Posh Chefy Salad

A nutritious and tasty gluten-free mixed salad of beetroot, smoked mackerel and cream cheese quenelles with a lemon parsley dressing. You don't have to be posh to enjoy this!


The cupboards were bare and the fridge was low on stock. After a weekend's overindulgence with too much meat and carbs, I really fancied something light. Then it hit me - I spied the ingredients for a salad. My heart sank. Salads....My childhood memories of salads are of limp lettuce, a couple of slices of cucumber and ½ a tomato. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but for a food lover like me I just need it to be a little more interesting, or I begin to feel like a rabbit! Anyway I spied a lone pack of beetroot in the fridge. I tend to buy those no-fuss vacuum packs. If I am feeling very virtuous I'll buy fresh and cook them myself (boiled or baked with butter yummy), but frankly I get in such a mess that the vacuum packs are just perfect for me. I scrabbled around to see what else I had and lo and behold my 'posh chefy salad' was born. I named it this because of the 'cream cheese quenelles'. Frankly maybe calling it a beetroot and mackerel salad might be better!

Gluten-Free Posh Chefy Salad

Healthy and delicious too; a winning combination.

Ingredients

Serves 2

For the salad:

  • salad leaves
  • 1 stick celery, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into â…›ths
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 beetroot (cooked, peeled and sliced)
  • 1 smoked mackerel fillet

For the cream cheese quenelles (optional):

  • â…“ pack of extra low fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp milled chia seeds
  • ½ tbsp walnut pieces
  • ½ tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tbsp sunflower seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • a small handful parsley, finely chopped

Method

  • To make the cream cheese quenelles, scoop cream cheese into a bowl and mix well.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the milled chia seeds. Leave for a few minutes to thicken the mixture. Stir again.
  • Meanwhile, in a grinder/food processor grind a handful of walnuts, sesame and sunflower seeds in a fine powder. Tip the powder on to a large plate.
  • Use two teaspoons to make small quenelles from the cream cheese mixture. Drop the mixture, one quenelle at a time, into the nut and seed powder.
  • Gently roll to cover using a clean teaspoon.
  • Continue until all the cream cheese mixture is used up. Put the quenelles in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • For the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Arrange the salad leaves, celery, tomatoes and cucumber on your serving plates.
  • Flake the mackerel on top.
  • The salad can then be kept in the fridge at this stage until you are ready to serve. Just before serving add the beetroot and quenelles.
  • Drizzle dressing generously over your salad.
  • Swap the cream cheese quenelles for hard boiled eggs cut into quarters.
  • Buy your favourite smoked mackerel for this recipe. I usually buy plain smoked, but peppered would also work really well.
  • I like to keep packs of frozen herbs in the freezer. They can be used straight from the freezer without defrosting. Either buy them (very handy!) or make your own when you have some fresh herbs that need using up. Simply line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Wash and chop your herbs finely. Spread out well and open freeze. Once frozen put in a bag and use as required.
  • I often have fresh unwaxed lemons in the fridge, but always keep a bottle of organic lemon juice in the fridge. It’s made without preservatives so will naturally go brown after a while, but it's just lemon juice; nothing added.