Miso Mushroom Buddha Bowl

Miso Mushroom Buddha Bowl

Had a few requests on insta and FB to share the recipe for my “buddha bowl” - a quick plant powered lunch or light dinner, perfect for this cold weather! Incorporating soy-based foods like tofu is an excellent way to get protein, iron, calcium and healthy fats into your diet with relatively little saturated fat, so beneficial for cardiovascular health. Soy products like tofu and miso are also rich in isoflavones which may reduce your risk of prostate cancer and has a protective (or at worst neutral) effect on breast cancer risk.

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My favourite healthy eats around Balmain and Rozelle

My favourite healthy eats around Balmain and Rozelle

Just because I’m a nutritionist doesn’t mean I want to cook dinner EVERY single night.  Why would you live in Balmain (in Sydney’s Inner West) if you didn’t take advantage of all our wonderful restaurants and cafes?

 And just because I’m a nutritionist doesn't mean EVERY meal has to be healthy – because life is about BALANCE – right?  However sometimes it’s great to have a meal out that is healthy and leaves you feeling fab instead of bloated and heavy. Here are some of my favourites.

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5 make-ahead vegetarian and pescatarian dinners

5 make-ahead vegetarian and pescatarian dinners

Busy? In a rush? Know that you should be eating more veggies and fish but not sure where to start? If you’re flying in the door after a busy day and need something easy to get on the table that’s healthy and tasty for your family here is a round up of my favourite vegetarian and pescatarian meals.

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Grilled vegetable and fig platter

Grilled vegetable and fig platter

Perfect for entertaining, or for a family dinner with the hopes of leftovers, here's how we've been enjoying our grilled veggies.  Our secret is to include a punnet of figs (so cheap at the moment - and they used to be such a luxury!) and to marinade before grilling.  This is a delicious side to barbecued steaks, sausages or halloumi.

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Roasted pumpkin salad with crispy chickpeas, pomegranate and mint

Roasted pumpkin salad with crispy chickpeas, pomegranate and mint

In worrying news for hummus fans the world over - we are facing a GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF CHICKPEAS! After the avocado crisis I'm not sure how I'll cope! In the meantime, while tinned chickpeas are still cheap I'll stock up. Here's how we had them last night - roasted til crispy tossed with coriander, cumin and oregano, roasted along side some pumpkin. Served with rocket, mint, toasted pepitas, pomegranate seeds and some halloumi too. 

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Your vegetarian teenager

Your vegetarian teenager

Has your teenager recently announced they are a vegetarian?  Mine has!  The rest of the family eat meat and I'm too busy to be cooking 2 meals every night so here's some ideas for how I cope.  I've also seen quite a few vegetarian clients recently with iron deficiency so I'll outline some common nutrient concerns with a vegetarian teenager and how to avoid them.

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Six Salads for Summer

Six Salads for Summer

It's heating up here in Sydney!  With a newly vegetarian teenager in my house I'm trying to get in the habit of creating a big, substantial salad on a Sunday that can work as leftovers for the week. Or I get on the #meatfreemonday bandwagon.  Here's 6 of my favourite salads, and one little extra.

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Toasted maple, nut and seed granola

Toasted maple, nut and seed granola

I developed this delicious granola recipe for my son and he loves it.  He mixes it with yoghurt as a great second breakfast after early morning rugby training or after a game.  The combination of protein and carbs makes it ideal for refuelling my hungry boy! 

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Spanish gazpacho - drink your veggies

cropped-gazpacho1.jpg

A couple of years ago we had a beautiful holiday in Andalusia, Spain.  We'd sit out in the garden and start our meal with short glass of gazpacho which you could buy in tetra packs from the supermarket.  I've come up with this recipe which gets some veggies into everyone before the meal has started.  I tend to use tomato juice (no added salt or sugar), it would be better to use real tomatoes but I can't get that lovely rich tomato flavour from the disappointing supermarket tomatoes.  The advantage of tomato juice is there is no de-seeding or peeling.  Think of it as a red green smoothie!


