Having initially accepted the challenge of featuring delicious, primarily vegetarian, Primal/Paleo recipes on Primal Plate’s blog, I now find myself obsessed with the idea of going one step further. Accordingly, it’s my intention to include many more vegan recipes that can be enjoyed as part of a Primal lifestyle. I’m excited at the prospect. With summer almost upon us, light and easy is the order of the day and it feels entirely appropriate for our meals not to be so dairy dependant. Vegan food eaten in this context, means moving away from Primal and more towards the Paleo diet, which excludes milk, butter, cheese, crème fraîche, cream, ice cream and yogurt.
I am too much of a hedonist to go the whole hog (strictly speaking, Paleo peeps don’t even drink red wine for heaven’s sake!), but I do want to consciously use dairy products less often. Sarah has coined a new phrase for what’s turning out to be a delicious voyage of discovery. She calls it ”Valeo”, which in my view perfectly sums up the logic of eating more healthily without exploiting animals. If there’s one thing that miffs me about the Primal/Paleo diet, it’s the emphasis on eating animal protein.
Yesterday we enjoyed a valeo meal of soup and salad…a Roasted Beet Borscht with Horseradish Cream (recipe coming soon) and this amazingly tasty, healthful Spinach, Cherry Tomato and Avocado Salad. Vivid colours and packed with goodness, eating valeo is light years away from the high-carb pasta, rice, bread, potato and legumes that most vegetarians and vegans rely on.
As I’m a complete novice entering the world of veganism, I’m sailing in relatively unchartered waters. Therefore, I make no apology for seeking out the best vegan recipes from other authors that obviously don’t contain meat, fish, eggs or dairy as well as all the Primal ‘no-no' foods such as grains, potatoes, legumes, processed soy and fats etc. It’s a tall order! Nevertheless, this Spinach, Cherry Tomato and Avocado Salad with Spicy Sicilian Almonds, which I’ve borrowed from Annie Bell’s book Gorgeous Greens, immediately hit the culinary jackpot by ticking all the aforementioned boxes. Sod’s law that it’s been Primal Plate’s most popular posting on Instagram to date!
Clearly this is not just a dish for Paleos or Vegans but also for meat-free Mondays, dairy free dieters and anyone that finds themselves somewhere in-between (me!). Full of punchy flavours, this hearty salad is a wake-up call for the senses that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Spinach, Cherry Tomato & Avocado Salad with Spicy Sicilian Almonds (serves 4)
Ingredients - for the nuts
1 tsp organic Tamari
1 tsp, organic fresh thyme leaves
¼-½ tsp organic chilli pepper
Ingredients - for the salad
125g organic baby spinach leaves, or torn young spinach leaves
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
a good squeeze of organic lemon juice
200g organic cherry tomatoes, halved
a small handful of organic fresh chives, finely chopped
sea salt (my favourite for serving at the table is fine Pu‘uwai Deep Ocean Hawaiian Sea Salt)
Instructions - for the nuts
Pre-heat the oven to 170℃ / 325℉ / Gas mark 3
Toss the almonds in a bowl with the olive oil and tamari, then toss in the thyme, scatter over the cayenne pepper and toss again.
Tip the nuts into a small roasting tin or baking tray and spread them out into a single layer.
Toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until deep golden and crisp.
Transfer the nuts to a plate lined with a paper towel and leave to cool.
Instructions - for the salad
Remove the avocados from the stone by cutting in two halves and picking the stone out.
Peel the skin off the avocado halves, then slice each half into four long segments (8 segments per avocado).
Toss the spinach in a large bowl with the olive oil and lemon juice, then carefully fold in the halved cherry tomatoes and chopped chives.
Pile the salad on to four individual plates and scatter over the spiced nuts.
Serve straight away, leaving each diner to season their own salad with sea salt.
Impossible to resist, the spicy, piquant almonds make a superb stand-alone snack. I chose premium, organic, ready-skinned almonds from sunny Sicily for their larger size and superior creamy, sweet taste but any raw, organic, blanched almonds are fine.
Readers will notice that I always create Primal Plate recipes from organic ingredients. For your health and wellbeing, it’s extremely important you do likewise. Many nuts have a high oil content, which means that they easily absorb pesticides. It is always best to purchase organic. For more information read why you need to buy organic nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrate 15g Protein 8g - per serving