Happy Summer Solstice!
This morning I set my alarm for 4:30 am, yes 4:30, so I could watch the sunrise on the longest day of the year. I was hugely disappointed as it was so cloudy I never actually got to see the sun but the sky was pink, orange, yellow and a smokey purple just beautiful.
As I watched the sun rise through the clouds I completed 8 repetitions of the sun salutation yoga sequence as a celebration to Summer Solstice; the doorway to the second half of the year.
But before we all start thinking about the nights drawing in and Winter fast approaching as we've reached the longest day of the year, stop and immerse yourself in the glorious season we call summer.
Invite your friends around and throw a party, sit outside and enjoy the long days and warmer evenings. If you're a kitchen gardener like myself you'll be harvesting plenty and enjoying the fresh tasting home grown food you have put all that care and attention in.
Today I made my Summer Solstice Salad, I don't just eat this once a year, that would be silly! But as this is the longest day it is packed full with colour, flavour and of course health benefits.
Ingredients - Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
100g Broccoli, cut into florets
85g Salad leaves
75g Carrot, shredded
135g Mixed peppers, cut into strips
¼ Cucumber, cut into ½ moons
6 Cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1 lemon
250g Cooked grains*
75g Basil tofu, cubed
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
1 Tsp (heaped) Vegan Pesto
4 Tbsp Soy cream - I used the light version
Salt & Pepper
*As I was busy in the garden I didn't have much time to spend in the kitchen so I used one of my go to store cupboard ingredients; A packet of "Waitrose Love Life Spelt, Quinoa, Red Rice & Wild Rice". It can be eaten hot or cold and is a blend of 4 grains.
First make the dressing for the salad, in a blender add the basil tofu, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, vegan pesto and soy cream and blend. Add 1 Tbsp of the lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper and a little pink Himalayan salt and blend again. Transfer to a screw top jar and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Note: If you don't want to use soy cream you could make a batch of cashew cream and use that instead but I chose to use soy cream as I had limited time.
Steam the broccoli until just cooked, drain and set aside to cool. Arrange the salad leaves on a large plate and sprinkle over the carrot and peppers. Top with the cooked and cooled broccoli and cucumber slices.
Dress the cooked grains in the remainder of lemon juice and mix. Make a small well in the centre of the salad leaves and fill with the cooked dressed grains. Arrange the cherry tomatoes around the cooked grains and serve with the dressing on the side.
This salad is very filling and I only managed to eat a quarter of the above before I had to admit defeat! I think I was in too much of a rush to get back to my gardening :o)