Ingredients

  • 2 slices crusty bread

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 small garlic clove, crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1L tomato juice

  • 1 red capsicum, seeded, chopped

  • 1 lebanese cucumber, seeded, chopped, plus extra finely chopped as a garnish

  • 1/2 long red chilli, seeded

  • 3 green onions, chopped

  • 2 tabs olive oil

METHOD

  1. Break bread into large pieces and place in a bowl (or your thermomix bowl). Pour over red wine vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes

  2. Place bread in a blender or food processor. Add garlic, sugar, tomato juice, capsicum, cucumber, chilli and green onions, and blend until combined (1 minute speed 10 in thermomix). With processor running, pour in olive oil in a thin stream

  3. Transfer gazpacho to a large jug, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir well with ice cubes and add extra finely chopped cucumber as a garnish.

 

Simon's baked beans

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Having a rustle around in the freezer I found the ham bone I had saved from Christmas.  I asked my husband to make his amazing baked beans and he also wrote down the recipe as we can never quite remember how he makes them.  These make a delicious breakfast, lunch or easy dinner.  You can cook an egg in the bean mixture as well.  If you don't have a frozen ham bone left over from Christmas then you can get a ham hock from the butcher or make a vegetarian version. A diet rich in legumes such as cannellini beans  is associated with lowered blood sugar and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol.   They’ve been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon and other cancers, as well as improved weight control.  Plus my kids love eating them!

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 red onions roughly chopped.
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Ham bone (frozen from after Christmas) or ham hock.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp of smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes (this gives it just a hint of heat but up to you)
  • 1 tsp of dry mustard powder
  • 4 x 400gm tins of Cannellini Beans (drained and rinse beans from 3 of the tins, but use liquid and beans from 4th)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
  2. Fry up garlic, onions and oil over a medium to high heat (choose a big pot that is also able to go in oven). Whack in the ham bone. Pour in 2 tins of tomatoes and the bay leaves. Then add the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
  3. Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse off the briney liquid from 3 of the tins, but chuck liquid and beans from the 4th. Give it all a stir.
  4. Check seasoning but probably could do with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and put the pot in the oven for a 1 1/2 hrs.
  6. I like to cook it the beans long enough so that the meat has fallen off the ham bone but not so long the dish becomes too dry. I switch off oven and just leave the pot in until I'm ready to serve.
  7. Dish it up with crusty bread and green salad

You can also cook this in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.  

Serves 8

Cauliflower and potato mash

Cauliflower and potato mash

It's not that I hide veggies from my children, it's just that they haven't asked what's in my mash!  By adding in some cauliflower into my mash I can get an extra serve of veggies in with our dinner.   Potatoes have been given such a bad rap, but they are a great source of fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals.  Cauliflower is high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C.

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Sicilian caponata

A few years ago we had a lovely holiday in Sicily – I remember seeing miles and miles of eggplant farms and eating many versions of this dish.  I have tried many caponata recipes and this is my favourite .  This eggplant dish is lovely served warm or cool, it keeps well in the fridge so you have your vegies sorted for a couple of meals.  Caponata makes a beautiful side to some grilled lamb, tuna or swordfish.

18250_l

18250_l

Sicilian caponata

Author:

rachel

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • coarse salt

  • 1 tab olive oil

  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed, sliced thinly

  • 1 medium (150g) onion, sliced thinly

  • 400g tin peeled and diced tomatoes

  • 2 red capsicums, diced

  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, optional

  • a handful of black or green olives

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 clove crushed garlic

  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the eggplant into small cubes, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry. *Heat oil in a large pan, add onion, capsicum and celery, Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add eggplant and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring.

  2. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add olives and capers, stir well. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle pinenuts over to serve.

  3. * To salt or not to salt? In Europe eggplant is salted before cooking to remove the bitter juices, but the improved varieties grown in Australia have lost this bitterness – unless they have been on a greengrocer’s shelf too long. Some say salting also helps to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking.

3.2.2929

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NIgella's moonblush tomatoes

Here's a Nigella Lawson recipe that I use to turn supermarket tomatoes into gorgeous tomatoes.  I love to serve them on some salad leaves with slices of chevre and a few basil leaves.  Or delicious on the side of some grilled fish.  They take no time to prepare but it's best to make them the day before (or the morning before) you plan to eat them.  However I've had great results just from 30 minutes in the oven rather than overnight.

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Ingredients

  • 500g (about 24) on-the-vine cherry or other baby tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons Maldon salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.

  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil.

