Lunch Al Desko: Three Satisfying Salads For Hungry People

09 July 2014 by

It’s a known fact that when the temperature dips in winter we all crave warm stodgy food. But in summer it’s the same. Take a run of chilly days and suddenly we all start craving more substantial dishes such as filling salads. Which is where Tori Haschka’s new book Cut The Carbs! comes in. Blogger/foodwriter Tori loves comfort food, and, until a few years ago, almost exclusively ate white carbs. Over time she noticed that consuming bread, potatoes, pasta and rice made her feel sluggish so she started experimenting with creating dishes without them, with the emphasis on comfort food. Now she has written a new cookbook full of her inspirational dishes, from fortifying breakfasts to interesting salads ‘enough to feed a 6’3” man’. All of them are satisfying, filling and above all, totally do-able on a miserable midweek summer night (especially when you’re huddled up under a blanket trying to avoid turning on the heating). Here she has shared us three dishes that we’re calling salads for hungry people, all full of good low GI ‘smart carbs’ that won't spike your blood sugar levels, are digested more slowly and will help keep you fuller for longer. What’s more there all transportable meaning you can take the leftovers to work the next day as a pack lunch. Enjoy!

Buy Cut The Carbs! by Tori Hashka, published by Quadrille. Check out Tori’s delightful blog here


Serves 2

Beetroot and carrots may skirt a little higher in the GI stakes than some vegetables, but this sweet and jewelled combination of them with the freshness of mint and labneh, is just too good to miss – particularly when coupled with a ras el hanout spice blend (which translates as ‘top of the shop’ and may include up to 30 aromatics). The smell of it all transports me straight back to the souks of Marrakech. I like to treat this dish as an adornment to a meal, perhaps serving it with a sustaining base of the yellow split peas (to the right) and some chicken or lamb kebabs from the barbecue.

  • 4 medium carrots (about 450 g), peeled
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 small cooked baby beetroot (150 g), drained
  • (from a tin or packet will suffice)
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 20 g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp labneh (strained Greek yoghurt) or goats’ feta, crumbled
  • 20 fresh mint leaves, torn

Preheat the oven to 200?C/400?F/Gas 6.

  1. Cut 3½ of the carrots into batons. Set the remaining half-carrot aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the marmalade and olive oil. Warm it gently and whisk it to emulsify.
  3. Combine the carrot batons and beetroot in a roasting dish with the marmalade mixture and sprinkle with the salt and ras el hanout. Roast in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until the vegetables have taken on a burnished hue and are cooked through.
  4. Shave the remaining half-carrot into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
  5. Serve the roasted vegetables with the almonds, labneh, carrot ribbons and mint leaves scattered over the top.


Serves 4–6

There’s more to this salad than the punning novelty of its name (though it is also something to hail). It takes that 90's cafe favourite and updates it with crispy chickpeas standing in for croutons, and raw, fine ribbons of kale for cos. If youre searching for a little more substance, add in some soft egg or grilled chicken (since we’ve tinkered with everything else, this is hardly the time to get snippy about whether chicken has any place in a true Caesar salad). If you’re not up to eating raw egg yolks (pregnant, immune compromised etc), then you can always whizz the capers, anchovies and lemon zest through shop-bought whole-egg mayonnaise and thin it with lemon juice until you get the right consistency.

  • 3 rashers of bacon, cut into thin batons
  • 1 x 400-g tin of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400 g kale, hard stems discarded and leaves shredded
  • into ribbons 5 mm wide
  • 40 g Parmesan, shaved


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • 2 marinated anchovy fillets in oil, drained
  • 175 ml sunflower oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, or cooked or grilled chicken (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220?C/425?F/Gas 7.


  1. Put the bacon and chickpeas on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the bacon is very crisp and the chickpeas have developed a brittle crust.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the egg yolk, mustard, garlic clove, capers and anchovies in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drip in the oil, drop by drop, to make a dressing. Then drizzle in the lemon juice and whizz for a few seconds to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the kale with the lemon zest and the dressing.
  4. Top with the crispy bacon and chickpeas, and the Parmesan shavings.
  5. If you fancy a little more protein, grate or break the hard-boiled eggs over the top of the salad, or mix through some shredded cooked chicken.


Serves 4–6

This is a nifty trick. It turns out that by grating a cauliflower or giving it a swift tumble in a food processor, you can transform its rubbly nodules into small grains that closely resemble couscous. You can serve it raw, but I find a few minutes in a frying pan help to coax the best flavour out of them. From there, the rest is pure instinct. This salad takes its cue from my favourite way to consume couscous. The currants are plumped up by the bergamot tannins in Earl Grey tea and the almonds and herbs provide the necessary colour and texture. You can try serving this under a tagine or on its own with a tahini-yoghurt dressing and some barbecued chicken, fish or lamb. Incidentally, the tahini-yoghurt dressing also makes an excellent marinade for chicken or lamb. Try making double and leaving the proteins to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking or grilling them.

  • 75 g currants
  • 125 ml strong, hot Earl Grey tea
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, grated on a box grater into small
  • fragments like chubby couscous grains (1 head should
  • provide approximately 4 cups)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 40 g flaked almonds, toasted and chopped
  • small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • small bunch of fresh mint, chopped

Tahini-yoghurt dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 150 g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  1. Soak the currants in the Earl Grey tea for 10–15 minutes until they have plumped up.
  2. In the meantime, place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, cauliflower grains and salt.
  3. Saute for 5 minutes to help remove the raw taste from the cauliflower.
  4. Transfer the contents of the pan to a bowl with the lemon zest and juice, almonds, fresh herbs and plumped, drained currants. Stir to combine.
  5. To make the tahini-yoghurt dressing, mix all the ingredients together to combine.
  6. Serve the ‘couscous’ with the tahini-yoghurt dressing on the side, or underneath a tagine.


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