Indian Vegetarian Dish


Yellow Dal is comfort food at its best, it is a simple dish but a staple in most Indian homes. Growing up my mum always cooked us Yellow Dal with Rice and it something we devoured. I’m so glad I’ve introduced this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe to my kids. On our meat-free days my boys are content with a bowl of steaming rice and dal.

The yellow split peas is boiled until it’s soft and it is then cooked with a variety of spices. The tempering of the spices is what takes the dal to a whole new level. My favourite way to serve this dish is with rice but you can have it with your favourite bread too.

Everyone has their own method of cooking this dish. I remember my mum spending hours tempering her spices and creating a delicious mix to add to her dal. I must admit I am a lazy cook, for me it’s the easy way out as long as my food still tastes delicious without the added effort I am happy. It is about the flavour after all, right?

We call it yellow dal due to the fact that turmeric is added to it, this is what gives this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe a beautiful golden hue. I find my dried beans and peas takes much longer to boil in Johannesburg, due to the high altitude. If you didn’t know this “low air pressure causes boiling water to evaporate more quickly in high altitude”, now you should understand why our dried beans and peas take longer to cook. It’s why I have invested in a pressure cooker, makes life so much more simple.

This recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and you can make it ahead and freeze. My fussy family will never eat food that’s pre-cooked and frozen but I have frozen cooked dal in the past, heated and served it to them. They didn’t know the difference. My hubby even went to the extent of complimenting me on how delicious the dal was, or should I say “leftover dal”. I hope you get to make a fresh pot of dal and enjoy!

You may want to try some of my other vegetarian recipes from my blog too, here’s the links below: https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/dhall/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/sauteed-okra-lady-fingers/

My friend Sonila makes a delicious Yellow Split Pea Soup, so if you want to try something different check her recipe out at:

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach/

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach


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Yellow Split Pea Dhall Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Soak dhall overight or for a few hours. Add the 3 cups of water with the turmeric and boil on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker until it's soft and smooth
  2. Heat butter ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts bursting add spring onion (optional) curry leaf, chilli and onion and sauté until onion is translucent
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute
  4. Add the tomato and cook on a low heat until the tomato is cooked
  5. Add the cooked dhall and season with salt, Add more water and bring to a boil, allow it to simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Water can be added according to your preference, if you prefer a thick dhall add less water, if you prefer it more liquid then add less water.
  6. Garnish with coriander
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Refreshing Summer Salad

After seeing a salad posted in the Pick n Pay freshliving magazine I was really inspired to make a similar salad, it looked amazing. This Honeyed Peach and Pesto Salad is heavenly. The original recipe used goat’s cheese and I am not a fan of goat’s cheese. I changed the recipe to suit my tastebuds and it is the best salad ever. And I thought nothing could beat the roasted-brocolli-and-haloumi-salad.

I was definitely mistaken, this Honeyed Peach and Pesto salad has now become my favourite summer salad.

The peach that I used in this salad was perfectly sweet so I didn’t need too much honey. I also didn’t load it with tons of basil pesto, I used a little pesto but wow, I never knew peaches and pesto could taste so good together. My hubby was amazed at how delicious this salad turned out.

We always have feta in our fridge and feta goes well with almost any salad as far as I’m concerned. It tied in perfectly with the other ingredients in this salad, a little bit of sweetness, some saltiness and some crunch. What more can you ask for.

I’m usually not the adventurous type when it comes to food but today I was in a different mood obviously. Just let me say I’m glad I tried something new.

This salad is definitely a keeper and I can’t wait to try making it for some guests soon.

If you are a goddess in the kitchen do try making your own pesto but if you are like me, looking for easy ways to make a meal, just use some store bought pesto. Woolworths makes delicious pesto and I often use it in my dishes, we can’t always make everything from scratch!

Please do try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed, even if you not the adventurous type you will still love it, trust me on this one.

