Meatless Monday: Mexican Inspired Quinoa Bowl w/BBQ Tofu Croutons & Lime Avocado Cream [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Salad Serves: 2-3
Tofu Prep, Marinating & Cooking: 5hrs -12hrs
Salad Prep (Inc. of cooking): 30-40 mins
Assembly: ≤5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Plates, kitchen paper, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, baking tray, parchment paper, colander, mixing bowls, measuring jug, food processor, silicone spatula

Notes: This recipe contains*: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving contains a moderate quantity of added sugar, salt and saturated fats. *Dependent upon if you use the marinated tofu or not. 

It’s finally spring; which means warmer weather (well, our fingers are crossed!), a relaxing Easter holiday, increased sunshine…which always puts in the mood for plenty of bold and vibrant foods and flavours (including fun salad bowls)! In actual fact we made this recipe weeks ago (one sunny Sunday whilst wishing for warmer weather!)… but now seems like the perfect time to share it with everyone. 

Inspired by Mexican tastes, we added some fun and playful ingredients that have plenty of flavour, creating a delicious Mexican-inspired quinoa bowl! It’s a great combination of fluffy quinoa, fresh salad vegetables, juicy mango mixed with a fresh, vibrant and tangy lime salad dressing. Topped off all with some our meaty (and smoky) BBQ tofu croutons and ‘lime’ avocado cream (yup, it’s a new twist on our old favourite!) and you’re in for an ultimate salad bowl experience. 

Overall we were pleased with it. The only problem we incurred was that our mango wasn’t ripe so we didn’t add it to our salad; oops for not checking and ripening it ahead of time! However, we are thoroughly recommending that you do. 🙂

Some other good things to note include:  

  • For recipe ease, we have linked the other recipes you will require to help keep this recipe’s total ingredients (at least on this post!) down to a minimum. 
  • If you fancy preparing this quinoa salad without the mango, avocado cream and/or tofu croutons, you might want to using slightly more dressing or lime juice/zest to help give your quinoa salad some oomph!
  • If you would prefer to have the chilli tasting a little less ‘raw’, mix it into the salad dressing (before serving) and do not add it into the mixture of salad vegetables.
  • If you don’t fancy using our ‘lime avocado cream’ you can always slice up some fresh (and ripe) avocado and serve this over your salad instead. 
  • As we always want you to have your tofu tasting as tasty as possible, try marinating it overnight (it’s the perfect solution for cooking ease!) or for a minimum of 4hrs. If you prefer not to use our Smoky BBQ tofu croutons, you can always substitute them for your favourite type of baked tofu or some cooked black, pinto or your favourite type of bean! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

Smoky BBQ Tofu Croutons
Avocado Cream

Quinoa Salad Bowl

1¼ cup     Dried quinoa (250g)
380g        Baby plum tomatoes
160g         Tinned sweet corn kernels*
++++++++ (*in unsalted water)
140g         Carrot (1 medium)
60g          Spring onion (about 4)
260g        Orange bell pepper
30g          Red chilli
10g           Fresh coriander
400g        Mango, ripe
++++++++ Salt & black pepper

Tangy Lime Salad Dressing

3 tbsp        Lime juice
1-2 tsp       Lime zest
2 tbsp        Rapeseed oil
1 tbsp         Cider vinegar
½ tsp          Ground cumin
½-1 tbsp    Fruit sweetener
++++++++   (or maple syrup

Need an easy print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. If using, prepare the Smoky BBQ Tofu Croutons in advance. Tip: Unless you are doubling the salad recipe, you can ‘halve’ the BBQ tofu croutons recipe. If desired, feel free to add a pinch of mild or hot chilli powder to spice things up!

2. Cook the quinoa. Place 1¼ cups dried quinoa into a large sieve and rinse it under cold running water for 30-60 seconds. Tip: This will help remove some of its bitter taste. Transfer the quinoa into a small non-stick pot. Add 2 ½ cups water. Stir together. Cover with a lid (without a steam vent). Place the pot over a med-high heat. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 6 mins or until the grains have absorbed the water. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 15-20 mins. Tip: Do not peak, not even a little! Leave the grains to steam and finish cooking off of the heat. Don’t worry if it remains covered for longer than 20 mins, it will still be OK!

