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).

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VEGGIE SKEWERS, SUPER QUINOA SALAD & PEANUT SAUCE

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DSC_0035

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

This is a really tasty and really nutritious meal. I had this over the weekend for a post workout meal and I enjoyed it so much! All of the ingredients in this meal will do you a world of good and make you feel energised and help you prepare for your next workout. In my meals I really enjoy having a wide variety of flavours coming from a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains and so on. I like my meals to be packed full of flavour and I think this one really delivers on that front.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • ½ a cup of pre-cooked quinoa
  • ½ a cucumber, cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • A handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • A large handful of frozen peas, thawed out in boiling hot water
  • A teaspoon of cumin
  • A teaspoon of ground coriander
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • Sea salt and pepper

For the skewers:

  • 2 courgettes, cut in half lengthways and into inch thick chunks
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms
  • A das of olive oil
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A pinch of ground coriander
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt and Pepper

For the peanut sauce:

  • 3 heaped teaspoons of peanut butter (I use meridian peanut butter because it uses only blended peanuts without any added salt, sugar or oil)
  • 6 tablespoon of water
  • The juice of half a lime
  • A small handful of coriander
  • ½ a spring onion
  • A dash of soy sauce

Skewer collage

Method:

1.   Preheat your grill on the highest heat setting and boil a kettle full of water.

2.   Put the skewer vegetables into a large bowl followed by the oil, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands toss all of the vegetable together and make sure that they are all coated in the spices. Once coated, evenly distribute the vegetables onto 10 to 12 skewers and place on a large baking tray. Place the skewers under the grill until they have got some nice colour to them; this should take between 5-10 minutes.

3.   Now you can make the salad. Follow the cooking instructions on the pack for the precooked quinoa. The usual instruction is to use a ratio of 2:1 boiling water to quinoa and leave to soak for 3 -5 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Once the quinoa has been cooked through, add it to a large bowl followed by the remaining salad ingredients and mix together well.

4.   Finally, you can make the peanut sauce. Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needs be.

Now you can serve up the skewers, salad and sauce. I like to put the skewers on a board in the middle of the table with the salad and the sauce and left everybody dig in.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Quinoa: Quinoa is a great source of protein for vegans. It consists of around 20% protein; it is also a good source of lysine and is a good source of iron and potassium. High levels of B vitamins, in part responsible for the conversion of carbohydrate into energy, are also found in quinoa. Quinoa is commonly referred to as a grain, but it is actually a pseudograin. Pseudograins are actually seeds and they don’t contain gluten, which makes them easily digestible.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of around 90% water and are a moderate source of vitamin K.

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.

CorianderI love putting coriander in literally everything, luckily for me it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Coriander is also a moderate source of vitamin B2, vitamin B9 and vitamin E as well as ironmanganese and potassium.

Dates: Dates are high in glucose and are sometimes referred to as ‘Nature’s fuel’. Upon consumption glucose is rapidly converted into glycogen in the liver. It is a great ingredient to eat before, during or immediately after a workout.

Peas: Peas are starchy, but high in fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Courgettes: Courgettes are a moderate source of folate, potassium and vitamin A.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, an excellent source of the essential minerals, selenium and copper, and a good source of phosphorus and potassium.

Peanuts: Peanuts are rich in essential and are an excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E, several dietary minerals, such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, and dietary fibre. They also contain about 25 g protein per 100 g serving, a higher proportion than in many tree nuts.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C 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! 

AWESOME SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS!!

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Sweet Potato and bean burgers

Preparation & cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 10 medium sized burgers

Coming into this weekend, both me and my girlfriend really fancied making a big batch of burgers. We both love having bean and chickpea burgers but I wanted to make something a little different this time. I have seen lots of different recipes for vegetable burgers but in the end I decided to make sweet potato and bean burgers; I am so glad that I did because these turned out so well! Sweet potato is really versatile and goes so well with lots of different spices and flavours as well as offering its delicious sweetness to the burger. This recipe makes 10 good-sized burgers and if you are greedy (like we are!) you can polish them of yourself or you could put them on a board and put them in the middle of the table along with some potato wedges and a nice salad to make a perfect weekend lunch. These burgers taste so, so good and won’t leave you feeling guilty for eating them as they are healthy and packed full of fresh ingredients. I really hope you like them 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large sweet potato (or 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tin of kidney beans (400g), drained and rinsed
  • A large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A large bunch of salad leaves, e.g. rocket, spinach, watercress etc.
  • 10 wholemeal rolls, sliced in half

Burger collage

Method:

1.   Place the sweet potato chunks into a large pan of boiling water and boil until they are soft and are easy to mash. This should take about 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the potatoes are boiling you can prepare the rest of the burger mixture. Put the kidney beans, coriander, spring onions and all of the dry spices into a large bowl and mash with a fork until the beans have broken down and you have a nice thick mixture. The key with keeping a good texture to the burgers is to not overwork the mixture and making it too fine. A course mixture will give you a much better burger.

3.   Once the potatoes have cooked, drain them in a colander and leave them for a minute or two to steam dry. Add the potatoes to the bean mixture and again mash with a fork to get all of the ingredients combined.

4.   Once the burger mixture has cooled a little, use your hands to make 10 burger patties.

5.   Put a little drizzle of olive oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. When hot, place the burgers into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until the burgers have a nice golden crust on each side.

6.   Whilst the burgers are cooking, place the the rolls under a hot grill to toast. Take them out when they are nice and golden.

7.   Once the burgers have cooked, you can put the burgers together. Put some salad leaves on the bottom followed by the burger, then the cucumber, tomato and avocado. They are now ready to be devoured! I love to have some ketchup and mustard on my burgers, but you can have whatever sauce you like on the top. 

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fibre, and vitamin A as well as being a moderate source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are a great source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B9 and iron. They are also a good source of magnesium potassium and zinc. I love kidney beans (and beans in general), they are so tasty and really good for you.

Coriander: I love putting coriander in literally everything, luckily for me it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Coriander is also a moderate source of vitamin B2, vitamin B9 and vitamin E as well as iron, manganese and potassium.

Spring onion: Spring onions are a good source of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

Avocado: Avocados are such a good 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. 

Cucumber: Cucumbers are usually around 90% water. They are not significantly rich in any vitamin or mineral but they are a moderate source of vitamin K.

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

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 C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

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.