Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette |

I’ve been seeing tropical fruits like avocados and mangoes, as well as an array of exotic vegetables all over the blog world recently.  But, instead of bemoaning their non-existence over here I shall celebrate the beautiful local produce we do have in this part of the world! New potatoes, fresh peas, asparagus and herbs all do particularly well in the UK.

Potato salad is of course a classic summer dish but typically relegated to a side. As this meal was all about showcasing our lovely vegetables I opted to turn it into a main. Along with the vegetables, chickpeas add some protein power and a zippy lemon basil vinaigrette brings it all together.

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

I love it with roasted radishes too!

Pre-Dressed Salad:

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette | coconutandberries

 New potatoes ready to roast- Steamed new potatoes are also delicious and would be a nice alternative to roasted, especially if you’re serving this as a cold salad.

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette


Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 Servings

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette


  • 650g New potatoes, halved
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Coarse Sea salt (I like Maldon) + Pepper
  • 1-1/2 C Cooked chickpeas/ 1 Can, drained + rinsed
  • 1 Bundle (approx 350g/1lb) asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 C Green peas (frozen are fine)
  • 2 Shallots, chopped finely
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C Fresh Basil, chopped coarsely or chiffonaded
  • salt + pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. On a large baking tray toss new potatoes with olive oil, and a good sprinkle of coarse sea salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Edges should be crispy and golden (Alternatively steam new potatoes approx 15mins).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Whisk together mustard and lemon juice and then slowly trickle in olive oil and keep whisking until emulsified. Stir through the basil and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Warm a large pan over medium heat with another drizzle of oil. Toss in asparagus along with 2T water, cover and cook for 4 minutes until bright green. Add peas, cover pan again and cook a further couple of minutes. If your peas are fresh add another couple of tablespoons of water to steam.
  5. When cooked, stir in chickpeas to warm through along with the minced shallots, just to take the sharp edge off them (you can also leave them raw if you like a bit of bite).
  6. Spread roasted new potatoes into a large serving dish in a layer then pour over the asparagus, chickpea & pea sauté.  Finish with black pepper and extra basil leaves.
  7. Either toss salad with dressing or serve on side for individuals to dress their own plates.

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog-hop Healthy Vegan Fridays

Roasted New Potato, Asparagus & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette |

What are your favourite local fruits and vegetables at this time of year?

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Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew “Chèvre”

Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew Chevre

Readers are probably aware that the vegetable known in many countries as “zucchini”, here in the UK we call “courgette” . Besides being a Brit I had to keep the British (originally French) word for this recipe for the nice little ring to my recipe title!

Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew Goat's Cheese

It began with a bag of chestnut flour, a kind gift from an Italian friend who I cook with occasionally. He taught me to make castagnaccio, the traditional Tuscan (naturally vegan) cake made with chestnut flour, olive oil, rosemary, sultanas + walnuts or pine nuts. I love the stuff but I make my castagnaccio small and thin so my bag of flour has hardly been dented.

Looking for more chestnut flour recipes I stumbled across one which I’ve veganized here. The chestnut flour does have a wonderful taste, sweet and rich, but as it’s combined with other flours and ground toasted hazelnuts you could certainly sub another- I’d still recommend something equally flavourful, maybe spelt or buckwheat, or the original recipe suggests millet flour as another option.

The nutty crust encloses layers of sweet caramelized onions, tangy goat’s cheese and herby courgettes and there are even minced fresh herbs in the dough.

In place of the goat’s cheese I decided upon a cashew-based cheese. This recipe at C’est la Vegan had rave reviews and I’d made it before but unbaked, this time I went the whole hog and baked it so it would crumble nicely over the tart and in-between the layers.

Galette Dough- Olive Oil, Chestnut Flour, Hazelnut Meal

Mixing up my dough

Galette Dough Ball

Ready to go in the fridge for a little resting time

Sliced Courgettes and Fresh Mint

Sliced courgettes and fresh garden mint

Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew Chèvre:

Adapted from Frenchie and the Yankie


1/2C Whole hazelnuts (to give 3/4C ground)
1/2C Chestnut flour
1/2C Wheat flour
3/4 C Whole wheat flour
1/2t Salt
3 Sprigs Rosemary
1/2C Water
1/4C Olive oil

Lay hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast at 180C/350F for approx 10mins (careful they don’t burn!). Wrap in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously together to remove most of their skins.

Leave to cool while you measure out the other dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pulse the nuts in a food processor with the rosemary until coarsely ground (you still want a little texture).

Add ground nuts to the bowl with the other dry ingredients and mix well. Make a well in the middle, pour in oil and gradually add water bit by bit until you can form the mixture into a ball. You might not need all of the water.

Wrap up the ball of dough and refrigerate for at least an hour. N.b. Remove from fridge to come to room temperature 30 mins before rolling it.