3. Prepare the salad vegetables. Wash and then slice the tomatoes into halves (vertically). Open and drain the sweet corn in a colander. Wash, peel, trim off the top and then finely grate the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and then finely slice the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (if preferred) and then finely dice the chilli. Wash and dry the coriander; remove the leaves from the stems and roughly chop them. Peel the mango; carefully slice the ripe flesh away from the stone and roughly chop it into cubes. Place all of these ingredients (but not the mango into a large mixing bowl). Toss together. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.

4. Prepare the tangy lime salad dressing. If preferred, use a fresh lime; wash the lime, grate some zest and then juice it using a manual juicer. Pour 2 tbsp rapeseed oil into a large measuring jug. Add 2-3 tbsp lime juice, as much lime zest as desired, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, ½ tsp ground cumin and ½-1 tbsp fruit sweetener (or maple syrup). Use a fork and whisk together until combined. Taste and season as necessary.

5. Prepare the ‘Avocado Cream to transform it into ‘Lime Avocado Cream’ using the following amendments: add 1 tbsp fresh coriander (not parsley), 2-3 tbsp lime juice (not lemon juice) and the new addition of ¼ tsp lime zest and ¼ ground cumin. Place all of the prepared and requested ingredients into a food processor. Process the mixture until smooth, creamy and uniform in colour. Taste and season it as necessary.

6. Assemble the salad bowl. Fluff the cooked grains of quinoa with a fork. Transfer it into a large mixing bowl. Transfer the salad vegetables into the bowl of quinoa. Pour the salad dressing evenly over the salad. Gently and thoroughly toss together.

7. Serve. Spoon some of the quinoa salad into a large serving bowl. Toss over about 1/3 quantity of the BBQ tofu croutons and a little bit of mango (if preferred, toss together). Dollop a spoonful of the lime avocado cream onto the centre of the salad. If desired, garnish with some chopped coriander leaf, red chilli flakes and/or sliced spring onion.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover salad in an air-tight and resealable container; keep the mango, tofu croutons and lime avocado cream in separate and individual containers. Consume the salad within 2-3 days, tofu croutons within 4-5 days and the lime avocado cream within 1-3 days. NB: If your avocado is really ripe, then ideally you should consume this cream on the same day that it’s made.

 

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Avocado Cream

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 3- 4
Prep & Assembly: ≤ 8 mins
Type: Dip, Condiment
Tools: Food processor or blender, sharp knife, measuring cups, spoon, silicone spatula.

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, is low in added sugar, salt and per serving is low in saturated fats.

Over Christmas, haven bought numerous fruits and vegetables (a few things impromptu, naughty we know!) we had a few extra items to use before their expiration, including an avocado. 

As lovers of guacamole, avocado-based sauces and well let’s face it, all things avocado this wasn’t going to be a problem! Haven seen a few avocado recipes on our travels last year, we decided to make our take on ‘avocado cream’ (which is really just a smooth dressing, dip or sauce, depending on how you look at it). It was a great idea as it utilised some other ingredients we had on hand; anything to reduce food waste right?!

Potatoes check, Brussels sprouts check, soya yoghurt check… yes, we felt a delicious salad ‘bowl’ and a break from Christmas’s indulgences coming on! So we present to you today our avocado cream! A creamy, tangy and light dip (or dressing) that can be enjoyed with starchy wedges (try making some with your favourite potato, celeriac or parsnip varieties), in salads or ‘bowls’, in a tasty sandwich or wrap, over pasta, as a soup garnish or maybe as a delicious ‘burger’ sauce! It’s also a great way to consume some ‘good’ fats and a little added Vitamin E and calcium! Mmm yes, we feel many falafel or meat-free wraps with this tasty dressing coming on! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Avocado Cream

