Meatless Monday- Battered & Baked Tofu: Revisited [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 48 pieces
Serves: 8
Prep: 30 mins + 6-12hrs (marination)
Tofu Assembly: 20-25mins
Cooking Time: 30-35mins
Cooling: 5 mins
Type: Main meal, snack
Tools: Heavy plates, kitchen paper, chopping board, sharp knife, small measuring jug, casserole dish, 2* bowls, 2* baking trays, silicone mat or parchment paper, cooling rack

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats!

Well, as you might have guessed… tofu is always on the menu in our house, at least once a week! If you haven’t been keeping up with what we have been getting up to with this lovely plant-based food over the last year, then you should check out our recipe index here! We have been trying to inspire and improve the overall opinion of tofu; it’s not just a rubbery mass, it’s nutritious, awesome and its cooking possibilities are endless!  

So you might remember when we introduced our first batch of battered tofu to you in the form of a stir-fry last year (also known as our Battered tofu & Vegetable Stir-fry) or when we used this battered tofu in a tasty, healthy and oriental version of Sweet And Sour Battered Tofu w/Rice? Well if not, we decided to try and upgrade it with a marination step…as all tofu can benefit from this! It doesn’t necessary add that much time on to your overall prep either; once the tofu is drained and pressed, just marinade it whilst you sleep and you’re good to go!

The result: it has added some extra flavour and inspired us to use them in more than just stir-fries! A crispy, light and tasty batter makes this tofu easily enjoyed in a wrap with a tasty sauce or spread, for yourself or your little one as a snack (as you can always pretend it’s a new kind of ‘chicken nugget’!), used as some tasty finger foods in your upcoming picnics (just don’t forget your dips!), or as we have incorporated them previously, as part of a main meal in a sauce. A sauce or dip is the key, especially with reheating leftovers; the batter (although tasty) can go a bit dry, so the use of a sauce or a dip transforms these battered lovelies into a tasty meal or snack. 

Some other good things to note include

  • Any type of DF milk or starch should be fine. We used some unsweetened almond milk and potato starch for their neutral taste, low cost and seemingly effortless and versatile use and availability in our kitchen.
  • Adjust and adapt the dry seasoning (or tofu marinade) to taste or use your preferred ‘tried and true’ recipes.
  • Need a completely GF option? Use some tamari sauce instead of our recommended soya sauce.
  • The tofu marinade we used is actually one from a previous recipe: Marinated Tofu & Veggie Skewers w/ A Peanut Satay
  • If you’re halving the amount of tofu, you’ll save yourself 10mins!
  • There is enough marinade and batters for two firm blocks of tofu. 
  • Allow them to cool on the baking trays for at least 5 mins before serving and allow them to cool completely before storing in the fridge.
  • When reheating, use the oven where possible, as the batter can go a little soggy after it’s been in the fridge for a few days.

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients
800g Firm Tofu (= 2 tetrapaks)
Low-fat cooking oil
Tofu Marinade
3 tbsp     Sesame oil
3 tbsp     Walnut oil
2 tbsp     Rice vinegar
3 tbsp     Soya sauce (*reduced salt)
1½ tbsp   Maple syrup
1 tsp        Ground ginger
1/8 tsp    Asafoetida
Dry Batter
100g    Plain GF flour
20g      Corn flour
2-3g     Garlic salt
2g         Onion Powder
2g         Sweet Paprika
1/8 tsp  Salt & ground black pepper
Wet Batter
90g       Potato starch
120ml    Unsweetened DF Milk (8 tbsp)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂


Directions

1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy and/or weighted plates (or chopping boards) to express any excess water. Leave for 30 mins. Tip: Try sandwiching the tofu between a few sheets of kitchen paper to help absorb some of the excess liquid. 

2. In the meantime, make the tofu marinade. Place 3 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp walnut oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp soya sauce, 1½ tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp ground ginger and 1/8 tsp asafoetida into a large measuring jug. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

3. When the tofu is ready, drain away any excess water. Place the tofu onto a chopping board and chop into ½ cm rectangular pieces. Tip: We made six cuts (width wise) and four cuts (lengthwise). Layer the tofu into the base of a large casserole dish. Pour over the marinade. Tip: To help evenly distribute the marinade, pour a little into the casserole dish first before layering the tofu. Cover with some kitchen film. Refrigerate for 6-12 hrs. Tip: If possible, turn the tofu over at least once whilst it’s marinating.

4. Prepare your dry batter. Place 100g GF flour, 20g corn starch, 2-3g garlic salt, 2g onion powder and 2g sweet paprika into a small bowl. Season with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Stir and whisk until combined. Prepare the wet batter. Place 90g potato starch and 120ml DF milk into a separate bowl. Whisk until combined.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line two baking trays with silicone mats or a sheet of parchment paper. Spray each tray with some low-fat cooking oil. Dip a piece of marinated tofu into the wet batter, thoroughly coating it in the mixture. Tip: It’s just a quick dip; you do not need to soak it. Next, dip and gently press the tofu into the dry batter until all of its sides are covered. Tip: The faster you can complete these steps, the less ‘coagulated’ batter will form on your fingers!  Place the battered tofu onto the baking tray. Repeat until all tofu is battered.

6. Place the trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Bake for 15mins. Remove. Turn the tofu over. Place the trays back into the oven (switching the shelf positions of the trays). Bake for a further 15-20 mins or until cooked and the lightly golden. Remove. If possible, allow the tofu to cool on the tray for 5mins before serving.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 5 days. 

 

Do you love tofu as much as we do?! What’s your favourite way to cook it? Do you make your own tofu? We’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

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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.

 

A Simple & Delicious Salad Bowl: Roasted Vegetables & Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep: 15-20 mins (*Variable)
Cooking: 40-50mins
Assembly: ≤5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, roasting tin, kitchen foil, non-stick pot w/lid, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, colander, mixing bowl

Notes:

Here’s a quick and delicious Friday filler! We promise we have a lot more involved and tasty goodies lined up for you next week!

Salads, salad bowls, or even ones known as ‘Budda or Goddess Bowls’ are wonderful and you don’t have to be a veggie (or on a ‘diet’!) to enjoy them either! Maybe it’s because they have evolved beyond a few pieces of iceberg lettuce and some other token salad veggies; yes exactly, because you can adapt them into any delicious shape or form!

Enjoyed in any season, they can have style, great nutritional substance and a good degree of satiety! They’re an example of another meal that can easily be adjusted to suit your own diet, budget, cooking skills or time and/or taste preferences! We think that they are indeed super (but not a ‘superfood’!), but we’ve previously shared our thoughts on this matter. A salad, simple or not, is what you make of it. Although they might not always look sexy, substance should always win over beauty; with the right planning, they can be nutritionally complete (even without expensive foodie ingredients) and enjoyed every day, well only if you like (but we can never have too many greens)! 

This recipe is quite similar to one that we produced last year …

A Quick & Frugal Pasta Bowl

…but on this occasion we have excluded the pasta and kidney beans and used some hearty grains (pearl barley!) and a different variety of vegetables, including kale! After seeing that two of our local supermarkets were selling massive bags of shredded kale, it could only mean one thing- it’s still in season, but not for much longer! So we should all take advantage of this tasty vegetable. All hail the kale! 🙂

So feel free to ‘mass produce’ this salad, adapt its seasonality, flavour combinations, what’s left in your cupboards (you know those odd bits of mixed grains knocking about!) and/or to suit your purse strings! Really, feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

 

If you think this recipe could do with an upgrade, here are some additional adaptations (well don’t try them all at once!) that could also work quite well:

  • A few pan toasted cashews, almonds or pine nuts or natural pumpkin seeds.
  • Depending on your flavour combinations (or budget), some (pitted) kalamata olives would be ace!
  • Some cooked beans! We’d recommend: soya, black, butter or broad beans. 

 

Ingredients

++++++130-140g         Dried pearl barley (or your favourite grain!), cooked
++++++500-600g      Vegetables (butternut squash, red, green + yellow bell peppers)
++++++150-200g        Kale
++++++                         Rapeseed oil (or low-fat cooking oil spray)
++++++                         Salt and Ground black pepper
++++++2                       Spring Onions
++++++                         Fresh herbs (variable; we used flat leaf parsley)

 

Directions

1. Place the pearl parley into a large sieve. Rinse it under some running cold water. Transfer it into a non-stick pot. Fill the pot with cold water (about 3/4 full). Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Remove the lid and allow it to boil for 10 mins. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25-30 mins or until tender. Drain it in the sieve. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In the meantime, heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. If required, line a roasting tin with some kitchen foil.

3. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the skin, trim the top and then remove the seeds from the squash with a sharp knife or spoon; chop it into ½-1″ cubes. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell peppers into 1cm pieces. Transfer the vegetables into the roasting tin. Drizzle over a little rapeseed oil (or spray them with some low-fat cooking oil). Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 35-40 mins or until the vegetables or lightly browned and tender; toss and stir halfway through cooking. Remove.

4. In the meantime. Wash the kale. If applicable slice (or shred) the kale into strips. Place the kale into a steamer pot with some water. Bring to a boil. Cook and simmer for 7-10 mins or until tender. Drain in a colander.

5. If applicable prepare your preferred dressing or dip. Wash, trim the ends and finely chop the spring onion. Wash, dry and then chop some herbs.

6. Place the cooked barley, roasted vegetables, kale, spring onion and herbs (if using) into a large mixing bowl. If applicable pour over your dressing or just season with a little salt, black pepper and fresh herbs to taste. Toss together and serve in a large serving bowl. Garnish with some toasted nuts, a dip or houmous (if using), or anything else that takes your fancy!

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days. 

 

Delicious vegetables and hearty carbohydrates- the frameworks to any great salad! 😀

 

How do you like to enjoy your salads? 🙂

Baked Harissa Tofu [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2-4
Prep: 35 mins + overnight (8-12hrs)
Cooking: 30-35 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), small frying pan, frying spatula, small bowl, rolling pin or large spoon, sharp knife, fork, large measuring jug, kitchen paper, large bowl, kitchen film, baking tray, parchment paper

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving (based on 4) contains a low quantity of added sugar*, saltand saturated fats*. *Depending upon the variety and quantity of paste (or preserve) or the quantity of oil, maple syrup and/or added salt used.

As we approach salad and tasty sandwich (aka picnic) season (although this still seems like a million miles away!), it’s still a good idea to have some new and tasty ideas up our sleeves; such as a new flavour of tofu to throw into the mix! 

