Summer has finally arrived here in the South of France! Or, at least I noticed my training tan lines are making a come back. Just over a week ago I also noticed every other farm was selling cherries, nectarines, strawberries, and peaches by the kilo and it reminded me of this salad I created last summer. My summer salad is fresh, vibrant, vegan and it will put you in a summer mood whether you eat in the sunshine outside or under the duvet to the sound of spring rain.
To make this a more impressive dish, serve it on a big base of puff pastry (or vegan substitute) like a square pizza. Leave the herb leaves whole and keep the spinach by mixing in the fresh baby leaves with the roasted veg. Not a veggie? Switch the chickpeas for roasted chicken.
Serves two hungry athletes.
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large corgette
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 tin of chickpeas (or approx. 1 1/3 cup cooked chickpeas)
- 2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 1 nectarine or peach
- 2 tbs sunflower seeds
- 2 tbs fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbs fresh basil leaves
- 4 tbs balsamic vinegar or prepared balsamic glaze
- Preheat oven to 200C/400F and lightly grease a roasting tray with olive oil or line with lightly greased tin foil.
- Wash and chop corgette, carrots, red pepper, and onion into bite sized chunks for roasting. Finely dice garlic.
- Lightly toss chopped vegetables and garlic with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.
- Roast vegetables for 30-45 min or until edges are browned and carrots are cooked through, tossing half way through.
- While the vegetables are roasting, drain and rinse chickpeas, gently wash the fresh herbs and spinach.
- Next, sliver the nectarine/peach and, if necessary, make the balsamic reduction by heating 4 tbs of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Stirring the vinegar occasionally, heat until the amount is reduced by half.
- When vegetables are done, stir through the chickpeas so they warm.
- To serve: Put 1 large handful of baby spinach in each bowl, removing any long stems. Top with half the roasted vegetable chickpea mix and sprinkle each bowl with 1 tbs of sunflower seeds. Pile half the nectarine slivers in the centre of each bowl. Garnish each bowl with fresh mint and basil leaves and a lightly drizzle with balsamic dressing.