Roast Vege and Feta Salad
Good afternoon to your Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week. What’s new? How’s life? I’d love to hear from you – remember I’m always just an easy “reply” click away.
This week I’m talking all about gut health. If you’re anywhere near the natural health / nutrition scene right now, you’ll know that “gut health” is the trend du jour. Although, it’s in fact not that new – we’ve known for near 20 years now that prebiotics and probiotics can vastly improve the status of our intestinal microflora. It’s only in recent years however, that research has begun to mount establishing the links between that microflora and our physical, immune, and mental health.
With this, I’ve created a delightfully tasty yet simple recipe for your weekend ahead. This Roast Vege and Feta Salad. But with a ‘feta’ quite unlike any you’ve experienced.
It’s dairy free!
This is truly one of my all-time favourite 20 min dinner do-ups, of I’ve made hundreds of iterations on over the years. Even Tone now gets his roast vege on as his first port of call if I’m not home to cook.
It’s also the perfect dish for warming your belly this winter, that I made in collaboration with Countdown, our local supermarket here in NZ. Here I’ve sourced all the hearty winter goodness within, including pumpkin, kumara, parsnip, carrots, red onion, and garlic. All in season, all very affordable, and much of which Countdown now has available organic too.
Plus – we’re combining the fibre-rich prebiotic benefits of fresh veggies, with the pro-biotic rewards of a fermented nut cheese. Hello healthy gut; aloha happy taste buds. Shall we…?
Veggies for your gut?
So what’s all this “prebiotics/probiotics for your gut” business?
Let me break it down for you.
- Prebiotics are fibre rich foods such as vegetables, that are non-digestible, and induce the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the gut. Basically, they’re the food for the good bacteria to feed on. Prebiotics go through the first part of our intestine (the small colon) undigested, then get fermented when they reach the second part (the large colon, just before the bowel).
- Probiotics meanwhile are live beneficial bacteria that have already been fermented before they hit the body. These include foods such as sauerkraut, miso, tamari, tempeh, kombucha, coconut yoghurt, coconut water kefir, and fermented nut cheese (or the feta recipe down below) – click on each of these links to make your own, or buy a pre-made version.
This salad therefore has the best of both worlds. Pre-biotics in the form of fibre from the salad and roast vegetables, topped with pre-formed probiotic goodness from the fermented Cashew and Macadamia Nut Feta.
Research has shown these beneficial bacterium or microbiota to prevent infections, modulate a normal immunological response to internal and external threats, as well as protect our mental health
So yes – veggies + fermented foods are a good combo for us to have in our regular nutritional arsenal.
The beauty with this one is two-fold:
- Firstly you can use whatever vege you’ve got on hand – kumara, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, butternut, beetroot, even broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are nice roasted; and
- The incredible Cashew and Macadamia Feta that goes on top can either be made as an instant 5-minute whiz up, OR, fermented overnight for a proper probiotic version.
Think it’s hard to ferment? Not at all! Simply add a dash of dairy-free probiotic powder (or one of these empty capsules here, then leave overnight in a warm but shaded area (the kitchen or hot water cupboard is perfect). All you’re wanting to detect is the slightest hint of sourness or acidity the next day (or a few tiny bubbles), and it’s ready to pop in the fridge to firm up and finish the process.
Or if you’re like me and you can’t wait on night one, then feel free to dollop on this feta fresh for your first round of Roast Vege, then on night two you can bring out the fermented version on the remainder.
I hope you love it!
Any questions on fermented foods or gut health? Let me know below or send me an email – I’d love to follow this up with a round two of information, if you’re keen to learn more. Have a wonderful weekend my friend, and til next week as always – stay happy and well.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
Roast Vege And Feta Salad
- 2 kumara
- 2 red onion
- 2 parsnip
- 2 carrot
- 1/4 pumpkin
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp sea salt
Vegan Feta (makes 2 cups)
- 3/4 c cashews
- 3/4 c macadamia
- 1 lemon peeled
- 2/3 c water
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tbs probiotic powder optional
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 clove garlic
- 2 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp liquid sweetener
- pinch sea salt
- 4 large handfuls of baby rocket
- 4 large handfulls of spinach
- 1 c pumpkin seeds dried activated/ lightly roasted
- Put all feta ingredients inside a food processor/blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pop in a glass jar with the lid loosely on top, and leave overnight to ferment in a warm shady spot. If you don't want to wait, it still tastes great fresh without fermenting (just omit the probiotic if so).
- Preheat oven to 200°C (392°F). Chop veggies into medium sized pieces, then add to an oven proof tray with garlic, coconut oil, and salt. Toss to combine, then pop in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the veggies are soft and brown.
- Put all ingredients in a glass jar and shake thoroughly to mix.
- Place rocket and spinach into a bowl. Add your roasted veges, dressing, and pumpkin seeds (leave a few aside to top later on). Gently toss the salad to combine.
- Top with dollops of your fermented feta (around ¼- ½ cup per person), then sprinkle with the remaining pumpkin seeds before serving.
- I’ve left my feta in it’s creamy form, but you could just as easily pop into a dehydration tray to take out the moisture. You’ll be left with a more “feta” consistency, that can be cut into cubes before serving.
- The recipe makes 2 cups of vegan feta. I used about 1 cup and put the rest in the fridge. I used the rest througout the week as a delicious, creamy topping on top of my salads.
- If you have extra dressing, pop it into the fridge. It goes great with other salads and it’ll keep in the fridge for a another week.