Charlotte Williams is a Naturopath, Cook, Writer and Vegan foodie. Sharing her life between Sydney and the Blue Mountains Charlotte shares her wisdom and learnings for a healthy life + wellbeing on her blog www.charlottewilliams.com.au and whilst juggling many things, is in the process of writing her first book.
Today Charlotte shares with us one of her favourite recipes, a Middle Eastern inspired summer salad. Perfect for the bohemian traveller, who is looking for a healthy and delicious lunch to enjoy in our endless Australian summer.
Middle Eastern Salad
Growing up in South of Spain and with a family that are adventurous travellers, my exposure to Middle Eastern cultures started pretty early on in life. I, being a picky eater back then, as well as being on the periphery of the beginning of my vegan journey, absolutely fell in love with these cultures and in particular the culinary parts, that constitute incredibly strong elements within these ancient cultures. Apart from traveling to the Middle East, many of my friends from school and university, are also responsible for introducing me to their, to use a Swedish word, husmanskost (house-man’s diet), and this is how I realised that there is a flow of various common ingredients and flavours across many cultures or manners of eating in our World, that naturally influence large groups of people and their diets. I slowly realised, as I was happily munching away on what was to me rather exotic delicacies, that I would have similar foods at Yazgil’s, Nazir’s and Leyla’s house, with just that little bit of a difference that would come down to either a spice, a herb or a vegetable…and it is this beautiful culinary fusion in ways of eating, that continues to inspire me and my personal manners of eating and cooking, until this date. What I really like about this particular salad is that there is no need for a dressing, the ingredients have it all going for themselves and it is a highly nutritious, amino acid rich, filling and clean vegan meal.
With all my recipes, I encourage you to use organic, local and or home grown produce as much as possible, my next suggestion would be to source your produce from smaller independent fruit and veggie shops, as they also have a close contact with farmers, as well as abide to fair financial contracts.
3-4 vegan falafels, cut in 1/4
1/2 cup tinned black beans, rinsed in water with a sieve, I use Global Organics
5-6 green olives
6 sugar snap peas, belly string removed
1 baby leek, topped, tailed and peeled back one layer and cut into fine rings until you hit the fibrous green
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, picked off the stalk
1 tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, picked off the stalk
1/2 a slender green chilli, cut in fine circles, deseed the chilli if you are sensitive otherwise enjoy the digestive heat
1 Lebanese cucumber, topped and tailed and cut in 1/4 or 1/6 lengthwise and then in approximately 1cm bits
1/2 avocado, sliced lengthwise and then cut into ‘cubes'
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1-2 fresh figs, topped and tailed and cut into 1/4 or 1/6
2-3 generous tbsp of hummus, I use Yalla or Syndian, the former being more garlicky and the latter more salty
1 pinch of smoked capsicum powder
1 tsp sesame seeds, black, white or toasted
A drizzle of toasted sesame oil
Wash and prepare all ingredients accordingly.
Place them in a mixing bowl in the order stated above, apart from the topping.
With clean hands, mix very gently and for a very short while, as to not bruise any of the ingredients. The goal being to ensure all the ingredients are somewhat evenly mixed.
Turn all ingredients gently into a serving bowl of sorts.
Garnish with a generous blob of hummus decorated with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a dusting of capsicum powder, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds
SERVES 1 very hungry or 2 persons
Drink suggestion; sparkling mineral water bottled at the source with lime and or Kombucha