Purple Haze Salad with Blackcurrant, Hemp and Mustard Vinaigrette

Salads have been noticeably absent from my blog and that’s because I only share recipes that are ‘Lil’ L approved’. Until recently, salad was definitely not on his love list. Last summer in Provence, I started to put tiny amounts of lettuce on his lunch plate and he would eat it… providing it was slathered in hummus or salad dressing. We slowly increased the portion size and, since Christmas, he’s actually been tucking in with enthusiasm. Finally, he’s feeling the love for salad leaves and he’s even enjoying taking them to school in his lunch box 🙂

Unlike Lil’ L, I’ve always been a fan of salad. As a kid, I would munch my way through my Dad’s homegrown salad patch – tomatoes, radishes, lettuces, beetroot, celery, cucumber – I loved it all! However, just like Lil’ L, I much prefer my salads well dressed. Tangy vinaigrettes or creamy mayonnaise can really help to bring a bowl of salad to life and definitely make it more appealing to kids!

When I was invited to take part in a Maison Maille Culinary Challenge, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to devise a new, family-approved salad recipe. We were invited to select two products from their range, and I opted for the Dijon Mustard Originale and Red Wine Vinegar with Dijon Blackcurrant Liqueur. Unfortunately, the vinegar never arrived, however it did provide the inspiration for my recipe.

Blackcurrant, Hemp and Mustard Vinaigrette

While shop-bought salad dressings tend to be high in empty calories with little or no nutritional value, I try to make my home-made dressing the exact opposite. I love to pack them with nutrient-rich ingredients so I can drizzle on the dressing to my heart’s content, in full knowledge that it’s actually good for me and isn’t going to pile on the pounds. The dressing I’m sharing today is actually oil free. And check out that amazing colour!

I absolutely love the flavour of this dressing, and it’s been a huge hit with the rest of the family too (including Lil’ L!) It’s tangy, with a touch of sweetness and beautiful hint of blackcurrant. I’ve used real blackcurrants in the dressing which are loaded with antioxidants. To add a touch of creaminess, I blended in some hemp seeds, which also happen to be a great source of omega 3.

To complement this beautifully vibrant dressing, I’ve compiled a colourful, crunchy, protein-rich salad. I love the contrasting colours of the Ruby Gem lettuce. Like most lettuces, it’s packed with phytonutrients to keep us healthy.

Gem Lettuce 500

And surely nothing can beat red cabbage for vibrancy? As well as adding flavour, crunch and colour, red cabbage is packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C. Just one cup of shredded cabbage contains 85% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C!

Red Cabbage copy

And here’s another antioxidant-rich, immune-boosting, tasty addition to my salad bowl – red pepper. I opted to use a sweet romano pepper, but bell pepper would work fine too.

Sweet Romano Pepper copy

For protein, I added some edamame (soya) beans. I love their fresh flavour and colour. I tend to undercook mine slightly so they’re nice and firm for salads or snacks. Soya beans have great health benefits but have received some bad press lately. If you want to find out more, check out this report from Viva!

Edamame Soya Beans

For an extra boost of protein and slow release energy, I added some chickpeas. This time, I opted for maple soy roasted chickpeas, but my Dukkah spiced chickpeas would also work well in this salad. Chickpeas are a nutrient powerhouse packed with protein, dietary fibre, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals including iron.

Roasted Chickpeas copy

While not featured in today’s pics, I also highly recommend adding avocado to this salad bowl. It adds another great dimension of flavour and texture, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Lil’ L is a huge avocado fan and always loves to add a few slices to his salad plates.


Purple Haze Salad with Blackcurrant, Hemp and Mustard Vinaigrette

The Dressing (oil free)
Yield: approx. 120g / ½ cup
Hands-on time: less than 5 minutes

18g / 2 TBSP shelled hemp seeds
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
35g/ ¼ cup fresh or frozen blackcurrants
60ml / ¼ cup water
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whizz with a hand blender until smooth (alternatively use a jug blender). Taste test and add more mustard or sweetener, if desired.

The Salad
Serves 2 as a main (or 4 as a side salad)
Hands-on time: 10 minutes

60g / ⅓ cup frozen soya (edamame) beans
140g / 2 cups ruby gem (or romaine) lettuce, shredded
100g / 1 cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
1 red romano (or bell) pepper, finely chopped
1 batch of roasted chickpeas (recipe below)
1 medium ripe avocado, sliced (optional, but highly recommended)

Boil the soya beans for 3 minutes, then run under the cold water tap and drain. How you arrange the salad is entirely your choice! You could keep all the ingredients separate or mix it all up. Either way, it will look beautiful
Sprinkle with the roasted chickpeas and dressing just before serving.

Soy Maple Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 2-4
Hands-on time: 5 minutes    Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

1 x 400g / 14 oz can chickpeas
2 tsp tamari soy sauce (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) / 400F. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.

