Grain salad recipe: this carrot, pecan and grain salad boosts nutrient levels

Posted by for Food

It’s time to turn the oven on: studies show that roasting your veg not only makes for a comforting autumnal dinner but also boosts the nutritional value of your meal. In this dish, the absorption of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that prevents cell damage, is increased more than six times by cooking the carrots into a sweet show-stopper.

Combined with high-protein quinoa and chickpeas and vitamin E-filled pecans to support muscle repair, you’ve got yourself an easy meal that just happens to be chock-full of all the post-workout nutrition you need. Carrot sticks and hummus, you can wait ‘til summer returns…

PREP TIME: 10 minutes 

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings 

INGREDIENTS

250g carrots, cut into batons

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 2-cm strips

1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

2 tbsp light olive or rapeseed oil

1 tsp za’atar spice or dried thyme

125g quinoa and bulgur (cracked) wheat mixture or 250g packet cooked quinoa

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

50g pecans, toasted

A small handful of fresh coriander or parsley, chopped, plus extra to serve

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

100g soft goats’ cheese, crumbled (optional)

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200 °C/fan 180 °C/gas mark 6.

Toss the carrots, peppers and onion, oil, za’atar and seasoning in a roasting tin. Make sure the tin is large enough so the vegetables are in a single layer. 

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly charred on the outside and tender in the middle.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and bulgur wheat according to the packet instructions.

Toss the roasted vegetables into the warm grains. 

Fold in the chickpeas, pecans, coriander or parsley and lemon juice, then season to taste.

Mound onto a plate, top with a little extra coriander or parsley and crumbled goats’ cheese, if using.

Recipe extracted from award-winning nutritionist Anita Bean’s new cookbook Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes (Bloomsbury, £17). 

Image: Claire Winfield

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