Salad Casserole

Yes, you read right, salad in Winter. No, those tomatoes are not in season but the dressing more than made up for their lacking in the flavour department.

Why bother though, you ask, with ingredients that are mediocre, hmmm? Hmmmmm? Because, quite frankly, I'm not willing to wait until next summer to indulge in a little salad eating and that's that.

The 'casserole' aspect to the dish is my way of striking that bizarre balance between Summertime eats in Wintertime temps and it doesn't not work, I must admit.

Aside from the cooked rice, this dish requires mere assembling skills. Hurrah for easy meals in a fraught time of over indulgence and mass consumption of pretty much everything - i.e.Christmas. A minor triumph methinks.

Don't get me wrong, I am the biggest Christmas afficionado that ever walked, wrapped or caroled but amidst the chaos that is my life at the minute, I am ever more frequently reaching for the tin of soup and meals like these are just about all I can muster - that packing ain't gonna do itself, y'know!

I must admit to being beyond excited now about our very imminent move back to London - just over a week, ahhhhhh! The first thing I plan to do when we arrive is to put up the Christmas tree. Priorities and all that.

All I can say is, thanks goodness for Nigella Christmas. It may not be vegan but it sure as heck inspires me in the cooking department at this time of year and like I've said many times before, Nigella's recipes are ripe for veganizing. Tonight we had her Butternut Squash Orzotto (lush!) - just leave out the mascarpone and Bob's your Uncle (or is it Fanny's your Aunt?). Of course, I couldn't help but stir through some peppery rocket (arugula) and a handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.

Oh, and not forgetting her dangerously alcoholic 'Santa's Little Helper' cocktail, which has just about kept me sane these last few weeks. God bless ye Nig:)

salad casserole

1/2 cucumber

2 large tomatoes

1 avocado

2 or 3 cooked beetroot

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsely


1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard

juice 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp red/white/cider vinegar

1 tsp agave or other sweetener

4 tbsp olive oil

1 heaped tbsp finely chopped capers

salt and pepper

1. Peel and slice the cucumber and avocado. Slice the tomato and beetroot.

2. Make the dressing by putting everything into an empty-or almost empty-mustard jar and shake vigorously until it emulsifies. Set aside.

3. In a medium sized casserole (baking) dish place a layer of cucumber followed by beetroot, avocado and then tomato. Lightly salt and then cover with half of the rice. Give the dressing another shake and then pour half over the rice and other ingredients.

4. Place another layer of veg on top in the same fashion, finishing with the rice. Pour over the remainder of the dressing and sprinkle over the flat leaf parsley. Let it sit for 10-15mins before serving. Goes wonderfully with baked tofu and a side of beans.