Category Archives for Salads & Vegetarian

Grain Free Pizza

Whenever I look at this photo I start salivating. It had been many years since I had a slice of pizza but now I can enjoy it without the worry of the simple carbohydrates and the negative impact that will have on me. Chickpea is such a fabulous alternative to white flour. It provides you with another source of protein and also helps to keep you blood sugar at a well-balanced level.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Sea Salt

Pizza Toppings:

2 tablespoons tomato paste
Steamed broccoli
Steamed sweet potato
Rocket leaves
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Goats Cheese
Fresh Basil

Method:

Turn oven to 200 degrees. Line a 20cm skillet with baking paper and set aside.

Combine all ingredients together and whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared skillet and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove pizza from oven and top with whatever ingredients you desire. The pizza I created has the toppings listed above. Place pizza back in the oven for a further 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and is nice and golden

Makes 4 generous slices.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Everyone loves a good Shepherd's pie.  This version is a modern take on it whereby vegetables are the hero.  By adding Turmeric to the cauliflower mash, not only does it bring a beautiful yellow brightness to the dish, but it also brings powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory fighting nutrients making it an extremely well-rounded dish.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Mash
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek (white part only), sliced
½ brown onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 broccoli, cut into florets
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 yellow capsicum, chopped
250g button mushrooms, quartered
150g shitake mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tin baby tomatoes
400ml tomato passata
2 cups shredded silverbeet

Method:

To make the cauliflower mash, steam cauliflower as per your usual method. I like to use a steam oven or boil it on the stove for 10-12 minutes. Once cooked, transfer cauliflower into a blender without any of the cooking liquid. Add the almond milk, turmeric and salt and blend for 60 seconds until smooth and creamy.

Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, you can prepare the vegetables. In a large pan heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add the leek, onion and celery and sauté for 5-8 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and stir for a further minute.

Add all the vegetables and allow to cook down for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that all vegetables are cooked evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tinned baby tomatoes and tomato passata and stir to ensure all vegetables are coated. Bring cause to the boil and then add the silverbeet. Allow it to cook for a further 2 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables into an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed cauliflower. Sprinkle the top with the pumpkin seeds and then bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes uncovered however keep an eye to ensure that it doesn’t burn. You may need to cover with silver foil.

Serves 8

Variations: To add some more protein to the meal you can add beans, lentils or chickpeas as you are cooking the vegetables.

Mexican Re-fried Beans

What I love about Mexican food is the use of fresh ingredients and the combination of flavours.  This dish, combined with a beautiful green salad, ticks all the boxes of a well combined meal, especially with beans being such a great source of protein and fibre.  It is a light but satisfying meal that is great for entertaining too.  

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat oil in pan on stove. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add spices and stir it with the onions.

Add your beans, tomatoes, salt and pepper and carefully stir so that the beans heat up but don’t get too mushy. Cook until tomatoes have become soft.

If you like a little heat, you may chose to sprinkle some chili flakes.

There are so many options for how to eat this dish. It can be part of part of a Mexican fiesta with guacamole and corn chips, it can be served with rice and salad or can be used as a side dish to any animal protein you desire.

Serves 2-4

Stuffed Capsicum with Mung Bean and Vegies

My inspiration for this dish comes from a classic dish from my childhood, where my mum used to make stuffed peppers with rice and mince meat regularly. This is a modern, healthier adaptation of that dish, with mung beans as the hero. Mung beans are a type of small legume and are an excellent source of plant protein, so it's great for vegetarians/vegans. They are also a very filling food, high in resistant starch and dietary fibre. Their high nutrient density makes them useful in defending against chronic, age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Ingredients:

250g mung beans, soaked in filtered water overnight
8 red capsicum, tops, core and seeds removed
1 tablespoon coconut oil / olive oil
3 red onions, sliced
2 zucchini, diced
650g mixed mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 bok choy, sliced
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
½ tablespoon coconut oil / olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
sprinkle chili flakes
1 can diced tomatoes
400ml tomato passata
100g baby spinach

Method:

Prepare mung beans by rinsing them from the water they have been soaking in overnight and then placing them in a pot on the stove. Cover with water and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and allow mung beans to cook for 20-25 so that they still have some crunch. Once cooking time is complete, drain and rinse and cold water.

Whilst mung beans are cooking, prepare the red capsicum and set aside.

Heat your oil in a fry pan and add your red onions. Allow these to caramelise so try not to stir them too often but make sure that they do not burn. This can take approximately 20-25 minutes. Once you are happy with the onions, add the zucchini, mushrooms, carrot and bok choy. Allow all the vegetables to sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add your fresh parsley, tamari and seasoning. Give it a good stir to make sure it is all combined.

In a large bowl, mix together the mung beans and vegetables.