2. Thoroughly drain the chickpeas and place in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, oil, syrup, oregano and salt. Stir to coat, then tip the chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Scrape any remaining marinade from the bowl and spread it onto the chickpeas. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time. After 25 minutes roasting time, I find that the chickpeas have a slightly softer, chewier texture (which I personally prefer), while after 30 minutes they become harder and crunchier.


After snapping the photos, I couldn’t wait to tuck in!

14 thoughts on “Purple Haze Salad with Blackcurrant, Hemp and Mustard Vinaigrette

  1. This salad is totally stunning! Look at the colour of that vinaigrette! I will have to try these roasted chickpeas as they are literally one of my favourite things to add to salads!

    I became a vegetarian when I was ten, yet I hated salads. I remember going to my best friend’s house for dinner and when the salad was passed my way I said no thank you and her dad laughed out loud and said how can you be a vegetarian and not like salad!? That is a VERY valid question, I have come to realize, and I am soooo glad that I love salad now! I could eat salad all day long…especially if they look as good as this one! 🙂

    1. Thanks Koko ♥ I didn’t expect the dressing to come out that bright, but it really is as vivid as it looks in the pic! Tomorrow I’m going to try raspberries & see how that turns out 🙂
      It’s amazing how much your taste buds change as you grow older. When I was younger I used to detest avocado but now it’s one of my favourite foods ever! It’s so lovely to see Lil’ L eating salad at last. My next mission is to get him eating fresh tomato. I’ve got a few ideas of how I might win him round 😉

    1. Thank you! It’s so lovely to hear from you! ♥ Hopefully we’ll make it up to Ulverston later this year and we’ll come and see you. It’s been too long! xx

  2. I LOVE this salad Sharon, the dressing is fantastic – such a beautiful colour, vibrant and fresh!

    I tend to avoid soya beans most of the time since I have a thyroid problem and I don’t know what to believe about the health aspects (it’s all too confusing!) but if I do eat soy products I try to make sure they are organic. We do use tamari from non gm beans as well as soy based yogurt occasionally.

    Good luck in the competition!

    Vicky xo

    1. Thank you Vicky! ♥ I found out today that I wasn’t short listed but never mind, I truly love this dressing and have been using various versions of it every day this week for my lunch time salads 🙂

      I totally agree that it’s a minefield when it comes to the soya. There are so many conflicting reports, it’s hard to know what to believe. The Viva report does make sense to me and I also trust the advice of Virginia Messina, RD (there’s a useful section in her book ‘Vegan for Life’ on the safety of soy). I tend to go for an ‘everything in moderation’ approach. When I cook tofu, I often add some nori flakes or other iodine-rich sea vegetable to help balance it all out.

  3. I love your gradual approach to introducing Lil’L to salad – it goes to show there is always hope, sometimes it just takes little ones time! I also love the look of this. The colours are amazing and I can almost taste the flavour off the page 🙂

    1. I know from my own experience just how much taste buds can change over time. Two foods that I disliked until my late 20s – olives and avocados – are now on my ‘love’ list! I ‘trained’ myself to like them but regularly trying them. The avocado didn’t take long but the olives took about 3 years!! It was worth it though! When you’re a mum you end up discovering lots of creative (and sneaky) ways to get them to eat their fruits & veggies 😉

  4. Your salad looks so appealing. I was going to ask if there was something I could use instead of black currants, as I rarely see them here, but I think your comment about trying it with raspberries is my answer. Thanks for the lovely recipe.

    1. Thank you so much Lyn for your kind comments! ♥ When they’re out of season, I buy frozen bags of mixed summer fruits and pick out the blackcurrants for this dressing.
      You can substitute raspberries but since their flavour isn’t as strong as blackcurrants, I recommend doubling the amount (say about 1/2 cup) and adding a touch more sweetener. Obviously the taste is quite different to the blackcurrant version (the latter is still my favourite) but it’s tasty none the less and goes really well with this salad. It comes out an amazingly vivid pink colour too!

  5. I love fruity dressings and this blackcurrant one sounds delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever used blackcurrants before!
    I bet Lil’ L has a much much healthier diet than all his friends. You’re doing a great job with him 😀

    1. Thanks Emma! ♥ I find it such a responsibility feeding another human being! I’m not really bothered about myself but when it comes to Lil’ L I’d feel awful if he was lacking in anything. Touch wood, he’s been in tip top health so far.
      Can’t wait to check out your sesame hummus bites. These could be perfect for the school lunch boxes. Lil’ L is a total ‘hummus monster’!

  6. Hi Sharon! This looks gorgeous. I love the flavours you’re using in the dressing and love that it’s oil free! I will definitely have to try out your roasted chickpeas too! xo

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