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Honeyed Peach and Pesto Salad
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Instructions
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan and fry pumpkin seeds until golden
  2. Add honey and remove from heat
  3. Arrange the peach on a platter. Scatter the feta, lettuce/ rocket leaves and pumkin seeds
  4. Thin the pesto with the tablespoon of olive oil, add more if you want a more runny consistency and drizzle over the salad before serving
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Summer calls for light meals and lazy days….haha… wishful thinking, I wish I could have those lazy days….can a mum ever! Well at least I get to have the light meals, this Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable is perfect. What I love most about is that you can have it as a meal on it’s own, great as a bowl meal or add some chicken, lamb or feta to it and you good to go.

My recipe for https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/perfect-roast-vegetable/ was used in this recipe, so do follow the recipe to make the veggies. However, I have omitted the Cajun spice from the Roast Vegetable for this recipe.

I am trying to keep things simple the next few weeks as I am overseeing the renovation of our new home, it’s starting to take a toll on my stress levels. But I must admit it’s really exciting, besides cooking and making nails pretty I love interior decorating. I will definitely give you a peek into my new home sometime soon.

The one thing I’m waiting for the most is my brand new kitchen, imagine having your own dream kitchen. I never had my own kitchen designed before, all the homes we lived in had kitchens installed and they were all almost new so my hubby refused to pay for another kitchen. I finally get my way, how exciting is that. I spend most of my days in the kitchen so I want it to be a place I can relax and enjoy being in it. Isn’t it wonderful when you have people over and you can feel proud about your surroundings and even better when your home becomes your peaceful sanctuary. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just neat, clean with a simple, tasteful design.

This year has been a great start, so many exciting things happening in our lives and I am so grateful for all that we receive. With the tough life I’ve had in the past I’m sometimes almost scared when good things happen to me, almost like “do I deserve all of this”? If you going through a tough time right now just know that it will soon end, tough times don’t last forever. Trust me I know. So much for my blabbing away…let’s get back to the recipe.

Nothing much to say about this recipe except that it’s light, delicious and so versatile. Do enjoy!

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Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable
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Instructions
  1. Roast your vegetables as per recipe in the link above
  2. If you are using store bought stock heat it up in a saucepan, add cumin and paprika. Add the couscous and butter and close the saucepan for 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the roast vegetable and squeeze the lemon juice in. Toss gently to combine.
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Happy New Year Everyone! I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the New Year but I’m all rearing to go again. Holidays are not good for me, it really slows me down and takes me a while to get back into the flow of things. At least I’m starting off on a good note with a healthy recipe, Perfect Roast Vegetable.

I won’t promise to share all healthy meals throughout the year because I love baking and I won’t be happy if I can’t share my sweet treats. However, I will share a fair spread from sweet indulgence to healthy and simple. Just the way we all love it, it’s called balance.

You don’t need to put in much effort to make perfect roast vegetable, takes just a few minutes to put it all together, pop it into the oven and you good to go. I am Indian so I add a little spice wherever I can, that includes my roast vegetable. It has loads of flavour with a slightly caramelized exterior and tender on the inside, super delicious.

Sometimes I can be a little lazy in the kitchen so this is my go to side dish when I have my moments. And for those lazy days it’s even better when you can buy the pre-cut vegetable, how much easier can life get.

If you are using firm vegetable like the butternut used in this recipe, I suggest you cover it with foil for the first few minutes, This technique really does help in speeding up the cooking process. It also helps to cut all your veggies a similar size to get your veggies to cook evenly. You really don’t want bits of undercooked veggies at serving time.

Be careful not to crowd your vegetable when baking them, a large roasting pan or even your cookie sheet works perfectly well. I line my sheet with some parchment paper before spreading out my vegetable.

Seeing it’s meat-free Monday for most of us you can use this recipe for your dinner tonight, if I had my way I will add some grilled halloumi and make a meal of it. If you looking for another great side dish do try this amazing Brocolli Salad https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/roasted-brocolli-and-haloumi-salad/

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Perfect Roast Vegetable
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. RInse vegetable well and drain all the excess water
  3. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. You can add a little more olive oil if required. I did not add salt as the seasoning had enough salt but you can add more if you wish
  4. Line a the roasting pan with some parchment paper, spread the vegetable evenly. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour
  5. After the half hour, remove the foil and cook the vegetable further until it's cooked and slightly caramelized. My cooking time was exactly an hour
Recipe Notes

If you are using a variety of vegetables you can start by cooking the veggies that take longer too cook first and after a few minutes add the more tender veggies.  I also add my thyme with the stem and I pick them out once the veggies are cooked, if you have time you can pick the leaves and add it to the veggies

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I consider this to by my Old-Fashioned Potato Salad and I promise you will love it. Although I have another recipe I use, which is a French style potato salad I still prefer this recipe. The great thing about my Old-fashioned Potato Salad recipe is that there’s no fancy ingredients used. Simple ingredients that can be found in your pantry, is used to make this amazing salad. So you can have this Old-Fashioned Potato Salad anytime you wish.

