We’re regularly told to ‘eat our greens’ but how many of us think of herbs when we hear that? Green herbs can be a great way of packing both nutrition and flavour into dishes. So step aside kale, basil is vying for superfood status.
Manganese is a powerful nutrient that helps to control our blood sugar levels and regulate energy. So it’s great for keeping the hangry monster at bay. This salad will keep it silenced for hours as basil, salad greens and courgette are all good sources of manganese.
The heady fragrance of basil not only smells good but does you good too. Inhaling the essential oil found in basil has been shown to decrease mental fatigue1. So eating this salad for lunch really may fight off that 3pm slump.
The other super nutrient found in basil is vitamin K. Vitamin K comes in three forms; K1, K2 and K3. K1, found in basil, works with calcium to make sure our bones stay strong. That’s why pairing basil with calcium packed halloumi is the perfect combination.
But your bones aren’t the only ones to benefit from this salad. Your friends are too. With a little char adding to their flavour, the courgette and halloumi work well on a summer barbeque. So whip this up next time you have a crowd over. Trust us, your vegetarian friends will thank you for providing something other than a sad looking veggie sausage.
Ros’s Tip: Use the leftover dressing to liven up avocado on toast. Mash together half an avocado with one teaspoon of the dressing and spread liberally on a good slice of toasted sourdough.
What you need
- 2 small courgettes (approx. 150g)
- 150g halloumi
- 240g (1 can) cooked borlotti beans
- 2 handfuls rocket or watercress
For the dressing
- 1 bunch (50g) basil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon filtered water
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the dressing. Place all the dressing ingredients into a small blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Simple!
Now for the salad. Put a griddle or frying pan on a high heat. Thinly slice the courgette lengthways – each one should divide into four or five slices. Lay them on a chopping board and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Thinly slice the halloumi lengthways, so that it’s just slightly thicker than the courgette.
Place the slices of courgette and halloumi in the pan and grill for 2 minutes both sides.
While those are in the pan, drain the beans in a sieve and gently rinse them. Place in a bowl along with the rocket. Add two tablespoons of the dressing and mix together to thoroughly coat everything.
Divide the bean mixture evenly between two plates. When they’re done, remove the courgette and halloumi from the pan and place on top of each salad. You may have dressing left so either add another dollop on top for extra zing or save it for tomorrow.
Ros Bates created 'A Manner of Eating' to provide recipes and resources for those with food intolerances. She is also Head of Nutrition at Healthy Start Holidays.
- Varney E, Buckle J. Effect of inhaled essential oils on mental exhaustion and moderate burnout: a small pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jan;19(1):69-71