When people discover that I eat a whole-food plant-based diet, there are a number of questions that I can almost guarantee will get asked. If you too are on a plant-based journey you will be familiar with them!
Well, what DO you eat?
Where do you get your protein from?
Don’t you get bored?
Doesn’t it take a long time to make food from scratch?
My answers – loads of things, everything, never and not necessarily.
There’s lots of posts I could write about these questions – definitely too much for one. So for now, I just want to touch on the last one – time.
Everyone is busy – I’m sure I’m not alone in getting to the end of the day and wondering where it has gone! There’s so much to do that an extra couple of hours a day would never go amiss.
Food is always a priority though. Being able to put together a quick, filling and healthy meal that ticks all the ‘food as medicine’ boxes is dead important for those days when time is short and I haven’t got something squirrelled away in the freezer.
The key is to always have a few stock items in the fridge and store cupboard. Tins of cooked beans, chickpeas and lentils come into their own here. As does a standard stock of onion, carrot, some form of greens and garlic. We also always have lemons or limes (for gin of course 😉 ) or a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge – definitely not the same as fresh but dead useful.
Having stock items means that you can always create something tasty and healthful in a matter of moments, like the salad below. Based on one of my favourite salads featured in my book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie, it features stock ingredients with a little ‘bread’ to make it extra filling. As a non-bread eater, I generally have wraps in the cupboard, or home-made flat breads in the freezer, but if you don’t have a yeast or gluten problem then go for whatever bread you have to hand (whole-grain of course, I hope!). You can leave this out too if it’s not your thing.
Salads like this also answer another question I get asked quite regularly – what can I eat for lunch? Make this in the morning before going to work but keep the bread separate and add it just before eating. Working at home? This comes together in a matter of minutes leaving plenty of time to eat with not a lot to clear up after. And because this contains whole, healthy ingredients with lots of lovely fibre and nutrients, it will fill you up and keep you going for the rest of the afternoon.
Of course you can put together whatever combinations you like and have available. For texture, it’s good to have a mix of one soft, one crunchy and one finely sliced or grated; it gives your mouth something to think about! Raw beetroot, chopped tomato, spring onion and flageolet beans are another fab combo, as are red pepper, avocado, red onion and black beans (with a bit of chilli too, lovely!). Lemon or lime for the tang, or a flavoured vinegar if you can tolerate them always bring a salad to life.
So next time you’re short on time but big on hunger, why not give this a go? Or something similar with whatever ingredients you have. You’ll be amazed just how quick it is to make as well as tasty and satisfying. And if you do make it, don’t forget to let me know what you think.
Quick chickpea salad
- 200 grams cooked chickpeas
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 1/4 cucumber diced
- 1/4 red or white onion finely diced
- 1 flat bread or wrap
For the dressing
- 1/2 lemon juice only
- 1 small clove garlic crushed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil
- salt and pepper
- Grab a large frying pan or pancake pan and heat it on a medium heat. Place the wrap or flat bread on the pan and toast it both sides until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the heat.
- Whilst the bread is toasting, place the chickpeas, grated carrot, cucumber and onion into a large bowl and mix together.
- Place the dressing ingredients into a small jar and shake to combine. Pour over the salad and stir well.
- Once the bread has cooled slightly, cut it into small bits. Add 3/4 to the salad and mix to combine, then scatter the remaining bits on top.
- Check the flavour - add more seasoning or lemon as desired then serve.