My husband and I got back from our two week trip to the Philippines a few weeks ago, just a day before India closed its borders to foreigners, even those with OCI cards (me). Phew.
We booked our tickets a few months back, planning our trip around a friend’s wedding that was held in Cebu. We had a great time and indulged in food… I really missed a lot Filipino food, so I tried to have everything I missed in those two weeks, haha.
Winter has also just past, and during the winter time, I was really taking comfort in food. Honestly, I hate the cold… It hit 2.5 degrees Celsius this past winter and homes here in Delhi don’t have central heating.
Anyway, getting back here after our trip with all that yummy food, we are getting back to healthier eating. Since India is on lockdown, I am trying to be creative with simple ingredients.
At this point, India has more than 5,000 cases of covid-19 already, and a few of them have been from the slums.
We are lucky. We are still okay. We are able to eat well, sleep well, and we have our three cats with us. There’s still a lot to be thankful for.
During this lockdown, we are trying to inculcate good eating habits, such as less snacking between meals, having dessert in moderate amounts and at the proper time like after dinner and eating more vegetables 🙂 Vegetables are rich in nutrients and fiber, and help us to feel satisfied and to control our portions of rice, roti (flatbread), desserts and snacks. They also add another dimension to meals, especially if made into salads.
Salads are great when they incorporate different flavors and textures. The roasted peanuts and sesame seeds add a wonderful crunch, and along with the green onion or coriander (cilantro), add another layer of flavor; while the lime juice and rice vinegar add just enough sourness to complement the sweetness of the carrots. To grate the carrots, I just whizzed them through a food processor.. because to be honest, I kinda hate grating carrots, lol 😀
On sesame seeds: the hulled variety tastes a lot better. The unhulled variety kind of tastes like soil. On the rice vinegar: it is a naturally sweet, mild tasting vinegar. Don’t get confused between “rice wine vinegar” and “rice vinegar”, they are two different things. You could also use all lime juice, or lemon juice, or calamansi juice, if you’re in the Philippines 🙂
This dish is sugar-free and oil-free, but it still incorporates some fat, in the form of sesame seeds and peanuts. Fat is needed by the body [though not in large amounts], especially if you want to absorb the beta-carotene from all those carrots! Your body can then convert this beta-carotene into vitamin A.
The great thing about the fat from the sesame seeds and peanuts is that it comes with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. This also helps you feel full and satisfied for longer. Oil, on the other hand, is pure fat.
The carrots we got were so sweet and juicy, so we really enjoyed this salad. It didn’t feel like bland diet food at all – just good, healthy food with a lot of natural, fresh flavors.
Try this recipe and tell me what you think! You can also add fresh chili or chili flakes to the dressing if you like.
Quick and Easy Carrot Salad [oil-free, sugar-free, vegan, WFPB]
- 3 large carrots, grated
- 1 stalk or bunch green onion or coriander (cilantro)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted (hulled ones taste better)
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar (or sub more lime or lemon juice)
- fresh chili, crushed or chili flakes (optional – I didn’t use any)
- pinch salt
- Grate your carrots. I whizzed mine in the food processor 😀
- Mix them with the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds.
- Sprinkle with a little salt (so the carrots release their juices and flavors) and set aside.
- Make the dressing and mix it well with the salad.
- Serve 🙂