My constant disappointment in India is the unavailability of good salads. I often crave a big bowl with fresh greens, contrasting textures, a riot of colours and interesting flavours. Not to mention, the feel-good-factor attached to all things healthy 😀
My recent experiments with diet were subconsciously oriented towards protein-rich salads, but I guess I was overdoing lentils. So today I was in the mood for something lighter, vibrant and aromatic. No, I did not use sandalwood oil 😛
I opened the refrigerator to scan my inventory of vegetables. For greens, I had spinach, fenugreek with carrots, cauliflower and cabbage in addition. The oh-so-essential tomatoes, onions and potatoes were of course there too. Just when I was silently humiliating potatoes (I had a fat-ass burger last night), the sweet potatoes gave me a sneak peak. Sweet potato is nutritious, subtle with foreign flavours and plays the balancing act like a rockstar! While I was juggling two of them, my mind had a clear sky vision and I knew what should follow. I took out a carrot, a handful of spinach, some garlic, a lemon and soy sauce from the cold box.
I washed and dried the spinach leaves, followed by dicing the carrot and sweet potatoes. I then crushed about 3-4 cloves of garlic and squeezed some lemon juice. I prepared 2 separate marinations, but not very dissimilar. For the spinach leaves, I mixed sesame oil, lemon juice, drops of honey, soy sauce, garlic powder, crushed roasted peppers and salt. Mixed all the ingredients and brushed it on spinach leaves on both the sides. Then I placed a parchment sheet on the baking tray and kept the spinach leaves carefully to avoid overlapping.
For sweet potatoes and carrots, I mixed olive oil, 2-3 drops of sesame oil(I love the flavour), crushed garlic, salt, fresh thyme finely chopped, black pepper, paprika and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Mix all the ingredients with the vegetables. You can also add grated cottage cheese or parmesan, it will go well with these, even better with sesame flavoured spinach. I wrapped the mix in a foil and placed the same on another baking tray.
I put both the trays in a preheated oven. Spinach is done quicker so I kept the temperature at 200 degrees. Once you take the spinach tray out you can increase the temperature for vegetables in foil. When done, serve the carrots and sweet potatoes with the flavoursome, crispy spinach (you can actually eat them alone, so yum) in a salad bowl or on a dish. Feel free to add extra seasoning of your choice. You can repeat the spinach recipe with other salads, including non-vegetarian salads or side dishes. Enjoy! 🙂