Feeling inspired by our latest use of Middle Eastern, N. African and African flavours, we decided to make some baked harissa tofu! We created a marinade by trying to complement the existing ingredients/flavours in our brand of harissa paste. Feel free to do the same by using our ingredient list as a guide or just show some tofu love by giving our tasty recipe a try! The initial prep takes no time at all and the rest of the tofu magic is finished while you sleep or are away at work!

As always, tofu is a small labour of love. We cannot vouch for how the tofu will taste if you only marinade it for a short period of time (as we haven’t done this ourselves), but with all our other types of marinated tofu, a minimum of 4-6 hrs usually produces the best flavours; if possible, 8-12hrs is even is always recommended! 

A few other good things to note include:

  • Depending on what you are using your tofu for, chop it to your desired size before marinating. Tip: Larger and wider pieces could make a tasty layer in a sandwich! If you are making tofu ‘cubes’ and want them crunchier (because maybe you are using them in a soup or salad), try baking them for an additional 5 mins or so. NB: we baked our tofu in a fan-assisted oven. 
  • The harrisa tofu tastes delicious, but feel free to use more of the paste in the marinade (if you can afford to do so). Alternatively you could amp up the flavour by giving it a spicy kick! We might try this next time by adding a ‘hot paprika’ or a hot chilli powder into the marinade.
  • If you do not have preserved lemon, add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt instead.
  • We were not aware that there are actually two types of cumin seeds (white and dark)! It just goes to show how much we actually paid attention to them because coincidently, we had both types in our cupboard. The ‘white’ seeds aren’t really white, just a lot lighter than the darker ones; feel free to use whatever you have.

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++1                       Block firm tofu (=1 tetrapak)
+++++++++++½ tsp               White cumin Seeds
+++++++++++¼ tsp               Caraway Seeds
+++++++++++6 g                   Garlic clove (about 2)
+++++++++++40g                  Spring Onion (2 large)
+++++++++++2½ tbsp           Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++30g                  Harissa paste
+++++++++++10g                   Preserved lemon paste
+++++++++++1 tbsp               Lemon juice
+++++++++++1 tbsp               Maple syrup
+++++++++++2 tbsp              Balsamic vinegar
+++++++++++½ tsp                Mild paprika
+++++++++++½ tsp                Ground ginger
+++++++++++1/8-1/2 tsp      Mild or hot chilli Powder
+++++++++++                         Pinch of salt & ground black pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Drain the tofu. Place and press it between two heavy chopping boards or weighted plates to express any excess water. Leave for 30 mins. Tip: You can also line the bottom board or plate with some kitchen paper to help absorb the excess liquid.

2. Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add ½ tsp cumin seeds and ¼ tsp caraway seeds. Dry fry until lighted toasted. Tip: They will become lightly golden, fragrant and some might even start popping as they are toasted. Transfer them into a small bowl. Grind them with the flat end of a rolling pin or the back of a large spoon until a coarse powder is achieved. Tip: If you own a pestle and mortar, use this instead! 

3. Peel, slice and then crush the garlic with the back of a fork. Tip: If you have a garlic press, use this instead! Wash, trim the ends and then finely slice and chop the spring onion.

4. Prepare the marinade. Place 2½ tbsp rapeseed oil, 30g harissa paste, 10g preserved lemon, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, ½ tsp mild paprika, ½ tsp ground ginger, 1/8-1/2 tsp chilli powder (if using) and the ground cumin and caraway seed mixture into a large measuring jug. Season it with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Taste and season the mixture as necessary. Add the garlic and spring onion. Whisk to combine.

5. Drain the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Place in onto the chopping board and chop into ½-¾ inch cubes or whatever size pieces you prefer. Gently transfer the tofu into a large bowl or baking dish. Pour over the marinade. Gently stir and toss the tofu in the marinade until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Cover the bowl (or dish) with a piece of kitchen film and refrigerate the tofu overnight (or as long as possible).

6. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the tofu from the fridge and give it a good stir. Transfer it onto the tray in a single layer. Pour any remaining marinade over the tofu. When the oven is ready, place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 16mins. Remove, turn the pieces over. Place the tray back into the oven. Bake for a further 15-16mins. Remove and allow to cool.

7. Serve over a vegetable and grain-based salad, as a soup topper (aka tofu croutons!), in a wrap, or over a savoury rice or couscous dish.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover tofu in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 4-6wks. 

 


Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sri Lankan Inspired Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 40 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or kitchen helpers!)
Cooking: 7-8hrs (*Over a low heat setting)
Tools: Small bowl, colander, chopping board, sharp knife, sieve, frying pan, measuring jug, slow cooker, non-stick pot.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar and salt and has a moderate quantity of fats! 

The cold weather is setting in and decadent Christmas flavours are now packed away for another eleven months… this could only mean four simple things- the need for hearty, wholesome and quick foods that will ‘warm your cockles’ and taste buds!

Well, we have just the cure for that- here’s another tasty, ‘slow cooker curry’; those are actually starting to become our three favourite words! Perhaps that’s because slow cookers are magic devices; not only do they slowly cook our food in abundance, but they also help improve how we feel about even the most basic of meals!

What’s the best meal that you have prepared in yours?! 🙂

For those of you that may have tried some of our previous slow cooker curries or S.C meals, you’ll know just how tasty they are (well, you haven’t told us otherwise!). 😛 Curry prepared in a slow cooker (although not traditional, not even a little!) is by far one of the best methods to develop a huge depth of healthy and aromatic flavours- well, that’s our opinion anyways! 

This time our spicy/slow cooker urge unravelled with a packet of Sri Lankan spices that we still hadn’t gotten around to trying; ergo the birth of our curry! This one is pretty hearty, spicy (well, this is subjective) and of course packed full of tasty and healthful ingredients; its plant-based eating that is designed to help make this more than a ‘one day occasion’! 

The curry: sweet and creamy potatoes (that melt in your mouth), combined with hearty and robust chickpeas and an abundance of delicious flavours. All served over a bed of fluffy rice! We’ve filled you in on our spice mix below and hopefully you can all find something similar or just create your own (as spicy as you dare)! If you are not keen on sweet potato, try adapting it with cauliflower, butternut squash or aubergine; just remember to adapt the other flavours as you see fit. We have used some reduced fat coconut milk, but still be mindful as there is still a moderate quantity of fat per serving; ‘reduced fat’ foods are not free passes to eat more! 

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

NB: Use about 2 tins of chickpeas or 260g of a dried/cooked variety. Our Sri Lankan Spice Blend: Coriander Seeds, Whole, Fenugreek Seeds, Whole, Cumin Seeds White, Whole, Fennel Seeds, Whole, Cayenne Chillies, Ground, Cinnamon Bark, Whole, Cardamom Green, Whole Pods, Curry Leaves, Whole Clove Buds ‘Hand-Select’.

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

  • Peel and dice the garlic and shallots. Wash the chilli, remove the stem, deseed (if you prefer meals with less heat!) and then finely chop it. Wash, peel and then dice the ginger. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces.
  • Wash the lemongrass, trim off the ends, peel away tough/ dried-out outer layer (and discard), bash the woody exterior with a rolling pin to soften and then finely chop it. Tip: Bashing or firmly pressing the lemongrass will help release some of its aromatic oils. Wash the lime, grate the zest (do not juice it just yet like we have shown here, you’ll do this later on!).
  • Wash the sweet potatoes, peel and then chop into approx. 1″ pieces (we kept ours chunky!)

 

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat.
  • Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the garlic, shallot, chilli, ginger, bell pepper and lemongrass. Stir together. Gently fry for 2-3 mins or until softened.
  • Add the sweet potato. Spray a little more cooking oil. Stir together. Gently fry for 3 mins.
  • Add the lime zest, 1g fenugreek leaves and 6-8g Sri Lankan spice blend. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Stir together. Gently fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from the heat.

 

In the meantime, prepare your stock according to the packet instructions.

 

  • Transfer the vegetable mixture into a slow cooker.
  • Add the chickpeas and coconut milk. Stir together.
  • Pour in the boiling hot stock. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Set to cook for 7-8 hrs over a low heat setting or over a high setting for 2-3.
  • Slightly defrost the spinach, chop it into smaller ‘chunks’. Add it to the slow cooker 30 mins before the end of cooking. Tip: If you’re using fresh leaves, roughly chop and then stir them through the curry once it has finished cooking. Let it stand (covered) for about 5 mins to allow the leaves to slightly wilt. 

 

Prepare the rice according to the packet instructions (if applicable).

Juice the lime. Stir the juice through the curry just before serving.

Spoon the rice into large serving bowls (If applicable). Ladle over the curry. Garnish with a wedge of lime, a small dollop of sweet & sour lime pickle or some fresh coriander leaves.

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover curry in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, store and freeze in an air-tight and resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Thai Green Coconutty Adventures!

Product Reviews

 

Opened Coconut_JustyCinMD_Flickr

Photo: Opened Coconut By: JustyCinMD_Flickr

For some, coconuts and coconut products are consumed on a daily basis, particularly for those living in subtropical areas around the globe where it is cheap and plentiful; they will probably also learn how to cut a coconut open from fairly youngish age? Who knows… but we think the that idea of hacking into a standard/matured brown coconut can be a little daunting!

We both have memories of adults needing a hammer (or rolling pin and chisel) to open it’s hard exterior; allowing you to pour out what seemed to be a worthless amount of water, followed by an extended period of time to remove its meaty flesh. #palava

Question: How often do you eat fresh coconuts and why?

 

 

Coconut face_Tree_Specles_flickr

Photo: Coconut face_Tree By: Specles_flickr

“Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae). Grown in abundance in Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia, Spanish explorers named the cocos – meaning ‘grinning face’, because of the three little eyes on the base which they thought resembled a monkey. Classed as a fruit and frequently confused for being a nut, the coconut is actually a one-seeded drupe. ” . (1)

 

 

Of course sometimes nature makes us work for things, but it can also supply us with easier alternatives…such as Thai Green/baby/young coconuts! They have more water as in the mature ones it’s replaced by the white flesh. So if you have a craving for a refreshing coconutty drink, these are the ones to go for!

There was probably just over a cup of water, maybe 300ml in each of our coconuts; it’s hard to say as hacking these open was thirsty work (j/k!) so we didn’t bother measuring it! It’s good to note that this volume (and the quantity of coconut meat) will probably vary, depending on the size of the fruit (oh sorry, we meant drupe!).

All of this coconut water is great for rehydrating, especially because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, including important electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium.(2) These electrolytes are vital for the health our muscular, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, as well as to help with the absorption and balance of the body’s internal fluids.

Coconut water is not a miracle drink, but a natural and healthful one; one study showed that coconut water is just as effective for rehydration as other carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks. Whilst on the topic of sports drinks, it’s good to note that the majority of people do not sweat enough through regular exercise to warrant buying manufactured sports drinks (laden in added sugars!); ideally they are designed for elite athletes that are exercising more than an hour a day. Erm but even then, how many Olympians do you see drinking Gatorade or Lucozade Sport?!

