Thai Yellow Curry and Lentil Soup

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A warming soup that packs a punch of flavour, and contains red lentils that melt into the soup to help leave you sated. Great as an entree or as a main meal! 

Here is a soup guaranteed to warm you up this winter! It combines the goodness of lentils, broccoli, mushrooms and goji berries in a creamy, spicy base. This one is also great for anyone who doesn’t get very excited about lentils – they melt right into the soup so that you can hardly notice they are there, but add a lovely depth to it. You can also add as many veggies as you like to help boost your immune system.

Thai Yellow Curry and Lentil Soup Recipe.

Serves: 4 as a main meal, 8 as an entrée
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients
*2 tbsp Thai Yellow Curry Paste (you may wish to adjust this amount depending on the brand you are using and how spicy you like it – I love Thai Gourmet Yellow Curry Paste (try green or red if you can’t find yellow)
*1 cup split red lentils
*2 fresh kaffir lime leaves (if you don’t have these you could put a squeeze of lime juice)
*400g can coconut cream (we use Ayam’s Organic Light Coconut Cream)
*4 cups veggie stock
*1 head of broccoli or 1 cup chopped green beans
*1/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms or 2/4 cup fresh shitake mushrooms
*1 tbsp dried goji berries

Method
1. Chop the broccoli into small bite sized pieces. If using fresh mushrooms roughly chop them too. Rinse and drain the lentils.
2. Gently warm a medium sized sauce pan. Open the coconut cream and scrape a spoonful of the solid cream from the top of the can (if it is not solid just pour a spoon or two into the pan).
2. Add the curry paste and gently fry for 1 minute.
3. Add the kaffir lime leaves (if using lime juice add this just before serving), veggie stock, mushrooms (if dried) coconut cream, and lentils. Cover and bring to the boil. Turn down to medium heat, place the lid slightly ajar and cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils are soft and melted into the soup.
4. When the lentils are almost done (about 15 minutes in) add the broccoli and goji berries. Continue cooking until the broccoli is tender.

 

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Guilt-Free Orange Hot Chocolate

 

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This healthy, quick to prepare hot chocolate needs only a handful of items and although it contains only healthy ingredients, tastes absolutely decadent.

The star ingredient is fresh orange rind which means you won’t find any ready-made or store brought version that taste anywhere as good as this homemade orange-chocolate combination that bursts with flavour.

This hot chocolate is:

  • Low fat
  • Refined sugar free
  • Good source of magnesium
  • Good source of anti-oxidants

It’s the perfect healthy winter dessert that will satisfy sugar or chocolate cravings but won’t leave you feeling guilty.

Guilt-Free Orange Hot Chocolate

Serves 1
Ready in: 5-10 min 

Ingredients 

* 1 cup almond milk
* 2 tsps orange rind (loosely packed)
* 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
* 2 medjool dates
* 1 Tablespoon cocao powder

Method 

1. Vita-mix version: Place all ingredients in vita-mix. Blend on high for 2-3min until warmed to drinking temperature.

OR

1. Non-vitamix version: warm the almond milk in a sauce man until reach a gentle simmer. (if your blender is not very strong, add the dates to the milk as it warms to soften them).

2. Once milk is warm, add this along with all the other ingredients to a blender and blend for 30 seconds or so until smooth.

ENJOY!

 

 

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!

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.

Protein Rich Salad with Cashew Tamari Dressing

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This tasty salad contains three great sources of plant protein: lentils, tofu and quinoa, making it a hearty and healthy meal, while also containing fresh salad greens, beetroot and carrot to lighten the dish. 

While visiting Canberra recently I was fortunate enough to visit Sweet Bone’s Cafe a couple of times. It is a charming vegan cafe, with a lot of personality and appeal – I could have gone back there everyday for a week and probably not got bored. The cafe offers all day breakfasts, light lunches and more hearty lunches including filling salads such as this one, nachos, burngers and much more, not to mention a lot of delicious baked goodies. I often find one thing that I find hard to find on holidays when eating out is enough hearty salad options – tending to eat more cooked foods, so I was very happy to sample their Buddha Bowl – a meal with lots of fresh ingredients, yet that wasn’t a side dish and still had a lot of substance. This salad is my attempt and replicating their “Buddha Bowl” and while not quite the same both versions are delicious!

