Pimp up your salad

Pimp up your salad: Carrot, chickpea and toasted cashew salad

I recently talked about a healthy salad dressing and just how easy it was to create a different dressing every day, if you wanted to! Once you have the basic formula, you can create any taste or flavour you want. I also noticed, however, that many people bring the same veggies and make up the same salads everyday for work. Again, variety is the spice of life so here are some ideas to create a range of salads.

First remember that Irish grocery stores and markets are filled with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, which can either be eaten raw or cooked for your salads. Try something new each month, for example, radishes or kohlrabi can provide a great crisp and flavour. You can also create variety by grating one day, thinly slicing or roasting and steaming the next. Remember that fruit is also great in salads, with grated apples, sliced pears, segments of orange or grapes being very tasty.

If you are going to have your salad as your whole meal, remember to add some of protein. Tinned or fresh fish, lean meats such as leftover chicken or beans or lentils provide a perfect start. You can also add some grains to complete the meal, such as left over brown rice and pasta, or roasted buckwheat or quinoa.

To create more difference, try different herbs or spices each day, the dried type keeping the cupboard for months.

Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies

Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies


  • 300g beetroot
  • 50g cashews
  • 2 small eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1 tbsp rice flour (or any flour)
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper (I used a 8” by 4” tray).
  2. Pre heat the oven to 160 oc.
  3. Wash the beetroot well but don’t worry about cutting any of the bits off.
  4. Quarter and place in a steamer and steam for about 20 mins. Allow to cool before peeling. Simply run a kitchen towel over them.
  5. Place the chocolate in a bowl above some simmering water and melt.
  6. Grind the cashews into a fine powder in a food processor, they turn into flour.
  7. Beat the eggs with an electric beater for 5 mins, adding the pinch of salt.
  8. Add the melted chocolate, followed by the maple syrup, followed by the vanilla extract, beating all the time.
  9. Grate the beetroot or mash with a fork and beat into mixture.
  10. Mix together the rice flour, cashew nuts and cocoa powder and fold into the egg mixture.
  11. Place in the tin and cook for about 25 mins. Delicious!
  12. Wheat free, gluten free

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