In this series I will be sharing recipes that pack a punch of nutrition and still taste delicious. By now you know that I believe in a ‘cook from scratch’ approach to preparing meals and I have followed that philosophy for over forty years. In my mid-20s I was cooking food for 110 growing children three times a day, and the focus had to be on the nutrition as well as the taste. As a nutritional therapist for the last 25 years, I have shared these recipes with my clients to ensure that they never went hungry or deficient in the essential nutrients their bodies needed to be healthy.
I appreciate that some of you are enjoying the sunshine of summer and the thought of hot, stodgy food just does not always appeal… We got in the habit, when living in Spain, to have light meals in the really hot months, of chilled soups and homemade wholegrain soda bread, with a little butter (why not).
Even those living in the Northern Hemisphere can enjoy chilled soups and salads as a light meal and I often add a jacket potato or a rice salad to add a little body.
In the previous posts in this series I have given you the nutritional breakdown of the ingredients but if you would like a reminder here is my alternative shopping list by nutrient that will illustrate how packed with goodness even the most simplest of ingredients are.
Here are some of my recipes for soup, salads and dressings with a little twist or two….
In the winter months it is very easy to stock up on nutrients with all the wonderful root vegetables available and also combining ingredients to make hearty soups and stews. However, there are a great many nutrients in the summer vegetables that make a great addition to our winter diet in the form of chilled soups and salads.
Anyway, I thought you might like these recipes to store away for those days when you feel like eating light or crave the tangy taste of fresh summer produce.. They are very versatile and you can always add your favourite protein on top.
Tasty but healthy soups and salads.
Any time of year it is lovely to start off a meal with a fresh tasting, chilled soup or a wonderful refreshing salad. They can accompany main meals from around the world and because they are raw these starters will be carrying a very healthy and nutritious punch.
Gazpacho and other chilled soups.
When we lived in Spain we were blessed with an abundance of fresh vegetables that are perfect for making these summer soups. The most common of course is Gazpacho. I was a little concerned that when I came back to Ireland that there would not be the same range of vegetables, but I am delighted to say that apart from one or two ingredients, there is a wonderful range of home grown produce.
Recipe for a very simple version of Gazpacho for 6 people
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
- Juice of half a fresh lemon.
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed.
- 1lb of fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped
- 1 red pepper – deseeded and chopped.
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped.
- ½ a cucumber roughly chopped
- ¾ pint fresh tomato juice
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 4 tablespoons of cider vinegar (optional)
Garnish – you can make your own choices here of chopped black olives, cucumber, spring onions or onion, red or green pepper, tomatoes and chives.
- Put everything into a blender except the salt and pepper which you can add to taste when blended.
- Chill and serve with the garnish and perhaps warm corn tortillas or Pitta bread.
Avocado and vegetable soup.
- 150 grm or cooked and chopped asparagus
- 100 grm of raw broccoli chopped
- 100 grm of raw mushrooms chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 250 ml of cold water or as needed for consistency
- ½ teaspoon of soy sauce (optional)
- 1 large avocado chopped
- Blend the vegetables with water in the blender.
- Add the avocado and soy sauce and blend until smooth.
- Add seasoning to taste and serve straight away.
This salad is a wonderful accompaniment to fish, poultry or lean meat and will give your body a nutrient packed boost. The combined ingredients have been recognised as foods that actively work with your body to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent heart disease, boost the immune system, help prevent cancer and are anti-ageing. This raw and unprocessed mix contains many wonderful nutrients but particularly Omega 3, Vitamins A,C,E and all the B vitamins. Minerals such as manganese, copper, calcium, iron, potassium and amino acids including tryptophan.
You can add any fresh vegetables that you like including grated carrot, finely chopped celery or red cabbage.
To serve four people.
- Packet of fresh, whole leaf baby spinach
- Large onion in finely chopped rings.
- 12 walnut halves
- Four firm, ripe tomatoes,
- One head of broccoli
- 50 grm Sesame Seeds
- I ripe and firm avocado.
- Olive oil.
- Wash and put the spinach leaves in a large salad bowl.
- Cut the broccoli into small florets and add with the thinly sliced onion rings.
- Throw in the walnuts.
- Toss the mix thoroughly.
- Decorate around the edge with tomato segments and just before serving add chopped avocado to the centre.
- You can either sprinkle with sesame seeds or add the seeds to two tablespoons of Olive oil and drizzle over the salad as a dressing.
Serve with toasted wholegrain French bread.
Ingredients for the dressing
- 250mil of natural yoghurt
- 100 grm of finely chopped stoned dates.
- ½ teaspoon of grated orange rind.
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice.
Combine all the ingredients together and chill in the refrigerator.
Avocado, Apple and Orange salad with cold salmon
- 3 large ripe avocados, stoned and quartered.
- 2 large oranges, peeled and separated into segments.
- 2 Large green apples, washed and cut into segments.
- Mixed lettuce leaves and ½ bag of young fresh spinach leaves.
- 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
- Large Salmon fillet cut into 6 equal portions, grilled or steamed.
- Arrange the lettuce and spinach leaves in the bottom of a large bowl.
- Arrange alternate segments of the oranges and apples.
- Arrange the avocado quarters in the centre of the bowl.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Serve the dressing in a separate serving bowl on the table.
- Is lovely with fresh warm slices of Pitta bread or corn tortillas.
Papaya and prawn salad with tomato and herb dressing.
Ingredients Tomato and herb dressing
- 2 large tomatoes skinned and chopped
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon of fresh basil, rosemary and cilantro.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Blend together and then chill in the refrigerator.
The Papaya Salad
- Assorted lettuce leaves
- Cherry tomatoes
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- 500gm of peeled prawns
- 3 ripe Papaya cut in cut in half, seeded.
- Arrange the leaves on individual plates and place the Papaya in the centre.
- Place the tomatoes and cucumber around the plate.
- Mix the prawns with the dressing and place in the centre of the papaya
- Sprinkle with pimiento
Alternative Salad Dressings
- 2 bananas mashed.
- 500 ml of natural yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon of mustard
- 240 ml of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or to taste.
Put the egg yolks into a blender bowl with the cider vinegar and blend gently until well mixed then add the olive oil drop by drop with the blender moving.
Gradually increase to a thin stream of oil and as the mayonnaise thickens you can increase the volume of oil.
After the oil has been added continue to blend until the mixture has thickened.
Season to taste with the lemon juice,mustard, pepper and salt.
I hope that this has given you some ideas for lighter lunches and suppers… Please feel free to share.. thanks Sally.
©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.
If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021
Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.