My week has been a little stressful and I felt like some comfort food. What better than a creamy potato salad.

We have been looking for a new home for almost a year and we have finally found a home that we love. It didn’t occur to me just how stressful buying a new home can be. There are a million things to sort out and most of it will be my responsibility, that I do know already.  I am a stay-at-home mum and most people, including my husband, thinks we just sit around and make ourselves pretty all day. I’m already feeling the strain and we haven’t even started packing yet.  I hope I survive from now until the day we move…wish me luck! When I’m stressed I look for comfort in food and that’s not a good thing. Luckily I’m not stressed 365 days a year.

If you do make this potato salad I suggest you use waxy potatoes. Waxy potatoes have a creamy, moist, firm flesh which usually holds its shape long after it’s cooked.

Mayonnaise is definitely what adds to the creaminess of the salad together with the eggs. Not many people add eggs to potato salad but the eggs makes all the difference in creating a delicious potato salad. You can also opt for a light mayonnaise or some yogurt but if you already eating carbs then I suggest use that mayonnaise and go all the way. You can gym afterwards.

If you are crazy about potatoes like I am then you will also love my recipe for Indian Fried Potatoes


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Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

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Instructions
  1. Boil your potatoes in some salted water until they are cooked. You will know they are cooked when you poke a knife though it and it slides in easily. You can cube the potatoes and then boil but I prefer boiling them whole. I cut them up once they are cool.

  2. Boil 3 eggs, remove the shell and set aside. I boil my eggs by adding them into a saucepan with cold water. Once it starts to boil I then turn the heat off and cover the saucepan, leaving it on the hot stove for about 10 minutes. I then take it off the stovetop and remove the shells, this way I get perfectly boiled eggs all the time. If you want soft eggs you can remove it off the hot stove a little sooner.

  3. Once the potatoes are cool, add in the chopped onion and the chopped eggs. Season with more salt and pepper if required. Mix in the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. You can add more mayonnaise if your prefer. Garnish with parsley and a little sprinkle of paprika. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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I hope you all had a great weekend.   This amazing Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake recipe is from my sister in Australia, it is so delicious so I have to share it with you. She made this often when she lived in SA and everyone fell in love with it.  Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake makes a perfect side dish, especially when braaiing. It just goes so well with braaied meat. It is not the healthiest dish to make as it’s loaded with cheese and cream but everything in moderation.

We don’t have this dish very often, probably once or twice a year but it is so worth making it. Although I’m not crazy about Cream Style Sweetcorn it works amazingly well in this dish. It was so delicious that my family cleaned out the dish, there were no leftovers. Trust me even the picky eaters will eat this.  It’s amazing how cream and cheese makes everything taste heavenly, why does everything that taste good have to be bad for you. Life is so unfair. I sound like my kids, telling me life is not fair when they can’t have their way.

Butternut can sometimes get a little boring so this takes your butternut to a whole new level. We often have butternut that’s steamed or grilled so let’s call this our butternut treat. If you are vegetarian you can have this Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake with a refreshing green salad and maybe some crusty bread….mmmm sounds mouthwatering.

In my instructions I did say “smash your butternut” and not “mash” because you really don’t want a pureed bake. The butternut should have some texture so it’s not a mushy bake. When steaming your butternut and it is slightly undercooked that’s okay, it will cook further in the oven so don’t stress too much about that. I hope you love this dish as much as we do!