  3. Put them in the oven, and immediately turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening the door.

 

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White bean puree - a mashed potato substitute

This is a very easy to make white bean puree which the whole family enjoys.  We have it with quickly cooked steaks and grilled asparagus.  It works as a mashed potato substitute and I am always happy to find ways  to use more legumes.

photo by Liz Parsons

White bean puree - a mashed potato substitute

Serves:

2 (generous)

Ingredients

  • 1 can cannelini beans (I always use the italian ones - they seem softer and also don't contain additives)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock

  • 1 slice lemon rind

Method

  1. Simmer the beans,garlic and lemon rind in the stock for about 5 mins.

  2. Remove the lemon rind and puree with a stick blender. Once blended add 1/2 tab olive oil and quickly whiz again.

Taco tuesday

Taco tuesday

Is it Taco Tuesday at your house? Here's the our favourite chilli recipe. I’ve boosted the fibre content with a mix of black beans and kidney beans.  I've also added plenty of tomatoes and red capsicum in there (you can also add carrot or zucchini) for immune boosting vitamin C and to help with iron absorption.  You can serve this in tacos, in burritos, over rice or cauliflower rice, and I love it over a baked sweet potato.

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Cauliflower 'rice'

If you've overindulged on the bread, cheese, wine or chocolates on the weekend, why not have a lower-carb day and add some extra vegetables to your plate.  The marvellous Jane Kennedy came up with cauliflower rice in her book "cooking without the boombah".  I was extremely dubious about it, but served with something saucey you really don't miss the rice.  For the kids I mix in the cauliflower rice with their basmati. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family, like broccoli.  It contains sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound.

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15388205020_42974ea45f_z

Cauliflower 'rice'

Author:

rachel

Serves:

2

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Take half a head of cauliflower. Break into florets and place into a microwave dish with a lid. Don’t add water. Turn on high for (approx) 4 minutes. Whizz the cauliflower with a Bamix or food processor until it resembles cous cous. It should be light and ‘fluffy’, not mushy.

  2. The ‘rice’ soaks up the juices and flavours of whatever dish you’re serving….without the added calories.

3.2.2929

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Italian country soup

This soup is based on a Bridgette Hafner recipe which I have added more veggies to.  I usually double the recipe as it freezes well and is great for tired children.  If you are vegetarian you could omit the pancetta. Cannellini beans are a great source of protein and fibre.  If you are a fan of having a "meat free Monday" this is a great recipe to make.  The original recipe used dried beans which were soaked overnight and added earlier in the recipe - I have tried it both ways and we like the tinned beans more.

photocredit https://www.flickr.com/photos/38467745@N02/

photocredit https://www.flickr.com/photos/38467745@N02/

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced

  • 100g flat pancetta, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 2 zucchini, diced

  • 2 sticks celery, diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small potato, peeled and chopped into small dice

  • Sprinkle of dried oregano

  • 2 tins of cannellini beans

  • Splash of white wine

  • 2 tins Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 3 cups water or chicken stock

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 sprig rosemary

  • Small handful of risoni (dried pasta shaped like rice) or small pasta shapes or broken fettuccine

  • Two or three generous handfuls of baby spinach or kale

  • Parmesan cheese, grated

  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve

METHOD

  1. In a heavy-based pot, gently cook the leeks, carrot, zucchini, celery, pancetta and garlic in the olive oil until softened and lightly golden. Add the potato and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the oregano, white wine, tomatoes and water or stock, season with salt and pepper and add rosemary.

  2. Bring to the boil, skim the surface and simmer for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the drained and rinsed breans, risoni and, if the soup has become a little thick, more water. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the baby spinach or kale.

  3. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

Calories:286  Fat:7g Carbs:41g Fibre:8g Protein:13g

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Lentil and Feta Salad

adaenn

This is a great salad, high in protein, great for vegetarian or coeliac guests. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Lentils du Puy or french green lentils

  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup shredded flat-leaf parsley

  • 12 fresh mint leaves

  • ½ red onion, finely sliced

  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into four lengthways and diced

  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled

METHOD

  1. Place the lentils in a saucepan with 1½ cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Strain and set aside.

  2. While the lentils are cooking, soak the red onions in the lemon juice – I find this reduces the bitter onion taste.

  3. After the onion has soaked for about 20 minutes, drain the lemon juice and whisk with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a bowl.

  4. Add the lentils and onion and allow to cool.

  5. Add the parsley, mint and cucumber and stir gently to combine. Place in a serving dish and top with the crumbled feta.

  6. Fantastic on its own or with some lamb or sausages for the carnivores

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