Ingredients

+++++++++++++1              Ripe Avocado Pear
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Flat Leaf Parsley (*optional)
+++++++++++++½ Cup    Soya Yoghurt (fortified & unsweetened recommended)
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Lemon juice (fresh or concentrated)
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Apple Cider Vinegar
+++++++++++++20g        Tahini
+++++++++++++               Pinch of salt
+++++++++++++               Pinch of red chilli flakes (*optional)

Directions

1. Chop the avocado (vertically) into two halves. Remove and discard the stone and then peel away the skin. Place it into a blender or food processor. Tip: If you do not own a suitable kitchen gadget, mash and combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl instead! If using, wash the parsley (or your herb of choice!), remove its stem and then roughly shred them (we cut our parsley with a pair of kitchen scissors!).

2. Add 1/2 cup yoghurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp vinegar, 20g tahini and a pinch of salt. Blend or process until smooth, creamy and uniform in colour. Taste and season as necessary.

3. Using a spatula or spoon, transfer the avocado cream into a serving dish or resealable container (whatever is applicable).

4. If using, garnish the avocado cream with fresh herbs, chilli flakes or anything else you desire! Serve promptly with your desired meal or snack of choice! 🙂

Enjoy!

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 1-3 days. Tip: If your avocado is really ripe, then ideally you should consume this cream on the same day that it’s made.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

 

Baked Coconut-Crusted Tofu W/ A Tropical Salad [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep: 40 mins
Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Type: Main Meal

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugars and has a moderate quantity of fats.

Are you in the mood for something ‘coconutty’ and fruity?! Well get your forks and knives ready folks, as we’ve only gone and whipped up some crispy coconut-crusted tofu, served along side a mild tropical salad and some coconut and lime-infused rice. It’s another great addition to our range of battered and/or baked tofu

This recipe is great! It’s full of delicious and vibrant flavours and colours, including the smell of lime…which in our opinion can make anyone feel happy! 🙂 It’s worth noting that our tofu had a mild coconut taste. If you prefer things more ‘coconutty’, try adding more desiccated coconut than flour into the dry mixture, or some coconut milk powder into the wet batter (about one tablespoon should help), or one final suggestion would be to try using some coconut flour instead of standard/plain flour. 

We hope that everyone enjoys our crispy coconut tofu & juicy tropical salad as much as we did!

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

Ingredients

 

Directions

Drain and press the tofu between two heavy plates or chopping boards. Leave it for 20-30 mins to help remove some of the excess water.

 

In the meantime, prepare the batters. Place 1(heaped) tbsp desiccated coconut, 2g sesame seeds, 60g flour (*of your choice/see above for recommendations), 5g ground ginger and 1g garlic salt into a wide bowl. Season with a couple grinds of black pepper. Whisk with a fork until combined. NB: This is your ‘dry batter’.

We used a pasta bowl.

 

 

Place about 45g potato starch and 60ml coconut milk into a separate bowl. Whisk together until the starch is completely dissolved. NB: This is your ‘wet’ batter.

Make sure it’s wide enough to lay a wedge of tofu.

 

 

Prepare the rice ingredients. Place 200g rice into a sieve and rinse under cold water. Transfer it into a large, non-stick pot. Leave for the moment.

 

 

Wash the lime; grate 1 tbsp of lime zest and juice the lime. Have 200ml of coconut milk mixed with 200ml of vegetable stock in a large measuring jug, 3-4g ground ginger mixed with a pinch of sugar(*optional) and 1 kaffir leaf ready.

 

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Drain the water off the tofu and pat it dry with some kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.

 

 

Place the dried tofu onto a chopping board and chop it into six wedges.

Directions: starting from the top left going clockwise!

  • Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper.
  • Dip each wedge of tofu into the wet batter (one at a time) until thoroughly coated.
  • Place it into the dry mixture; gently press all sides into the mixture until thoroughly coated. Place each prepared piece of tofu onto the baking tray. Spray lightly with some low-fat cooking spray (if desired).
  • Place the tray onto the top oven shelf. Bake for about 25 mins or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges; turning once. Remove.

