We had a wonderful cookery class on Saturday. There was a lot of interest in nutritious packed lunches for the whole family. We exchanged lots of ideas and quick and easy recipes which will keep everyone fuller for longer and away from snacking on sugary or fatty foods. Here are some of the healthy grain salads for those who were not able to attend and would like to try them out.

Quinoa with spinach, sweet potatoes and toasted chickpeas

Serves 4

1 cup of quinoa, cooked according to the pack instructions

100g spinach, chopped

A handful of flat parsley, chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed 

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained 

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Olive oil 

1 tablespoon mixed seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds

Season the sweet potato and place it on a baking tray. Roast in a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden and tender.

Place the drained chickpeas onto another tray. Season with the paprika, cayenne pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at the same time as the sweet potato for about 10 minutes or until dry and crispy. 

In a roomy bowl, mix together the quinoa, spinach, parsley, sweet potato and half of the chickpeas. Serve the salad with the rest of the chickpeas and mixed seeds sprinkled on top. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and some crusty bread.


Black rice with mango, avocado and feta 

Serves 4 

1 cup of Thai black rice, cooked according to the pack instructions

1 mango, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 avocado, cut into small chunks

100g feta cheese, crumbled

For the dressing 

4 teaspoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon dijon mustard

½ teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together well and set aside. 

To assemble the salad 

Mix all the ingredients, including half of the dressing, reserving some mango, avocado and feta for garnish.

Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and serve with extra tender leaves.