Siamese-Style Spinach Summer Salad

Autumn is almost upon us, but it's still summer and Katy, our guest author today, has offered us a delicious salad recipe that you won't want to miss.

I know from bitter personal experience that sourcing out a satisfying summer lunch can sometimes be tricky if you’re trying to stay healthy and avoid carb-overload.

Low-fat midday meals are easy in winter – you can just sink your spoon into a hearty bowl of soup to stay full (and warm!) until suppertime. But in the summer it’s an entirely different story. Whether dining at home or in the office, you have to balance the need to refuel with the desire to beat the heat by eating light. Mixed salads may be the standard solution, but personally a plate of lettuce just leaves me wilted by mid-afternoon, and inevitably reaching for the Pandora’s box of biscuits.

Luckily I’ve concocted the ideal refreshing summer snack to keep hunger at bay and stop you dashing to the nearest deli. The combination of spinach, tuna and chickpeas means this salad is packed with vitamins, protein and iron, and the thai flavourings will make your tongue will tingle. Best of all, there’s only 250 calories per serving, and it can be prepared in advance to give you an extra 5 minutes in bed in the morning!

Siamese-style spinach summer salad:

Makes 2 generous servings

* 100 grams fresh leaf spinach
* 150 grams chickpeas (drained from tin)
* 135 grams tuna (drained contents of 1 tin)
* 1 tbsp red thai curry paste
* 1 handful fresh coriander
* 1 lime juice

Optional extras: lime zest, fresh red chilli, your favourite grain

  1. Roughly chop 100 grams spinach and a decent handful of coriander

  2. Combine spinach and coriander in a large bowl with 135 grams flaked tuna and 150 grams chickpeas. I found that tuna stored in sunflower oil works best, but if you can only get hold of tuna in water or brine then simply add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to help all the ingredients mix together.

  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of red thai curry paste into the mixture and squeeze over the juice of 1 lime.

  4. One of the great things about this dish is that you can alter the taste to suit your preference. To give the dish some added zing, finely grate in some of the lime zest as well as the juice. If you like your food extra spicy, just chop in a fresh red chilli (it’s your choice whether to remove the seeds or keep them in!). You can also add in a portion of your favourite grain (such as couscous, quinoa or bulgur wheat) if you want to make your lunch more substantial without leaving you feeling bloated.

  5. Split the spinach salad between two bowls and enjoy your lunch in the sunshine!

I sent Katy an email about the red thai curry paste because I couldn't find it in my grocery store and here is her kind reply:

Red thai curry paste is quite common in the UK now, and I'd imagine you can find it in the oriental section of most large grocery stores (I visited a Zabar's in New York last summer, what an amazing place!). The Bart version is probably the best, but other companies make it too.
However, if you can't find the paste pre-made (the speedy cheating version!) you can make your own – I've never tried but have heard it's pretty easy, and it's pretty spicy so a little goes a long way! I found this recipe in one of my Jamie Oliver books (30 Minute Meals, so good for busy families and dinner parties!), so you can always try this otherwise:
Trim the ends and tough outer leaves of 2 lemongrass stalks, bash up the stalks with the side of a knife, then put into a food processor with 1 fresh red chilli (stalk removed), 2 peeled cloves of garlic, 4 lime leaves, a bunch of coriander, 2 jarred red peppers, 1 heaped tsp tomato puree, 1tbsp fish sauce, 2tbsp soy sauce and 1tsp sesame oil. Peel and add 2cm (¾in) fresh ginger.
Blitz to a paste – you might need to stop and use a spatula to scrape down the sides so it all gets whizzed up.

Like the sound of this lunch? Visit The Feelgood Foodbook for more recipe ideas or follow Katy_Riddle on Twitter.

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