“Let food by thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates (father of medicine), 431 BC
So, it’s out with the five-a-day message and in with the 7. Or perhaps 10. Or maybe just more than we are currently eating.
All hail kale. And sweet potatoes. And tomatoes….I awoke early this morning, not to my sometimes guilty pleasure of Mail Online (the shame) or less shamefully, NPR, but to an alert from the BBC.
To my delight, scrolling across the ticker tape style heading, was news of the latest and biggest UK study on diet and health. And for once the news was good. Better than good. This study, from the esteemed University College London, delivered the unambiguous news: plants protect. But more than that, we now have a good idea of the amount that we need to eat to get protected.
To some it seems a helluva lot.
Of course media pundits, some dieticians and other cautious health professionals have been lining up to throw cold water on the results. But, this snapshot study of 65,000 UK adults, cross linked with national death records, states in its conclusion that “A robust inverse association exists between fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality, with benefits seen in up to 7+ portions daily. Further investigations into the effects of different types of fruit and vegetables are warranted.” This was published in a respected journal under the British Medical Journal umbrella. They controlled as much as possible for all of the usual suspects – social class, income, other lifestyle factors like drinking and smoking. And still the data shone. Robustly.
Much of the handwringing today has been due to the indisputable fact not many people are listening to the 5-a-day message. And if they aren’t heeding the 5 a day advice what hope a 7 a day one? Or more? And incidentally, the study did not look at ‘or more’ but other data appears to support up to 12 vegetables and fruits a day.
The current and incumbent number-picked-at-random 5-a-day message (a well-meaning but not scientifically backed campaign from 1991) is understood and recitable by almost anyone you ask in the UK. But I agree that hardly anyone seems to be attaining it, let alone breaching it to get to 10. However, that doesn’t make the study wrong, or not worth discussing.
Instead of saying that increasing our plant food intake is pie in the sky – budgets, time, taste, desire – why aren’t health professionals and other concerned bodies making it their business to show that it is achievable by almost anyone, on almost any budget? And wouldn’t it be a fantastic achievement for governments to not just pay lip service to healthy eating but back it up with money to make or enable real food to be more affordable and accessible for all?
Simply prepared seasonal veg paired up with low-cost pulses and beans will nearly always be cheaper, more flavourful and healthier than a pre-prepared equivalent. And now we really have pretty solid evidence that vegetables and fruits can prevent disease and prolong life. Isn’t that much more appealing than popping pills for existing ills and suffering the side effects? Does it really matter that the ‘how‘ is still elusive?
There is so much more I could say on this, but I know that I would be preaching to the choir. I know it isn’t you that needs convincing. But I would urge you to spread the message, by word and deed. Bring a healthy veggie lasagne to your next pot luck supper (and I mean healthy, not just vegetarian), take in sweet ripe cherry tomatoes to fill the office sweets bowl, bake some kale chips for your next book group – do whatever you can to gently educate those around you. I feel very strongly in collective responsibility on this issue. We can’t wait for government, the food industry, the media to get their finger out/embrace the really simple but empowering message that we are what we eat. We need to do it ourselves. And fast.
Feeling calmer now.
Today as I was preparing a (vegan) meal for tomorrow’s cancer nutrition class I was listening to one of the talk radio stations. Although there were the usual Mr Angry ‘nobody can tell me what to eat/do’ type of callers, there were many more calling in with good and do-able ideas for making fruit and especially veg the centre of our daily diet. And quite a number of these people were also saying how much doing so had improved their lives in many ways. What struck me more than their suggestions and stories was how happy these people sounded. I could ‘hear’ them smiling as they were speaking. It made me feel very hopeful that perhaps this credible study will sink into the collective conscious of us all. At least it is a start.
So, the recipe. A salad. A salad packed with more vegetables than may actually fit on one plate. You’ll have to get a big plate. A platter in fact.
And why not a salad? After all it is summer. Or at least the change in clocks says so. In fact it feels anything but. Today I found out how unwaterproof are Ugg boots. And my waterproof ski (!) jacket is dripping over the shower rail. To top it off I have a cat under each arm for warmth (their idea, not mine). But I really couldn’t keep back this recipe for when the weather decides to play ball. So here is my Loaded Cauliflower Couscous Salad with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas to honour today’s happy food news. It is a bit OTT but I hope you like it. I think Hippocrates would approve.
