All in Soups and salads

warm squash and lentil salad

This might not be a salad in the traditional sense since it’s warm - but as the months turn cooler, adding warm elements to your salad makes sense. This is how I prefer to eat my salads in the autumn and winter. Sometimes I add just one warm element - or in the instance of this salad I have added a couple - including a spicy kick that’s guaranteed to warm you through.

Californian inspired salad

After my recent trip to California, where I had lots of salads, I was inspired to make my own Californian salad. I have used ingredients that were used in many of the salads I tried - kale, quinoa, feta, avocado and almonds. It seemed typical of many of the salads to contain fruit. I am not a fan of fruit in my salad so instead chose to add lemon to a dressing and include some fruit that way!

buckwheat tabbouleh

I love the lebanese salad tabbouleh and it works brilliantly with buckwheat rather than bulgar wheat. Buckwheat is a gluten free grain despite the name so this salad is a fabulous gluten free alternative to tabbouleh. This might seem a lot of parsley - but tabbouleh is traditionally a parsley salad with a small amount of bulgar wheat. Parsley is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants and so very good for us.

Easy summer gazpacho

This very easy gazpacho is all about enjoying and embracing summer ingredients. Full of gorgeous mediterranean vegetables and flavours, totally refreshing and perfect to make in advance. No cooking is involved and pretty much any blender will do the job. Just make sure you allow a couple of hours to refrigerate it. An absolute keeper to make again and again as a starter on a summer’s evening.

Green buckwheat salad

I first started using buckwheat in a salad after trying the delicious pink tahini buckwheat salad from Ceri Jones of Natural Kitchen Adventures, which is featured in her app. This green buckwheat salad has been inspired by Cert’s pink salad! Buckwheat is a gluten free seed and is very useful in a gluten-free diet as it gives a grain-like texture. For the health benefits see tip below. Serve this salad as it is or you can add crumbled feta cheese if you want to increase the protein content.

beetroot and herb quinoa salad

I love a salad. In the spring and summer I make sure I have one at least one a day and in the winter I just warm up a few of the ingredients to make a warm salad. To stop myself getting bored I am always changing the ingredients. My salads are never boring with just lettuce and cucumber - I make sure I pack them with lots of delicious vegetables. They are always colourful and contain at least four different vegetables or herbs.

sweet potato & lentil soup

This chunky soup is really hearty and could probably fall into the stew category! If you need warming up then this will work. Despite the spices it’s kid-friendly too - my daughter enjoys it although as she prefers a smooth soup I blitz all of hers up rather than leaving half chunky. The cooking of this soup is very hands off and easy to rustle up for a quick lunch. I sometimes like to add a dark green leafy veg such as chard, kale or spinach to the soup and I just stir this in at the end to wilt.

carrot, parsnip & ginger soup

Soups are perfect for warming you up during the Autumn and Winter months. They are also a great way of boosting vegetable intake into any reluctant vegetable eater! This soup is very child-friendly with naturally sweet root vegetables. This soup is ideal if you are suffering from a cold or want to boost your immunity. The garlic and ginger are both anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.

kitchen garden soup

Including lots of green in our diet is always top of our list. Soups along with curries are a perfect way to up the daily portions with reluctant eaters. The addition of ground cumin to this otherwise simple soup gives it that extra warmth and comforting quality. The apple and peas work wonderfully to balance out the strong Cavalo Nero and celery flavours.

courgette & chickpea salad

In August we are always looking for ways to use up a glut of courgette from the veg patch! This salad recipe is perfect. It's a good mixture of carbohydrates, green vegetables and fat from the avocado and dressing. This stores well in the fridge (without the avocado and dressing) and so can be taken into work for a healthy packed lunch.

a week of salads

We love salads at The Health Boost and nearly every day will have one for lunch and in the summer for supper too. However there's no limp lettuce and starving ourselves with our salads. The key to a good salad is to get the right balance of protein, healthy fats and some slow release healthy carbohydrates so that you aren't hungry again by 3pm. Every salad must contain a palm-sized amount of protein.

beetroot, lentil & feta salad

I eat a salad nearly every day for lunch and so am always trying to come up with different varieties. This one has been a favourite for a couple of weeks now. The lentils and feta provide a good source of protein and the feta and dressing some healthy fats - meaning that this salad keeps you full for the rest of the afternoon. It can be made in advance and taken into work as a packed lunch. This can be made with any type of lentil - but I particularly love the nutty flavour and firm texture of the dark speckled lentils.

chilled cucumber & avocado soup

A cold soup on a hot summer's day is exceptionally refreshing, but sometimes not that filling. With the addition of avocado, cashew nuts and coconut milk, this soup is creamy and will keep you full until the next meal! You won't need to serve this with bread. We have added mint and basil, but do substitute with other herbs that you have to hand.

spring nettle soup

This soup is best served in April and May when the nettles are young and sweet, but the days still have a chill and warrant a soup. If you've never cooked with nettles before do give this a try - no sting we promise! Pick the top shoots from young nettles with thick protective gloves and wash thoroughly before using in this dish.

spiced red lentil soup

As much as we keep going on about green vegetables, a large helping of warm coloured soup makes everyone happy! Packed with great fibres, vitamins and health boosting spices this heart warming soup makes a great starter or one pot supper . Soups are one of the best "batch cooking" meal to make ahead and freeze. Great healthy option for busy family lives.

beetroot falafels

I enjoyed my very first falafel on a family trip to Israel as a teenager. Served very spicy with mixed salad, in a flat bread. As a chickpea fan, I naturally love them and I enjoy playing around with ingredients, flavours and colours. This beetroot falafel is not just pretty, it's quick and easy to make, healthy, packed with whole ingredients, ideal to make ahead and really filling.  If you've never tried them, have a go!

carrot, apple & ginger soup

I'm not sure I can claim any credit for this soup. My daughter was chatting about her love of carrot, apple and ginger juice and saying she wished it was hot since she didn't like drinking a cold juice in winter. So I suggested that I make it into a soup and she was very excited. It was her idea to include turmeric as our local cafe serve a carrot and turmeric juice which she loves.

prebiotic soup

It is very much soup season all year round as far as I am concerned! Why? Soups, whether hot or cold, are a fantastic way to easily include lots of daily veggie portions. This soup is packed full of real food pre-biotics, very light and works really well as a warming starter. Soups are a great make ahead and freeze healthy option for busy lives.