flexible and can be adjusted to your taste.
My version of the Gujarati Kachumber Salad (or Kachoomer Salad) is from the well written cookbook, Gujarati Kitchen, by Bhanu Hajratwala. I have followed the recipe, except for the presentation – with a mixed rather than a layered salad as advised in the book. I have used the same ingredients as in the recipe by including raw mango, fresh radish and carrots apart from the standard onion, tomato and cucumber. The pomegranates added to the medley of flavours and textures.
This month, on our Facebook Group, Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, the theme was Gujarati Cuisine. I paired up with the lively Sasmita Sahoo Samanta, and we exchanged ‘secret ingredients’ that we each used in our Gujarati recipes. We posted the image of the dish and the other members of the group had to guess which were the 2 secret ingredients. As you can imagine, its a lot of fun and lively interaction as each member tries to quickly guess the specified ingredients which are often not the main ingredients in the recipe.
Sasmita blogs on First Timer Cook, and the secret ingredients for her were lilva (fresh tuvar or green pea beans) and wheat flour, not an usual combination! Using these 2 plus other ingredients as required, she made this delicious lip smacking Lilva Kachori chaat. Do visit her blog, it has recipes ranging from Baking to Beverages as well as No cooking ones, Gluten free, No Onion – No Garlic and Healthy recipes, among many others.
I made Kachumber Salad using the ingredients Sasmita gave me, viz Radish and Lemon. The salad is a basic and simple one, but the taste is really good, specially as the days are becoming hotter, and anything which does not require cooking, gets my vote!
While making the Kachumber Salad, I had the advantage of fresh, zero pesticide vegetables supplied by First Agro Farms through their Sakura Fresh division: crisp sharp tasting radish, ripe red tomatoes, cucumbers bursting with cooling juices, hot green chillies and the lovely yellow carrots.
Here are some more recipes on the blog, to beat the heat this summer:
Panakam – A Jaggery and Dry Ginger drink
Ajo Blanco – A Chilled soup of Grapes and Almonds
Pink Gazpacho – Chilled Watermelon and Cucumber Soup
Venturing further into North Eastern Cuisine, I made Assamese Aloo Pitika, the delicious Aloo Chokha look alike. Simple, very easy and with the mustard oil giving its unmistakable fragrance and its unique character to the dish, I can’t understand why I have not been using mustard oil more often in my kitchen. Its not that I am not used to cooking with mustard oil. In fact we regularly made aloo chokha aka mashed potatoes, with mustard oil and the stuffed red chillies from my husbands village in Eastern UP, and it would taste awesome.
Rice based salads make a great summer’s day lunch: easy to put together, refreshing and and nutritious. And not just summer, its warming on a chill winter evening and just right when its pouring with rain. The Brown Rice Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Asparagus that I made last week was delicious and everyone at home loved it. It is a versatile salad and you could make it with vegetables of your choice. …
At first glance, Shaheen Peerbhai’s (who blogs as Purple Foodie and is the author of the Paris Picnic cookbook) Roasted Pumpkin Labneh Buckwheat Salad with Pomegranate and Rocket leaves sounds like a cosy winter salad. It is however a light and refreshing summer type of salad with some unlikely ingredients coming together with a medley of colours and flavours. …
This Black Rice Salad has to be the most fun salad I’ve made so far. If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I use several ingredients in each recipe, to bring together a variety of textures, flavours and colours into one (mostly) healthy package. So when I received a sample of Heirloom Black Rice from First Agro Farms, I wanted to showcase this intriguing grain and bring out its goodness, and at the same time to have the medley of taste and texture that I’m so fond of in all my recipes.
You may ask, what is intriguing about Rice? We in India have rice as a staple and use it in every possible way, so what’s new? Well, Black Rice is new, at least to me. The colour, the texture, the taste, the aroma when its bubbling on the stove….
A little time spent on the net gives interesting information: that Black Rice was first cultivated in China, some Ten thousand years ago, and for hundreds of years was reserved solely for the culinary pleasure of Chinese Royalty and noblemen: hence the name of Forbidden Rice or Emperors Rice, as its consumption was not permitted for the common people. The Rice was grown in limited quantities and the distribution carefully controlled.
Black rice may not be Black, it could be pinkish, brown, purple, grey, or shades in between. And of course, black! When cooked, some varieties may be glutinous and sticky, due to high levels of amylopectin ( a major component of starch, and made up of glucose units). The black colouring is due the presence of large amounts of anthocyanin, which is what makes for colourful purple grapes, blueberries, aubergine .. You get the picture?
Perhaps these ancient Chinese Emperors knew a thing or two: that this Black rice that they reserved for themselves, was considered highly nutritious, fabled to increase both health and longevity, and in fact called ‘tribute rice’ or ‘longevity rice’ during the Ming Dynasty. In India this rice is mostly grown in Manipur, and is available in some gourmet stores and on online stores, and if, like me, you are lucky enough to live in Bangalore, then you can get the Zero pesticide, non-GMO variety from First Agro Farms . I’m planning a number of recipes using Black Rice, it is tasty, healthy and different!
Like I always say, do check with your doctor for the individual suitability or otherwise of consuming any of these items, however ‘healthy’ they are said to be, specially when being treated for any illness.
Superfood Black Rice is rich in disease fighting antioxidants, contains vitamins like B1, B2, folic acid; essential amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan; minerals including iron, copper, zinc, calcium and phosphorus; anthocyanin- said to help lower the risk of heart attacks by preventing plaques from building up in the arteries, as well as to fight cancer; research is going on to support the view that consumption of black rice can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and even Cancer. Low in calories, high in flavonoid phytonutrients, and a rich source of fibre as well as Vitamin E. Reference: Purple Rice Health Benefits
And not to forget the Cranberry Orange dressing, which I adapted from ‘Oh She Glows‘ Blog. Cranberries, Apple Cider Vinegar, Maple sugar, Fresh Orange juice, each with its nutrient benefits.