How do you get your five + a day? What are the guidelines in your country?
Loaded Cauliflower Couscous Salad with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas
Last year: Pretty-Green Tea Smoothie; Cheddar and Black Pepper English Muffins
Two years ago: Caldo Gallego – Spanish Greens and Potato Soup
Three years ago: Chocolate Beetroot Cake (one of my most popular recipes at my cancer nutrition classes)
This a healthy, pick n mix salad based around the idea of using cauliflower as a substitute for couscous. Of course use couscous if you wish – wholegrain would be fab – but do consider the ‘grainified’ cauliflower. It’s super simple and surprisingly effective as a carb-alike. Try and have all of the add-ins prepared before the cauliflower and optional roasted chickpeas are ready.
Oh, before I let you get on with this, I’ve given a simple lemon dressing with added dukkah seasoning. However this salad is very amenable to going in a completely different direction. I’m thinking lime, orange, cumin and oregano for a South American taste, or maybe grated ginger, miso and sesame oil.
Makes one very large ‘meal’ salad for 4.
1 large cauliflower, washed and broken into three or four large hunks
Dressing: Juice of one lemon + 5-6 tbsp best evoo + 1 crushed garlic clove + salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in a jug and set aside.
Dukkah spice blend, about 2 tbsp (bought or homemade)
Add in any or most of the following:
Green leaves, such as rocket, baby chard, baby spinach, sorrel, amaranth
Chopped red pepper
Marinated or steamed artichoke hearts, quartered
Pitted Kalamata olives
Carrot curls or shreds
Lightly toasted seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower
Sliced tomatoes or semi-dried tomatoes (watch the sodium content though)
Roasted turmeric chickpeas (see below)
Edamame, green beans or peas (instead of the chickpeas)
Peperoncini or other hot peppers
Additional protein ideas to choose from:
Grilled tofu or tempeh pieces
Roasted chicken shreds or slices
Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas: 1 tin of chickpeas, or about 300 grams homecooked + 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp turmeric (method below)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Begin with the cauliflower. Use a box grater to grate each hunk of cauliflower into couscous sized pieces – more or less. Grate the entire cauliflower (including as much of the stem as you can) over a baking tray and shake to distribute the ‘grains’ of cauliflower into a single, even layer. You will need two baking sheets. You can do this in the food processor, pulsing rather than pressing ‘on’, but the pieces will probably be uneven.
3. Pop the grated cauliflower into the preheated oven and roast for about fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the ‘grains’ look browned in patches. It isn’t necessary to use oil but you may like to spray the tin with oil spray to keep the cauliflower from sticking. Remove from the oven and set aside. Drape ove a tea towel to keep warm and absorb any steam.
4. Now, onto the chickpeas. If you have a double oven you may do the chickpeas at the same time as the cauliflower. In any case, rinse the chickpeas and dry with a tea towel. Pop the peas into a bowl and add the oil and turmeric. Toss until well coated. Lay the chickpeas on a baking tray and roast in the oven at 180C/400F for about 30-35 minutes, shaking once or twice during cooking.
5. Lay some green leaves on a serving platter. Mix together the chickpeas and the cauliflower and then start layering up your add-ins. Toss through the dressing with two forks and serve on a large platter. I like to finish the presented salad with a scatter of the seeds and some saved back chickpeas.
Make a raw version by grating but not roasting the cauliflower, and using all raw vegetables plus the dressing. Use sprouted chickpeas other favourite protein-rich sprouts.
Note: Most experts say that 80 grams of vegetables (exception for lettuces) is a portion, so weigh your salad and tot up the numbers!
74 thoughts on “Loaded Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ Salad with Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas + THAT Study”
mmm can’t wait to try this!
