FAJITAS!

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Fajitas

Preparation & cooking time: 30 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

I hope everybody likes Mexican food because I am making Fajitas!

Sometimes all I want to do after a day at work or for a quick lunch on the weekend is throw a meal together that isn’t anything fancy, doesn’t take long to make but tastes so fresh and amazing! These fajitas do all of the above and you know that all of the ingredients are going to wonders for your health. I have to say that this is one of my favourite meals to eat as it has all of the flavours that I love; I just love the freshness of the avocado and salsa with the charred vegetables, it is the perfect combination.

Ingredients:

For the fajitas:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • A handful of broccoli florets, cut into slices
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ a lime
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • Black pepper
  • Tortilla wraps, to serve
  • Spinach, to serve

For the salsa:

  • About 15 ripe cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ of a cucumber, chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • A small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • ½ a lime
  • Salt and pepper

For the guacamole (click guacamole to see the recipe)

fajitas collage

Method:

1. Put all of the fajita vegetables into a large bowl along with the paprika, cumin, coriander, juice o f1/2 a lime, oil and black pepper. Stir all of the ingredients together to make sure that all of the vegetables are nicely coated by the spices and leave to the side to marinade for 5 minutes.

2. In another bowl add all of the ingredients for the salsa and mix together and leave to the side.

3. Place a griddle pan/wok/large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Once the pan is hot, put the marinated vegetables into the pan. Keep the vegetables moving in the pan to stop any sticking; don’t worry if there is a little bit of charring as it actually tastes great when you get bits of charred veg. Keep on moving and cooking the veg for around 10 minutes.

4. Whilst the veg is cooking you can make the guacamole. Follow this link for the recipe and method:

5. Now that all the elements of the meal have been prepared, warm the tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave and put all of the dishes and the spinach into the middle of a table and let everyone dig in.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Red bell peppers have a higher vitamin C content in comparison to green bell peppers. They are also a moderate source of vitamin B6.

Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Spinach: Spinach is an ingredient that is delicious and is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of around 90% water which means that it is really hydrating. They are also a moderate source of vitamin K.

Chilli: Chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese, iron and potassium.

Avocado: Avocados are such an amazing ingredient; not only are they delicious, they are also really healthy for you. They are a good source of vitamin B5, B6, B9 and vitamin K. They are also an amazing source of essential fatty acids (fatty acids that your body can’t produce itself but can get them from foods).

HEART HEALTHY BEANS ON TOAST

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Baked beans on toast 2

Preparation & cooking time: 20 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

Beans on toast was always one of my favourite go-to meals when I was growing up. It was so quick to make and there was something so great about a tin of Heinz baked beans!! Now that I am older and have realised that the baked beans from the tin are not the healthiest option for you, I have decided to make my very own healthy baked beans; trust me, they will blow you away and you will never want to have the beans from a tin ever again! They are really easy to put together and the flavour that you get is really amazing. I have used healthy ingredients to make this dish so that you can enjoy them and be guilt free. I hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tins of beans (cannellini beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans etc.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Thick slices of brown or granary bread
  • 1 avocado
  • Mixed seeds

Method:

1. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes to soften them up. After 5 minutes, add the tomato puree, agave syrup, soy sauce and mixed herbs to the pan and mix together and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the beans and the tomatoes to the pan. Bring the beans to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

3. Whilst the beans are simmering, toast the bread. There is a few ways of serving this meal; you can either put the beans in a bowl and have the toast on the side with cubes of avocado on the top of the beans; you can put mashed avocados onto the toast and then top it with beans; and my personal favourite is to have a mountain of beans on the toast topped with the avocados and seeds!

4. After the beans have finished cooking, season generously with black pepper and then serve the dish in the way that you prefer from point 3.

VEGETABLE BIRYANI

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VEG BIRYANI

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 large bowlfuls 

I made this meal over the weekend because it is one of my girlfriends all time favourites! She absolutely loves biryani so I though I would treat her and make a big bowlful. The flavours that you get from this dish are great; it all starts by making your own curry paste, this really makes a difference and it is so easy to make! You can use different vegetables as well but I have just gone for our favourites; I especially love the cauliflower with the curry spices.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 large handfuls of frozen peas
  • A large handful of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons of white mustard seeds
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • A handful of coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

For the curry paste (makes three large tablespoons of paste): 

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • A green chilli

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 220C. Place the oil in a large roasting tray and place the tray in the oven and get the oil nice and hot. Once the oil is nice and hot, place the cauliflower, onion and potatoes in the tray along with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together so that all of the vegetables are coated in oil. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until the veg starts to get a nice colour to it.

