I love this colourful winter salad served alongside grilled chicken or fish but it can also be a meal in its own right as the lentils, rice and pistachios are good sources of vegetarian protein and of course great sources of fibre. Fennel can reduce gut inflammation and the bitter salad leaves, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar support digestion by encouraging our bodies to produce digestive enzymes.
The oranges, blueberries and pistachios are all full of essential vitamins and antioxidants, but you can swap them for whatever fruit, nuts and seeds you have in the house. I sometimes add pomegranate seeds or chop up a crunchy apple to sprinkle over the salad which also works well. The more plant foods you add, the more variety of polyphenols you will be eating.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
50g brown rice, cooked with fennel seeds
50g puy lentils, cooked
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 orange, skin removed and sliced into segments
Small handful of blueberries
150g chicory, sliced
Fennel bulb finely sliced
Pinch of salt and pepper
25g watercress, rocket or other green leaves
15g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
For the dressing:
1tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp tahini
1tsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Begin by cooking the brown rice and fennel seeds until tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly, leaving the fennel seeds in the rice – this will help add flavour to the salad.
Meanwhile mix all the dressing ingredients together.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients (except the pistachios, orange and blueberries), add the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir to make sure all the flavours are combined and sprinkle the pistachios and fruit over the top.