Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad

Last Monday the international movement called Green Monday was launched by the Humane Society  in South Africa. This movement operates in a similar vein to Meat-Free Monday but adopts the removal of all animal products from your diet (including eggs and dairy) every Monday and eating completely plant-based for the day. The movement also encourages customers to ask their local eateries to provide plant-based meals on their menus. If you’ve visited The Snooty Fox lately, you will have noticed my addition of vegan starters, mains and desserts to the menu – ask your local to do the same! A plant-based way of eating seems to be the future as we become more and more aware of the unsustainabilty of intense livestock agriculture to the environment.

Conservative figures from a 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture report found that current production levels of meat and dairy contribute up to 18% of  the “CO2-equivalent” greenhouse gases that the world produces every year. That’s more than all the emissions of cars, trains, ships and planes combined! We might not all be able to stop driving to work, but we can all make a difference everyday in our diet to help contribute towards a better planet. Put simply, a vegetarian diet puts less stress on the environment, and for as simple an act as trading in meat and seafood for greens only once a week, the amount of carbon emission reduced is very significant. If you’d like to read up more on this movement, please click here to visit the South African “Green Monday” site.

So to start off your Green Monday movement, here is the recipe for a fabulous vegan Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad! This salad is made from a combination of produce from my vegetable garden at Fern Hill Hotel. I found some delicious thin-stemmed asparagus, radishes, day-lilies (yes, they’re edible and delicious), nasturtium leaves, peas, baby tomatoes and baby brinjal. I decided to make a ‘harvest-table’ styled salad which could be eaten on it’s own as a meal or used as a great addition to a family feast at home. This salad is obviously very inter-changeable with other ingredients, but here’s what I did with mine:

Asparagus and Brinjal Garden SaladIngredients

6 baby brinjals
Handful of asparagus
Handful of peas in the pod
4-5 radishes
10 baby tomatoes halved and roasted
½ cup mixed nuts and seeds
½ cup barley, boiled and kept aside
4 soaked sundried tomatoes

For the Pesto (to fill the brinjal)

½ cup macadamia or cashew nuts
100g basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 pinch lemon zest
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper. In a food processor, blitz together the washed basil leaves, garlic, nuts, zest and nutritional yeast. Add the olive oil until it creates your desired consistency. Season right at the end with salt and pepper.

Roast the baby brinjal for 30 minutes at 180c until soft.
Cut the brinjal in half and fill with basil pesto.
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolliong boil. Blanche the peas and the asparagus for about 30 seconds, then remove and plunge into ice cold water to refresh.
Toast the seeds in a pan and sprinkle over the brinjal.
Chop the sundried tomatoes and mix into the barley. Season with flake salt. Cut the vegetables into your desired sizes and place attractively over the barley. Garnish with the day-lily petals, nasturtium leaves, sprouts and toasted cashew nuts. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar if desired. Dig in and enjoy!Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad Asparagus and Baby Brinjal Garden Salad

Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

Author: Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

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