I love how fresh and bright this looks 🙂
Hi there Glower, Thanks for the words on the study. I’m going to keep a track and see if I can get to 12-a-day. (I’m sure I’m pretty close most days, I’ll let you know) See you soon for more undiet related fun. Nick
As a thank you for being the second commenter you get a free bag of wild garlic! Seriously, I gave your lovely missus a big ol bag (double bagged to keep the pong in) of wild garlic for you to play with. Text me if you need ideas, but I know you’ll have your own. See what happens when friends dare to comment – they get ‘weeds’!
Yummmmyyyyyy! That looks so delicious and hearty! And loaded with goodies! I love how fired up you are, not just about eating our veggies but about educating others of the importance as well. More power to you… us! 😉 Cheers!
Cheers, Erin. I am usually quite mild-mannered (if vaguely sarcastic) but I feel strongly about this issue. More power to us – and plants!
I have cauliflower in my fridge!!! I am making this asap, thanks. xxx
Let me know what you think. Thanks for commenting.
Your salads are always so vibrant and appetising, Kellie. It’s hard to keep up with all the food news on what we should and shouldn’t be eating, and why. ‘They’ keep changing their minds on what’s good and what isn’t. I think it’s important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and some fruit too (if your system can tolerate it). Sad to think that people can’t afford vegetables!
I think we have always known all of this is good for us, but to have it quantified is quite helpful. And it is sliding scale – the more you eat, the more you help yourself. For a long time we thought it was just about the fibre and then anti-oxidants but we are adding in the colourful compounds and weight management factor too. All about balance though, as you say. And you need to enjoy it. And I know you do 😉
Vibrant, healthy, beautiful. So many of my very favorite things in your unique and flavorful recipe!
This salad looks so beautiful! I need to get more organized so dinner isn’t such a rush. And I need to build the meat around the vegetables instead of the opposite which is so ingrained in American culture.
Thanks for your lovely comment. Scout around the index and my blogroll friends for ideas and inspiration. Good luck!
Oh Hell to the yes. I read that study as well. It came with a nice little chart that showed you how much of a reduction of certain diseases you would get with eating a certain number of veggies…..only 1-3/day…you’ll get a 14% reduction in disease…5-7 it’s 36%….I guess this is for folks who really hate veggies and can at least say by eating one veggie they are doing SOMETHING!
I get all 7 in my morning smoothie. I also use sauteed spinach and kale as a trick to get multi-servings too because they shrink when they are cooked, so you can eat a smaller volume but still get a good number of servings.
Thanks Kellie! I never just skim your posts…they’re too entertaining.
A ha! We do the same ‘trick’ – shrinking! Yes, you can cram in a lot of greens with smoothies and sautéing/steaming, that’s for sure. And it makes it easier to hide them on the plates of the unwary and sceptical 😉
This is such a beautiful and lovely salad! Looking forward to trying it!
Wow, it looks amazing!
Yes there’s been lots of debate today about this topic here in London. Apparently only 15% of the UK population currently manages 5 a day in the first place! I must really be bumping up the average! Interestingly some ardent carnivore pals have mentioned that my Instagram feed has persuaded them to eat more fruit & veg.
That’s fantastic that you are – without preaching – being an example to others. Lovely to hear that. I must look for you on Instagram. And, I think a lot of food to glow readers are bumping up the average! I don’t think too many people would stick with me if they didn’t love their veg and fruit 😉
Rant away! If the outcome is such a fab salad with outstanding flavors! I adore all the tasty options that make this recipe flexible and healthy!
This looks insane!!!!
What an interesting post, and such a beautiful salad. I will definitely try this…and will definitely try to get more servings of vegetables and fruits in my diet now. 🙂
I’m sure you do brilliantly already, but most of us – me included – could do with more on a consistent basis. Leaving a wee bit of room for treats like cake and Champagne, of course 😉
In Australia, they say you should eat 5 portions of veg plus 2 portions of fruit a day; I think that’s better than our UK version. But I still think there should be more attention paid to how the food is prepared. After all, a stew full of veg that’s been cooking for hours is not going to be quite as nutritious as a salad like yours! : )
Quite right but variety is the spice of life and sometimes – especially in the dead of winter – raw stuff doesn’t do it. Maybe a stew with steamed veg on the side perhaps?
