We’re constantly told we need to eat our five a day, now I consider myself a relatively healthy person (relatively, because at the time of writing I’m eating a brownie) but getting enough vegetables into my diet, and no doubt your diet isn’t always easy. One of the simplest ways to do this is to swap about some of your everyday carbs with vegetable substitutes – think cauliflower rice or courgetti (zucchini that’s been spiralised into a spaghetti-like ribbons).
Inspired by Donal Skehan’s beautiful fresh looking photos on Instagram and his simple approach to nutritious food I quickly found my way on bookdepository.com placing an order for his most recent book ‘Eat, Live, Go”
The book is categorised into its three title themes; Eat is about making good food a priority including both quick meals, slow-cook recipes and healthy options for desserts, Live is about being able to take the time to enjoy food, with a focus on increasing the nutrition content of your everyday meals and lastly, Go is food inspired by his travels.
The underlying theme is nutritious food without compromising flavour. What I love is there’s no finger pointing at the gluten consuming or dairy drinking. Take his chocolate cake, a squidgy dark beauty with thick swirls of frosting. Looking at it you wouldn’t expect the batter to be made from quinoa or the frosting with avocado, and you certainly wouldn’t expect it when you take a bite.
If you’re not a member of the clean-eating brigade you may be unfamiliar with using spiralised vegetables in the place of noodles or pasta. Don’t turn your nose up though, because if it’s been as revoltingly hot where you are as it has been for me, I know I’d much rather sit down to a bowl of salad then a hot bowl of pasta this time of year, and that’s where Donal’s ‘No-Cook Nutty Noodle Jar Salad’ comes in.
To make this I needed a spiraliser – and the one I got was a make called ‘Inspiralized The Inspiralizer Spiral Slicer’ which allows you to make four different types of ‘pasta’; thick ribbons, fettuccini, linguine and spaghetti. I didn’t (initially) open the instruction manual, as it appeared easy enough to use as it was fully assembled. So I place my zucchini in, and turn the handle, but the zucchini just spun around like some kind of mini vegetarian rotisserie. Assuming the two preceding glasses of post-work wine were responsible for the lack of courgetti coming out the other end I figured I should consult the manual. Turned out I was simply turning it in the wrong direction…
Donal directs you to spiralise the zucchini and use a julienne peeler on the cucumber and carrot, I do with the carrot as instructed but spiralise the cucumber. After all chunkier bits of cucumber are always better as they can get a bit flimsy once cut up.
As I shred and spiralise my way through the zucchini, cucumber, cabbage and carrots I come to the realisation that the bowl I originally picked to mix this in is far too small. I reach for one of my larger mixing bowls that soon enough is close to overflowing too. I’m starting to question if Donal’s serving size for two is if you’re both two horses.
The salad dressing is much like bang bang sauce, that thick dressing of peanut butter or sesame emulsified with soy, chilli and vinegar. I microplane the garlic and ginger, instead of finely chopping. Not only is it much easier but the flavour is less invasive as you don’t end up with nuggets of garlic lodged between your teeth.
To make transport easy, I’ve kept the salad undressed and poured some dressing into the useful compartment that sits under the lid in my Kilner Food on the Go Jar. That way it’s kept fresh until you’re ready to eat, in which you just pour the dressing on, replace the lid and shake.
What I like about this is the texture and substance that spiralised vegetables bring. If you don’t have a spiraliser I would suggest you get one, because no matter how good your knife skills are, you’re not going to be able to turn out bouncy little bundles like one of these can.