 

Baked tofu. 🙂

 

 

Prepare the rice. Place half of the zest, coconut milk mixture, 3-4g ground ginger and a pinch of sugar (if using) and kaffir leaf into the pot (do not add the the lime juice at this stage). Mix together. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20-25 mins or until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Remove from the heat but do not remove the lid until serving.

 

 

In the meanwhile, prepare the salad ingredients. Wash, trim the ends and carefully remove the vein and seeds from the chilli (keep intact if your prefer things heated!).

 

 

 Peel and finely chop the red onion. Wash, remove the coriander leaves from its stem and roughly chop them. Open the tin of pineapple; remove the pineapple and reserve the juice. Chop the pineapple into cubes. Peel and then remove the stone from the avocado; chop into small chunks. Peel the mango and then remove the flesh from the stone; chop it into rough chunks.

 

 

Steam the green beans. Drain. Allow to cool.

 

 

Place the chilli, red onion, coriander, pineapple, mango, beans, 1/2 of the lime juice, the remaining lime zest, 2 tbsp rice vinegar and 3 tbsp pineapple juice into a large mixing bowl. NB: Do not add the avocado just yet.

 

 

Gently mix together. Add the avocado right before serving. Gently mix to combine.

The avocado will go a bit slimy in the salad, so it’s best to add it just before serving!

 

Fluff the grains of rice with a fork, remove the kaffir leaf and pour over the remaining lime juice just before serving. NB: If desired, add some additional chopped coriander to the rice before serving.

 

 

Serve the tofu and rice warm next to the salad, or spoon the salad over the tofu!

If desired, pour some additional pineapple juice over the tofu!

 

Enjoy!

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Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Cacao, Avocado & Nut Butter Pudding w/ a ‘Caramel’ Topping (and some ‘Free Sugars’ Talk!)

Healthy Recipes

Pudding Serves: 4
Prep: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 20-180 mins (*Depending on how cold you like your pudding!)
‘Caramel’ Serves: a minimum of 12 (2 tsp/serving based on 12 servings)
Type: Dessert
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, small pot, food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container(s) and/or serving dishes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins E, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, is low in salt and (per serving) has a moderate amount of sugars and fats!

There is something nostalgic about eating pudding…or maybe not?! I did grow up in North America after all, so it does explain some (but not all!) of my food choices. #recoveringpeanutbutteraddict  #exkoolaidkid  #cheddarisntreallyorange #whatdidijusteat !!!

We made this recipe last week because sometimes we all just crave something ‘sweet’, but it’s just about being responsible. Moderation and fibre are key, but so is informing yourself regarding food labels, portion sizes, healthy foods and enabling yourself to follow a healthy lifestyle (more days than none)… such as avoiding excessive amounts of ‘free sugars’* and kick starting a realistic exercise regime. Click here for some other ideas and healthy eating advice.

Luckily I kicked the ‘what’s for dessert’ phase a while ago! In about a week’s time I will have resided in the UK for sixteen years; mostly spent in London.This cultural journey has contributed to my ever-changing palate/sweet tooth, as did being exposed to various ailments, experimenting with loads of foods and recipes and of course pursuing a degree in human nutrition.

Anyways, switching this conversation back to the recipe….

This pudding goes down all too well, so I’m really glad that we only made a small portion! Unlike ‘old school instant puddings’, there is no ‘chill/setting’ time; you can eat this pudding faster than you can say “asafoetida”! Personally we prefer this type of dessert cold; we refrigerated ours for three hours before serving, but you could also try popping it in the fridge or freezer for 30 mins instead.

The elements are fab! The avocado and peanut butter give this pudding a great texture (without having to add dairy products, emulsifiers, gelling agents or oils) and more importantly for me- integrity. The problem with some plant-based desserts is that the texture is questionable and they can fall apart all too easily… which is why some recipes love using coconut oil or vegetable-based shortenings (were not a big fan of either).  