Anyways, let’s move on with our coconutty adventures…

 

Thai Green Coconuts!

We’ve previously read that once these coconuts are harvested, their outer green husk is removed, they are shaped for easy access and handling and then finally wrapped in plastic to help keep in the moisture.

 

Oh and labelled…complete with easy instructions on how to access its sweet water and flesh, but how easy was it?!

 

Pre-Step One

Buy the coconuts! Please note that standard/matured ‘brown’ coconuts are generally a lot cheaper. Our duo pack costed £3.50 (at ASDA of all places, who’da thunk it?!). For lovers of coconut water but not so much the meat, this seemed a little pricey… but it’s a novelty and we’re not going to experience a cheaper one on a Thailand beach anytime soon! Make sure to thoroughly inspect them (as you would any other expensive piece of merchandise!); only in this instance check for mould, cracks, leaks and/or soft spots.

As you can clearly see above, the best before states: consume within 3 days of purchase; it’s been two weeks since we purchased ours! Perhaps we’ve lost a few nutrients, but ours still tasted fresh and down right delicious!

 

Step 1

Give yourself ample room to work with (safety first folks!). Place the coconut on it’s side, then whilst keeping a firm grip you’ll need to hack into and saw off the top; the directions recommend using a ‘sharp chef’s knife’. Even without a really ‘chefy’ knife, this step was easy enough; the outer, white, husky skin is very ‘manageable’. Tip: If the husk is really thick, you’ll have to make your first cut further away from the tip to help expose the hard brown shell; our first cut was about one inch below the tip.

 

Step 2

Whilst still keeping a firm grip, chisel or hack the husk down to expose the top of the brown shell (which is again manageable). The more experienced you are with this, the less mess you will make! Tip: Lie the coconut on its side or keep it upright, whatever you feel most comfortable with.

 

Steps 3 & 4

Alex attempting this without glasses or even a morning cup of coffee!

This is where the fun begins (not really)! It’s advised that you have to hit the brown shell at a 45 degree angle (whilst upright) with the edge of your knife, preparing grooves or a substantial cut in order to be able to lever off the top! Sound simple? Well, if you do not have a sharp (or large) enough knife (because it’s not worth damaging your standard kitchen knives over) or lack strength, then it really isn’t! #nomeatcleaversinthishouse

Unlike this guy…

Photo: Coconut Man By: Christian Senger_Flickr

Photo: Coconut Man By: Christian Senger_Flickr

…straight from the local trees, onto his chopping block and hacking it like a boss!

 

We preformed this step by using two methods; firstly by utilising its recommended approach and then secondly by using an impromptu, quirky but highly effective method! It just goes to show that you don’t need to use anything too sharp.. in fact if your strong and brave enough, you could probably use a simple dinner/butter knife!

Tip: You might need safety glasses for the first approach… husky splinters were known to fly everywhere!

The first approach produced this…

 

 

The second approach was quicker (well at least for us), safer and produced a much wider opening. Perhaps you can try using the latter; a bread knife and rolling pin! Sounds daft but as you’ll see in our (above) 60 second video; it made step three and four easy and simultaneous. It’s also good to note that we didn’t really spill any of the liquid!

***Please excuse our amateur video skills!***

 

Step 5 (The Sweetest Step!)

The product advises topping with a straw and a festive umbrella… erm yeah, we were fresh out of the latter (obviously!)… and our orchid didn’t flower this year, so we still couldn’t fake the much needed ambiance!

So all there was left to do was simply enjoy it’s sweet nectar and imagine being somewhere warm, without grey and murky skies…that we are so fortunate to have in the UK! 😦

Photos: Hammock and coconuts_ Les Salines Beach_Carribean Sea_Martinique By: lo lo_flickr

Photos: Hammock and coconuts, Les Salines Beach, Carribean Sea, Martinique By: lo lo_flickr

 

Our closing thoughts…

There are loads of health claims around coconut water (or coconut products for that matter), subsequently encasing them with the term ‘superfood’… but as we have previously mentioned here, ‘superfoods’ do not exist.

Taste, Price & Value:

Alex found the coconut flesh quite bland while I found it to be quite sweet. Additionally, the flesh was very creamy and jelly-like (living up to its nickname ‘jelly-nut’), it can easily be removed from its shell and tasted absolutely delicious in our morning bowl of porridge (definitely a step up from your standard desiccated coconut topping)!

Although healthful, refreshing and the water having a much sweeter taste than most standard cartons of coconut water, it is pricey (but its no surprise as it is imported). You can buy approx. 500ml of unsweetened/pure coconut water for about the same price as one of these coconuts!

You shouldn’t feel obligated to buy coconuts. If you love them, great; as we have mentioned above, a well balanced diet can provide you with all of the same essential nutrients that are found in coconuts. #nosuperfoods. So unless you desire fresh coconut water and/or meat, or a novelty cup for your next summer party (which sounds AWESOME btw), stick to purchasing cartons of (organic?) unsweetened/natural coconut water, preferably ones that do not contain any added bits of fruit, pesticides or husk!

 

Sources:
1.BBC Good Foods
2.USDA
3.NCBI

 

*Disclaimer: We have not been paid for this product review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Black Bean Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 35-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, iron, potassium, magnesium and it’s low in saturated fats. 

Here’s another quick stir-fry recipe for those of you that love healthy and quick food! Feel free to use any medley of vegetables you have (fresh, frozen and/or seasonal). In retrospect, we wished we had used more broccoli! 

Check out our other stir-fry recipes for some more great ideas and inspiration!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: If you want to make your finished dish more ‘manageable’, snap the pasta into half before cooking it- the choice is yours!

 

In the meantime, place the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli (or any other frozen vegetables you are using) into a microwavable dish. Defrost in the microwave. Drain.           NB: You can cook your vegetables from frozen however, they will produce a lot of water that will increase your cooking time and they won’t be as ‘crunchy’ as stir-fry vegetables should be.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and finely chop the chilli. Peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then chop the spring onion into half (tops & bottoms); finely slice the top half an save the remaining half for a garnish (if desired). Drain and wash the beans.

 

 

Place the water, soya sauce, sugar and flour into a large measuring jug. Whisk together until the sugar and flour has dissolved.

 

 

Place approximately 3/4 of the quantity of the beans into a food processor; save some to add to the stir-fry later on. Pulse until partially ‘broken down’.

 

 

Add the ginger, chilli, garlic, sliced spring onion and the contents of the measuring jug into the food processor.

 

 

Blend until blitzed; you should have a thick and ‘chunky’ sauce.

 

 

Transfer the sauce into the measuring jug. Taste and season/flavour it as necessary.

 

 

Peel and slice the white onion. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the dakion (if using) and the carrot into ‘chunky match-stick’ pieces. Chop the remaining spring onion into slices (if applicable).

 

 

Heat the oil in a large non-stick wok over a medium heat.

 

 

Add the onion, dakion (if applicable) and carrot. Gently stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

 

 

Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli. Stir-fry for approx. 2-4 minutes.

Yes, we forgot to add the broccoli! We had to quickly cook it in the microwave and add it towards the end.

NB: This is why we have advised you to defrost your vegetables first… look at the puddle of water in the middle! We had to tip this out, we didn’t want soggy vegetables. :/

 

Add the remaining beans. Stir through.

Our broccoli finally makes an appearance!

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Stir through. Gently stir for approximately 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove form the heat.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Top with the stir-fry mixture. Garnish with the seeds and remaining spring onion (if applicable).

 

 

 

Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use a GF pasta or rice noodles if gluten is of concern.
  • Use a low-fat cooking oil instead if you want to reduce the fat content further.

Orzo Salad

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: ≤20-30 minutes.

Notes:

We’ve never experimented with Orzo before, one because it costs more than typical pasta and two it’s a form of ‘white’ pasta. Generally, we prefer to have wholemeal varieties; they provide a good source of insoluble fibre, protein and a range of B-Vitamins!

Orzo (which means barley in Italian) is a small form of pasta that resembles large grains of rice. It can be used in soups, as a side dish or a main course. Typically, cooked orzo is low in fat and salt, has a suitable quantity of protein, but it is also low in dietary fibre.  With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to pair it with vegetables, beans and healthy forms of fat (as we have); this will help lower the meal’s glycaemic index (G.I.) and make it a balanced meal.

This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and of course, versatile. Make it as expensive or as frugal as you desire… by using any (or all!) of your favourite vegetables and beans to turn this recipe into a fibre-licious meal!  🙂

NB: If gluten is of concern, substitute the orzo for quinoa, millet, GF couscous or your favourite type of rice instead!

We used: frozen broad beans, parsley, courgette, garlic, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, salad tomatoes, artichoke(60g), green olives(20g) and one lemon.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Dried Orzo
+++++++++++++++++++++++++800g     Vegetables (Fresh, frozen and/or seasonal!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++260g     Beans (Fresh, frozen or a tinned variety!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Lemon (Juice & Zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g          Fresh Parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Dried Oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml     Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground black pepper

 

 

Directions:

Cook the orzo according to the packet instructions. Drain. Allow it to cool slightly. Wash and drain (if applicable) and then cook the beans (if applicable). Drain.

NB: Our broad beans took 6 minutes to cook and the orzo took approx 7-9 minutes.

 

 

Prepare all of your wonderful veggies!

We lightly fried the mushrooms, courgette, garlic and onion (using low-fat cooking oil). The tomato, artichoke, olives and oregano where all placed into a small bowl and mixed together (*before being added to the salad).

 

 

Wash, finely grate the zest and then juice the lemon.

 

 

Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.

 

 

Place the orzo into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice and oil. Season it to taste with some salt and black pepper. Stir though. Add the vegetables, beans, parsley and oregano. Stir through.

 

 

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve. NB: Serve on more veggies (if desired!); try a bed of steamed kale or spring greens (collard greens) or some fresh rocket or spinach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; consume within 3 days.

Baked ‘Green’ Falafels

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 5-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 70-80 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K protein, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, has no added sugars and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats*!

This recipe is an example of how fast/processed foods can be healthy! Authentic recipes can use undesired cooking methods, such as deep or shallow frying; these methods are not ideal to use on a regular basis. Our recipe provides you with a healthier alternative to help keep the fat content to a minimum; which is also why we opt for using a little flour and not excessive amount of tahini to help hold our falafels together. The kale provides a nice and healthy twist (and a lovely shade of green!) for this tasty and popular food.

