Celebrating fresh flavours and textures this festive season

Spring is known for its amazing array of green vegetables, which include asparagus, peas, globe artichokes, broad beans and so on. These vegetables can be used to make a wonderful, vibrantly green salad that is great for a family get together or fancy dinner party. This recipe focuses on highlighting the freshness of the vegetables by using simple techniques to create different textures and flavours.  

Hemp seeds are an amazing ingredient, full of protein it helps curb hunger with a single serve (3 tablespoons) boasting almost 10 grams of protein…that’s more than an egg! They are also rich in antioxidants and omega-3s to boost immunity, fatty acids to promote skin and hair health, and healthy fats and fibre to lower cholesterol. Most of all, we love them because they can be thrown into almost any dish as a garnish, and their nutty taste is delicious.

Spring Vegetable Salad with Hemp Ricotta

Serves 4-6

Salad vegetables (whatever you can get from your local grocer)

2 bunch asparagus

3 globe artichokes

½ cup fresh or frozen peas

½ cup broad beans

2 zucchinis

½ cup fresh salad leaves and herbs

½ bunch chives

Globe artichokes

  1. For the artichokes, fill a bowl with cold water, then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and add some lemon slices. The lemon juice will prevent the artichoke from oxidising and turning brown.
  2. Pull off the tough, dark green outer leaves of the artichoke. Continue until you’re left with the light tender leaves in the centre.
  3. Slice off the top 2cm of the remaining artichoke leaves. Trim the stalk, leaving about 2.5cm.
  4. Use a small knife to trim the remaining dark green skin from around the base of the artichoke and the top of the stalk. Trim to give a neat shape and flat bottom.
  5. Halve the artichoke lengthways to expose the fibrous choke in the centre. Then use a teaspoon to scoop out the choke from each half. Pull out the tough, spiky red leaves from the centre. Put the prepared artichoke hearts in the bowl of lemony water until you are ready to cook them.
  6. To cook place in pot with vegetable stock or water (300ml), Verjus (50ml), 20ml lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic, 6 sprigs thyme and 1tsp salt cook for 20 min or until tender.                                                                        

Asparagus, peas and broad beans

  1. Firstly, remove the broad beans from the pods.
  2. To cook the asparagus, peas and broad beans bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch each vegetable separately (asparagus 90 sec, peas 2 minutes, broad beans 3 minutes) and transfer directly into iced water to cool.
  3. Once broad beans are cool remove the outer skin.                                              


  1. Slice the zucchinis length ways in half and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a BBQ grill to high heat and grill until lightly charred.                                                                                                            

Hemp Ricotta

1 cup hemp seeds

4 cups filtered water

20ml coconut oil

20ml macadamia oil

2 tbls apple cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

1 lemon zested

  1. Blend hemp seeds and filtered water in blender until smooth then add oils while blender is going.
  2. Pour mixture into pot and heat on stove until almost simmering. Stirring every few minutes.
  3. Once at temperature add the vinegar and salt and stir for 2 minutes then cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain through muslin or chuck cloth and leave for 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer ricotta to bowl and season with salt, olive oil and lemon zest.                                                                                      

Pea Dressing

½ cup peas

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 ½ tbls dijon mustard

1 tsp honey


  1. In a medium pot blanch peas for 3 minutes until cooked then strain and chill slightly.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender jug and blend on high until smooth.
  3. Taste dressing and adjusted seasoning if needed.
  4. Store in airtight container in fridge.                                   

Lemon dressing

1 lemon juiced

25ml verjus

50ml olive oil

Pinch salt

  1. Place all ingredients into a jar and shake well to combine.                                                                                                 

To assemble the salad spread some hemp ricotta over your serving dish then pour some pea dressing around the edges of the ricotta.

Following this, place the vegetables around the dish randomly and sprinkle with herbs, salad leaves and optional zucchini pickles and pangrattato.

Lastly, dress with lemon dressing and a final pinch and salt and pepper. Enjoy as a side dish to fish, chicken or lamb or on its own.


Wishing you a wonderfully tasty spring season,

Head Chef Mitch & the Gaia Culinary Team

Optional Serving Additions

Pickle Zucchini

2 zucchinis

50 ml apple cider vinegar

50 ml verjus

100 ml water

1 tbls salt

1 lemon (peel only)

1 tsp fennel seed

  1.   Slice or peel zucchini thinly and place in bowl with salt for 5 minutes to draw out moisture.
  2. Strain any excess moisture from the zucchini and add remaining ingredients.
  3. Store in airtight container of jar in the fridge.



2 slice of sourdough bread

2 tbls olive oil

pinch salt

  1. Tear the bread into pieces. Using a food processor blitz the bread into coarse crumbs.
  2. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add the oil. The add the breadcrumbs and salt and stir to combine.
  3. Fry gently over a low-medium heat, stirring often, until the breadcrumbs are golden.
  4. Once the pangrattato is a light to mid golden brown, tip them onto a plate to stop them from cooking.
  5.  You can use the pangrattato straight away or leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. You can also freeze the cold pangrattato.