 

 

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Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake
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Instructions
  1. Steam the butternut until tender
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Smash the butternut once cooked and place in a oven proof dish.
  3. Pour the cream style sweetcorn over the butternut and roughly mix it together, don't over mix. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the chilli flakes
  4. Pour the fresh cream over. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top. Sprinkle a little paprika over the cheese and bake for about 45 minutes.
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My hubby cannot cook, he can barely fry an egg but he can make some amazing rustic salads…I have to admit his salads taste delicious. He made us this Baked Bean Salad, I think it’s his absolute favourite and he made it with such love I can’t help but share it. I don’t think his mum knew how to make many creative salads but she did make a mean baked bean salad so I think it’s where he got his tips from. Even my 9 year old enjoyed his dad’s salad. I am lucky in many ways, I have a husband that is truly a family man, I never had that before and I’m so blessed to have someone that really goes out of his way to take care of us. If someone tells you they have a perfect marriage then they need their heads checked, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect human being, marriage is hard work and a work in progress. We work at ours every single day, there’s no denying that and the key is communication, respect and most of all trust. If it’s one thing I can say is that I trust my husband 100%,

So this recipe post is dedicated to my amazing but sometimes cranky husband, Mickesh whom I love to bits.

This is a simple salad and I know it was a salad at every braai during our childhood, I don’t remember loving it very much when I was younger but now it’s absolutely yummy and even more yum with some braai sausages.

I always have a few canned goods in my cupboard or should I say more than a few, I sometimes forget what I have and buy more so I probably end up with a whole lot of canned stuff that could last me a year, thankfully they have long expiry dates. Now that it’s summer in SA you will need loads of salad recipes so you can add this one to your list. I have a rather pedantic hubby so he’s even counted the number of mint leaves he used in the salad so here you have it, a very precise recipe.

 

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Baked Bean Salad
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together the baked beans, red onion, tomato, mint, coriander and green chilli
  2. Add the chilli sauce and the lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve
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I posted a recipe for Dhall Puri in an earlier post, this is the exact same dough minus the filling and I’ve used butter ghee as I used this for a prayer so it had to be saltless. As Hindus there are rituals that we perform so there are rules that have to be followed. But I will leave that discussion for another day.

Puri is not something everybody gets right the first time, it’s all about getting the dough right and getting the thickness of the puri perfect and of course, the frying is also tricky as your oil has to be at the right temperature, if your oil is not hot enough you are going to have oil-fiiled, soggy puris.  The yogurt also creates tenderness to the puris, it’s why I add it to my dough. The baking powder helps the dough puff up, I never let my dough rest when making puri and they still puff up pretty  well.

We all have kitchen disasters from time to time but if you do want to perfect your puri making skill then don’t give up. It may fail a couple of times but you are bound to get it right after a few tries. I have used this recipe for a while now and it never lets me down, I think I’ve mastered the technique of making puris. If this South Indian girl can make puris so can you!

You can also freeze your puri after rolling them out and fry them when you need them. I leant this trick from my mum-in-law and her puris were perfect.  Puris are commonly eaten with vegetarian curries here in South Africa, the most popular curry being a bean curry which is served at Indian prayer functions. It is a great combination, if you want to try it you can use my Gadra (Borlotti) Bean Curry recipe.

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South African Puri Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the yogurt, pour the milk around the flour and bring the dough together. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour or if too dry add a little more milk.
  3. Knead the dough until it's soft and smooth.
  4. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Dust a flat surface with flour and roll the dough into circles, about 3mm thickness.
  5. Fry the puris in hot oil on medium heat
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Hope you all had a great weekend! I love weekends as it’s family time and it’s great having my kids and hubby at home, although sometimes I have to work extra hard when they are all at home, more dishes to wash, more food to cook. I do have part-time help with my chores a couple of days a week but on weekends having boys in the house is almost like we were struck by a tornado, every corner of the house is a total mess. I have a hubby that loves a clean house and he helps with cleaning up n the weekends, he vacuums and he mops, yes….I hope his mum doesn’t read this. Well, she knows her son’s taken care of so he’s just doing his bit to take care of me. He even brings me coffee in bed on the weekends, he can be very sweet when he wants to be. I’ve been through many rocky roads in life so it is great to have a husband that does take care of me, he’s not perfect, he is human so he has flaws like the rest of us. But he is a good dad and a great step-dad to my 2 boys, it is a blended family and we have our ups and downs but we always find a way to resolve our issues as a family.  He does spoil me and takes cares of all our needs, he even does grocery shopping for me straight after work, he has a stressful job but he never refuses to shop for me, we are both shopaholics.