The ‘caramel’ topping makes eight heaped tablespoons, so you have plenty for the foreseeable future (next time we won’t be making so much)! Just stir a little into your pudding once its cooled or just before serving- it’s delicious and very rich! We added one heaped teaspoon/each into our desserts. It’s currently in our fridge and I am hoping it keeps for 2-3 wks (minimum) but we’ll let you know how we get on! Oh, if you want a thinner consistency, add add more water when you purée the dates. 

We hope that you enjoy this gem as much as we did (in moderation of course)!  

 

Ingredients

NB: Try using your favourite unsweetened DF milk if preferred.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Nutritional Info

C’mon, were not going to give you a dessert recipe like this without a disclaimer- it’s all about helping you to make informed choices about your health!!

NB: 3.8g of ‘free sugars’*/serving.

NB: 0.2g of ‘free sugars’*/serving.

 

*Free Sugars:
A few months ago The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released a report in the UK on Carbohydrates where they gave new recommendations in line with WHO that ‘free sugar’ intake should account for no more than 5% of daily energy intake.

 

The SACN official definition of ‘free sugars’ stated that:

‘Free sugars’ comprises all monosaccharides* and disaccharides* added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices. Under this definition lactose (the sugar in milk) when naturally present in milk and milk products and the sugars contained within the cellular structure of foods (particularly fruits and vegetables) are excluded.

*Monosaccharides are single sugar units (glucose and fructose) and disaccharides are two single units joined together ( sucrose).

 

…But we’re sure most of you’re wondering what does 5 % of ‘free sugars’ actually mean?

 

…So how does your ‘free sugar’ intake currently weigh up?? 

 

If you have a sweet tooth and/or eat a lot of processed or packaged foods (e.g. fruit drinks, soups and cereals), it can quickly add up!

‘Free sugars’ can be added into our foods by manufacturers and unfortunately at the moment, the UK’s food labels do not account for ‘free sugars’ (just total sugars), making it hard for anyone to distinguish between the ‘natural occurring sugars’ from those that have been added.

Free sugars include but are not limited to: unsweetened fruit juice, coconut or table sugars, hydrolysed starch, molasses or treacle, honey, or any sort of syrup that contains sugar in its food label, e.g. agave syrup/nectar, corn syrup, rice malt syrup, natural date syrup, maple syrup etc. Sugars naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals or dairy products (lactose!) do not count.

 

…Until things change some things you could try include:
  • Familiarising yourself with the ‘names of sugar’ and limiting them on a daily basis, e.g. sucrose, maltose, glucose syrup etc. 

***Check out one of our previous sugar posts for info on names of ‘sugars’ found in everyday foods.

  • Looking at food labels more frequently. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of quantity, e.g. having sugar listed as the first, second or third ingredient in a list of ten ingredients shows that it will make a bigger proportion of the food item in question.
  • Comparing similar food products for sugar info. Your favourite brand might not all of the information you are looking for, but a similar product might give a full nutritional breakdown; you can use this for an educated guess.
  • Cooking from scratch. Homemade meals always taste better and this will allow yourself to have full control over what goes into them; no one really wants or needs 10g of sugar and 2.7g of salt /serving in their pasta sauce!
  • Swapping sugary drinks (including juices) for plain water, particularly if you drink a lot of them. NB: Some tins of soda can contain at much as 52 grams of sugar!
  • Opt for whole fruits instead of fruit juices/smoothies; that way our bodies benefit from its fibre and the fruit sugars are absorbed more slowly into our bodies.

That’s enough talking for now… on with the recipe!

NB: The pudding might be a little ‘tart’ at first, but once you add the caramel its absolutely perfect!  Also, try using a vanilla paste (or a pure vanilla extract) if you have access to it because it really amps up the flavour in the ‘caramel’!

 

Directions

1. Destone the dates. Place them into a small pot with 200ml of cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Allow them to soak for 20 mins.

2. In the meantime, chop the avocado into two halves; peel and destone. Place 12g cacao powder, the avocado, 50g peanut butter, 16g agave syrup,1.5 tsp of vanilla paste and 170ml almond milk into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, creamy and thoroughly combined. Tip: Use a spatula to scrape the pudding off the sides of the food processor back into the base as you go.

