Vegan, gluten free ‘cheesy’ salty salad sprinkle

Vegan, gluten free 'superfood' salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com
Vegan, gluten free ‘superfood’ salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com

Naming this salad sprinkle recipe has proven rather difficult, as you might have noticed from the unimaginative title. ‘Superfood salad sprinkle’ might have been suitable, but I detest the heralding of expensive niche foods as better than others. It is Monday morning and I’m only on my first coffee, so the title will have to suffice. I’ll do you a solid with a little more explanation of why this recipe exists, however.

Working full time in the creative space of food and recipe development is tough. Despite how it might look on the internet, developing a constant stream of recipes is an expensive, time consuming and often rather stressful. A lot of the bigger, world renowned chefs you follow likely have a team to help them shop, develop, retest and shoot the recipes they publish. For a lot of small fries (like myself) all these roles fall on me.

On an average day, I would shop for the recipes I’m developing in the morning. Next comes testing, and depending what stage they’re in, shooting. As this is a constant evolving process, there is ALWAYS food in the house. Always. This may seem like heaven, but the reality is that you quickly lose to ability to maintain a balanced, constant diet. Been testing banana muffins all week? Cool, you’ll be having banana bread for breakfast. Maybe lunch, too. Testing a lasagne? Well, you’ll have to taste the sauce as you go. Probably also a slice straight out of the oven. And then a cold slice, just to be sure.

So yes, maintaining any sort of balanced diet becomes quite difficult, if you let it. It has only been in recent times, with exhaustion and low iron levels creeping up on me, that I realised what was happening. What I was letting happen.

Vegan, gluten free 'superfood' salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com
Vegan, gluten free ‘superfood’ salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com

SPRINKLE SPRINKLE

I have no regrets on not wasting food, but I do regret that I’ve been failing to give my body what is actually needs. Not just banana bread. I just get so swept up in a recipe idea that I have to make it immediately. Ironically, that very impulse is what has driven me to create this salad sprinkle.

Acknowledging that I am constantly testing something new and strapped for time, I needed to create an easy way to get some good stuff in. Enter, the salad sprinkle. I have a tendency to overload salads with cheese in order to make them hearty and filling, which I realise (now that my favourite skirt doesn’t fit) is probably not the best way to flavour salad on a daily basis.

This salad sprinkle gets a cheesy flavour from nutritional yeast, and saltiness from the Tamari. It has a creamy, hearty aspect from the seeds, and a crunch from both the seeds and toasted nori. There is the (optional) nutrition boost from the spirulina, and probably lots of nutrients too. I’m no nutritionist, so I won’t get into that. I just know that it’s probably a little better for me than grating half a block of cheddar over some lettuce leaves.

Vegan, gluten free ‘superfood’ salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com

SALAD SPRINKLE + FODMAP

The salad sprinkle is gluten free, grain free, nut free, vegan and refined sugar free. It is probably paleo and all of the other things, but I haven’t bothered to check. It’s not promising to make your hair shiny or change your life, but it is a quick, easy delicious way to get a hit of good stuff and to jazz up a salad. Make a jar on a Sunday, and you’ve got fun salads for at least a week.

None of the ingredients are really notable in terms of being high FODMAP, except maybe for flax seeds – 1 tablespoon per serve is the recommendation. None of the other additions should pose an issue in the quantities per serve.

This salad sprinkle can be customised as per your needs and wants. You can add, subtract, and multiply where you see fit. It also makes a great base for a nut mix – add in some toasted nuts to bulk it out, and up the flavourings if necessary. The world is your salad sprinkle.

RECIPE NOTES

The spirulina added to this recipe is optional – it does have a distinct taste, and remnants of it are there through the cheesiness. Personally I quite like it – it’s kind of like a seaweed type of taste. The nutritional qualities of spirulina are thought to be some of the best, gram for gram, in the world. I was recommended it by my doctor to maintain some level of health through my worst digestive times and also through a bout of glandular fever. I personally am a big fan of using natural things as opposed to manufactured vitamins, but each to their own.

On the note of seaweed flavoured things, you could use any type of dried edible seaweed you prefer here. I use nori because it’s inexpensive, easy to buy, and generally always in my cupboard. If you have something different that you like, feel free to use it.

VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE SALAD SPRINKLE

Nut free, grain free, FODMAP friendly, vegan, gluten free
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon tamari
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 1/2-1 sheet nori chopped finely (I fold it up and use scissors)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Instructions

METHOD

  • Dry toast the pepitas and sunflower seeds in a nonstick frypan over a medium heat. Once toasted to your liking, turn the heat off, and mix through the nutritional yeast. If you want it to be extra cheesy, add the second tablespoon.
  • Add the tamari while the frypan is still hot, and quickly stir to coat. The mix should become dry very quickly. Transfer to a bowl, and add the hemp seeds, flax seeds and spirulina. Mix to combine, and set aside.
  • Return the frypan to a medium heat, and add the sesame seeds and chopped nori. Allow them to toast for a couple of minutes, before adding the teaspoon of coconut sugar. This forms a quasi furikake. Once the sugar seizes up, transfer the mix into the large bowl, and stir in with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Keep in an airtight jar, and use within a week or so.
Vegan, gluten free ‘superfood’ salad sprinkle from www.georgeats.com

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