True! I read somewhere that you should always try to have a part of your meal raw. So maybe stew with steamed veg and fresh herbs on top! : p
Defo fresh herbs on top. And fresh fruit for afters 🙂
wow it all looks so good i will be trying some soon (i hope)
Excellent words, Kellie! I’m obviously thrilled with the study results (can’t wait to share the article on Sunday!) as it’s such an ‘I told you so!’ situation. I think getting in as much veg as possible is always a good idea, so substituting cauliflower ‘couscous’ is a great idea. I do cauliflower rice frequently, but I haven’t done the roasting thing to make it couscous. Definitely bookmarked to try out!
I know! A lot of us ‘in the field’ are feeling a bit smug right now, especially as many doctors of the cancer patients I see are dismissive of diet -“oh just eat what you like, it doesn’t really matter’ (seriously). I hope Swedish docs are more receptive to health promotion messages. Let me know how you like the roasted/baked cauli couscous idea.
I listened to a lot of that debate yesterday too, with a wry smile! I must also bump up the average as based on their portion size, I must eat about 20 portions of vegetables and salad a day!!!! I also listened to people saying it was too expensive to eat fresh fruit and vegetables – compared to what I say? Compared to prepacked processed food?? Now way! I buy fresh produce every week at a local market or costco and it’s a whole lot cheaper than the processed rubbish. I could rant on this one too, quite happily, and based on their findings and how much longer I should be living, I’ll get to rant about it for many years to come apparently!!! 😉😉
Lovely recipe, Kellie ☺️ and I’ve just started my day with slices of apple spread with your sunflower butter – wonderful xx
I hear ya sister! One issue that is very valid though is access. I am so lucky to have money and live near a variety of superb shops and access to a rather chi-chi farmers’ market. But I do see people in my work for whom access and affordability are real issues. Some people are effectively stuck in areas with terrible transport links and only rubbishy shops with little and very expensive ‘real’ food – with frozen chicken burgers and the like priced to please. It is such a shame. It is a hard one to unpick. The hospital we are attached to (we are separate however -in a gorgeous soul-nourishing bldg) has a cheap veg and fruit stall on Thursdays, so we signpost people there to pick food up, and get some cheeky banter from the stall holders. Non-profit too. More like this would be great. Gah, how much have I written here! Anyway, keep up your own good work through your blog and your shining personal example. Enjoy that sunflower butter!
I know what you mean. We are very lucky to have a market in Central Milton Keynes that is on 5 days a week with lots of fresh produce stalls at low prices (this market is anything but chi chi) and LOTS of fab banter 🙂 plus MK has lots of bus routes and disability access. I guess we are lucky.
Keep doing what you’re doing too, superstar 🙂
I really like the pairing of cauliflower cous cous with the roasted chickpeas, I can see that this becomes a deeply nutty and lightly sweet dish. I think I will try it with your suggested miso dressing.
I’m quite sick of all this dietary stuff in the news, the only sensible one Ive seen lately is the stuff on fruit juice. That’s it. X
Yes, it can be wearing, and I spend a good deal of time at work ‘myth busting.’ But take heart, Deena. This study is the real deal. The more veg we eat ( and fruit, but less so) the more we protect our health in myriad ways. On a lighter note, thanks for the thumbs up on this recipe. I loved your tofu and sambal sauce one (we used amaranth, aubergines and steamed tender stem – no okra).
It’s the real deal, finally some sensible food advice. I wipe my brow and exhale and actually, will enjoy the fruit and veg talk 😉
Oh that’s a great idea on the aubergine, I will try that too. So glad you enjoyed it xx
Just the kind of salad I would love for lunch today. Beautiful
Love cauliflower couscous, this looks wonderful! And love that you brought to light this study and the protective power of fruits and veggies. As a holistic health coach in training I really appreciate it needing to be a collective effort to encourage, entice, and support changes in the way we think about food and the way we eat. And like Deena said, if all of this dietary talk is too much for people, that’s fine. As you allude to, I believe simply focusing on helping people see that incorporating more meals comprised of plant-based whole foods like veg/beans/lentils/etc can be accessible and delicious, is one step in the right direction to naturally crowd out the less favorable foods.
