Once the summer ends, my eating habits change dramatically. I crave comforting foods, including lots of carbs and little things like warm custard and baked beans for breakfast. This shift in my diet always has an impact on my body, as I suddenly start to feel much more bloated and a little ‘plumper’ so to say ready for the Winter. I think this reaction to the change in season and weather is very normal, as our body craves different things at all times in the year. I am trying my hardest to be more aware of what I am eating this Autumn, without restricting myself from too many things and really getting the whole balanced diet right. I want to enjoy what I am eating and feel full, knowing that I have had a healthy and nutritious meal. With my bad circulation and perhaps a gene that runs in the family, I really feel the cold, so a warm meal is something I appreciate a lot during the day and of course in the evening.
Just because summer is gone, that doesn’t mean the lighter diet has to stop. Autumn salads are a great way to stay healthy, whilst also enjoying comforting foods.
This salad was a simple and quick creation, that I basically first made when I just threw everything into the pan that I enjoyed. I was making dinner for myself, knowing that I had some chicken thighs in the fridge to use, which in my head I knew instantly would be paired with rice. I didn’t have any vegetables, so a salad was my only option. I didn’t want anything cold, so thought that I could just throw it all together and come up
with something really delicious where I was still getting all the nutrients I needed. Over time a few things have been taken out or added, but now I really feel like this warming salad is a winner for this Autumn. It combines such a variety of textures, colours and flavours; all complimenting each other perfectly and very strongly becoming something I crave when in need of a heart warming meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Skill: Very Easy
4 Skinless & Boneless, Chicken Thighs // 0.5 cups Basmati & Wild Rice // 100g Walnut Halves // 2 Handfuls Spinach // 1 Avocado // Handful Cherry Tomatoes // 1 Lemon // 5 Mini Corns // 1tbsp Pumpkin Seeds // Salt and Pepper // Garlic Olive Oil & Normal
I always start by cooking the rice first, in order to prepare the other ingredients whilst it cooks. I cook rice by placing it in a saucepan and adding a cup of boiling water. It is always double the amount of water to rice. Then, add some salt, pop on the lid and set the timer for ten minutes. Stir the rice with a fork just before putting on the lid, but don’t touch it at all once past this point. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
*I usually make rice by eye, measuring it in a coffee mug. To be completely accurate, feel free to use a cup measurer or even a measuring jug. As long as it is double the amount of water to rice you should be absolutely fine. Also remeber to season with salt!
Heat a little garlic infused olive oil into a large frying pan. Add the chicken; I cook mine whole, however as it is boneless feel free to cut it up into chunks. Once brown all over add the corn, followed by a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. At this point I add a splash of liquid. This can be boiling water, or even better is a splash of white wine. Stir it together for about five minutes, until the corn seems to have softened slightly and the chicken is cooked.
Turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, rice and half the spinach. Once the spinach has wilted, remove from the heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some lemon juice, followed by the avocado and remaining spinach. Mix everything together until the spinach has wilted and it ready to go.
*Obviosuly this recipe consists of all the ingredients I enjoy eating, so feel free to mix it up, adding things you think would work well. My next plan is to add a little parmesan on the top for a little naughty indulgence!