Photo of nori rolls
Nori rolls with sprouted red clover seeds are food for the heart

Savoury recipes for the Heart of summer

18 June, 2012

In traditional Chinese medicine, summer is the season of the heart and associated with the element of fire.

Several herbs, spices and raw foods can help feed the fiery energy of the heart, bringing balance to body and mind. Here’s some great recipes to get you started.

Nori rolls with red clover and fennel

Nori are thin black sheets of seaweed. They are rich source of calcium and iodine. Most commonly used for preparing sushi.


  • 1 pack of nori sheets
  • 3 cups of red clover sprouts
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cups of Almonds (blanched and soaked 8-12 hours)
  • 1cup of sunflower seeds (soaked 8-12 hours,)
  • 1 tbl fresh ginger root, grated
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbl of dark sesame oil
  • salt to taste

For the spicy orange sauce:

  • Juice of one large orange
  • 1tbl of Tamari sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small chilli pepper with seeds


You will need to begin preparing 5 days in advance:

1 Sprout the red clover seeds, which have a distinctive flavour. They should be soaked for few hours and then kept in jar at a temperature of between 18-22 degree C. The seeds will have to be rinsed in a clean water twice daily for approximately 3-5 days.

2 Almonds and sunflower seeds also need soaking for 8-12 hours prior to the preparation.

To make the filling:

3 Use the food processor to purée the almonds, sunflowers and grated ginger root.

4 Add sesame oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.

When you are ready to make the rolls:

5 Make sure that the area you are going to work with nori sheets is dry, since any moisture will soften them.

6 spread the almond and sunflower purée over the nori sheet add sprouts followed by thin strips of fennel, carrot, and avocado. Roll the nori sheet tightly wetting the far edge of nori to seal it.

7 Cut each roll into finger-sized bites and serve with the bowl of spicy orange sauce.


Spicy stuffed peppers

Preheat the oven to 190º C.


  • 80g (2 ½ oz)  rice
  • 2 tbl of quinoa
  • 60g (2 oz) pine nuts
  • 6 peppers of the same colour or a mix of yellow, green, orange, red

    Savoury stuffed peppers with quinoa

  • 100g (3 oz) crimini mushrooms (or another available variety)
  • 1 yellow courgette
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 5 shallots
  • large spring of fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves of freshly pressed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Picante Pimenton (a hot paprika made from smoked Hungarian peppers)
  • 2 tsp of vegetable bouillon powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red chilli – choose the variety according to how spicy you would like the dish to be
  • sprinkle with salt and dash of olive oil

Spicy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil,
  • 2 large tbl flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Pimenton
  • 750ml of vegetable stock, plus salt and pepper to taste


1 Dice finely all vegetables and place them into a large mixing bowl.

2 Warm a dry pan and stir the pine nuts to get them slightly blushed, cool and add to the vegetables.

3 Wash the rice and quinoa add to the vegetables.

4 Add finely chopped parsley and pressed garlic, and finely chopped chilli.

5 Sprinkle with Pimenton and vegetable bouillon powder and grind some black pepper over the mixed ingredients.

Wash the peppers, with sharp knife carefully remove the stalk and the “seeded heart” of each pepper. Stuff each pepper with the already prepared mix. Remember when filling with vegetables, make sure the peppers are really stuffed, since vegetables have tendency to shrink during cooking.

Layer the stuffed peppers, hole part upwards, into deep baking dish or casserole dish. Add water to the bottom of the dish covering one third the height of peppers. Bake in a hot oven for approximately 45 minutes. Once peppers get the slightly blushed skin on the top, cover with the lid or a foil.

Add sauce the peppers in the last 25 minutes of cooking.

These peppers go well served on a nest of sweet and white potato mash (see below) and ring of flat parsley leaves.


Sweet potato mash

  • 1 kg (2 lb) of Sweet potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil

Bake each potato in a foil (approx 1 ½ hrs). Cool until able to handle. Peal each potato reserving fluid from each foil, beat all together and season to taste.


White potato mash

  • 1 kg (2 lb) of white potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil

Peal potatoes, boil in a pan of salted water. Cook until soft, empty water and beat in with a little bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.


  • The late Dragana Vilinac was chief herbalist at Neal’s Yard Remedies.