Thanks for your confirming comment. It is a big thing to take in for a lot of people (or the ones who are interested; many couldn’t give a fig I’m sure), but people like yourself are playing their part in spreading the knowledge and motivation that we can all help ourselves to live healthier and more enjoyable lives. And you are so right, the more we gradually do that is nourishing in our diet, the less room we have/less inclination we have for the less favourable foods. But still gotta have some of those unfavourables occasionally!
Absolutely there’s room for the unfavorable – no real food is inherently bad. And I feel like the balance of favorable vs unfavorable is achieved when we start to trust our bodies and intuitions.
colourful and scrumptious looking = yum. Off to whizz up some veg, right now as it’s past noon and I’ve only had one veg today so far, I’m off….
I don’t actually know if I get five a day, but I always try to have vegetables and fruit with each meal! Salads are my go-to for packed nutritional meals. You can just get so much goodness in one salad!
As a vegan I feel a massive big YAY! coming on :). I live in a community of people who make it their business to find all kinds of ways to add veggies (and fruit) into their diet to effect that 10+ servings with ease. I found a recipe for white bread that uses white beans to add moisture and nutrition, adding kale, beetroot and other nutritious veggies when you make granola, making soup, a most easy way to include at least 4 veggies in a single tasty nutritious meal without even knowing it. There are veggies in cakes, all kinds of veggies masquerading in the strangest places including sweet treats these days. It really isn’t hard to throw them into just about anything. I think that we just need to be shown how to do it. There needs to be a campaign run by the wider health community to show people that vegetables aren’t to be born as a cross to bear, but more to be delighted in as fresh, delicious and entirely customisable to any cuisine, any purpose and just about any frame of mind. I feel another “WOOT!” coming on! 🙂 This platter of salad looks scrumptious.
I think we all want to come and live with you in Tasmania! All of your suggestions sound so brilliant and exciting. We need to clone you, Fran!! Australia leads the way on this fruit and veg thing really (your climate and extended growing season will help I’m sure) but it sounds like your own community could teach the rest of the West a thing or two. I am very intrigued. Thanks for your fabulously constructive contribution to this little old comments section:-) You are a star. Hugs from cold and damp Scotland xo
Hugs from cold and damp Sidmouth 🙂 Have you ever checked out Vegan Richa’s blog? She has some amazing ways to use veggies in some very unusual places 🙂 My “community” is online. The locals here tend to shun veggies aside from potatoes, carrots, onions and peas and are VERY suspicious of “rabbit food” (salad). We have the worst rate of heart disease and bowel cancer in the country and my local community could really do with the message that the study had to deliver.
Seriously!? That’s a shame there aren’t more likeminded folk like you kicking around causing trouble for the carnivores. Yes, I love Vegan Richa. She’s fabulous and so inspiring (I hate that word but apt in this instance, methinks).. I meant to say in my comment on your latest post that I loved the anthropomorphism of your Brunhilda. I need to name my eco-boiler! And cool app trickery from Steve. Must get that as I know there is an Android version (recovering ex-iPhone owner – Sony Experia now)
You are talking to a complete and utter technophobe. Steve owns a Nokia with a 41 megapixel camera on it…41 megapixels!!! I can turn it on and make a call. I couldn’t message my friend the other day to save my life and had to wait till Steve got up till he showed me how 😉 That app is amazing. It really looks like those photos are actually sketched and it’s free!
You are too funny! I am feeing better about myself and my own tech ineptitude. Just kidding 😉 >> If you blog and sort photos for it then you are technically technical. Ya hear? 41 megapixels is pretty high-powered. I have no idea what mine is. Off to download that app!
Glad I could help a fellow technophobe with a nice spanky new app 😉
What a fabulous rant abs very well said. The 5 a day campaign has aways irked me especially when unhealthy processed junk food containing some fruit or veg at some point in the manufacturing process use it as a marketing tool and even more so now I have come to personally understand the health and healing benefits of a mostly plant based organic diet
I guess there’s still that bogus marketing twaddle to overcome, but education to buy food that doesn’t need labels – ie fresh food – would go a long way.