These are some of the reasons why I don’t mind spoiling him a little, its why I made these delicious prawns as a little snack for him, even though I had no intention of cooking yesterday afternoon.

Normally I would try and add in a million ingredients to try  and get my garlic prawns to taste good, however yesterday I decided I was going to use minimal ingredients and make the prawns just the way I always made it, simple but bursting with flavour. This dish was the most delicious dish I have ever made, the prawns were to die for and it was so easy to make.

I made a small portion because it was just for my hubby, my kids didn’t want any so I didn’t want to let my expensive prawns go to waste by preparing too much. I had a little bite because I am trying to be healthy and watching my cholesterol. You can serve this with a crusty bread, just yummy when you dip it into the sauce or you can serve it on a bed of pasta. You can use the feature below to increase the number of servings and the recipe will be worked out for you.

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Creamy Chilli and Garlic Prawns
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Instructions
  1. Clean and rinse your prawns really well, I add a little course salt to my prawns, rub it in well and then rinse it and squeeze out the excess water. You have to squeeze out as much water as you can to prevent your prawns from getting all rubbery when cooked
  2. Using a pestle and mortar add the chopped chilli, garlic and lemon juice and smash it until you get a coarse paste
  3. Add the chilli paste to the prawns together with the lemon zest. Season with salt and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, on high heat, with a few drops of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Flash fry the prawns, takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fresh cream to the same pan, just until it heats through. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve
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This Grilled Nectarine and Fig Salad is the perfect summer salad. When you still feeling fatigued from the night before then it’s time to make the easy stuff. Last night was my son’s Valedictory, it did take a good chunk off our evening and we got to bed really late so I was famished this morning. Last night brought back memories of my own matric year and what an exciting year I had and how happy I was at school, although that was a gazillion years ago. I can’t believe Mikaylin is spending his final days at school, how time flies. My son is not an A student but I know that he has always tried hard, he never gave me a days problem whilst attending school, there are so many moms that are dealing with teenage issues and my heart goes out to those moms, my older so was a little bit of a Rebel but he’s mellowed a bit with age. Mikaylin is by no means perfect, he has his moods, like all teenagers but I won’t call him a problem child, he is quite level-headed and calm and sometimes he gives me a little lip but he’s never disrespectful to others and I’ve never once been called in to school for homework not being done or misbehaviour, it’s all a mum wants. A well-behaved, happy child with good values. I hope I’ve taught him enough to stick to those values even as he grows up.

I don’t have the perfect family by any means but I have a content family, after being on such a rocky road most of my life it feels great not to stress but just go with the flow and enjoy the family I have. It’s good to enjoy each new stress-free day without having to worry about tomorrow, it’s what I’m trying to live by and it feels great. Although some days I do go astray, that’s only because I can sometimes be a basket case.

Seeing I was looking for easy I made this salad with nectarines, fig, rocket and feta. The other reason is that I had a whole lot of nectarines and figs that were about to get overripe soon.  It was the yummiest salad I’ve had, well apart from that Roasted Brocolli and Haloumi Salad I had not so long ago. I grilled the nectarines and fig before adding it to the salad, what can be more amazing than grilled fruit. I grilled mine on a hot griddle pan, ensure that your pan is hot as you just need to sear the fruit fairly quickly, you don’t want mushy fruit. I did not make a salad dressing for this, I drizzled some honey and balsamic over my salad, I’m in love with balsamic, I don’t need anything else for my salads.

 

 

 

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Grilled Nectarine and Fig Salad
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Instructions
  1. Cut the nectarines into pieces. Cut the figs in halves or quarters. Set aside
  2. Heat a griddle pan on high heat. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the nectarines and figs and sear them until brown grill marks form on them. Do not grill it for too long or it will turn mushy
  3. Mix the rocket leaves, nectarine and figs together. Crumble the feta over or add in cubes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey
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