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Salad recipes

Lentil potato salad and a list of foods high in iron

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
serves 4 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed

Published April 25 2020


1 kg Agria potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried herbs
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked lentils (approx. 322 g; eq. 1 cup/210 g of dried lentils to be cooked)
4 large handfuls of spinach
hemp and sunflower seeds to finish
hemp seed hummus to serve


Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Wash potatoes and cut into halves and then quarters. Place potatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle over with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, sea salt and pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Once you have 15 or so minutes remaining on your potatoes, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the lentils then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To assemble, combine the potatoes, greens and lentils in a bowl, add hemp and sunflowers seeds, toss to combine.

Divide amongst bowls, adding generous spoonfuls of hummus and anything else you feel like — serve immediately.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

I've been cooking up a storm right now during this time of self-quarantine—more than usual, more involved. I prepared really great sushi the other night. And then later in the week a big healing batch of split pea hummus and as always, large salads with cooked lentils, some broccoli and loads of greens, baked potato, avocado and this hemp seed hummus. I have also been making kumara hummus frequently, and homemade almond milk. I have also been juicing. United in our vulnerability, I would like to think that people were embracing self-care, to consider our health and the implications for being responsible for our health.

We are all unique and as such should take personal responsibility for our health. Metabolic, environmental, and genetic factors influence our nutrient requirements and as such our intakes will differ from estimated averages or required daily intakes from population-based data. If you have not in the past six months had your blood taken, in general to check for what you may or may not need more of in your diet, this is a bi-annual ritual worth your time.

I do not supplement and historically have not experienced iron deficiency. However there was this discussion I had the other morning with a friend of mine, he was concerned that he was not getting enough iron, and is, for the most part, vegetarian. That said, studies of vegans have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population although vegans tend to have lower iron stores. And while expecting to find some relatively straightforward list of high non-heme iron foods to forward him, I could not, so here we are.

How much iron do vegans or vegetarians require?

Daily requirements are 8 mg per day for men and for women, 18 mg. The RDI was set by modelling the components of iron requirements, estimating the requirement for absorbed iron with an upper limit of 18 percent iron absorption. That difference between the EAR and the RDI in women aged from 19-50 years reflects high variability in needs related to variability in monthly bleeding.

While risk of iron deficiency is related to both inadequate iron intake and low bioavailability of iron from plant foods, iron recommendations for vegetarians and vegans may be as much as 1.8 times higher than for non-vegetarians. That said, studies have shown that people with low iron stores or higher physiological requirements for iron will tend to absorb more and excrete less iron. Start with the RDI and have your blood work done.

Plant foods high in iron

Use this list of high iron foods to guide you towards reaching your daily required intake. Stock your pantry, embrace soaking your legumes create balanced meals at a moment’s notice.

Soy All the ways! Tofu scrambled on toast, pan fried cubes tossed through noodle bowls and big salads. Tofu is such a sponge for flavour. My partner and I love tempeh pan-fried with liquid smoke and sea salt. Tempeh is for nights when you feel like something more substantial.

— Tofu: 6.6 mg per ½ cup

— Tempeh: 4.5 mg per cup cooked

Pulses Aside from the high-quality plant protein, any meal with a base of beans will add fibre, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Soak and cook in batches to have on hand throughout the week keeping iron intake in check. Make hummus.

— Lentils: 6.6 mg per cup cooked

— Kidney beans: 5.2 mg per cup cooked

— Chickpeas: 4.7 mg per cup cooked

— Lima and soy beans: 4.5 mg per cup cooked

— Black and pinto beans: 3.6 mg per cup cooked

Vegetables We advocate for a plant-based diet — the more whole, organic and fresh plants you get into your body every day, that means the more essential nutrients you're getting like phytonutrients, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, water and fibre — and these contain the most iron. Incorporate the following where ever possible.

— Spinach: 6.4 mg per cup cooked

— Swiss chard: 4.0 mg per cup cooked

— Peas: 2.5 mg per cup cooked

— Brussels sprouts: 1.9 mg per cup cooked

— Potato with skin: 1.7 mg per average sized 200 gram potato

— Bok choy: 1.8 mg per cup cooked

— Broccoli: 1.0 mg per cup cooked

— Kale: 1.0 mg per cup cooked

Nuts, seeds and grains Batch cook and keep containers of cooked grains on hand to add to salads throughout the week — include quinoa and millet where you can. Anything else listed here makes a welcome addition to meals. Ground-up cashews with nutritional yeast being the Parmesan for the plant-based world. Either blended into hummus or whisked into dressings, tahini is the greatest thing to ever happen to a big bowl of vegetables. And, I’m always eating oats.

— Oats: 3.3 mg per cup

— Quinoa: 2.8 mg per cup cooked

— Tahini: 2.7 mg per 2 tablespoons

— Hemp seeds: 2.38 mg per 3 tablespoons

— Cashews: 2.0 mg per 1/4 cup

— Bulgur: 1.7 mg per cup cooked

— Sesame seeds: 1.2 mg per 2 tablespoons

— Sunflower seeds: 1.2 mg per 1/4 cup

— Almonds: 1.3 mg per 1/4 cup

— Millet: 1.1 mg per cup cooked

Fruits Pureed with water or prepared as a concentrate you can drink goji on its own or add it to homemade almond milk. Blend watermelon, make your own juice and reach for raisins, apricots for a natural sugar high. Everything adds up.

— Goji berries: 1.7 mg per 5 tablespoons

— Raisins: 1.5 mg per 1/2 cup

— Apricots, dried: 1.7 mg per 1/2 cup

— Watermelon: 1.4 mg per 4 cups diced

I tend to think of my meals as equations. I would not say I obsess, however planning what groceries to purchase, what to keep on hand and how to best store and prepare foods that create radiance — that is how I am able to create vibrant health and have a flow of delicious meals.

My partner and I are creatures of habit and as such, on any given day, the contents of our refrigerators remain somewhat consistent. Led by the seasons, most lunches, dinners are a variation on this big salad that contains 12.93 mg of iron per serving.

With a grounding base of lentils (1.65 mg per 1/4 cup) and kidney beans (1.3 mg per 1/4 cup) and loads of sturdy greens like spinach (3.2 mg per 1/2 cup cooked), a half broccoli (1.0 mg per cup cooked). Toss through some pan fried tempeh (2.2 mg per 1/2 cup cooked). I would also include generous spoonfuls of hummus (2.0 grams per 1/2 cup), and hemp seeds (1.58 per 2 tablespoons).

And more with hospitality doors closed, and more time spent at home, this provides more of us with the opportunity to focus on quality ingredients as well as the energy of food preparation. For many, I would also like to think there would be this realisation that money spent on eating out could be invested in higher quality produce, organic and being able to spend more on items they might not in their day-to-day — fermented sourdough, tempeh, good quality olive oil.

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