2. Whilst the vegetables are in the oven, you can make your curry paste. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the seeds and toast them for a couple of minutes until they are starting to turn golden brown. Put the toasted seeds into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until you have a nice smooth paste.

3. Boil the water in a kettle. In a large jug, mix together the boiling water, chilli, mustard seeds and curry paste.

4. After the vegetables have been in the oven for 15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and add the basmati rice, peas and asparagus to the tray. Pour over the water-curry paste mixture and combine everything together. Cover the tray tightly with tin foil. Turn the oven heat down to 190C and put the tray in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes the rice should be nice and fluffy and all of the liquid should have been absorbed. To serve the biryani, squeeze over the juice of the lemon and scatter the coriander leaves and seeds over the top. Delicious!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, SPINACH & CHICKPEA CURRY WITH LEMON COUSCOUS

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Butternut squash curry

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 portions

I thought I would give you a curry recipe today seeing as the last curry recipe on my blog was posted ages ago! There is nothing really that beats a good curry and yesterday I had a major cravings for one, so I decided to make my girlfriend and myself this dish which is packed full of amazing ingredients and served with a really light and fragrant couscous. I would usually have rice with this dish but I fancied trying something new and it turned out really well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, deseeded and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • A 2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • A bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 150g spinach
  • 3 large handfuls of couscous
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 a lemon, cut into 4
  • A handful of basil leaves

Cous cous

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put all of the butternut squash chunks onto a large baking tray followed by two teaspoons of curry powder, the ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper and the two tablespoons of oil. Using your hands, toss the squash and the spices together to make sure that all of the pieces are coated. Put the roasting tray into the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is golden and caramelised.

2. Whilst the squash is in the oven, you can get the curry base on the go. Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a glug of oil to the pan to heat up. Put the onions, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and green chilli into the saucepan and fry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add in the remaining two teaspoons of curry powder, stir and fry for a further 5 minutes until all of the ingredients are nice and soft.

3. Put the tomatoes and chickpeas into the pan and bring the ingredients to the boil. Once it is boiling place a lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes all of the ingredients will have combined nicely and the tomatoes will have cooked down.

4. Once the squash has cooked, add it to the saucepan along with the coriander leaves and spinach. Stir all of the ingredients together and leave to cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt down.

5. Whilst the curry is in it’s final stages, it is time to get the couscous ready. This is really simple and quick to do. Boil your kettle and place the couscous into a large bowl with the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, a pinch of salt and pepper, the turmeric, a glug of oil and the lemon. Once the water has boiled, put enough water in the bowl to cover the couscous and then place cling film over the bowl to allow the couscous to absorb the water.

6. Now all of the elements of the meal are ready, it is just time to enjoy it! Sprinkle some chopped basil leaves over the curry and couscous and dig in!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Butternut squash: Butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A, C and E. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium and potassium.

Red onion: Onions are made up of around 90% water and hold low amounts of essential nutrients e.g.vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Ginger: Ginger contains a lot of manganese and iron with moderate amounts of vitamin B3 and B6.

Garlic: Garlic contains several nutrients, but due to the low quantity that is eaten it won’t play a huge factor in terms of getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals. In large quantities, garlic holds a lot of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and phosphorus.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese,iron and potassium.

Chilli: Chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Chickpea: Chickpeas are a nutrient dense food; they are a rich source of protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron and phosphorus. They also provide moderate levels of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin Cvitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin Ecalcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

PINEAPPLE RICE WITH MANGO SALAD

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Pineapple rice

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 4 portions

I was never a fan of including fruit in savoury food until about three years ago when my girlfriend made me some pineapple rice. I wasn’t optimistic when she said she was going to make it, but I was so surprised as to how much I enjoyed it and by the fact that my perception of having fruit in a savoury dish changed almost instantaneously. Since then I have been experimenting with adding fruit into different dishes and I have loved it. This recipe is a take on what my girlfriend made me three years ago along with the addition of the mango salad with a delicious Asian dressing. When you make a fried rice dish, it is always better to use rice that has been cooked and left to cool as you will get a much better consistency of rice. I always like to cook the rice the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 3 large handfuls of brown rice, cooked and cooled 
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 1 medium-sized pineapple, peeled, core cut out and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls of cauliflower florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

For the salad:

  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe mangoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic, crushed into a paste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A dash of toasted sesame oil

Pineapple rice 2

Method:

1.   Put a very large frying pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander (leaving a little to the side for garnish at the end) and pineapple chunks. Fry the ingredients for five minutes and be sure to keep stirring as you do not want any of the ingredients to burn.