Meant to add stunning salad. Can’t wait to try but got side tracked by my own rant worthy thoughts!
😉 I love a good, righteous rant now and again.
This news delighted me this week. Finally some sense! Even I’ve noticed that I’m making sure to have 3 with each meal rather than say 2. Hoping that will become the norm for everyone before long. I love using cauliflower as cous cous. Delicious and another excuse to eat veg!
Love it when you get ranty 🙂 Trying that idea with chickpeas – so sunny.
Délicieux une belle salade avec l’arrivée du beau temps, je veux bien venir gouter. Bon diamnche
Love what you say about “collective responsibility”-so true! And I think this study was done with me in mind, as I figure I get, on average about 7 servings of produce a day . You know I will continue to spread the good word 🙂 And, I’ll start by sharing this gorgeous salad of yours with turmeric chickpeas-seems I can’t get enough turmeric these days-love the stuff!
Love the cunning turmericking of the chickpeas too. 🙂
Dude I’m so copying this for dinner tonight. I’ve actually got Dukkah on my cooking agenda for tonight (prepping for supperclubbage) but what I’m loving is the big chunky red pepper and thick strips of carrot. Watch your Instagram!
I will! I will! I’ve checked your instafeed a wee while ago – other pretty stuff but I look forward to your rendition of this 😉 Have a great supperclub night. So jel!
This looks like for an ideal lunch to have after I’ve been for a run – can’t wait to give it a go…
I love your comment “Simply prepared seasonal veg paired up with low-cost pulses and beans will nearly always be cheaper, more flavourful and healthier than a pre-prepared equivalent.” The key is “seasonal” is affordable and often fresher, and a bag of dried beans costs pennies. I know that when I talk with people they think 5 servings isn’t doable because in their heads a serving is mammoth, when in reality that’s not the case. Anyway, I could get on a rant now, so I’ll simply share your post because it’s information and inspiring.
Thanks for your ‘glowing/ approval of my rant. There are quite a few of us here in the comments, Kristi! And thanks for the share too.
YESSS! As you know I am a HUGE fan of cauliflower as an alternative ingredient to grains and wheat, and I make my cauliflower pizza bases (and tart cases) frequently as they freeze so well! I have also served it as “rice” which is similar to your FABULOUS looking couscous; the accompanying ingredients you have added to your “cauliflower couscous” also look and sound wonderful Kellie. This is DEFINITELY my kind of recipe and as ever, your photos are just lovely too! Karen
Thanks so much Karen. You know how highly I rate your opinion. And I’ve never frozen my cauliflower pizza bases as we have gobbled them up before we get a chance. You are so organised 😉
Finally the experts are advocating more veggies & fruits instead of milk, fortified food, etc. I’m a bit behind, actually I’ve not heard of 5 a day. I’ve been practicing about 70% fruits & veggies as advised by my naturopath.
It’s still very sad with our government’s initiatives, allowing too many processed food & fighting badly with rising diabetics & heart problems numbers. Asians are not used to eating raw veggies (maybe the malays), it’s difficult to advocate that. So I started teaching raw food, participants were surprised green smoothies taste delicious, at least that’s an added dose of fruits & veggies for the day. Yes we can’t wait for the government, the community has to come together and do something.
This is my kind of salad, love the different textures. though I have to skip the chickpeas, my digestion can’t handle it. Roasting caulliflower ‘rice’ .. I bet it’s nutty. I think I’ll try with brocoli, I love broccoli.. I think I haven’t seen anyone do broccoli rice.
It is interesting how other countries use vegetables. I would have thought raw would be popular with Malaysians since you have so many vegetables to choose from and raw would give variety to their intake. But I am very pleased of course that you are such an advocate for raw. I still have the magazine you sent me! And yes, broccoli rice/ couscous sounds great. Do it! I have whizzed it up and added it to rice along with herbs for a herby green rice but not as a direct substitute. I would love to see what you do in this direction, Shannon.
so tempting…love it
I also roast my chickpeas this way & sometimes vary the spices! I serve them cold to my guests instead of crisps!