Protein Rich Salad with Cashew -Tamari Dressing 

Ingredients:

For the salad:

1 cup cooked quinoa (this will vary depending what quinoa you use (ie. red, white, mixed) but I suggest 1/3 cup raw with 2/3 cup water will make approx 1 cup cooked).
1 can drained and rinsed brown lentils
¼ cup grated carrot
¼ cup grated beetroot
2 big handfuls baby greens

For the dressing/Marinade

200g tofu

¼ cup water
¼ cup cashews
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce/tamari   (8 tsp)

1. Start cooking the quinoa if not already cooked
2. Prepear the dressing. I grind the cashews up first, dry in the vitamix then add all other ingredients to form a smooth dressing.
3. Chop the tofu into bite size squares and let it marinate in the dressing. For at least 20 minutes. You can also press the tofu before hand for greater absorption.

4. Mix all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper if desired.

Best enjoyed straight away 🙂

Warm Kale Medley with Tahini, Soy and Lime Dressing

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This colourful dish was inspired by a dish I enjoyed at an lovely café in Adelaide, Australia called Pollen 185 (highly recommended a visit for creative, fresh, tasty, healthy food and friendly service). Lots of different flavours and textures will absolutely wow you (you got to try it to believe me but trust me your socks will be knocked off that greens can taste so good! And it’s a super quick meal to whip up too!

This dish has got to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy the super nutritious albeit fairly tough textured kale. For a while I struggled to find ways to eat a lot of it at once, there is only so much you can put in a smoothie before it turns the drink too bitter, and while the addition of salad dressings or massaging with avocado does a great deal to soften it up, I find I can’t eat too much of it in this form. However, lightly stir-frying softens the leaves right up and it’s an even better choice of a cooked leafy green than spinach or chard because while it does wilt a lot down in size, it does so to a much lesser extent. In addition when you want a big bowl of greens in winter, this is a nice warming alternative to salads.

Warm Kale Medley with Tahini, Soy and Lime Dressing 

Serves: 1-2 people.
Ready in: 30 minutes or less (Tip: If your short on time chop/prep the kale, carrots, cabbage etc. and dressing before hand will mean when meal time comes around you can whip this up in only 5-10 min!)

Ingredients

*1 tbsp pepitas (4 tsp)
*1 tbsp almonds (4 tsp)
*½ tbsp sesame seeds (2 tsp)
Or your choice of seeds/nuts

*½ bunch of kale (about 2-3 cups shredded)
*1 small carrot, grated
*¼ small red cabbage sliced
*1 small onion, sliced
*1 tsp ginger, grated
*2 cloves garlic, sliced

Dressing:
*1 1/2 tbsp tahini  (6 tsps)
*1 ½ tbsp soy sauce (6 tsps)
*½ tbsp (2 tsps) fresh lime juice

Method

1. Place the seeds and nuts in a dry pan and toast gently on medium heat until lightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside (Note: you may wish to do the almonds first as they will take a little longer to toast).
2. Prepare all the vegetables.
3. Place a tablespoon of oil in a large fry pan. When heated, add the onion and fry until lightly brown.
4. Add the garlic, and fry for 1 more minute then add the kale, cabbage, carrot and ginger.
5. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water then cover for 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to wilt (depending on your stove top and pan you are using you may not need to do this i.e non stick can usually keep it up higher and don’t need to cover)
6. Remove the lid and stir the vegetables. Continue to cook 2-3 more minutes until the vegetables are just soft but have not lost their colour or gone too mushy.
7. Whisk together the tahini, soy sauce and lime then toss through the vegetables. Remove from heat.
8. Add the nuts and seeds back to the pan, tossing to combine.

Serve and enjoy immediately.