2.   After 5 minutes, add the light and dark soy sauce to the wok followed by the broccoli and cauliflower chunks. Again, constantly stirring, incorporate all of the ingredients in the wok and make sure that all of the ingredients are covered by the soy sauce. Add the cold brown rice to the pan and fry and stir to get all of the ingredients combined together. Fry the rice for a further five minutes to get it nice and hot.

3.   When the rice is piping hot, turn the heat off and leave in the pan. You can now quickly make your salad. Firstly, put the spinach, lettuce and mango into a large bowl. Secondly, you can make the dressing; put the light and dark soy, chilli, garlic, lime, sugar, and sesame oil into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Taste the dressing and check the seasoning to see whether it is well balanced. If it is too salty, add in a little more lime juice and if it is too spicy add in a little more sugar (just adjust it to your taste). Pour the dressing over the salad and using your hands toss all of the ingredients together.

4.   Tightly pack some rice into a small bowl in order to make a rice mound. Turn the rice bowl over onto a plate and carefully lift the bowl off (fingers crossed it will come off nicely and leave you a nice mound of rice). Then put a load of the mango salad around the rice and top with coriander.

There you have it guys, a delicious meal that will blow your socks off! There are so many amazing flavours going on in this dish. Adding the fruit to this meal really turns it up to a new level and it just wouldn’t be the same without it! 

ASIAN NOODLE SOUP

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Noodles soup main

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 2 large/4 medium portions

Recently, both me and my girlfriend have felt under the weather with colds etc. so I wanted to make something that would really blow the cobwebs away and make us feel better; this recipe did not disappoint! The dish is full of green vegetables, garlic, chilli, ginger and lime which are all things that make me feel refreshed and healthy. There is nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of noodles and broth; and you have to be really noisy when you eat it! I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • A thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (seeds removed if you aren’t keen on spice)
  • 1 green chilli, sliced (for garnish)
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, stalks finely sliced and leaves set aside for garnish
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, bruised with the heel of your knife
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock 
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 200g thick rice noodles
  • 2 large handfuls of tender-stem broccoli, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, spiralised (or grated if you don’t have a spiraliser) 
  • 1 pak choi, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • A handful of beansprouts, for garnish

Noodles soup second

Method:

1.   Bring a large pot of water to the boil and then throw the noodles into the water. Cook the noodles a couple of minutes under the instructed amount on the packaging as you want the noodles to keep a nice texture when added to the broth. Drain the noodles in a colander an run cold water over them to cool them down; leave them to one side.

2.   Whilst the noodles are boiling you can prepare the broth. Place a large pot over a high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander stalks and fry for five minutes, or until the onions are soft. Once the ingredients are soft, pour in the litre of vegetable stock, dark & light soy sauce and lime juice and bring to the boil.

3.   Let the broth simmer for 10 minutes allowing the flavours to really come together. After 10 minutes, remove the stick of lemongrass from the broth and put the asparagus and broccoli into the broth to cook for a few minutes until they have softened slightly but have kept a nice bite to them.

4.   Evenly portion the noodles, carrots and pak choi into 2 or 4 bowls and pour the hot broth and vegetables over the top of them (this will warm them through). The carrots will keep a really nice crunch. Put a small handful of beansprouts on top of the noodles with some coriander leaves and sliced green chilli. Place some lime wedges on the side of the bowl and enjoy!!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Red onion: Onions are made up of around 90% water and hold low amounts of essential nutrients e.g. vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Garlic: Garlic contains several nutrients, but due to the low quantity that is eaten it won’t play a huge factor in terms of getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals. In large quantities, garlic holds a lot of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and phosphorus.

Ginger: Ginger contains a lot of manganese and iron with moderate amounts of vitamin B3 and B6.

Chilli: Red chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese, iron and potassium.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Asparagus: Asparagus is an excellent source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin C, vitamin E and especially vitamin K. It is also a good source of iron.

Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Pak choi: Pak choi is an excellent source of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

Spicy Tomato Zoodles!

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zoodles

Preparation & cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions

First off I will tell you what a zoodle is! The other week I bought a spiralizer, which has completely changed the way I have been eating at home and has really increased the amount of vegetables that I eat. They are pretty cheap to buy as well; I got mine from Amazon for around £25. They are so fun to use! The word zoodle comes from zucchini and noodle (also called courgetti (courgette spaghetti)). The spiralizer is a great tool to make amazing colourful salads full of lots of different vegetables. For this recipe I made a spicy tomato sauce to top the raw zoodles! Zoodles are a great healthy alternative to spaghetti. I definitely recommend buying a spiralizer, they are easy to use and would also be a great way of getting kids to eat a lot more vegetables. Alternatively, if you do not have a spiralizer you can get julienne graters for very cheap which will do the job perfectly as well. I hope you like it. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (leaves and stalks separated)

Method:

1.   Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and parsley stalks and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, sugar, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, a pinch of salt and pepper and tomato puree and cook together for a few minutes. Then add the tin of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low and leave the sauce to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the sauce is reducing you can prepare your zoodles. Using the spiralizer or julienne peeler create your zoodles and place one courgette worth of zoodles into each bowl. So easy and quick!!!!

3.   The recipe is now done! All you have to do is top the zoodles with the lovely sauce. You can blend the sauce to make it smooth before you do this (like I have in the photo) but you don’t have to at all. Once you have poured on the sauce, sprinkle some of the parsley leaves on top and enjoy!

 

Healthy Herb & Avocado Salad

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Herb & Avcado Salad

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions or 4 portions as a side dish

 This is my second raw recipe in a row! It is definitely a way of eating that I am really enjoying and increasingly using it within my everyday diet. The good thing about eating raw food is that there is so little preparation time to actually make the food. Eating more raw food in your diet is great because you will be getting all of the nutrients and goodness from the fruits and vegetables without losing or damaging them (which is a side effect from cooking food). If you are interested in learning more about this way of eating there are lots of books out there and current eating plans such as raw til 4 which embraces a raw diet until 4pm (also let me know and I will write some posts expanding on this). A lot of people have had great success in terms of health, energy and wellbeing following a raw plant based diet.

Salad was a meal that I didn’t really understand (or appreciate) growing up and I generally associated it with a big bowl of iceberg lettuce and not much else, which really doesn’t do a proper salad any justice! The first time that my mind was changed to understand that a salad could be the focal point of a meal instead of an afterthought side element was when my parents made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe. The salad had everything! It was a salad filled with grilled peaches, nuts, rocket, herbs, crumbly cheese, parma ham and a honey dressing. This was a really big point in my food life and how I perceived salads! For obvious dietary reasons, I now would not eat the salad that I had back then but there are elements that I take and use in every salad that I make. I realised that adding fruit to salads could brighten up everything along with herbs and with the added crunch of seeds and vegetables you can create a dish that covers all flavours and textures! The next time you are going to make a salad, be as experimental and creative as you possibly can and I am sure that you will be so happy and also have a new way of thinking towards a bowl of salad!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large handfuls of spinach (roughly 250g), washed
  • 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A hanful of ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A large bunch of basil
  • A large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • A hanful of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   Firstly, make your dressing. There is a general rule of thumb that I follow when I make a salad dressing and that is to always keep the ratio of 3:1 of oil and an acid (e.g. for this recipe I used 3 tablespoons of oil to one tablespoon of lemon juice). This ratio generally gives you the perfect balance of subtlety and zinginess for the dressing. Once you have the base sorted you can add all of the herbs and spices that you would like to the dressing. Now add in the garlic, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if necessary and leave to the side until the salad has been made.

2.   Now you can put together your salad. In a large bowl toss together  the spinach, herbs, cucumber and tomatoes. Once all of the ingredients are nicely combined, neatly place the avocado on top of the greens. Then scatter the seeds and spring onion over the top of the salad. Give your dressing a good stir and then take out the clove of garlic. The garlic will leave a really nice subtle flavour to the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

I really hope you like this recipe and that you are excited to be creative with your salads.

The Best Guacamole!

