Home Food & Recipes Healthy Spring Recipes from Joanne Faulkner

Healthy Spring Recipes from Joanne Faulkner

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Photo by Emma Brereton

By Joanne Faulkner

Spring is here with energy: new shoots push up through soil moving around any object, irrepressible and unstoppable. That’s the energy we are aiming for here. Time to wake up and move, find the flexibility and feel the surge of sap rising. However, sometimes after a long, cold and dark winter we can need a kickstart. Often we go for a spring clean for the body; it’s detox time. The liver and gallbladder are the organs of spring and what can overload them is saturated fats and oils, so try a simple detox for a couple of weeks.

Here’s a few recipes to help create food that is good for you but isn’t harsh or hard for the body. I think the idea with a detox is to love the body back into wellness, not to beat it into submission.

Dahl Bhat
Every dhal is different but they are the mainstay food of Nepal. While trekking there, I ate it every day. Every house had its own recipe, but the general principle remained the same. Rice and lentils were cheap so you could eat as much of those as you liked, but the vegetables were expensive so these were heavily spiced so you didn’t need so much of these. In this recipe, I change the spices for a softer option of salt, but really combining pulses, rice and vegetables gives you complete proteins and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals for the body.

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
5 cm cube of fresh root ginger
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
4 cardamom pods
250g uncooked red lentils
200g pre-cooked and rinsed puy lentils
2 litres vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil and begin to soften the onions. I usually keep the lid on to make as much juice as possible so that I need less oil. Make sure the heat isn’t too high. As the onions become translucent yellow, add the sliced garlic and ginger. Fry for a further few minutes, then add all the spices, including the bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom. Keep stirring at this point making sure they don’t burn and stick, what you want is a delicious aroma as the spices are brought to life, which will take a couple of minutes. Toss the red lentils in and coat them in the juicy spices. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir fairly regularly so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom.  Also, lentils can absorb a lot of water so you may need to add more. They will break up and the consistency should be of thick soup. Just before the end, tip in the puy lentils. These keep the shape and texture, adding an appetising appearance to the dahl.

Steamed Greens with Gomasio
It is very important at this time of year to keep up the chlorophyll intake. This boosts the gallbladder into producing bile, which helps the liver break down fats and rid the body of unwanted waste materials. Another benefit of chlorophyll, also known as nature’s sunshine, is that it acts like vitamin D, which is absolutely essential for calcium/magnesium balance and absorption.

Choose as much and as many of the following: kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard or cabbage.
3 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of sea salt

Steam chosen vegetables for 5 to 10 minutes depending on required texture for vegetable chosen. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a heavy-based pan for a couple of minutes until they have a nutty aroma and are turning a golden brown. Pour into a pestle and mortar and grind with the salt until most of the seeds are crushed. It doesn’t have to be ground to a powder; varying texture improves the experience. This condiment is great over any dish but especially greens as it reduces salt intake without impairing flavour.

Spicy Apple Salad    
Sour flavours help cut through a stagnant liver, and the lime juice in the following recipe has that effect. Apples help to break down any buildup in the body, especially in the gallbladder. So, this recipe has two very good positives for helping the body.

4 or 5 tart and crisp green apples
½ head of Chinese leaf
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
4 or 5 red onions
2 green chillies
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 inch cube of root ginger
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and black pepper

Core and finely slice the apples and Chinese leaf. Toss them in the lime juice to prevent them browning. Meanwhile, slice the onions and fry to soften in the oil. When they are beginning to become transparent, add the deseeded chillies, grated ginger and turmeric, and fry for a further couple of minutes on a medium heat. Toss the contents of the frying pan and the salad ingredients, mixing well, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Joanne runs a shiatsu clinic that specialises in diet and acupressure to balance the body.  Her next event on March 24th is all about cooking for the liver and gallbladder. For more information on treatments, one-day cooking courses, or wholefood catering for events visit www.joannefaulkner.org

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