Roasted butternut, guava, feta and avocado winter salad

Wednesday was a scorcher in Cape Town. The thermometer on my car read 30 degrees and I saw people dressed in bikinis heading for the beach. The beach – in June! In celebration of the sunshine and warmth I made a suitably cheery salad for lunch. Guavas have just come into season, and my other winter favourite, avocado, is so plentiful at the moment. Combined with sweet roast butternut, feta, rocket and basil from my flourishing herb garden they make such a flavourful, interesting salad.

Butternut, guava, avocado and feta salad

Serves one

  • 2 guavas, cut into eighths
  • 500 g roasted butternut (I roasted mine in a 190 C oven for about 40 minutes with a sprinkling of chilli flakes)
  • A handful of rocket
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Half a wheel of feta
  • 150 g of rosa tomatoes, sliced
  • A handful of mixed sprouts
  • Half an avocado, sliced

It’s pretty easy to assemble – leaves on the bottom, and everything piled on top. I think it’s nicer if you let the butternut cool down a bit, so it’s not too hot. Crumble the feta on top and dress with something sharp – lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

Mexican bean chilli with corn rice

What’s a vegetarian cooking blog without a bean recipe? I don’t actually eat a lot of beans but when I do I always makeĀ  Mexican-inspired dish. This bean chilli is ridiculously simple and it’s really cheap to make too. I like the addition of corn rice, but I often have it with plain brown rice or tacos. It’s all about the condiments with this dish – make sure you have plenty of avo, fresh coriander, sour cream or smooth cream cheese, and fresh limes or lemons.

mexican bean chilli

Serves 5

400 g courgettes, chopped
600 g fresh tomatoes, chopped finely (you can use canned if you prefer – just use two tins)
6 spring onions, chopped
1 tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
1 tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed well
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp chilli flakes (less if you don’t like heat)
1 lemon or 2 limes
A handful of fresh coriander
1 cup brown rice
4 corncobs
1 tsp oregano
olive oil
Avo, smooth cottage cheese or sour cream, and more fresh coriander, to serve

Start off by making the rice. In a large pot heat a slug of olive oil for a few seconds and then add the rice. Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Add the oregano, turn down the heat and let the rice simmer with the lid on for about 35 minutes, without stirring. Slice the corn off the cobs and add to the rice after 30 minutes. Cook for 5 minutes with the lid on and then turn the heat off but leave the pan on the stove for a further 5 minutes, also covered.

For the bean chilli, fry the onion until soft in some olive oil. Add the courgettes, spices and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes until the courgettes start to get soft. Add the tomatoes and turn the heat up. Let it cook away until the tomatoes have turned mushy and you can crush them easily. Turn the heat down a bit, add the beans and cook for a further ten minutes before putting in the chopped yellow pepper. Cook for about five minutes more.

Serve the bean chilli on the rice with chopped spring onions and fresh coriander on top.