This delectable Middle Eastern food (traditionally Arab) can be made suitable for all types of diets; traditionally they are made ‘vegan’. These little ‘patties/fritters’ are typically served in a warmed pitta or flatbread with ‘Israeli salad’ or some lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles with some houmous, tahini or tabbouleh; cucumber, aubergine, feta cheese, yoghurt and/or tzatziki are also sometimes used. Serving styles can vary as this is now a popular meal/snack in most countries.

NB: Our preparation technique has been seen to alter the texture and flavours slightly (*when compared to authentic cooking methods). However, we think our falafels are still delicious and full of great flavours; reduce the cooking duration slightly if a ‘softer’ falafel is desired.

 

Our kale is busy ‘steaming’ away! NB: If gluten is not of concern, use a plain flour instead. Our drained chickpeas equated to approx. 480grams.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g    Kale
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g    White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g        Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2           Tins Chickpeas (in unsalted water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g      Tahini paste
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g       Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++15ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Sweet Paprika
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g       Rice flour
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)

 

 

Nutritional info:

NB: Serve 2-4 falafels as part of a healthy meal or have 1-2 as a healthy snack. 

 * Low in saturated fats when 2-4 pieces are consumed (**Based on 20 prepared falafels).

 

Directions:

 Wash the kale. Place it into a steamer pot with some cold water. Steam for 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Rinse under cool water.

 

 

In the meantime, it’s time to start using your food processor…

1. Peel and chop the onion into halves. Peel the garlic. Place the onion into a food processor. Process until minced; add the garlic whilst the processor is still running. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

2. Wash the coriander. Ripe it into halves. Place it into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer it into the mixing bowl.

3. Place the cooked kale into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer into the mixing bowl.

4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them into the food processor. Add the tahini, oil and water. Process until almost smooth.

 

 

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper or a silicone mat. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, assemble the falafels!

1. Transfer the chickpea mixture into the mixing bowl. Add the cumin, parsley, paprika and half the quantity of the flour. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

2. Using a spatula, mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients.

3. Add the remaining flour. Mix to combine.

4. Divide the mixture up.

 

 

Roll the mixture into balls; use lightly floured hands if necessary. Place them onto the baking tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture is used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil.

We created 20 ‘balls’.

 

Gently press down on them to form ‘patties’ (if desired). Place into the oven. Bake for 15 mins; remove and turn once. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F.

Traditional falafels are normally round, but it can depend upon the  utensil used to shape them. 🙂

 

 

Once turned, lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-10 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Serve your falafels with some salad and a wholemeal (or GF) pitta, couscous or rice.

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. :D

We also added some nibbles, along with low-fat houmous and plain/minty soya yoghurt. 😀

 

 Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, wrap them in kitchen film and freeze in a resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use dried chickpeas; soak over night, drain and cook before preparing the falafels.
  • Try using soya or broad(fava) beans instead of chickpeas.
  • Use some steamed spinach or swiss chard instead of kale.
  • Adapt the flavours and seasoning’s to suit your personal tastes.
  • Serve these lovely falafels with veggies (of course!) and some plain/minty soya yoghurt, tahini dip, tabbouleh or houmous; check out our houmous recipe as a guide!

Battered Tofu & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Heavy plates, chopping board, sharp knife, small bowls, baking tray, silicone mat or parchment paper, large measuring jug, whisk, non-stick pot w/lid

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and is low in added sugar and saturated fats.

Stir-fries can be a great way of eating a quick and low-fat meal (packed full of lovely vegetables of course); just be mindful of how much salt, sugar and oil you use.

This is a great stir-fry recipe…. and if you love tofu- read on!

There are various ways to prepare tofu, but baking it is one of the healthier methods; it’s great for those that do not like ‘soft and squishy tofu’. If you drain and then stir-fry your tofu, this is often the end result….but if you have the time, this battered tofu recipe adds a little something extra and tastes great; it’s fantastic at absorbing all the delicious flavours in your meal, just place it into the sauce towards the end of cooking!

A few other good things to note include

  • The batter we have prepared is fairly basic and bland. Please feel free to change it as you see fit. Also, you can make the tofu in advance; just refrigerate it in a resealable container for 3-5 days and reheat it before use.
  • The vegetable list is just a guide and the sauce can be adapted to suit your personal taste; if you plan on using frozen vegetables, defrost them first.
  • Our vegetable list provides you with about 2.5 servings of vegetables/serving towards your 5-A-Day!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Batter ingredients…

 

Ingredients

 

Directions

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy or weighted plattes (or chopping boards) for about 20-30 mins to remove any excess water.

 

In the meantime, prepare the batters. Place the flour, cornmeal, onion and garlic powder and sweet paprika into a bowl. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Stir together to form the dry batter.

 

 

In a separate bowl, add the potato starch and milk. Stir until dissolved.

Wet batter.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the stir-fry sauce.

Sauce ingredients…

 

 

Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem and finely chop the chilli (remove & discard the seeds first if you can’t stand the heat!). Peel and dice the shallot.

 

 

Place the corn flour and water into a large measuring jug. Stir to dissolve.

 

 

Add the soya sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and sugar. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.

 

 

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and shallot. Stir to combine.

 

 

Meanwhile, place the broccoli into a microwavable dish; defrost in the microwave. Drain.

 

 

Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the spring onion; set a little aside for a garnish (if desired). Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into slices. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into ‘matchstick’ pieces. Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Wash the corn and mange tout.

We used some green and red bell peppers…

 

 

Heat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

 

 

Drain, chop and slice the tofu into small ½cm thick rectangles. Place them onto the baking tray.

 

 

Take a piece of the tofu and dip and coat it in the ‘wet batter’ mix…

 

 

…and then dip and coat it in the ‘dry batter’ mix.

 

 

Place it onto the baking tray.

 

 

Repeat these steps until all the tofu has been coated in batter.

 

 

Place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for approx. 20-25 mins or until lightly golden. Turn once during cooking. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook rice according to the packet instructions. Drain.

 

 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, non-stick wok over a medium-high heat.

 

 

Add most of the spring onion (or all of it if you are not saving any for a garnish), bell peppers, carrot, mushrooms and corn. Gently stir-fry for 4 minutes.

 

 

Add the broccoli and mange tout. Stir-fry for a further 1-2 minutes.

Yes, we are missing our broccoli; epic fail!!! We forgot it in the microwave…so had to cook and add it to the stir-fry at the end. 😦

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Stir together. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens; approx. 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

NB: You can add & stir in the battered tofu if at this point (if desired) or wait and serve it on top of the stir-fried vegetables and rice.

Finished. 🙂

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the rice onto a lipped plate or into a large serving bowl.Top with the vegetables; sprinkle over the remaining spring onion (if applicable) and some seeds.

 

 

Finish with the tofu (if applicable).

Obviously we ate more than three pieces (more like 5- 6!)

 

 

Serve it anyway you desire!

This was our next-day leftovers- lot’s and lot’s of vegetables! 🙂

 

 

 Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • As always, use lot’s of fresh, frozen and/or seasonal vegetables!
  • Make it as spicy as you desire; use fresh or dried chillies.
  • If you really can’t get on with tofu, try using cooked beans or brown/green lentils instead.
  • Brown basmati rice is great, but if you prefer, try using wholemeal or a GF pasta instead.

NB: We definitely prefer this meal with rice!

A Meal For Two

Healthy Recipes

We hope everyone’s had a fantastic weekend? They always go by so fast and this one has seen Valentine’s Day come and go; we decided to keep ours low-key.

Extravagance doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better’… and you don’t need one specific day to declare your love to your significant other either… but good food always helps! 😀

We decided to create a nice, healthy meal for ourselves that wouldn’t break the bank, wasn’t typical of our day-to-day meals and of course would leave us satisfied; we don’t normally make three course meals- who has the time for that?! We spent approx. £14 on top of our weekly budget to prepare this meal, but estimate it would cost approx. £30-35 if you had to buy all of the ingredients. In the grand scheme of things, our three course dining experience wasn’t very expensive; considerably cheaper than dining in a vegan/London restaurant! We do not end to eat out anyways; who wants to pay £3 for three strawberries when you can buy the whole box?

Here’s a breakdown of what we ate.

 

 

Our Valentine’s Menu

 

Mini bruschetta’s with a mixed plum tomato medley, marinated with fresh basil, olive oil and a balsamic glaze.

 

 

A grilled & marinated portobello mushroom nestled over baked potato & daikon latkes and creamed leeks, with steamed asparagus spears.

 

 

 

A DF, GF and low-sugar chocolate cake, topped with a medley of fresh fruit & crushed hazelnuts.

 

Some elements of this menu are still in the making, but overall we enjoyed it! We hope to put up some of these recipes at a later date.

 

Have a great week everyone and as always… let’s try and Eat2Health!

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. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B3 (Niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin C, protein, fibre, beta carotene, iron, potassium, no added sugar and is low in salt and fats! 

We love sweet potatoes but think that it’s sometimes an undervalued ingredient; its list of cooking and baking possibilities is endless! This soup has a delicious and creamy texture with a wonderful spicy kick! It’s a great recipe that’s incredibly easy to prepare, wallet-friendly and of course versatile! Prepare it for lunch or as a dinner (just add a few extra ingredients- see below)!  

Help and stop food wastage by meal planning and make sure to use up any remaining ingredients in your fridge…like celery! Celery can be an annoying one… as you cannot just buy a single stalk of celery! We all have to be a bit more proactive about using it. Our leftover celery went unnoticed in this soup, but it was a simple way to prevent it ending up in the bin!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++500ml    Vegetable stock (low salt/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2L            Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++860g       Sweet potatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g        Banana shallots
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g        Celery
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g        Red bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++50g          Raw ginger root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g          Red Chilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g             Ground coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                 Salt & Ground black pepper

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock and water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel and chop the potatoes. Peel, trim the ends and roughly chop the shallot. Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the ginger. Wash and trim the ends off the chilli.

NB: Remove and discard the chilli seeds if you prefer your soup with less heat!

 

 

Place the potatoes, shallot, celery, bell pepper, ginger, chilli and coriander into the saucepan. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove from the heat.

 

 

Allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

 

Transfer it into a blender.

If necessary, complete this step in batches.

 

 

Process until smooth.

 

 

Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or a resealable container.

 

 

If desired, season it to taste with some salt, black pepper and some more ground coriander. Stir together.

 

 

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

 

 

Ladle it into soup bowls.

 

 

Garnish as desired…

We added some rice vermicelli, crushed cashews, spring onion and a pinch of dried coriander and chilli flakes!  NB: Based on 6 servings, the soup (without any additional ingredients) provides <150kcal & 1g fat/serving!  😀

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 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 1-2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Try adding a Thai twist! Add some fresh coriander or Thai basil, puréed or fresh lemon grass, pea aubergines, lime (juice/zest) or kaffir leaves, some galangal root instead of ginger, tofu and/or a splash of UHT (unsweetened & fortified) coconut-flavoured DF milk !

