Berya with coconut milk and pomegranate dressing

Berya with coconut milk and pomegranate dressing

image (73).jpeg

This recipe came around because I was being greedy. It was a Sunday afternoon and I had already had a fry-up that day, but I also don't think Sundays can be Sundays without a roast dinner. You see the dilemma. There was no chance I would be able to eat any roast potatoes, but maybe half a plate of something with lettuce wouldn't feel so gluttonous. So I decided to give what I would usually roast for a Sunday lunch a Persian make-over, and turn it in to a berya- or the origins of what we call a biryani- rice and vegetables that have been roasted or fried. If I was feeling pedantic I'd also pretend that I knew pomegranate seeds were also native to Persia (modern day Iran) before including them in this recipe, but I just thought they would taste good against the beetroot and rice.

As it happened, the onions were the only thing that ended up being roasted, the rest baked. By cooking them in their skins, they stay really juicy and you get the full whack of their flavour instead of mingling it in with other tastes.

I found amber beetroot and purple carrots in our vegetable box on the same week, which only helped emphasise the contrary theme. This turned in to a super easy Sunday dinner that worked for lunch the following day. It's light, fresh and a good counterattack for a full English. As with any of the salad recipes on Guac, if you're going to save this for leftovers, I would recommend not adding the dressing until you're ready to eat, or it might take over every other flavour.

image (74).jpeg

Makes enough for 4

For the coconut milk and pomegranate dressing

1/2 can coconut milk

About 2 inches of cucumber, chopped down small

Handful of coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper

Juice of a lime

Seeds from half a pomegranate


For the vegetables, rice and salad

6 small white onions, tops and bottoms cut off but with skins left on

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

2 large beetroots, peeled and sliced into roughly 5mm discs  

4 carrots, peeled and with the tops and tips cut off, cut lengthways to roast

2 cups dry rice

1 tsp turmeric

Salad leaves

Extra cucumber for the salad

Handful of almonds

Make the dressing first so the flavours can develop in together. In a jug or bowl, add in all the dressing ingredients, holding back half of the pomegranate seeds to use over the rest of the salad for serving.

To make the vegetables, pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the onions in an oven-proof dish with some vegetable oil and salt and pepper and roast for 35-40 minutes. The beetroot will take a similar amount of time, so cover an oven tray with baking parchment and bake in the middle of the oven. I added some salt for a little flavour as I find beetroot can turn a bit earthy without it. Put the carrots on baking parchment and then in the oven about 15 minutes later, so they bake for about 20-25 minutes. Once the carrots are in, cook the rice with the turmeric so it turns that great yellow colour. 

image (77).jpeg

Once the rice and vegetables are ready you can start plating up. Drain the rice and share it between the plates, then stack on the lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and carrots. Once the onions have cooled a little, squeeze them out of their skins and dot them around each plate.  

Add dollops of the dressing, with a sprinkle of the final pomegranate seeds and some of the almonds.  

image (78).jpeg

Tahini chopped salad with quinoa and beluga lentils

Tahini chopped salad with quinoa and beluga lentils


This post is coming to you from my borrowed desk at my best friend Naomi's house. We both realised some new walls to write from would be good- so I've got a new (temporary) desk south of the Thames. It's great what a change in scenery can do to your work outlook. Yes, there's been a few Jimmy Fallon video sessions, not gonna lie, but it is nice to write from somewhere new!

With working-in-home in mind, this chopped salad is great for making when there's a run of work-from-home days. Leave the dressing separate from the salad in the fridge and it should last for around three days. 

I adapted this recipe from Dolly and Oatmeal... who originally adapted it from an Ottolenghi's Jerusalem, so as with the best recipes, it's done the rounds. I decided to simplify the flavours a little because to me, tahini, lemon juice, mint, pine nuts and tomatoes are already quite competitive! But just add whatever you think would taste best.


Makes enough for 4


Handful of chopped salad leaves

Handful of green beans, cut in half

Handful of heirloom or baby tomatoes (any tomatoes you can find will work fine, I just like the different colours of the more unusual varieties).

Handful of cucumber, chopped

2-3 tbsp dry-toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons chopped mint leaves

Salt and pepper

Paprika to taste

2 cups cooked quinoa  

1 cup cooked beluga or puy lentils  


For the dressing: 

1/3 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 small garlic clove, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. For the dressing, mix together the tahini, water, lemon juice and garlic in a separate bowl, then season to taste. 

Plate up, sprinkle with a little more paprika, salt and pepper, then pour over the tahini dressing so all the salad components are flavoured with it- it's a strong flavour so you won't need all the dressing in one go, so just grab a fork and tuck in.