Black Bean Spinach Salad with Red Pepper Dressing

There’s no end to the variety of delicious salads you can make for yourself at home and as winter sets in, it’s great to have a light dish that actually leaves you feeling full! My Black Bean Spinach Salad with Red Pepper Dressing does just that and also packs a strong nutritious punch at the same time. Making the salad is the quick and easy part whilst the dressing takes a little bit more preparation. However, it’s well worth the time it takes to get ready!

Using red peppers as the base for a salad dressing is an amazing way to take full advantage of their health promoting properties. Red peppers are packed full of vitamins and nutrients – especially vitamins C & A. As we know, vitamin C is great for the health of your skin and vitamin A is essential for the good health of your eyes. Red peppers are also a wealthy source of vitamin B6 and magnesium, a combination of which is thought to help decrease anxiety levels and the vitamin B6 half of this duo is also fantastic for preventing bloat and hypertension.

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To make enough for two people, you’ll need the following ingredients:

2 cups of cooked black beans

1 cup of spinach

1 small onion

A handful of black olives

A head of romaine lettuce

A whole carrot, shredded

A large handful of almonds, roughly chopped

And then for the dressing you’ll need:

2 red bell peppers

Coconut oil

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp of extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp of maple syrup

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

So to begin, preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C. You can then slice your peppers in half and remove all of the seeds you find inside. Take your coconut oil and massage it lightly all over the peppers. You must then put them into an oven-proof dish and then leave them in the oven for 45 minutes.

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Once this time is up, take the peppers from the oven and leave them to cool for ten minutes or so. After ten minutes, the skins should slide easily from them and you can then place them into your food processor with all of the other dressing ingredients. Give this a whiz until it is completely smooth and then it is ready for use.

Take your black beans and combine in a separate container with half of the salad dressing that you have just prepared. Give this a good stir and then add in the onion, spinach, almonds, lettuce, olives and carrot. This can then be served onto two plates and more dressing added if needed.

Remember, if you want to learn more about nutrition then check out The Flexie Foodie Academy!

 

Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa!

Salsa makes a great accompaniment to a wide selection of meals and, with no set recipe as to how it has to be made, you can create any number of variations to suit your tastes! Depending on the ingredients you choose to use, your salsa can not only be a tasty addition to your meal but also a healthy and nutritious one! Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa is one of my favourites to create, especially if I’m having guests over, and takes next to no time at all to put together. To whip up a dish for yourself that’ll be enough to serve six, you’ll need the following things:

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1/2 a large cucumber, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red hot chilli, finely chopped
1/2 a bunch of mint, chopped
1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped
The juice of 1 lime,
Sea salt and pepper
A drizzle of olive oil

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So first is the fun part! Take the pomegranate, cut it in half and get your fingers in there to prise all of the seeds free. Ensure that you pull away all the pith as you go. Once you’ve done this, take the cucumber, chilli, red pepper, mint and coriander and mix in a bowl. Then you can also combine all of the pomegranate seeds into the bowl before adding the juice of the lime.

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Make sure you stir everything together well and then add the sea salt, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Give the whole bowl a final stir before covering and placing in the fridge to chill.

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As soon as the time comes to tuck in, you can just remove from the fridge, uncover and serve as is! If for some reason you don’t get through the whole dish, you should be okay to re-cover and pop back in the fridge for a day or two, however it’s more than likely it’ll all be gone after the first sitting!

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Pomegranates are an amazing super-food that, as part of a balanced diet, can really help improve your overall health. They are low in calories and high in many nutrients. It is the seeds of the plant which should be eaten and you can either do so in its natural form or blend it into a juice. The seeds of a pomegranate contain absolutely no cholesterol and just a small amount of fat but will provide you with natural sugars and fibre. Pomegranate seeds are also rich in antioxidants which are great for combating the free radicals in your body which can assist the formation of some cancers.

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The nutritional value of mint is also to be admired as it is packed full of minerals and vitamins! This herb is an especially good source of carotenes and vitamin C which means good things for your immune system! Magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and calcium can also be found in abundance in a serving of mint, all of which have individual health properties; mostly pertaining to the maintenance of your bones and blood. Similarly, coriander has many of the same qualities and both are herbs which should feature in your daily diet!

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Hot chilli peppers have multiple health benefits, some of which are often overlooked. For a start it is thought that consuming even a small amount of chilli peppers will help you to sleep better whilst also making you feel more awake and energetic the following day. Chilli peppers will also aid your body in lowering cholesterol which means good things for the overall health of your heart. Also, they are great for fighting inflammation which is a common precursor to many diseases.

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