Vegan Lancashire HotPot

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: 40-45 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, colander, non-stick pots w/lids, wooden spoon, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, casserole dish

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

Like some other great British recipes, a hotpot is somewhere between a stew and a casserole topped with potatoes! We know ours does not depict a true representation of a British hotpot; there’s no use of butter, beef, offal, lamb or mutton in this one were afraid to say! It is however still a very hearty, cheap and versatile dish that is not lacking in great flavours! Perfect for those that crave healthy, stodgy winter meals that can be shared by the whole family. 

Admittedly, we did overestimate the content…as you’ll see we needed more than one dish to bake it! We recommend that everyone should either: A) use a bigger casserole dish, B) use a deep ceramic/oven-proof dish instead or C) reduce the quantity of the water used by 400-600ml. 

A few other good things to note include:

  • You can use your favourite type of white beans or a variety of beans, lentils, pearl barley or some dehydrated soya mince in this dish!
  • Make the vegetables, fresh, frozen and/or seasonal as always!
  • If you’re short on time, do not peel the potatoes; we promise that you won’t enjoy this meal any less! NB: Potato skins will help provide you with additional insoluble fibre (which is great to help support a healthy bowel!) and further vitamins & minerals!
  • Perhaps you can try substituting some of the water with a tin of chopped tomatoes; if anyone tries this, please let us know!

Quick Foodie Facts

  • This recipe provides you with 167% of your RDA for Vitamin C/ serving!
  • Once again this is a meal that helps you become the king or queen of vegetables…as it provides you with approximately 3.5 portions/serving of your 5-A-Day! Try having a portion of fruit on your morning porridge/cereal, a banana as your mid-day or afternoon snack and your set! Plan ahead folks- it’s really not that hard!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Ingredients:
200g     Dried brown lentils
120g      Frozen cabbage
200g     Brown onion
6g          Garlic clove (1 fat one!)
140g      White mushrooms
420g     Carrot
120g      Celery (about 2 stalks)
130g      Red bell pepper
1kg         Baking potatoes
+++++++Low-fat fry spray oil
300g    Tin Cannellini beans (in water)
2g          Dried parsley
6g          Herbs De Provence
1 tbsp    Soya sauce(low-salt/or Tamari)
60g       Tomato puree (no added salt)
500ml   Vegetable stock (low-salt/DF)
1.4L         Water
30g        Corn flour
+++++++ Salt & ground black pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info:

 

Directions:

Place the lentils into a sieve. Remove any seeds or stones and then rinse them under cold running water. Cook them according to the packet instructions. Drain. Tip: Ours took 20 minutes to cook.

 

In the meantime, place the frozen cabbage into a microwavable bowl. Place into a microwave and defrost. Drain the excess liquids.

Defrosted!

Defrosted!

 

Meanwhile, peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Wash, peel, trim the tops and then dice the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and chop the celery into small cubes (slice vertically into a few strips and then horizontally). Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ¼-½ cm cubes.

 

Wash, peel (of desired) and then slice the potatoes into thin slices.

 

Open, drain and wash the cannellini beans in a colander.

You can see that by this point our lentils were cooked!

 

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Stir together. Gently fry for 4-5 mins or until softened.

 

Add the cooked lentils, defrosted cabbage, drained beans, 2g dried parsley, 6g Herbs De Provence, 16g mustard powder, 1 tbsp soya (or tamari) sauce, 60g tomato puree, 500ml vegetable stock and 1.4L water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 mins.

We simmered ours for about 8 mins.

 

In the meantime, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Also, prepare a slurry! Place 30g corn flour into a small dish. Add equal parts water. Whisk with a fork until it’s dissolved.

 

 

Season the gravy with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Re-whisk the slurry. Whilst stirring, pour the slurry into the pot. Keep stirring for about 2-3 mins or until the gravy has thickened. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Transfer the mixture into a large casserole dish.

 

Top with a layer of potato. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil. Repeat this step until all of the potato has been used.

 

 

Place the casserole dish onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 25 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are tender and slightly browned. Remove. Allow it to cool slightly (as it will be boiling hot!).

 

 

Use a large kitchen spoon and serve the hotpot in a lipped serving plate. Serve with additional vegetables if desired (maybe some delicious steamed green beans, kale or broccoli for some added nutrition and to help brighten up the dish!)

Enjoy!

 

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container or securely cover with a layer of kitchen film; reheat and consume within 3 days. Alternatively store in an air tight and resealable container(s); defrost/reheat and consume within 1-2 months. NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the dish is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat it more than once. 

Fiery Butternut Squash & Tofu Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 50 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, no added sugars and is low in salt and fats!

This is a squash and tofu soup flavoured with fiery ginger and other earthy spices. Not only is it delicious, but it’s easy to prepare; the finished product provides you with a soup that has a very creamy and velvety texture! 

 

Feel free to use more spices if desired!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++600ml    Vegetable stock (low-salt/DF; GF if needed)
+++++++++++++++++++800ml    Water
+++++++++++++++++++800g       Butternut squash
+++++++++++++++++++60g          Raw ginger root
+++++++++++++++++++140g        Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++130g        Red bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++10g          Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++6g            Ground cumin
+++++++++++++++++++6g            Ground coriander
+++++++++++++++++++340g       Silken Tofu
+++++++++++++++++++                Salt & ground black pepper

 

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock and water. Bring to the boil.

 

 

In the meantime, trim the ends, de-seed and chop the squash into small cubes. Wash, peel and roughly chop the ginger. Wash, peel, trim the ends and and roughly chop the carrot. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper. Peel and mince the garlic.

We used some of our roasted garlic that we saved from last week! Remember our baked rice?! Feel free to use a raw or roasted variety!

 

 

Place the squash, ginger and carrot into the saucepan. Cover with a lid. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the bell pepper, garlic, ground cumin and coriander. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.

 

 

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

In the meantime, drain and place the tofu into a blender.

 

 

Ladle the soup into the blender; if necessary, process in batches.

We completed this step in 2 batches.

 

 

Blend until smooth.

Nice and creamy!

 

 

Transfer the soup back into the saucepan or a resealable container.

 

 

Give it a stir. Taste and season it with salt and black pepper as necessary.

 

 

Reheat gently (if applicable) until hot but not boiling.

 

 

Ladle into a soup bowl.

 

 

Garnish with croutons, seeds, or herbs if desired.

We used some home-made croutons, spring onion, black pepper and a few cumin seeds 🙂

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost and consume within 1-2 months.

Oriental-Inspired Vegetable & Baked Tofu Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 60 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron and is low in fats!

We think its safe to say that most people still have soup or stew on tonight’s menu! …Being that it’s cold, damp and for the selected few, are battling snow drifts! 

This recipe is great! It’s versatile, simple to execute, packed full of flavour and Vitamin C (approx. 257% of your RDA be specific)… and if you add enough chilli you’ll be warm in no time! 😀

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional Info:

 Traffic light alert! The fat and saturated fat get a green light while the salt receives an orange one. Remember, orange ratings still make it an OK choice, but green ones are always better! To achieve this, reduce the quantity of the stock and soya sauce to lower the salt content. Flavour it by adding with more fresh ginger, fresh chillies or any other spices that you desire.

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 20-30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper; lightly spray it some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into small slices. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into ‘match-stick’ pieces. Wash, peel and slice the ginger. Peel and chop the white onion into thin slices. Wash, trim the ends and diagonally slice the spring onion. Peel and chop the garlic. Wash the mange tout.

 

 

Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into small cubes. Place it onto the baking tray. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place the tray into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

NB: The cooking duration depends on your own personal preference; for a firmer texture, bake it for a minimum of 20 minutes.

 

 

In the meantime, place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the stock, water and the frozen cabbage and sweetcorn. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain.

The water took 10 minutes to boil, but the rice noodles only took 5 minutes to cook!  C’est le vie. 🙂

 

 

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot, ginger, the white and spring onion, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir together. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Feel free to add more chilli flakes than we have!

 

 

Add the mange tout and soya sauce. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until tender.

 

 

Remove from the heat.

 

 

Add the noodles and seeds. Stir through.

 

 

Add the tofu. Stir together. Taste and season the soup as necessary.

 

 

Ladle into soups bowls and serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively freeze in one or more containers; defrost and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use seasonal vegetables; fresh or frozen!
  • Try using: shredded kale, sliced spinach leaves or some Pak or Bok Choi instead of frozen white cabbage.
  • Use some spaghetti (broken into halves), fusilli or soba noodles instead of rice sticks.
  • Try some cooked/cubed temph or soya beans instead of tofu.
  • Try a little brown rice miso paste instead of soya sauce… or use less soya sauce and ‘spice it up’ with fresh chillies instead; the addition of some star anise might also work nicely too!

Baked Rice (With Vegetables And Nuts)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4-8
Prep: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30-60 minutes.
NB: Ours took approximately 50 minutes to cook. The cooking duration is dependant upon the type of rice and baking dish used; opt for a dish that is  longer and wider as opposed to the one we used (*see below). You might also try soaking your rice before cooking it; this should help to speed up the cooking process.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, K & E, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and is low in saturated fats!

This recipe has an abundance of flavours and textures; it’s so tasty and of course very nutritious! Serve it as a main meal or in a smaller portion as a side dish. Adapt the flavours and vegetables as you see fit! Try making it with an Asian, Thai, Mexican, African or Oriental Flavour! 

Quick facts:

This meal provides you with approximately 347% of your RDA for Vitamin C and 5 servings of fruit/vegetables/ serving!

 

Ingredients:

 

Nutritional info:

NB: Reduce the salt by omitting the olives and/or try using less stock; use water and more fresh herbs instead! 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F; place the garlic onto a baking tray. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place it into the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, place the green beans into a microwavable dish. Snap them into halves. Place into the microwave and defrost. Drain.

 

 

Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell peppers into slices. Wash, trim the ends and chop the aubergine into quarters. Wash, trim the ends and dice the courgette. Wash and slice the mushrooms.

 

 

 

Wash, remove the stem and chop the tomatoes into thin slices.

 

 

***If you have a large oven proof dish that is also capable of stove-top cooking- use that!***

Otherwise, place a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the green beans, onion, bell peppers, aubergine, courgette and mushrooms. Add more cooking spray if needed. Stir together. Gently fry for approx. 10 minutes or until softened.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, dry and roughly chop the chives and parsley. Wash, dry and remove the thyme leaves from the stem. Drain, wash and chop the olives into slices. Wash the spinach. Wash and slice the lemon into quarters.