Caramelized Onion:

1T Olive oil
1 Large onion, very thinly sliced
1t sugar
Good pinch of salt

Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan and add onions. Cook gently for approx 5 minutes until beginning to soften, then sprinkle over sugar and salt. Spread into a thin layer and continue to cook on low for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be nice and caramelized and again may need more or less cooking time depending on your stove/pan etc.

Set aside in a bowl.

Herby Courgettes

2 Medium courgettes, thinly sliced (1/2 cm)
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1t Dried oregano (or 1T fresh if you can get it)
1T Finely chopped rosemary

Using onion pan cook garlic and herbs for a couple of minutes over medium heat.

Toss in courgettes and spread in a single layer. Cook for a few minutes before flipping and cooking on the other side. Remove from heat when beginning to soften but still crisp.

Set aside.

Putting Galette together

You will need your dough, caramelized onions, courgettes, 1/2 Recipe Cashew Chèvre ( I made the whole recipe and had some leftover, but use as much as you like), fresh mint.

Roll out dough to a circle approx 30cm in diameter on a large piece of parchment paper. Don’t worry if the edges are a little rough, it’s supposed to be rustic-looking!

Spread caramelized onions over, leaving a border of 1-2 inches. Next crumble over half your chèvre. Finally, arrange courgette slices working in overlapping circles, covering onions and chèvre. Fold edges over courgette, crimping as you go.

Lift up sides of parchment paper and place the whole thing on a large baking tray.

Put it back in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Cook galette for 30 minutes- edges should be golden and crunchy.

Leave to sit for a few minutes (if you have the patience…), sprinkle over remaining chèvre and mint leaves.

Serves 4-6

Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew Goat's Cheese

This turned out far better than I could have imagined, and although there are a few stages so it does takes some time, it was so worth it. I’m also sort of presuming that if you’re reading you probably like to spend time in the kitchen too!

So, who out there has used chestnut flour before? More ideas very welcome.

Digging into my bag has reminded me I need to get in touch with my Italian friend and organize another cooking session… Maybe I’ll pick up some traditional Italian recipes to share on the blog!


Sweet Potato, Spinach + Coconut Dahl

Sweet Potato, Spinach + Coconut Dahl

I tend to think of Indian dishes as pretty omnivore-friendly. Not usually any tofu, tempeh, seitan or any other ingredients less familiar to non-vegans. So, when I needed to whip up a casual dinner for a few family members, including one particularly unambitious eater…Indian it was!

This was very speedy to put together and didn’t even need a long simmer so it’s ideal for when you don’t have much time to devote to cooking the evening meal.

It might not look that filling, with just a 1/2 cup red lentils to thicken up the sauce, but the canned coconut milk gave the dish richness, as well as adding that silky smooth flavour I adore so much.

I kept it mild for she-who- will- not- be- named (!)…and actually found I didn’t really miss the heat, but you could add a little chili if you wanted a bit more kick.

Sweet Potato, Spinach + Coconut Dahl with Brown Rice

Sweet Potato, Spinach + Coconut Dahl:

1T Coconut oil
1 Onion, chopped
1/2T Minced ginger
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Chili, minced (optional)
1t Curry powder
1t Ground cumin
1t Turmeric
1/2t Salt
1 Large sweet potato, chopped into 1” cubes
1/2C Red lentils
1 Can (400ml) Coconut milk (I like Biona Organic)
1C Vegetable broth
Several handfuls spinach, torn or roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon

Warm coconut oil in a pot over medium heat, add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, optional chili, spices and salt and continue to cook another couple of minutes until smelling very fragrant. Don’t worry if it looks dry at this stage. Mix in sweet potato, lentils, coconut milk and broth, cover and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. The sweet potato should be soft and very easily fall off a fork when pierced. Pack in your spinach and keep stirring so it wilts and makes room for more in the pot. Cook a further few minutes uncovered. Turn off the heat and add a good squeeze of lemon, stir again and serve.

I just served it with some plain brown basmati rice but if I’d had a little more time  I’d probably have jazzed it up a little with some fresh coriander and toasted slivered almonds.

This would also be great served in a bowl with some roti for dipping. If I were to go that route I’d probably use a full cup of lentils so the dahl is a bit thicker and more scoop-able.

Serves 4-6

Sweet Potato Spinach Coconut Dahl

Do you have an easy meal you like to serve to omnivores, or to more traditional eaters?


Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Ginger Cashew Tempeh with Sugar Snap Peas

Tempeh is unfortunately not too easily found in the UK, even in health food stores. But I’ve fallen in love with the stuff so on a recent order from Goodness Direct (I buy all my raw nuts and seeds, dried beans etc. from here as it’s great value and you can buy in larger quantities than elsewhere) I bought several packages to keep handy in the freezer.

Although tempeh, like tofu, is made from soy beans, it’s quite different. Tempeh is made from whole cooked fermented soy beans whereas tofu is made from coagulated soymilk. Tempeh is generally firmer and chewier and is mildly flavourful on its own, unlike tofu. As tempeh is less processed it’s also considered healthier, with even more protein than tofu (approx 18g per/100g) and high levels of calcium and iron.

