Refreshing melon, mint and lime salad

When I think of August, it brings to mind long, hot, sunny days (hopefully!), chilled glasses of Pimms and gorgeously ripe melons. The memories of sunny days and melon go back to my childhood (not so much the Pimms 🙂 ) when a slice of sweet melon was a delicious treat. Then as a teenager we holidayed in the Algarve and ate deliciously sweet, fragrant melon for breakfast every day. Wonderful memories.

Even though you’ll find melon in the supermarkets all year round, now really is the time to enjoy them at their best. The flavour is sublime (something that’s definitely missing in out of season fruit) and the nutrients hidden inside are perfect for supporting the body when you might be exposing it to a little bit too much sunshine.

All melons contain special phytonutrients, those tiny little natural chemicals that help keep our bodies working well. Cantaloupe melons, with their orange-coloured flesh and slightly green, textured outer skins are particularly good as they’re packed full of betacarotene, the plant precursor to vitamin A which is essential for skin, hair and eye health. There’s also a shedload of vitamin C, polyphenols plus potassium. This is essential for good cell function and can help keep your blood pressure within healthy limits. Vitamin C and phytonutrients have a strong antioxidant effect in the body, helping to reduce inflammation and keep damaging free radicals under control. This occurs everywhere, but particularly in your skin at this time of year.

“But what about the sugar?” I hear you cry. Yes, there are natural plant sugars in melon but it’s all tied up in the fibre plus the large water content. If you eat melon in chunks rather than add it to a smoothie (which by-passes the first stage of digestion, the chewing bit), the sugar is released slowly as the fibre is digested, giving a stable and sustained energy release that your body can handle.

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The flavours in this salad complement each other rather wonderfully. The sweet crunch of the melon mixed with peppery salad leaves, minty freshness and sour lime juice create a taste sensation on your tongue that is light, refreshing and so thoroughly enjoyable that you will forget it’s also good for you too! Enjoy.

Melon, mint and lime salad

A fresh, light summer salad packed full of body-loving nutrients and flavour.
Prep Time 7 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Salad
Servings 2 portions

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 medium cantaloupe melon cut into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls peppery salad leaves
  • 8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 small ripe avocado cut into small chunks
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 medium lime juice only
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional additions

  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp balasmic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed flaxseed oil

Instructions
 

  • Grab two plates. Scatter the green leaves over each plate. Top with melon, red onion (if using), tomatoes and avocado.
  • Scatter mint leaves over the top and season with salt and pepper. Finish with the lime juice. Garnish with balasamic vinegar and/or oil if using.
  • Eat straight away.
Keyword antioxidants, phytonutrients, summer salad

Courgette, carrot and kohlrabi salad

The courgette glut continues! It’s amazing how quickly they grow, seemingly able to transform from  fledgling to enormous beast over night! They taste so good, fresh and grown without chemicals. We’re not bored of them – yet!

I used to find courgettes very bitter, but the flavour now seems much calmer. They’re delicious raw and work really well in salads, either grated or cut into thin strips with a peeler. Serving thin strips makes a salad look a bit fancy ;).

This simple salad is almost an alternative coleslaw; the kohlrabi replaces green cabbage and the courgette is an added extra. What’s different is the dressing – it’s not a thick, creamy calorie-laden mayo but a fresh, zingy sauce that contains just four ingredients – lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. It brings the veggies to life using an oil-free dressing whilst letting them be the main attraction rather than masking them with strong flavours.

Kohlrabi is a funny looking vegetable. I first discovered them when I started having a weekly Riverford veg box delivered. It’s part of the cruciferous family so it’s packed full of healthful nutrients and phytonutrients, even though the flesh is a bit white and bland looking. The skin can be different colours – the one I had was purple on the outside – so it’s good to try and use some of that if possible, although sometimes it can be a bit tough and woody. If you’re lucky, some of the leaves will still be attached – these also contain wonderful phytonutrients as well as vitamin C, so lots of lovely anti-inflammatory nutrients there.

The kohlrabi bulb also contains vitamin C and lots of potassium, particularly good for helping to reduce blood pressure and looking after electrolyte balance right down to cellular level. Both vitamin C and potassium are easily lost once a food is cooked, so having it raw is a real nutrient bonus.

Amongst the various phytonutrients, kohlrabi is a good source of quercitin. This tiny compound is essential at cellular level and can help support a healthy blood pressure, reduce inflammation and help with allergies – particularly useful at this time of year if your hay fever is out of control.

If you can’t find kohlrabi, try using daikon radish or finely shredded green cabbage. The lemon juice in the dressing will help your body absorb many of the nutrients from the greens, especially iron. Adding in the carrots, courgette and red onion (if you can handle it!) makes this super simple salad a smorgasbord of vitality!

Over the summer I’ll keep adding super salads to the blog, along with other seasonal delights. What would you like to see coming up in the future?

Courgette, carrot and kohlrabi salad

A quick and delicous nutrient-packed fresh summer salad.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Salad
Servings 4 portions

Equipment

  • Food processor for grating - advisable!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium carrots scrubbed and trimmed
  • 1 medium courgette washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 medium kohlrabi washed and trimmed
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

for the dressing

  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard or mustard of choice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Grate the vegetables in a food processor (ideally to save time) using a small grater disc. Transfer to a large bowl and mix well with your hands to muddle up the veggies.
  • Add the red onion, seeds and fresh herbs
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the salad. Toss to coat and serve.
Keyword anti-inflammatory diet, healthy salad, quick lunch