Last week I’m standing in front of my cardiac rehab group and I asked the question: ‘What is a heart healthy diet’. I got answers such as ‘high in fibre’, ‘plenty of fruit and vegetables’, ‘low in salt’ and then I also got ‘boring’. As I reflect on this, I think about peas. If you boil your peas, and force yourself to eat them mixed with your mash potato or covered in gravy, it would be boring.
Peas are so underrated. They are more than just something to chuck in boiled water and serve along side roast pumpkin and potatoes. They are more than the vegetable you mix into your mash potato or your gravy. Peas can be amazing. Just like all our vegetables. We just need to learn what herbs, spices and pastes go with them, and make them the hero. Like carrots, there’s carrots, and then there are Ottolenghi’s honey-roasted carrots served with tahini yoghurt. You can have boiled brussels sprouts, or you could pan-fry them with shallots, and mix with pomegranate and basil and lemon (recipe here). Steamed pumpkin is okay, roast pumpkin in good, and roast pumpkin covered in za’atar and covered in tahini yoghurt is better. (I’m a massive fan of Ottolenghi, and tahini yoghurt) Anyway, back to the peas. I’ve written about them in the past. I think they go really well with lemon, and with herbs such as dill and mint, and then feta, always. Like, they go really well together. So I made this salad, and I’d love to share it with you.
Grilled zucchini, pea + feta salad.
400g zucchini, sliced into rounds.
1 cup frozen peas
200g green beans, top + tailed, then halved
4 handfuls of spinach
Zest of 1 large lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lightly chopped mint
1. Spray non-stick pan with olive oil and heat. Cook zucchini, in batches if need, for 2 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Place in a bowl and cover.
2. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Cook beans for 3 minutes or until bright green and just tender, adding peas for the last 1 minute of cooking. Drain well. Add to zucchini in bowl. Toss to combine.
3. To that bowl, add lemon zest, juice, olive oil, mint and feta, and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Serve with a protein and carb of choice. I personally love tahini chicken (see recipe below) and some roasted sweet potato. You could also toss some quinoa, barley or freekeh through the salad, and serve with some baked fish. So many options.
For a printable version, click here.
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp cumin
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
400g chicken, cut into strips.
Combine tahini, cumin and lemon juice in a shallow bowl. Add chicken and coat in tahini dressing. Cover and marinate in fridge for approx 1 hour. Cook in non-stick pan.