If you haven’t tried it yet or aren’t a fan of tofu I’d definitely suggest giving tempeh a go. Both have a place in my kitchen.

Some find the flavour to be a little bitter straight out of the package but steaming it can help. Simply place sliced tempeh in a saucepan and cover with water or vegetable broth. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the tempeh and proceed with marinating, grilling, baking, or however you’re preparing it.

This recipe is a nice introduction to tempeh as it’s not particularly complicated  and the ginger and garlic mean the tempeh flavour doesn’t come through hugely strongly.

If you can get hold of water chestnuts I highly recommend them in this dish, their sweet flavour and crispy texture really worked for me.

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas:

1C Broccoli, broken into florets (don’t throw away the stalks! Just dice them up and throw them in too)
1C Sugar snap peas
1/2T neutral oil + 1/2T Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 225g/8oz pkg Tempeh, cubed [pre-steamed if desired, see note above]
1/4C Cashews
1/2T Minced fresh ginger
2 Cloves garlic
1/4t Chili flakes
1/2 225g/80z Can water chestnuts, sliced thinly
1T Tamari or Bragg’s
1/2T Rice vinegar
1/2-1C Vegetable broth (I use Marigold Vegan Bouillon)
1T Flour (any)
Noodles (pictured are Clearspring Organic Udon), or Rice to serve

Prepare your noodles or rice first as the stir-fry is quick to come together

Steam Broccoli and Sugar Snaps for a few minutes until bright green and tender, set aside in a bowl.

Heat oils in a large pan or wok over medium-high and when hot add tempeh. Toss frequently and when it’s a little brown on all sides add cashews and continue to cook until golden. Add tempeh and cashews to the bowl with your vegetables.

In the same hot wok add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute before adding the remaining ingredients, except for the flour. As it begins to bubble gradually whisk in the flour- it should thicken up the sauce fairly quickly. At this point, if you prefer it a little more saucy add a touch more water, but not too much as you don’t want to dilute the flavours.

Toss in reserved vegetables, tempeh and cashews, mix to coat in sauce and warm through.

Serve over noodles or rice.

Serves 2

Ginger Cashew Tempeh + Sugar Snap Peas

Have you cooked with tempeh before? What do you think?


Review: The Nutribox

Review: The Nutribox

Snacking gets a bad rap. It’s not terribly surprising when you consider that the most widely-consumed snack foods are high in refined sugar, salt + fat, and low in nutritional value. But, fear not! It doesn’t have to be the case, and mindful snacking  can in fact be a great way to boost your intake of essential nutrients as well as keep your energy levels stable and stave off any between-meal hunger pangs.


A few months ago I came across the nutribox, a company here in the UK whose mission is to make it easier for people to eat healthily. They offer a monthly subscription service delivering a box packed full of nutritious and delicious snacks to your home or office.

Although I love to make my own snacks when possible, life can get the better of me, just like anyone and in those busy times it’s great to have healthy snacks on hand. These last few months while I was frantically revising and then taking my finals the nutribox was a lifesaver. .

There are two sizes of box available (pictured is the larger one) and in every box you get a wide range of sweet and savoury, chewy and crunchy delights, a mix of treats like raw chocolate and more virtuous snacks like dried fruit and nuts.


A lot of the products featured aren’t widely available in stores so another bonus for me is being able to support smaller businesses who are promoting healthy eating. Last weekend the allergy + free from show and V-delicious veggie good food show took place and I had the opportunity to meet the people behind many of these great products too. They’ve already set the date for 2014 so don’t miss out!

Pictured above are the treats I got in this month’s nutribox:

[I’ve linked to the individual company websites if you’re interested in finding out a bit more info on the products]

Cofresh Lentil Chips (Tomato + Basil)

Sanchi Tamari Crackers

Clearly Scrumptious Simply Strawberries

Miss Wallflower Raw “Refresh” bites

Bounce Spirulina + Ginseng Energy Ball

2 x Frank Bars (Blueberry + Chocolate, Double Chocolate)

Rude Health “the beetroot” Bar

Nakd Strawberry Crunch Bar

Trek Morning Berry Protein Flapjack

Creative Nature Super Seed Bar

MULU Raw Chocolate Buttons

Ombar Raw Probiotic Coconut Chocolate

Conscious Raw Handmade Essential Orange Chocolate

5x 40g Bags Ludlow Nut Company Nut, Dried Fruit + Seed Mixes (“Energise me”, “Scarlet Pimpernel”, “Omega Seed Mix”)

Can you see why I get ridiculously excited when my box arrives each month?!

The default box isn’t entirely vegan but they’ve just created a vegan box option which I’m very pleased about…oh and all the snacks are gluten-free.

Order now and get 25% off your first delivery.

If you try them out I hope you enjoy your boxes as much as I do mine Smile

Are you a snacker? If so, what are your favourite products?

Do you ever get foodie goodies delivered?