3. Transfer the mixture into a resealable and air tight container (or some ramekins/small serving dishes) and refrigerate it in the coldest part of your fridge for about 3 hrs or until you’re ready to partake in an ultimate dairy free chocolate experience!

4. Meanwhile, add a pinch of cinnamon and sea salt and 1/4 tsp vanilla paste into the pot with the date mixture. Blend with a stick blender until smooth and creamy. If you do not have a stick blender, quickly wash your food processor and transfer the date mixture into it. Add the cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla paste. Blend until smooth; adding extra water if a thinner consistency is preferred. Transfer the ‘caramel’ into a clean, air tight and resealable container. Keep refrigerated until you serve the pudding.

5. Serve the pudding in a small dish. Add and stir through a little of the ‘caramel’. Top with some fresh/whole fruits (banana or berries would work well), nuts or a dollop of plain/unsweetened almond-based yoghurt!

Enjoy!

 

We added a bunch of fresh fruit after I took some pictures. NB: This glass represents 2 servings.

If preferred…

  • Try using almond or hazelnut butter instead of PB (it will help to reduce the s/fat content)!
  • It would also be fun to experiment with fruits  or maybe even cooked vegetables (instead of nuts!); try adding banana, strawberries, or some purred sweet potato or pumpkin into the pudding mixture for a unique flavour experience!
  • Omit the agave and just use the ‘caramel’ to sweeten the pudding instead!
  • Try transferring this pudding mixture into a small/medium-sized popsicle mold for a great homemade, vegan popsicle experience; freeze overnight. #latesummerdessert 

 

Resources:

Avocado & Spinach Soup [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Type: Main Meal or Side Dish
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, large pot, frying spatula, blender or food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!. 

If you’ve never have an avocado-based soup before, you’re in for a treat. It’s creamy, delicious nutritious and it literally only takes about 5 minutes to get this recipe cooking on your stove top! Cooking really doesn’t get any easier than that!

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • This soup provides you with about 2.5 servings of vegetables/serving towards your 5-A-Day!
  • Avocados are actually a fruit, or more specifically, a single-seeded berry! They are a great source of: B-vitamins, Vitamin E, protein, fibre, potassium, zinc and mono-unsaturated fats (‘good’ fats that can help lower LDL cholesterol if combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle); among some other nutrients that are all great for maintaining a healthy body!

They are known for their high calorie and fat content; unlike other plant sources (e.g. coconuts!) they contain less saturated fat and more mono and poly unsaturated fats! Yay for healthy fats!

  • This is a great soup in moderation- for your waistline and wallet! If you’re like us, you probably only buy them on occasion, as they are a fruit native to central America- which means their carbon footprint does not always come cheap!

We also think that soup is a great example of how processed foods can deceive us if were not careful, even healthy ones. It is possible to have too much of a good thing, e.g. eating a homemade fruit smoothie can easily contain over 30 grams of sugar. Fruit sugar is great, when you are eating ‘whole pieces of fruit’… but not necessarily when you break down all of its lovely intrinsic sugars (a.k.a when you throw all of your delicious fruit into a blender)! Breaking down all the wonderful insoluble fruit fibre makes the fruit sugars (fructose) more accessible to your body; which increases the glycaemic index value (*see our article on sugar here).

This is why the BDA advises we only drink 150ml of fruit juice/day and why it should never be a used as a replacement to fruit; it only can be counted as one of your 5-A-Day.

… But we have digressed; let’s get cooking!

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g     White Onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2             Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Low-Fat Cooking Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400ml   Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Vegetable Stock (low sodium/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1              Bay Leaf
+++++++++++++++++++++++++15ml       Lemon Juice
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Frozen Spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++320g      Avocado Pears
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml    Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info

NB: This soup receives an orange traffic light rating for its fat and sat fat contents, and a green one for its salt; which makes it an OK choice. To lower the fat content, just use one avocado and some more lovely spinach instead!

 

 

Directions

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.

We used some leftover banana shallots and a white onion- anything goes! If you have a food processor or food mandolin (that you don't mind washing up later)- this step will be even quicker!