 

 

Add the tomato approximately 5 minutes into the cooking time. Stir together. Fry for a further 5-6 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the chives, parsley, thyme, cranberries and paprika. Stir through.

 

 

***If you’re using a large oven proof (stove-top) dish, add the rice, boiling stock and water. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Add the spinach. Place the garlic bulb into the centre; gently press it down into the mixture (until partially submerged). Place it into the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked; stir halfway. NB: Remove the garlic temporarily to stir the rice.***

 

Alternatively, transfer the mixture into a large casserole dish/oven proof dish. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste.

We used this large ceramic dish (its the only thing we had that was big enough!)

 

 

Top with the rice and spinach.

 

 

Pour over the boiling stock and water.

 

 

Place the garlic bulb into the centre; gently press it down into the mixture (until partially submerged).

 

 

Place into the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

 

 

In the meantime, lightly toast the nut & seed mixture in a dry frying pan until lightly browned. Remove and transfer into a small dish.

 

 

Remove the baking dish halfway through the cooking time. NB: Remove the garlic temporarily.

 

 

Add the olives, nuts and seeds.

 

 

Give everything a good stir! Submerge the garlic bulb. Place it back into the oven until the rice is cooked.

 

 

Remove from the oven.

Be careful- it will be steaming hot! Ours went back in for a further 15 minutes (after this picture), as there was still a  few bits of rice that weren’t cooked!

 

 

Remove the garlic and give the rice a good stir. Break apart the bulb. Remove the skin. Add as much garlic to the dish as you prefer.

 

 

Serve immediately. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with herbs and a slice of lemon.

We used some chives.  🙂

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days. Alternatively freeze in one or more resealable containers; defrost and consume within 1-2 months.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 Freeze any remaining garlic! Defrost and use it in future soups, stews, casseroles or some home-made houmous and/or dips!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use your preferred vegetable mixture! Just defrost (if necessary) and gently fry to soften them prior to baking.
  • Adapt the herb and seed medley as you see fit.
  • Try adapting this recipe and make it in your slow cooker!

Vegan ‘Korma-Style’ Curry

Healthy Recipes

Serves:6
Prep & Cooking time: 65-70 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, no added sugar and is low in saturated fats! 

This is a delicious, creamy and mildly spiced (South Indian-type) curry that is really easy to prepare! It’s great for those that do not enjoy curries with with a spice factor over 1 or 2; very low on the Scoville scale, but were not sure of the exact number! Typically this type of curry is high in fat from the use of: coconut milk, double cream or even crème fraiche; along with the addition of either poultry, beef, lamb or game. It’s not great news if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle or a WFPB diet!

Our curry recipe only contains (approximately) 4 grams of fat and 117% of your RDA for 
Vitamin C/serving- so dig in everyone! 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Nutritional info (*curry only):

NB: Reduce the salt by using more water and less stock!  Also, use slightly less chickpeas and milk to reduce the fat contain.

 

 

Directions:

Place the spinach, peas and cauliflower into a microwavable dish; defrost in the microwave. Drain off any excess water.

 

 

In the meantime, peel and dice the onion and the garlic. Wash, peel and chop(or grate) the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper. Wash the chilli (remove the stem and finely chop if desired).

 

 

Wash, peel and chop the potato into small cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into quarters.

 

 

Remove the cardamom seeds from their pods and crush (if applicable).

 

 

Open, drain and rinse the chickpeas.

 

 

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the bell pepper. Fry for a further 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

 

 

Add the chilli, cardamom and cumin seeds (if using) and 1/2 the quantity of the curry powder. Stir together. Gently fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

 

 

Add the stock, water and bay leaf. Bring to the boil.

 

 

Add the potatoes and carrots. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until tender.

 

 

Add the spinach, peas, cauliflower and chickpeas approximately 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Cook for a further 7-8 minutes, or until tender.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare your slurry. Add the flour into a small dish. Add equal parts water. Stir until dissolved.

 

 

Pour the milk into a measuring jug. Whilst stirring, pour the slurry into the milk until combined.

 

 

When the vegetables have finished cooking, stir and pour the milk into the curry. Continue stirring until slightly thickened; approximately 2-5 minutes.

We removed ours of the heat momentarily as there was too much stream once the lid was removed!

 

 

Add the remaining curry powder. Stir through.

…Opps! Also add the turmeric (and stir through)!

 

 

Once the curry has thickened, remove it from the heat. Add the yoghurt. Stir through.

 

 

Taste and season it with some salt and pepper if necessary.

 

 

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving (and if preferred…maybe the chilli )!

 

 

Serve with rice, millet, quinoa, flat bread or maybe even home-made sweet potato wedges! Garnish with chopped tomatoes, fresh coriander, chopped nuts or whatever else you desire.

We garnished our curry with some chopped tomato, a few cashews and fresh coriander. 🙂

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. NB: When reheating, make it hot but do not allow it to boil. Alternatively freeze it; defrost and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Change the medley of vegetables; make it seasonal, keep it fresh or use frozen varieties!
  • Adapt the spices to your own personal preferences.
  • For non-vegans use a low-fat (plain) cow’s yoghurt and/or milk.

Pea & Watercress Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & K, protein, fibre, potassium, manganese, iron, calcium no added sugars and is low in fats!

This is another great soup recipe to try as this cold weather continues! It’s quick, simple, versatile, nutritious and has volumes of flavour! 

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++180g       White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g          Watercress
+++++++++++++++++++++++++500g        Frozen peas
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                 1Kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++800ml     Vegetable stock
+++++++++++++++++++++++++600ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                  Salt & Ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200ml     Soya milk (unsweetened & fortified)

 

 

Directions:

Peel and chop the onion. Wash the watercress.

 

 

Heat a non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray some low-fat cooking oil.

NB: Alternatively, skip this step and start heating the stock and water. Add the onion to the saucepan when you add the peas.

 

 

Add the onion. Gently fry 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the stock and water. Bring to the boil.

 

 

Add the peas. Cover with a lid. Bring back to the boil.

 

 

Add the watercress. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the peas are just tender.

NB: Alternatively, do not boil the watercress (preserve more nutrients)! Add it to the soup once the peas have cooked.

 

 

Remove from the heat. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

Transfer the soup into a blender.

NB: You might have to complete this step in batches.

 

 

Blend until smooth.

 

 

Return the soup to the saucepan or a resealable container. Taste and season as necessary.

Lunch prep!

 

 

Add the DF milk. Stir together.

 

 

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

 

 

Ladle into a serving bowl. Garnish with some fresh or dry herbs (try mint or chives), soya yoghurt, seeds, chopped nuts, croutons or some spare watercress if desired.

We garnished ours with some mixed seeds and served it with  a ‘toastie’ sandwich! 😀

 

 

Enjoy!

NB: Here’s a version we made last year! We used more watercress and on this occasion, but we didn’t blend all of the soup. (It’ was also topped with soya yoghurt and fresh chives-delicious!) 🙂

 

 

If preferred…

  • For a thicker soup, thicken it with a slurry of potato starch or add a (peeled/chopped) potato to the soup when cooking.
  • Try using rocket, spinach or kale instead of watercress…and consider using a larger quantity (if desired of course)!
  • Try adding some cooked green lentils, quinoa or pearl barley (if gluten isn’t a concern) to the soup.

Dal [Vegan, Gluten Free, Low-Fat]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking Time: 55-65 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, mixing bowl, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, sieve, large pot, wooden spoon, measuring jug, small dish

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

Although this curry can have a ‘porridgey’ appearance, we assure you it’s a wonderful little recipe packed full of flavour, nutrients and energy to keep you going past 3pm! Our recipe may not be 100% authentic, but it’s still a great way of expanding your palate to all of the wonderful South Asian flavours! A dish that contains red lentils, tomato and spices and tastes better each time you eat it- just go for it!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Dal is an Indian word meaning ‘spilt pulse’ (a.k.a. the lentils!). There are so many great dal recipes, all with a slightly different translation (based on the ingredients and cooking methods used). Have a new adventure this year- go and buy an Asian cook book and experiment with all the wonderful recipes; substitute ghee for some rapeseed or low-fat cooking oil!
  • Per serving, this recipe provides you with about 3.5 servings of veggies towards your 5-A-day and provides you with 90% of your RDA for Vitamin C!

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 Nutritional Info

 Traffic Light Translation: Fat & S/Fat= green/low values, Salt=orange/medium value. =This meal gets two thumbs up from us! Tip: Lower the salt simply by being mindful of how much ‘added’ salt you use and by reducing the volume of stock and using more water instead!

 

 

Directions

  • Boil 1.5L water in a kettle. Place the lentils into a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Remove and discard any stones or seeds. Transfer them into a large mixing bowl. Cover the lentils with 500ml boiling water. Let them soak for 15 mins. Drain and then rinse. Tip: If in doubt, check your own packet instructions first!
  • In the meantime, wash, peel and dice the ginger. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic. Wash the chilli (remove the stem and chop it up if you prefer a hotter curry!).
  • Prepare the stock according to the packet instructions.

 

  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in a large, non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Stir together. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the chilli, 4g mustard seeds, 4g cumin seeds and 1g chilli flakes (more or less as preferred). Stir together. Fry for a further minute or until fragrant.
  • Add the tin tomatoes, 2g ground turmeric, 14g ground coriander and 12g ground cumin. Stir together. Cook for 3-4 mins or until the tomatoes are softened.
  • Add the lentils, 800ml stock and 1.2L water. Stir together. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 mins or until the lentils are tender. Tip: Add less boiling water if you prefer a thicker consistency; always have enough liquid to cover the lentils. NB: Our lentils took approximately 20 mins to cook.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a ‘slurry’. Place 48g corn flour into a small dish with equal parts water. Stir/whisk together until the flour is dissolved.
  • Wash and dry the coriander; from the leaves from its stem (if preferred) and then roughly chop them.

 

 

  • Whilst stirring, add the ‘slurry’. Stir until slightly thickened (about 4-5 mins).
  •  Add the coriander and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Stir through. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. Allow it to cool slightly before serving.
  • Ladle into a small serving bowl. Serve with: a small portion of basmati rice, a wholemeal pita or some flat bread (check out our previous recipe!). Garnish with fresh herbs or spices (if desired). We garnished ours with: fresh coriander, a dash of sweet paprika and some brown mustard and cumin seeds!

It’s delicious and very satisfying! 😀 NB: This bowl contains one portion.

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in individual portions (if preferred); defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month.

Meal prep finished! More fantastic meals await! NB: This shows the full volume of soup produced!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Keep it simple! Alternatively just use a ‘garam masala’ spice blend (to taste) and omit some of the other spices.
  • Use less boiling water and omit the ‘slurry step’ if a ‘naturally thicker’ consistency is preferred.

