This gorgeous salad of contrasting colours and textures is packed with nutrients for muscle recovery as well as being super-easy to make. It’s a fabulous way of getting lots of beta-carotene, vitamin C and phytonutrients, as well as the protein you need for muscle repair and growth. Use a packet of cooked quinoa if you’re pressed for time – it’s just as nutritious and tasty. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and aids muscle repair after exercise, as well as omega-3 fats that promote healthy blood vessels.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
250 g (9 oz) carrots, cut into batons
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 2-cm strips
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 tbsp light olive or rapeseed oil
1 tsp za’atar (Middle Eastern herbs from most supermarkets) or dried thyme
125 g (4 oz) quinoa and bulgur (cracked) wheat mixture or 250-g (8-oz) packet cooked quinoa
500 ml water
2 x 400 g (14oz) tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
50 g (2 oz) pecans, toasted (see ‘How to toast nuts and seeds’)
A small handful of fresh coriander or parsley, chopped, plus extra to serve
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g (3½ oz) soft goats’ cheese, crumbled (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 °C/fan 180 °C/gas mark 6.
Toss the carrots, peppers and onions, oil, za’atar and seasoning in a roasting tin. Make sure the tin is large enough so the vegetables are in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly charred on the outside and tender in the middle.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and bulgur wheat in water for 20 minutes until tender.
Toss the roasted vegetables into the warm grains. Fold in the chickpeas, pecans, coriander or parsley and lemon juice, then season to taste. Mound onto a plate, top with a little extra coriander and crumbled goats’ cheese, if using.