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Great Guac

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 big bowlful

I am very proud of this recipe; I have been making it for so long and I have adapted the recipe to the way I like it and, I know I am biased but, to this day I haven’t tried a better guacamole! I like there to be loads going on when you eat guacamole, it should give your taste buds a good wallop! There should be that initial zing and freshness from the lime, coriander, avocado and tomatoes which is then rounded off with a bit of a hit from the chilli and the garlic with the onion and cumin lingering in the background. This is definitely my type of cooking, it is very rustic, quick to make and can make so many different dishes that much better and more fresh! You can also adapt this recipe to the way that you like it, if you like it more chunky, whether you like more or less of the ingredients included, there is literally no set way to make this and it is purely down to personal preference. One thing I do know is that life would be so much worse without a good bowl of Guac!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 medium very ripe avocados 
  • A large handful of coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • A handful of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 limes (depending on their juiciness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   The first part of this recipe is the real key to unleashing all of the delicious flavours of the guacamole. In a pestle and mortar throw in the chopped coriander stalks, garlic, chilli, the white part of the spring onions, the cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pound this mixture into a paste using the cumin, salt and pepper as an abrasive. This doesn’t take long but it is so worth it because the flavour you get from doing this is just amazing!

2.   Once you have a paste, squeeze in the juice of the lime and combine this into it. Pit the avocados and scoop the flesh into the paste and break this up to the texture that you like your guacamole. I like mine quite chunky so for me it doesn’t take long at all. Add in the coriander leaves, tomatoes and the green part of the spring onions and mix through. That is it, your guacamole is made!

I could eat guacamole with literally anything at any point of the day but generally I love it with fajitas, with tortilla chips, spread on toast, with patatas bravas etc. This is also my favourite food to have watching sport! I hope you like it 🙂

Aubergine Burgers, Roast Potato Chips & Homemade Barbecue Sauce!

#MeatfreeMonday, Healthy, Herbs, Roasted, Sandwich, Sauces, Side Dishes, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

DSC_0004Preparation & cooking time: 1 hr 20 mins
Makes: 2 big burgers and a good portion of chips

Ingredients:

For the Burgers:

  • 1 large aubergine, slice two 1 inch thick rounds from this
  • 2 Nice burger buns
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • A handful of spinach 
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
  • A small handful of coriander leaves

For the chips:

  • 2 large potatoes (Maris Piper potatoes are great for roasting), peeled and cut into thick chip shapes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of thyme sprigs
  • A dash of cider vinegar
  • A  few good glugs of olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 40g olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 250ml tomato ketchup
  • 120ml red wine vinegar
  • 50ml of really good espresso

Method:

1.   Preheat your oven to 200 C. Put the potatoes into a large pan of cold water (add a good pinch of sea salt to the water) and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook the potatoes for a further 10 minutes and then drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for 10 minutes. Add a good couple of glugs of olive oil to a large roasting tray and place the tray into the oven to get the oil nice and hot. Give the potatoes a toss in the colander to give them a nice ‘frosted’ effect, this will help the chips become really nice and crispy when roasted. Take the tray out of the oven and carefully put the chips into the oil and put the tray back in the oven.

2.   Now you can prepare the barbecue sauce. In a large frying pan (over a medium to high heat) fry the onion and garlic in the oil until they are nice and soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce has become nice and thick. Once the sauce has thickened you can blend it to make it nice and smooth or you can be old school & rustic and leave it with the slices of onion and garlic in it. Pour the sauce into a sterilized jar/container. This sauce will keep for up to a month in a fridge, but trust me it will never last that long as (if you like it like I do) you will want to put it on every meal you have!

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3.   Place the slices of aubergine in another roasting tray and spoon over a few generous tablespoons of the amazing barbecue sauce that you have just made and make sure you coat both side of the aubergine with the sauce.

4.   After the chips have had half an hour in the oven, take the tray out and add a good pinch of salt and pepper, a dash of of cider vinegar (it may seem strange to do this, but trust me it really makes a difference!), the garlic cloves and the thyme sprigs to the tray and gently stir to get the chips coated in all of the goodness. Place the tray of chips and the tray with the aubergine burgers into the oven for half an hour. After 15 minutes, using a pair of tongs, flip the aubergine slices so that both sides get cooked evenly.

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I hope you have enjoyed this recipe! It is a great way to get involved with #meatfreemonday and help you and your family have a healthier diet. Honestly, this recipe is so tasty (and tried and tested on meat eaters) that you will not miss eating meat if you try it. Let me know what you have cooked for #meatfreemonday as I would love to hear about all of your different recipes. 🙂 

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