Curried Parsnip Soup (V, GF, SF, Low-Fat!)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 50 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, no added sugars and is low in fats!

This soup has a lovely creamy texture and has a naturally sweet and very satisfying taste. The parsnips work great as a ‘blank canvas’- absorbing all the fantastic spices! 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++1L          Vegetable stock (Low-sodium, DF, GF)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1L          Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1kg       Parsnips
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g     White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g          Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g          Ground Cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g          Ground Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++3g          Curry Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++150ml   Soya milk (fortified/unsweetened)

 

 

Nutritional info:

NB: You can reduce the salt content further by: swapping some of the stock with extra water and/or DF milk and by not adding any additional salt (add more spices instead!)to the soup; make sure your spices do not contain any ‘added salt’. 

 

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the stock and water. Stir together. Bring to the boil.

NB: Our vegetable stock contained turmeric.

 

 

In the meantime, wash, peel, trim the ends and then chop the parsnip into slices. Peel and chop the onion and the garlic.

 

 

 

Add the parsnip, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and curry powder to the saucepan. Season it to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Reduce the heat. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Allow the soup to cool slightly.

 

 

Transfer the soup into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

NB: You might have to complete this step in batches.

 

 

Transfer the soup back to the saucepan or a large plastic container.

NB: Ours went into this plastic container; lunch prep for the next 3 days! 🙂

 

 

Pour in the DF milk.

 

 

Stir together.

 

 

Place the saucepan over a medium-low heat (if applicable). Heat to warm.

 

 

Serve warm. Ladle into a serving bowl. Garnish with some: herbs, nuts, seeds, croutons or soya yoghurt (if desired).

Ours was garnished with black pepper, dried chives and soya yoghurt.

 

 

Serve with some GF bread or a roll (if desired). 🙂

NB: This represents one portion of  the parsnip soup. We served ours with some low-fat houmous and homemade GF bread!

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Try a different combination of spices and flavours. Make it Moroccan, Thai-flavoured etc!
  • Swap approximately 200g of the parsnips for peeled baking potatoes.
  • Increase the volume of the fortified DF milk for some extra nutrients!

Crisps: Is There A Healthy Choice? (Plus Healthy Snack Ideas!)

Diet & Weight Loss

Crisps, potato chips-no matter what we call them, our love affair with them is all the same. Some of us crave an endless list of flavours and varieties; whether they’re baked, deep fried, or kettle cooked … how healthy are they? …And if this is your savoury snack of choice, are you aware of its nutritional consequences?

 

Put those down… and don’t roll your eyes, this is good advice! Photo by: Colette_Flickr

Crisps are notorious for contributing to our daily recommended fat and salt intakes and it’s been shown in a UK government poll that 1/3 of British children (8-15 years) consume crisps on a daily basis; children are led by our example remember?!

That’s a rather disturbing thought considering the current rise in childhood obesity  and how many packets people probably consume per year. Having a standard pack of crisps every day equates to having nearly 3L of oil per year!

 

High intakes of salt can lead to raised blood pressure and cause bloating, whilst high intakes of fat can cause raised cholesterol levels, obesity and other chronic diseases. Those with existing underlying health conditions, or those that are very young or even pregnant have even more of a reason to adhere to healthy eating guidance; for you constipation suffers, excessive intakes will only exacerbate matters. For help on how to distinguish high fat and salt contents on food labelling, check out my other article on ‘5 Steps To Cut Down On Sugar & Why You’ll Be Happier for it! for FSA links.

 

So how have companies responded to increased health warnings? Some have created alternative snacks in their range, e.g. popcorn, whilst others have come out with supposedly healthier varieties, e.g. ‘baked not fired’, ‘70% less fat’, or ‘vegetable-based crisps’ etc. You can see why some companies may be reluctant to do this at first; it would mean that they would have to admit that there current product is inferior…perhaps not so healthy after all??

 

 There are various types of crisp sold in the U.K. Some example include:
McCoy's_Crisps_wikipedia

Look at what’s happened to this lovely, innocent potato! Why do they have crinkles? Did the dip companies request these? Is it another ‘food conspiracy’? Like when we were kids and would have to fight over hot dogs buns because the hot dog bun company would always sell an odd number of buns compared to the actual hot dogs?! …But I have digressed- look at these greasy crisps …or potato chips for all the North American viewers out there!

  • Kettle cooked
  • Preformed & processed crisps
  • Baked crisps
  • Corn based crisps
  • Root Vegetable crisps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So is there a ‘healthy’ option when it comes to crisps?

Let’s review some current brands and see…

 

 

An Average ‘Brand Name’ Serving And How They Weigh Up!

 

The Walkers ‘Baked’ and ‘Pop’ varieties in addition to the ‘POP’ brand & the Plain ‘Doritios’ chips (in a 25g portion) …and perhaps arguably the ‘SunBites’ seem to run ahead of the game as ‘healthier’ (and lower fat) options go, but as with any food its best to eat it in moderation- which doesn’t necessarily mean, every day, every other day or a once a week. NB: The Walkers ‘POP’ & ‘POP’ brand sells their product in a slightly smaller bag/portion size than other name brands. 

This also exposes the circulating myth of ‘kettle crisps’; although the cooking method may technically be ‘healthier’ as conventional cooking methods for crisps oxidises the cooking oil (creating free radicals)… but all you have to do is look at the nutritional information. Kettle crisps do not seem to be any healthier than the traditional crisps.

At the end of the day, potato crisps may provide a source of vitamin C, some B-vitamins and also potassium and vitamin E (from the cooking oil)… but on the other hand they provide us with fat, salt and calories.

 

If you can’t get on with the ‘healthier’ crisp options, try having your favourite type in ‘moderation’ or maybe you could give one of the healthy snack alternatives a try?

 

 

Healthier Savoury Snack Options
  • A portion of unsalted almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or some mixed nuts.
  • Pretzels (unsalted).
  • Baked and seasoned chickpeas, wasabi peas or any other type of legume.
  • Homemade dip, houmous or a savoury yoghurt, e.g. plain yoghurt with fresh herbs and lemon juice, maybe garlic served with crudités  or crackers/wholemeal pitta slices etc.

There are so many types of dips and houmous to choose from, e.g. butter bean, black bean, chickpeas, beetroot, sweet potato, sun dried tomato, artichoke etc!

 

  • Homemade popcorn with seasoning, e.g. a little salt or pepper, cumin, turmeric, paprika or whatever takes your fancy instead of a tonne of salt, sugar, oil or butter.

 

Looks like some sort of  popcorn & crisp slumber party?! You get the idea though-healthier snacks anyone?! Smiley lady not included. Photo by: Wojciech Grzejdziak_Flickr

 

  • Homemade black bean salsa with toasted pitta wedges.
  • Homemade (low-fat) vegetable crisps.
  • Celery sticks with a low-fat cream cheese or some natural(unsalted) nut/seed butter.
  • Some low-fat/salt flavoured rice cakes/crackers.
  • Low-salt corn cakes.
  • Some plain (low-salt, unsalted) rice or oat cakeswith a natural nut butter or low-fat cream cheese with slices of cucumber/tomato.

—>Add apple, grapes, pineapple, strawberries if you prefer a sweeter version!

 

  • A portion of low-fat cheese(30g/matchbox size) and (low-sodium) crackers.

    For all you non-vegans out there- here is a cheese platter. Photo by: Alpha_Flickr

     

  • Cheese on toast! Use some low-fat cheese on multi-grain toast.
  • A portion of olives (approx. 10, depending on type). If in brine, rinse before eating.
  • ‘Mini pizza to go’! Use ½ an English muffin, a small pitta bread or a toritilla wrap with a 1 tsp. of tomato sauce or puree, fresh or dried herbs, some veggies and 15g of low-fat cheese.
  • 2 pieces of sushi or ‘faux ‘sushi (tofu and/or vegetable).
  • A healthy homemade version of ‘egg  or tuna mayo’ on wholegrain crisp breads/wheat crackers.
  • A small portion if cherry or baby plum tomatoes, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, oregano or basil, seasoning and olive oil.

 

Yum! Lovely tomatoes. Photo by: Jacqueline_flickr

 

  • A small portion of tuna or seasoned tofu, white beans, e.g. butter, kidney, cannellini etc and a homemade vinaigrette dressing.
  • Small, homemade, grilled stuffed mushrooms (a little low-fat spread and cheese, green onions, herbs of choice, diced red pepper and bread crumbs) or try a nut or meat version if preferred.
  • 2-3 homemade bilinis with a little horseradish paste, smoked mackerel or tofu and a slice of red pepper or cucumber.

 

 

*For help with healthy portions, check out my portion sizes article !

 

This picture speaks for itself…someone has set this child a bad example and the world has gone mad! Photo by: Foundations UK_Flickr

It’s like they say with anything, keep to eating in ‘moderation’, have suitable portion sizes and realistic views about your food!

 

Whenever you pick up a packet of standard crisps, think about the 100-150 empty’ calories you’ll be consuming; of which 72+ will come from fat! Whilst eating an apple will provide you with much needed vitamins, some minerals, soluble fibre and lovely anti-oxidants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choice is yours; just make it an informed one!

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Loay Tattan_Flickr

Broccoli, Leek & Potato Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time:  45minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K,  protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, no added sugars and is low in fats!

 This is a great, simple and delicious soup that can be created in less than an hour! It has a very velvety and satisfying taste; as broccoli is out of season here in the UK, use a frozen variety if preferred. 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++360g      Broccoli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++220g      Leek
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g      Potato
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g           Garlic
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g       Green lentils
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1.5L         Vegetable Stock (low-sodium, DF/GF)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++500ml   Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g            Dried thyme (optional)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Ground black pepper

 

Nutritional Content (*Based on 4 Servings):

1 serving provides: 192kcal, 13.3g Protein, 1.4g Fat, 0.51g Sat/fat, 11g Fibre, 0.3g Salt,    95mg Calcium, 7mg Iron

 

Directions:

Wash and chop the broccoli (including the stem). Trim the ends, slice and then wash the leek (preferably place it into a large bowl filled with water; allow to soak and then drain). Wash and roughly chop the potato. Peel and dice the garlic. Remove any stones from the lentils; wash and then drain.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: Once cooked, my lentils went straight into this plastic tub; this soup was going to be many delicious lunches for us throughout the week. 🙂

 

In the meantime, place the vegetable stock and water into a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the broccoli, leek, potato and garlic. Stir together. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

 

Remove from the heat. Add the thyme (if using). Allow to cool slightly.

