Chopped salad with black beans fennel and chilli

Healthy midweek lunches are tough when you are on the go.

I try to eat bread and wheat just once a day – and – in the form of my own sourdough wherever possible. Of course that’s not always achievable – and that’s OK with me. The point is the intention – the odd meandering from the path is inevitable and hardly going to hurt anyone.

Saying that, I know how easy it is to reach for those easy quick carbs when in a rush and low on inspiration. So this chopped salad (and the many variations and riffs on it that can be made) is a bit of a revelation – a few robust vegetables, some canned pulses and some toasted seeds can actually come together into something quite special. Very pure and achingly healthy without being in any way boring. It’s a textural delight and hugely satisfying with a welcome dose of ‘I chucked this together in seconds’ smugness built in. Use what you have around and don’t be a slave to a list of ingredients – the beauty of this is its versatility and its availability – everything you need should already be lurking in your fridge or store cupboard.



Black beans, a can of, drained
Cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
Romano peppers, thinly sliced
Fennel bulb and its leafy fronds, thinly sliced and picked
Red chilli, sliced into thin rounds
Sunflower seeds, toasted
Pumpkin seeds, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil
A really good quality, highly flavoured vinegar like Willy’s Turmeric and Honey Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and pepper


Chop all the vegetables and add them to a large bowl
Pick over the fennel fronds and cress and add them too
Season well with salt and pepper and glug over enough olive oil to make it all feel slick
Glug over at least the same amount of vinegar to give it a pronounced sharpness (add a little honey or maple syrup if your vinegar is of the savoury variety – the one I used has a sweetness to it)
Toast your seeds and throw them in at the last minute
Toss it all together and eat straight away
Any leftovers will last well in the fridge for a couple of days


change up the black beans for cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas
add in/replace the veg with tomatoes, cucumber (seeds removed), kohlrabi, fresh raw peas
add in pickles, cornichons, capers for extra zing
add in herbs and leaves at the last minute to give it a leafy feel
add more protein on top; avocado, sliced chicken, smoked mackerel, good quality tinned tuna to make it more robust


Louisa Chapman-Andrews
Cook Folk

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