Prior to stuffing the capsicum, heat an oven-proof dish with the oil. Add the garlic and chili, giving it a quick stir. Add your passata and diced tomatoes and bring to the boil. Whilst you are waiting for this to occur, you can start stuffing your capsicum with the mung bean and vegetable filling. You don’t want it to overflow, but fill it enough so that the capsicum is filled.

Once the sauce is boiling, add your spinach and allow it to wilt. Add your capsicum (standing them up so that they don’t fall). Simmer for 20 minutes and then transfer to a pre-heated oven of 160 degrees for a further 1 hour of cooking.

This can be served as a main meal with a salad or as a side to your protein.

Serves 4-6

Serves 4-6

Sweet Potato Toast

When you are craving that crunchy slice of toast but are wanting to avoid the grains, this is the perfect alternative.  Cooking the sweet potatoes just long enough in the oven gives you that crispy crunch that you get from the crust of your toast.  Who says that food has to be boring when you choose not to eat bread???

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced lengthways into 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Toppings:
Eggs
Smashed avocado
Spinach
Chopped salad: lettuce, tomato, capsicum, cucumber
Tahini dressing

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

Prepare sweet potato and place on tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes until they are soft enough to cut through.

Use sweet potato as your base, ‘toast’, and top with anything you like. I have included the toppings as per the photograph, however you can do anything you like, salmon, shredded chicken, hummus etc… The list is as long as your imagination.

Serves 2

Spicy Asparagus and Green Beans

Looking for something quick and easy to toss together as a side for your meal?  I always find that beans and asparagus work really well together as they don't take long to cook and they have that textural crunch.  I don't mind a little spice, so for me the chilli adds a lot of flavour, but if spicy is not your thing, you can easily prepare this dish without it.

Ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
300g green beans, top and tailed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Prepare asparagus and beans and set aside.

Heat pan on stove and add oil. Once melted add in garlic and mix for 1 minute so that garlic does not burn or stick to pan.

Add the vegetables, chili and seasoning. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes and then serve.

Serves 4 as a side

Spinach Loaf

When you are trying to go grain free, it can sometimes be difficult thinking of alternatives that will still enable you to have that 'slice of toast' under your eggs or your 'crunchy bread' with a bowl of soup.  This spinach loaf should offer you a great alternative to settle those cravings.

Ingredients:
2½ cups almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 bunches English spinach, stems removed, leaves blanched and drained
3 eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk of your choice
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g coconut oil, melted (replace with olive oil)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Method:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees and grease and line a 20 x 9 cm loaf tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Whizz the spinach leaves in a food processor (or chop them finely) and add to the bowl, along with the eggs, milk, lemon juice, coconut oil and vinegar. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon dipped in cold water.

Bake the loaf on the middle rack of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

This loaf will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge, or can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 loaf

Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

Chinese doctors have used medicinal mushrooms for centuries as part of their healing. Their benefits are too long to list but to name a few: they aid in building the body's resistance, aid in detoxification, and support the functions of the Heart, Liver, Kidneys Lungs and joints. Different mushrooms have different flavours and textures therefore I love using a combination. This recipe is a great as a side dish or as a basis of a vegetarian meal. You can play around with any mushrooms or herbs you desire.

Ingredients:

800g mixed mushrooms
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
3 garlic cloves, minced
few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Clean and wipe mushrooms and then place in an oven proof dish. Season with salt and pepper and then add your thyme, minced garlic and coconut oil. Toss so that all mushrooms are coated.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Quinoa Rainbow Salad

Eating a rainbow of vegetables is so important to be able to get all the different anti-oxidant and disease fighting nutrients into you.  Combining this with quinoa, a gluten free, protein rich carbohydrate will provide you with a complete meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 spring onions, sliced diagonally
Few sprigs of fresh mint and parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:
Cook quinoa as per instructions.

Make sure that you soak the quinoa the night before to remove any of the bitterness and rinse well before cooking. I also like to cook mine in vegetable stock to add some more flavour.

Whilst the quinoa is cooking, prepare all other vegetables and herbs.

Combine cooked quinoa with vegetables and then dress with lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings.

Serves 4-6

Seeded Leaf Salad with Cashew Nut Mayo

Entertaining at home or have been invited out and you need to bring a salad, then this one is for you.  The salad is simple with only a few ingredients, but the cashew nut mayo is really what makes the salad. 

Ingredients:
Cashew nut mayo
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw cashews
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups mixed salad leaves
pinch of sea salt
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
¼ shallot, finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 tablespoon honey
2 Lebanese cucumbers, diced
1/3 cup filtered water
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Dry toast the seeds in a frying pan over medium heat for 2-5 minutes or until brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

Place the mayo ingredients in a food processor with 1/3 cup filtered water and blend until smooth and creamy.

Arrange the salad ingredients in a bowl, reserving a few of the seeds to scatter on top.

Gently stir in the dressing to evenly coat the salad. Add the black pepper, the reserved seeds and serve.

Serves 2