Savory Oatmeal with Italian Flavours

IMG_0348.JPGIn this quick and easy dish, oats are combined with red lentils which melt down to blend perfectly with the oats and offer an extra source of protein.  Enjoy this recipe for any meal of the day!

Savory Oatmeal with Italian Flavours

Oatmeal is popularly eaten as a breakfast meal with sweet flavours and additions such as fruit. But you are missing out if you have never tried a savory version – it is just as delicious and opens up a world of versatility and flavour combinations to use with this nutritious wholegrain.

Serves 1
Ready In:
20-30 min

Ingredients

* 1/3 cup rolled oats
*¼ cup split red lentils
*1 ¾ cup vegetable broth
*sprinkle of garlic powder and onion powder
*½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
*7 kalamata olives, halved
*small handful fresh basil
*few slices fresh avocado
*salt and black pepper to taste
*chili flakes (optional)

  1. Place the oats and lentils with the broth, onion and garlic powder in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover/half cover and reduce to a gentle simmer. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. The red lentils will need a little longer than the oats to cook should be completely blended in with the oats when done – add a little more water if it gets too dry and the lentils are not ready.
  2. Meanwhile slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a little salt and place under the grill to cook.
  3. Prepare the other toppings.
  4. When the oat and lentil mixture is done, taste and add extra seasoning if necessary. Scoop into a bowl. Top with the tomatoes, olives, basil, and avocado.
  5. Enjoy!
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“Cherry-Ripe” Healthy Ice-Cream Bowl

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With the start of summer and cherries in season I thought it a perfect opportunity to use these delicious fruit in a healthy ice-cream that packs an anti-oxidant punch. If you don’t have fresh cherries, frozen would be nice too. 

“Cherry-Ripe” Healthy Ice-Cream Bowl 

Serves 1-2 

Ingredients

Ice-cream
* 1 cup frozen bananas (slice before freezing)
* 2 Tablespoons (=8 tsp) cocoa powder
* 1 Tablespoon (=4 tsp) maple syrup or agave
* 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
* 2 Tablespoons desiccated coconut
* 1 tsp vanilla

Topping
* 1/3-1/2 cup pitted fresh or frozen cherries
* 1-2 T desiccated, shredded or flaked coconut

  1. Place all ice-cream ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Serve in 1-2 bowls and top with cherries and extra coconut.
  3. Enjoy immediately.

 

Spanish Breakfast Beans

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A flavourful easy to prepare, filling, protein rich breakfast! 

While fresh smoothies are great all year round, we sometimes want something a bit warmer or heartier. Baked beans can be a healthy option as they are rich in iron, fibre and protein, however those premade from a can tend to also be loaded with sugar and salt.

This Spanish flavoured inspired dish is almost as quick to prepare as heating up regular baked beans, but has a greater depth of flavour, is sugar free, and contains more nutrients overall. The addition of spices like chilli powder will help to keep you warm during these cold winter mornings, so give it a go for breakfast soon!

Spanish Breakfast Beans 

Serves: 1-2
Preparation time
: 30 min or less

Ingredients

  • 1 can cannellini beans or other white beans
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 4-5 small strips (about 1 tablespoon) of semi-dried/sun-dried tomato (rehydrate in hot water if sundried and not in oil)
  • 1 small or ½ regular sized onion, red preferred, sliced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish olives
  • 3 tsps tomato paste
  • 2 tsps sweet paprika powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ – ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • A few sprigs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

 Method

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a fry pan. Add the onion and cook for 2 min.
  2. Add the paprika, chili powder and garlic powder along with the dried tomato and fresh tomato and cook for 1-2 min more until the tomato begins to soften. Add a few splashes of water if it begins to stick.
  3. Add the beans, and tomato paste and cook for 1 min, mashing a few of the beans with the back of a spoon to create different textures if you like.
  4. Add in the olives, spinach and parsley and cook for 1 minute more, until the spinach has just wilted.
  5. Serve on its own or over wholemeal or rye bread toast, with a sprinkle of black pepper.

 

*Tips: Have the onion cut up, the spinach washed, beans drained and the spices measured out the night before to have this all ready to go in the morning it can be whipped up in about 15 min – no excuses not to have a good home cooked breakfast when it can be done that fast!

 

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.

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.

 

Coffee, Date and Walnut Loaf

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I wanted to make some kind of baked treat that was healthier than the average. I thought a banana bread would do the trick but pretty much every recipe I found not only included bananas but 1-2 cups of refined sugar! So I came up with my own using natural sugar from a wholefood – dates. They are not separated from their fibre and along with the choice of wholemeal flour rather than white flour this loaf doesn’t give you a sugar-spike like a lot of sweet treats will, making it a healthy breakfast or snack. Feel free to use decafe coffee if you are avoiding caffeine of course!

Coffee, Date and Walnut Loaf 

Makes: 1 loaf.
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes.

Ingredients

*1 3/4 cups wholemeal self raising flour
*1 cup medjool dates
*1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
*1/4 cup coconut oil
*1/2 cup macadamia milk (could also use almond milk)
*1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp vanilla
*1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method 

1. Pour boiling water over the coffee then add a cup of pitted dates to the coffee. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, lightly oil and line a loaf pan and pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
3. Sift the wholemeal flour, the bicarbonate of soda, and the cinnamon together.
4. Place the coffee and date mixture into a high speed blender and add the milk, coconut oil (gently melt over the stove if it is hard), and the vanilla essence to the blender. Blend on high until smoothly combined.
5. Combine the coffee mixture in the bowl with the flour mixture, folding gently until just combined.
6. Fold in the walnuts.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Place in the oven and cook for between 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted has come out clean. Remove from oven. let sit for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Tip:
*To keep fresh, slice one piece as desired rather than the whole loaf at once and keep in an airtight container. It will last at least 2 days. If you wish to keep it for longer, slice and wrap each portion individually then place in the freezer.

Blueberry, Banana & Lavender Smoothie

Bluberry banana and lavender smoothie

A delicious a healthy smoothie that contains good sources of carbohydrates for energy (banana, date), protein (cashews), antioxidants to help prevent again and disease (blueberries), a healthy source of omega 3 (flaxseeds) and overall a good range of vitamins and minerals to fuel your body. Lavender really adds a sophisticated and unique touch to this smoothie, but is entirely optional – it will still be a tasty smoothie regardless! 

Blueberry, Banana and Lavender Smoothie 

serves: 1 large or 2 small
prep + make time: about 5 minutes

Ingredients 

* 1 1/2 cups almond milk
* 1 banana
* 1/4 cup cashews
* 1 medjool date
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1/2 tsp dried lavender (optional)
* 1 tablespoon flaxmeal (optional)

Method 

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. (If you do not have a high speed blender you may wish to soak the cashews for 30 min+ first to soften them up).

Enjoy!