The rest of the Black Rice Salad is comprised of Red veined Sorrel and Bok Choy. Sorrel leaves are low calorie and low fat, and are rich in Vitamin A. One serving a day can take care of your Vitamin C daily recommendation. Reference: Sorrel
Bok choy contains selenium, a mineral which plays an important role in cognitive function, immunity and cancer prevention. Reference: Healthiest Leafy Greens
Now to stop sounding like my Biology text book and to get back to cooking the Black Rice and dishing up this Black Rice salad.
The quantities listed here are indicative, you could adjust the ingredients to your taste while making the Dressing. For the Black Rice Salad, I used gorgeous Black cherry tomatoes (which are green when you slice them), Red tomatoes, Yellow peppers, Bok Choy, Sorrel and a variety of herbs. Any other greens could be substituted. And you could use pine nuts or walnuts instead of the almonds.
I dry the salad greens and herbs in a salad spinner. If you make salads frequently, it would be good to invest in a sturdy salad spinner which lasts for some years. I use an Ikea salad spinner and its been value for money. Its amazing how much water is shaken off the leaves of lettuces and other greens, and my salads are now not soggy at all when I add the greens.
Other Recipes you may like to try on this blog:
Vanilla Apricot Black Rice Kheer – A delicious dessert
Before I take you through this recipe for Peruvian Kiwicha Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, I must tell you a little about Kiwicha, a superfood and a form of Amaranth that went into this delicious and healthy salad. Kiwicha is native to Peru and was a staple food for the Incas, Aztecs and other communities more than 4000 years ago. The cultivation of kiwicha had come down drastically since the Spanish conquest and colonisation. Since 1970, the world is rediscovering an interest in this and other elements of Peruvian cuisine, many of which have been now found to be rich in nutrient and disease fighting properties. …
With the goodness of fresh Dandelion greens, Red and Yellow Swiss Chard, Lettuce, juicy ripe Mangoes, some frozen and some fresh berries, the Couscous plays the perfect foil to this summery deliciousness. The Dandelion Greens Salad is complemented in taste by the honey lemon dressing or strawberry poppyseed dressing, links to both of which are given at the end of the post.
The Dandelion Greens and the Swiss Chard, Lettuce and Tomatoes were bought from the zero pesticide fresh produce supplied by First Agro Farms….
Fattoush Salad – A fresh delicious bread salad, where the herbs are not meant just for garnish but are significant ingredients in the dish. Three ingredients normally used in Lebanese cuisine are featured here, i.e. flavouring the pita bread with za’atar, dressing the salad with sumac mixed with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, and adding pomegranate molasses to lift the salad to sublime heights. The za’atar is sprinkled on the pita bread or other flat bread, and the bread is baked or grilled before it is added to the salad.
When fellow foodblogger and foodie Teena Sunoj asked me to contribute a ‘pink’ salad to her Facebook page ‘Salad Nation’ to promote awareness of Breast Cancer this October, I could think only of pomegranate and cranberries as the ingredients for the salad. I’ve taken a classic Watermelon Arugula Feta Salad, and ‘pinked’ it up with luscious strawberries, and arils of dark pink pomegranates.
This Heirloom tomato basil salad is from one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes in his 30 minutes meals: Colourful tomatoes tossed in a fresh dressing of basil leaves, white wine vinegar and olive oil. Takes less than 10 minutes to make, and is utterly delicious!
Colourful salad bursting with flavours and textures. Roasted tomatoes, Peppers and Figs with a cherry tomato sauce, mint, parsley and purple basil and a dressing of lemon juice and white wine vinegar….
Avocado Berries Salad with a lot of oomph! It has sharp flavours as well as sweet, a touch of the exotic along with every day salad ingredients. I have heaps of salad greens and all kinds of fruits and vegetables in the fridge after last weekends shopping binge, and not enough time to use them up. So I’ve put in many different items into this salad to give a delicious bowlful of contrasting tastes and textures….
Another easy to make salad, with a tangy dressing to complement the sweet peaches. Make this delicious Honey Grilled Peach Salad with Feta when fresh peaches are abundant in the market. It takes very little time and effort and is bursting with nutritious colours and flavour.
The first time I made this Honey Grilled Peach Salad with Feta, my fridge was full to the brim with veggies and fruits. First Agro Farms had delivered their signature zero pesticide greens and herbs including fresh lettuce, arugula, chard, scallions, as well as chives, oregano and parsley, as well as tomatoes of various colours and degrees of ripeness. There were peaches and plums from Namdharis and a variety of cheese from Natures Basket. I usually add fruits to my salads, and honey either in the dressing or as in this case, drizzled on the fruit to be grilled.
Colours, textures, flavours, tart and sweet – you have them all in this perky bright little salad. Roasting the figs and sweet peppers enhanced their flavours. I came across these small round sweet juicy oranges, one of which I deseeded, chopped and added to the dressing: pulp, juice and all. A herb infused goats cheese and some ripe plums contrasted with the lettuce, tomatoes and peppers. Crunchy toasted walnuts for a bit of bite, and a dressing with Zing in it! Served with thin warm slices of your favourite bread, this, Roasted Figs & Tomatoes salad with fresh greens, is a whole meal by itself.
Perfect for lunch on a hot summers day, a gorgeous Salad of Radish Tomato Raw Mango, with its contrasting flavours somehow coming together with the dressing of orange juice, lemon juice, ginger, chilli and olive oil.
Colourful salad of lettuce with goats cheese, strawberries, blueberries and pomegranate in a lemon-vinegar-basil-chilli dressing. Best if put- together shortly before you are ready to serve….
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