We used some leftover banana shallots and a white onion- anything goes! If you have a food processor or food mandolin (that you don’t mind washing up later)- this step will be even quicker!

 

 

  • Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Spray it some low-fat cooking oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the water, stock, bay leaf and lemon juice. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.
  • Add the spinach. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Return to the boil. Simmer and cook for 3-4 mins or until cooked. Remove from the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, chop the avocado into halves, remove the stone and then peel away the skin. Tip: If you are using frozen avocado, make sure it has thoroughly defrosted first! 

 

 

 

  • Remove the bay leaf from the saucepan and discard. Transfer the soup into a blender.
  • Add the avocado.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or into a resealable container. Pour in the milk. Mix to combine. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper (if necessary). NB: Add a little more water if a thinner consistency is preferred.

 

 

Place the saucepan back over a medium-low heat and gently reheat (if applicable).

 

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some soya yoghurt, fresh herbs, nuts, seeds or simply enjoy it as it is!

We used some fresh chives and seeds. :)

We used some fresh chives and seeds. 🙂

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month.

NB: When reheating, allow the soup to become hot, but do not allow it to boil. 

Avocado & ‘Pesto’ Pasta (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Large pot, colander, chopping board, sharp knife, food processor, silicone spatula, small frying pan, mixing bowl, salad tongs

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, omega 3, is low in added salt and sugars and (per serving) is low in saturated fats. 

Looking for a fresh, creamy and very satisfying pasta dish? Well we’re happy to say that this avocado pesto pasta ticks all the boxes! It’s tasty, nutritious and you can see from our list of ingredients, it’s also really easy to prepare!  For the super keen, make the pesto the night before and have dinner on the table in less than twenty-five minutes! 

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++150g       Dried GF Spaghetti
+++++++++++++++++++++8g           Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++               Lemon Zest and Juice (1/2 a lemon)
+++++++++++++++++++++120g       Ripe Avocado Pear (small variety)
+++++++++++++++++++++40g        Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++60g        Cherry Tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++10ml       Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++1g            Garlic Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++2g           Dried Onion Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++                Salt and Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++20g         Walnuts

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Wash the lemon, grate some zest and then juice it. Slice the avocado into two halves, remove and discard the stone and then peel it. Wash, dry and then chop the large stems off the basil. Wash, remove the stems and then chop the tomatoes into halves (or smaller if you prefer).

 

Assemble The Pesto!

1. Place the garlic, lemon juice, 2 tsp oil and ¼ cup water into a food processor. Blend until the garlic is ‘blitzed’.

2. Add the avocado, basil (save a few leaves for garnishing if you like), and the garlic and onion powder. Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture from the sides and the lid.

Add half the quantity of the zest. Blend until combined. Taste and season it as necessary. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the container and lid again.

 

 

1. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the nuts. Dry-fry until lightly toasted.

2. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the nuts onto a chopping board. Allow to cool slightly. Roughly chop into small pieces.Tip: You can skip this step, but toasting the walnuts will really help to bring out their flavour!

 

 

Pasta Assembly


1. Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the avocado ‘pesto’ sauce.
3. Use salad tongs to gently mix and coat the pasta in the sauce.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a lipped plate (use a spatula to scrape any sauce left in the bowl). Sprinkle over the remaining zest (as much as desired!). Garnish by scattering over the nuts, any reserved basil (if using) and the tomatoes.

Enjoy!

 

If preferred…

  • Substitute the spaghetti for another variety of pasta; try fettuccine or linguine.
  • Try making/using ‘courgetti pasta’ for another GF variety (if you have the time, resources and want to be creative of course)!
  • Try putting this sauce on wholemeal pasta or gnocchi perhaps (if you’re not concerned about gluten).
  • Experiment with your herbs; parsley or coriander would work well.
  • For an even more authentic ‘pesto’ taste, add some fortified nutritional yeast to the sauce for that ‘cheesy’ element and added nutritional value!
  • Try garnishing the dish with another type of tomato or maybe some grilled sweet red peppers or baby mushrooms instead!

 

Recipe adapted from: Crunchandchew