Tuesday 20 March 2018



Chickpea Carrot Patties

Makes 20 falafel

These are a quick version of the Middle Eastern favourite - falafel. To cook chickpeas from scratch, soak 500g of dried chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain and rinse well. Pour into a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer rapidly until tender with no crunchy bits, but still firm. This will take between 45 minutes and an hour, depending how long they have soaked. Drain and rinse well.


450g of cooked chickpeas, or 2 x 400g tins drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped or grated

1 carrot, grated

1 teaspoon dried coriander

1 teaspoon dried cumin

1 tablespoon of flour to bind and a little extra for dusting

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander

To serve:

6 small wholewheat pita pockets

1 baby gem lettuce or 1/4 iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 large carrot, grated

Greek yoghurt, hummus, courgette jam or low fat mayonnaise (optional)


1) Gently heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion and carrot until soft. Stir through the ground cumin and coriander and flour.

2) Mix with the chickpeas and mash with a potato masher to a rough paste, it doesn't have to be very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir through the fresh coriander.

4) Shape the chickpea mixture into small balls and flatten slightly. Dust with a little flour.

5) Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chickpea patties until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

6) Stuff the falafel into pita pockets with plenty of grated carrot and lettuce. You can add a dollop of Greek yoghurt, hummus, courgette jam or mayonnaise if desired.

Barley Butternut 
Salad in a Jar

Makes 2 jars

Use this recipe as a guide on how to make a 'solid salad'. Using wholesome grains, chickpeas, beans and lentils as a base. You can layer these up with any multitude of fresh veggies, nuts, seeds, cheese and cold meat. I know serving drinks and salads in jars has become a real hipster trend, but it works! By having the dressing in the bottom, you keep any soft leaves from wilting.


2 glass or perspex jars

1 cup cooked pearl barley

2 cups baby spinach leaves

2 cups roasted butternut squash pieces

2 tablespoons pecan nuts, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons salad dressing or lemon juice


1) Peel and dice a small butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes at 200C until soft and brown on the edges.

2) Simmer 1 cup of barley in plenty of water for an hour to an hour and a half until cooked through but still firm. Drain well.

3) Pour the salad dressing or lemon juice into the bottom of the jar. Begin with a layer of barley and alternate with layers of roasted butternut squash, spinach leaves, pecan nuts and dried cranberries until the jar is full.

4) Just before serving, give the jar a good shake to disperse the dressing or lemon juice.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves 4

I THOUGHT there was no such thing as a nice pasta salad - until I discovered the two keys secrets: use wholewheat pasta and allow it to cool before adding the dressing.

This way you get a lovely firm texture with dressing that clings to the pasta and doesn't soak in.


300g of wholewheat of spelt pasta shapes such as fusilli, farfalle or penne

1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted

4 tablespoons basil pesto

150g cherry tomatoes, halved

3 spring onions, finely sliced

200g feta cheese, diced


1) Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander. Drizzle over a little olive oil and shake the colander. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together.

2) Allow the pasta to cool before mixing through the pesto. Warm pasta will soak up the peso and you'll have no dressing.

3) Lightly toast the pine nuts in a frying pan until just golden.

4) Mix well with the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, feta and pine nuts.

Sticky Chicken Quinoa Salad

Serves 4

Quinoa is a gluten free seed from South America that is protein rich. You can substitute couscous or bulgur wheat in this recipe.


1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of low salt chicken stock

2 chicken breasts, cut into 4 pieces

1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice

1 tablespoon plum sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

100g sugar snap peas

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper


1) Combine the quinoa and stock in a pot, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. The quinoa should be fluffy and all the liquid gone. Fluff up with a fork and allow to cool.

2) Coat the chicken pieces with the Chinese 5 spice, plum and soy sauces. Spread on a lined baking tray and place under the oven grill for three minutes a side until cooked through.

4) Chop the chicken into smaller pieces and mix with the quinoa. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and pour over the olive oil. This will help keep the chicken juicy.

5) Lightly steam the sugar snap peas for a minute or blanch in boiling water. Refresh in iced water to keep the bright colour.

6) Mix the sugar snap peas and spring onions with the chicken and quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and a little lemon zest.

Wholewheat Noodle and Crunchy Veg Salad

Serves 4

Kids love pasta and noodles and they work very well hot or cold. Wholewheat noodles are far more nutritious than white. You can use any combination of veggies.


4 'nests' of wholewheat noodles

1 cup small broccoli florets

1 red pepper, finely sliced

1 yellow pepper, finely sliced

1 red onion, finely sliced

100ml water

75g sugar snap peas

75g baby corn, halved


125ml sweet chilli sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger


Finely chopped spring onions

Fresh coriander

Roasted peanuts

Leftover cooked chicken


1) Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the dried wholewheat noodles and stir to prevent them from sticking together. Cook according to the packet instructions then drain well in a colander. Drizzle over oil to prevent them from sticking together.

2) Mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

3) Heat one tablespoon of sunflower oil in a wok or large pan. Add in the broccoli, peppers and onion. Pour in the water to create steam and stir-fry for three minutes to soften the vegetables. Add in the sugar snap peas and baby corn, cook for two minutes.

4) Add the cooked, drained noodles and the sauce to the wok. Cook for two minutes.

5) Mix through any optional extras and serve hot or cold.

Irish Independent

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