Roasted Ratatouille Veggies with Chickpeas

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Is there a more flavourful way to enjoy vegetables other than roasting them? This dish really brings out the flavours of juicy baby tomatoes, sweet capsicum, red onion, garlic and other complimentary vegetables intensified with Italian herbs and olives. Add in a can of chickpeas and you have a complete, filling meal, that not only is super quick to prepare, but will infuse your kitchen with the mouthwatering aroma of roasting veggies and herbs at their best.

Roasted Ratatouille Veggies with Chickpeas 

Preperation time: 5-10 min
Cooking time: 35-45 minutes
serves – 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish

Don’t be put off by the cooking in two batches, there is no need for perfect chopping and the veggies are super quick to prepare and can be ready to be added so the over-all effort is still minimal.

First batch

Ingredients

*1 red capsicum
*1 medium sized eggplant (or about 3 baby eggplants)
*2 small zucchini or about 5 baby zucchini
*1 large red onion

Method

  1. Place a casserole dish in an oven set at about 200 degrees celsius to warm up. Add 1 tablespoon of oil.
  2. Roughly chop the first batch of veggies then mix in the casserole dish and roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the second batch of ingredients.

Second batch

Ingredients

*100g roma baby tomatos (recommended)  or grape or cherry tomatoes
*1 tin chickpeas (400g) (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
*1/4 – 1/3 cup kalamata or Spanish black olives or other olives
*2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
*1/2 – 1 tsp dried Italian herb mix
*1/2 – 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
*Salt (herb salt or sea salt) and black pepper

Topping: Fresh herbs (I love lots of fresh basil).

Method (continued)

  1. Add the second batch of ingredients, stir to combine. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly crispy in some spots – but don’t let them dry out.
  2. Sprinkle with fresh basil, parsley, or oregano, or a combination of all three.
  3. Suggested serving: on top of a bed of fresh romaine lettuce / other greens, with some brown rice or quinoa, with a side salad or with a light soup.
  4. Enjoy!
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Creamy Cajun Black Bean and Potato Soup

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This tasty, flavourful, creamy soup is the perfect filling comfort food that is filling yet low in fat, and high in protein and other important nutrients. Black bean soup isn’t very well known in Australia, and though the more traditional recipes use beans cooked from scratch, I could never seem to get the beans to cook soft enough when cooked with the rest of the soup, and many attempts turned out watery and lacking flavour. My secret to keeping strong flavour in soup (apart from using a good stock cube/or liquid stock) is to add only enough water to cover the contents during the cooking process (you can add extra later to thin the soup out). I’ve also added potatoes to make this soup thick and velvety. This soup pairs nicely with freshly baked cornbread, hot from the oven.

 

Creamy Cajun Black Bean and Potato Soup

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cans black beans (or three cups cooked)

2 large potatoes or 4 small ones, roughly chopped

2 tsp Cajun seasoning  (I like to make my own and used smoked paprika, but store brought will still be delicious)

1 veg stock cube + water

1 tsp red wine vinegar (use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have this)

3 tsp lime juice

Optional toppings: avocado, diced tomato, fresh coriander, parsley or green onion

Method

  1. Heat a little oil in a medium sized sauce pan then gently fry the onion until just starting to turn golden.
  2. Add the garlic and Cajun seasoning and stir for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Add the red wine vinegar and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the potatoes, beans and stock cube. Then add enough water just to cover the beans and veggies.
  5. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn to medium heat, half cover and simmer until the potato is soft, about 15-20 minutes (cut the potato smaller for quicker cooking time).
  6. Turn off the heat and stir through the lime juice.
  7. Pour contents into a food processor or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.
  8. Serve topped with optional toppings and a few slices of corn bread.

 

Cornbread

I was so happy to find this cornbread recipe below, as it is both vegan, and less sweeter than most other recipes which use up to 1/2 a cup of sweetener. It was so delicious straight from the oven. I halved the recipe and cooked it in a smaller glass dish and as you can see from the photo it still made quite a lot.

Thank you to The Health Family and Home for this recipe.  

Ingredients
•2 cups organic cornmeal
•1 cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour
•2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free)
•1/3 cup organic coconut oil (melted/liquid)
•2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
•2 cups homemade almond milk (room temperature)
•2 teaspoons organic apple cider vinegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice)
•1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

Directions
1. Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) in a medium-sized bowl and wisk together. Set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients together (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt) in a medium-sized bowl and stir until well combined.
3.Add the melted coconut oil and maple syrup to the non-dairy milk mixture and wisk until foamy and bubbly.
4.Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. (The batter will be somewhat thick).
5.Use a spoon or spatula to transfer the batter into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish. (I lightly greased).
6.Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 – 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Note
This recipe will make approximately (9) large squares.

Let me know if you enjoyed this recipe!

 

Warm Ginger Turmeric Smoothie

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“Golden Milk” or, warm milk containing turmeric is both a beautiful and popular warming beverage in winter because of the spice’s amazing anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory benefits amongst a host of others. In this recipe I have added banana and date for healthy calories to make this more of a meal, while ginger and cinnamon further strengthen the immune system in winter, and these two spices have an additional warming effect on the body. It is also delicious cold, but I don’t usually want that first thing in the morning during winter!

Ginger and Turmeric Warm Winter Smoothie

Serves: 1
Ready in: 5 min or less

Ingredients

*1 large banana (or two small ones)
*1 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
*2 medjool dates, pitted
*1 tsp turmeric powder*
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
*1/2 tsp ginger powder
*1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Method

1. If you have a vitamix: Place all ingredients in the blender and blend on high speed for 2-3 min or until warm. (Be sure to use earplugs/cover to protect your ears).  Alternatively you can warm the milk in a saucepan and then blend all ingredients but it may turn out thicker because of the way the banana interacts when warm.
2. Alternatively simply place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you are not used to turmeric you might find 1 tsp a bit strong. You could start with 1/4tsp to 1/2 tsp until you become used to the taste.
*Adjust sweetness by adding more/less dates.
*If you don’t have a high speed blender you may wish to chop the dates up fine first or soak in hot water before blending.