A salad for every occasion

Photography Susannah Blatchford.

Good caught up with Cantabrians the Two Raw Sisters, Margo and Rosa Flanagan, to discuss all things green, including their latest cookbook SALAD.

What inspired you two to write this cookbook? 

From the moment Two Raw Sisters began, we have been known for our “salads”. We say “salads” because we really need to come up with another name for them. They aren’t your typical salads; most people think salads consist of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato and feta, if you’re lucky.

This is why we wanted to write SALAD, because they can be so much more than that. We wanted to inspire people on how they can make plants the hero of their meals by creating a Two Raw Sisters salad that is always filled with delicious flavours, amazing, exciting textures and bright, vibrant colours.

What’s it like working with your sister?

We get this question a lot! We wouldn’t have it any other way. We definitely have our moments, but overall we work extremely well together and we are very lucky to have such a close relationship. 

We both have opposite strengths and weaknesses and roles within Two Raw Sisters which is why we work so well together. 

Where did you learn how to cook?

We went over to LA back in 2016 to do a raw plant-based culinary school for three months. We learnt a lot about flavour combinations and techniques there.

However, as we’ve grown, we cook very differently now. (We cook the majority of our ingredients – by “raw”, we mean using whole, unprocessed ingredients.) A lot of our cooking techniques now have been created by us because we’re lazy cooks and like to do things quickly. 

What do you love about salads?

To us, salads are the starting point of every meal. Work lunches, throw-together midweek dinners, entertaining with family and friends.

Whether you’re cooking for one, two, a family of four or a whole crowd of people, there is no better sight than a table filled with big round platters layered up high with eye-catching colours, flavours and textures. 

How did you come to eat mostly plant-based yourselves?

For us, it is about creating a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain forever. Our definition of “plant-based” is basing your meals around your plants.

We aren’t vegan or vegetarian ourselves, but rather than always thinking of the meat element first, we start with one of our delicious salads, filled with loads of exciting textures and flavours, then add the meat as a side if we choose too.

By doing this you will naturally decrease your meat intake and increase your plant intake because the salad is filled with grains, nuts and seeds, greens and produce – all of which are really satisfying and filling.

What are some of your favourite flavours?

We use a lot of tahini, miso, tamari (GF soy sauce), pomegranate molasses and spices in our cooking.

We always use cheap, everyday pantry staples that people are familiar with and have at home. It still blows our mind the numerous delicious flavours you can create with a range of simple ingredients.

How would you encourage people to integrate more plant-based foods into their diet? Where’s a good place to start?

Salads are a perfect way to explore the world of wholefoods and incredible seasonal produce. As a home cook, you don’t have to follow a recipe word for word.

We are always the first to admit that we are terrible at following recipes. Our love and passion for the kitchen have come through using a recipe as a guideline – adding and swapping grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and spices for ones we have in the pantry, or substituting produce for whatever is in season or needs using up in the fridge. 

Within SALAD, we have a heap of easy step-by-step follow-along diagrams on how to build your own Two Raw Sisters salad and dressing. All of our recipes are so easy and they are designed to be played and experimented with!

SALAD (Allen & Unwin), $45, is the newest cookbook from the Two Raw Sisters.

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