 

Use a hand-held blender in the saucepan or transfer the soup mixture into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

 

Transfer back into the saucepan (if applicable). Add the lentils. Stir together. Season it to taste with some salt and pepper.

 

Return to the heat. Warm slightly (if applicable).

 

Ladle into a soup bowl. Garnish with seeds, nuts, herbs, rocket, croutons or plain yoghurt if desired and serve.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Try swapping the potatoes or the broccoli for some brussel sprouts!
  • If you are not vegan, try adding some cheese to the soup.
  • Use onion if you are not keen on leeks.
  • Try adding a bit of cooked brown rice instead of lentils; adjust portions accordingly.
  • Use fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • Once the soup is puréed, try adding some DF milk or yoghurt (or low-fat dairy products if you’re not vegan). If you decide to do make this alteration, slightly reduce the amount of water used.

Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash & Tofu Salad

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 75mins

This recipe was adapted from: BBC Foods

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, potassium, iron, calcium and (per serving) is low in saturated fats!

This is a wonderful ‘winter salad’ recipe containing: squash, lentils and a spicy dressing to help warm you on a cold winter’s day! It’s also very versatile and easy to prepare. 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Lentils are a stable in many diets, particularly South Asian. They are a great, versatile and cheap source of: B-Vitamins, carbohydrate, protein, fibre, iron, potassium and are naturally low in fats! These little lovelies should be incorporated into everyone’s diet- vegan or otherwise. 
  • This is a high fibre meal that (per serving) contains approximately 3.5 servings of fruit/veggies towards your 5-A-Day! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

 

 Nutritional Content:

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for about 30 mins to remove any excess water.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line two baking trays with some parchment paper; lightly spray it some low-fat cooking oil.

NB: We used ‘8 sprays’, but you could probably use less!

 

Wash, peel, trim the ends, de-seed and chop the squash into bite-sized pieces.

 

Place it onto one of the baking trays. Spray with some low-fat cooking oil. Sprinkle over the thyme. Place onto the top oven shelf. Roast for 40-45 mins or until tender. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

 

Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into small cubes. Place it onto the other baking tray. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place it onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 30 mins or until lightly golden and slightly crisp around the edges. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

Baked tofu 🙂

 

In the meantime, place a large, non-stick saucepan with some cold water over a medium heat. Add the lentils. Cook them according to the packet instructions. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

NB: Ours took 25 mins to cook.

 

Meanwhile, wash and dry the rocket. Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the onion. Wash, remove the stem and dice the tomatoes. Drain off any excess oil and then finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends, de-seed (unless you prefer dishes with a little more heat!) and then dice the chilli.

… For an extra, spicy kick-  do not remove the chilli seeds!

 

Place a small, non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the seeds. Lightly toast. Remove from the heat. Place into a small dish.

 

 

1. In the meantime, prepare the dressing. Place the garlic, chilli, oil, both of the vinegars, soya (or tamari) sauce and the syrup into a mixing jug. Whisk to combine.

2. Place the rocket into a large mixing or salad bowl.

3. Add the squash.

4. Add the tofu.

5. Add the lentils, onions, all of the tomatoes and the seeds. Pour over the dressing.

6. Gently toss together.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the salad into a large lipped plate or serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds.

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; consume within 3-5 days.

 

If preferred….

  • Instead of sesame seeds try some: pumpkin, chia or  flax seeds or some nuts (maybe walnut, flaked almonds or pine).
  • Swap the rocket for: spinach, swiss chard or lightly steamed kale.
  • Use some sweet potatoes instead of squash.
  • Swap the tomatoes for roasted red bell pepper.
  • If you are not vegan, swap the tofu for some low-fat cheese.

Vegan & GF Pizza Dough

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking time: 80-90 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Mixing bowl, measuring cup, silicone spatula, kitchen film, rolling pin, baking tray, silicone mat or parchment paper

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, no added sugar and is low in added salt and saturated fats!

This is a simple GF pizza dough recipe. We admit, it does look a bit ‘anaemic’… but that’s only because it lacks ‘fats’! Brown, crispy crust usually stems from (apart from burning it!) adding oil and/or animal products (milk, eggs or melted butter)! Mostly, we prefer our crust like this… saving our ‘fat calories’ for the delicious toppings! A.K.A. lovely olives, avocado, pesto sauces, perhaps some sautéed or roasted veggies or even some nuts! Just find a nutritional balance that you prefer, e.g. add some oil in the dough but top it with fresh, garden vegetables and pine nuts!  Even with a little added oil….this crust will certainly be healthier than ones from your favourite take-away joint, there’s no doubt about that! 

NB: This crust is firm with movement …and also ‘light’ on your stomach! If you do prefer a thin and crisp crust, use water (instead of milk) and a bit of oil. 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

NB: Sorry folks, I forgot these ingredients!

 

 

Nutritional Content For Pizza Dough:

Approx. per serving: 163Kcal, 3.5g Protein, 1.2g Fat, 0.2g Sat/ fat, 0.1g Salt, 1g Fibre, 57mg Calcium, 0.5mg Iron

 …This crust lacks fibre…but our toppings made this meal fibre-licious!

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++250ml     Soya Milk(unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++250g        GF Flour (plain)
+++++++++++++++++3g             Xanthan gum
+++++++++++++++++7g             Quick rise yeast
+++++++++++++++++1g             Dried Basil
+++++++++++++++++1g             Dried Oregano
+++++++++++++++++                  Salt
+++++++++++++++++6g             Cornmeal (yellow/coarse)
+++++++++++++++++                  Oil

 

Directions

Place the DF milk into a microwavable measuring jug or dish. Microwave until quite warm but not boiling hot.

 

In the meantime, place the flour, xanthan gum, yeast, basil and oregano into a large mixing bowl. Season it with some salt to taste. Mix together.

NB: We used ‘a pinch’ of salt.

 

Make a ‘well’ in the centre.

 

Pour in the DF milk.

 

Mix to combine.

NB: We used the combination of a silicone spatula and our hands for this step!

 

Add the cornmeal.

 

Mix and knead to combine.

 

Cover the bowl with an oiled piece of kitchen flim.

 

Place it somewhere warm to ‘prove’; approximately 45-60 minutes.

 

In the meantime, organise and prepare your toppings.

What’s your favourite combination?!

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper or a silicone mat.

NB: We changed our mind at the last minute; we used baking parchment instead.

 

*Proved dough.

NB: Ours didn’t rise a whole lot…our ‘proving area’ wasn’t warm enough…or our house for that matter!

 

Lightly flour a clean surface. Roll out the dough.

 

Gently ‘re-roll’ it onto the rolling pin.

 

Transfer it onto the baking sheet; un-roll it.

NB: Once we had it on the sheet, we rolled and ‘stretched’ it out a bit further.

 

Top with sauce and herbs (if applicable).

NB: We used tomato purée, dried oregano, diced red onion and some torn basil leaves.

 

Top with the remaining toppings.

NB: We added: orange bell pepper, courgette, chestnut mushrooms, black olives, cherry and sun-dried tomatoes, pineapple and some dried mixed Italian herbs!

 

Place it onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 15-25 mins or until crust is firm. NB: the edges will be slightly ‘crispier’ than the base.

 

Remove from the oven….

 

Add any other toppings (if desired)…

NB: We added some avocado and basil leaves.

 

NB: Topped with rocket!

 

Cut and serve.

NB: We recommend cutting your pizza from the centre outwards. **This shows 2 portions (based on 6 servings).

 

Enjoy!

Here’s a ‘mini’ version we made earlier this year! 🙂

 

 

If preferred… 

  • Try wholemeal, ’00’, or spelt flour if you are not concerned about gluten and added any herbs and/or seasoning you desire.
  • Top with: DF pesto or a home made ‘sauce’ instead of tomato purée.
  • Bake the crust and then add ‘raw’ pizza toppings; adjust cooking times accordingly.

Vegan Curried Rice With Tofu

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 70-85minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, no added sugars and is low in saturated fats!

The fundamentals of this recipe stem from Kedgeree! We both used to enjoy a bit of Kedgeree back in the day; it’s a traditional English dish from colonial India. A popular theory is that it originated from an Indian rice and legume dish known as ‘Khichri’, which is traced back to the 1300’s. It was initially introduced to the British as a ‘breakfast dish’ during Victorian times…but now it’s served any time of the day! Today’s modern recipe consists of (arguably) untraditional ingredients which include: flaked smoked fish/fish, eggs, butter and/or cream…but essentially it is curried rice!

 …And there’s absolutely no reason why everyone can’t enjoy a bit of curried rice! I’ve made this recipe previously with short-grain rice (without tomatoes/ bell pepper)…and it always turns out tasting a bit dry…which is undoubtedly why the element of butter and cream have crept into this recipe! I prefer not to add oil and/or vegan spreads to this meal… and with my recipe I don’t have to. This meal contains wonderful tastes and textures which can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Its the type of dish that is extremely adaptable; its also ideal for using up any leftover vegetables and legumes!

 

*Nutritional Breakdown (not including extra/alternative toppings):

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++396g      Firm Tofu
+++++++++++++++++++++++++180g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g          Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g       Orange Bell Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g        Baby spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++6g           Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g      Brown basmati rice (uncooked)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g        Cashews (unsalted)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g      Tin chopped plum tomatoes (no added salt/sugar)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300ml   Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g           Mild curry powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Dried coriander
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Turmeric
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g           Brown mustard seeds
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g      Frozen garden peas
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt & ground black pepper

Extras or alternative toppings:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++30g        Radish
+++++++++++++++++++++++++12           Olives
+++++++++++++++++++++++++12g        Capers
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Sweet papkria
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g         Flaked almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g         Natural soya yoghurt (unsweetened)

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Place it between two heavy chopping boards for approximately 30 minutes to remove any excess water.

 

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil.

 

In the meantime, peel and dice the onion and garlic. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and dice the bell pepper.

 

Wash the spinach; allow it to drain. Wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander. Wash the rice.

 

Roughly chop the nuts.

 

 Place the tomatoes and water into a large measuring jug; mix together.

 

 Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Place it onto the baking sheet. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place it into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned.

NB: Refer to my previous recipes if you require visual guidance for this step.

 

NB: I used ‘3 sprays’.

In the meantime, place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray some low-fat cooking oil. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Stir together. Gently fry for 1-3 minutes, or until softened.

 

 Add the curry powder, dried coriander, turmeric and mustard seeds. Stir to coat. Gently fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.

 

 Add the rice. Stir to coat.

 

Add the tomato mixture and the peas. Stir to combine. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice has ‘mostly’ absorbed the water.

NB: You might have to adjust cooking times of the rice mixture accordingly. Refer to the packet instructions.

 

 In the meantime, remove the baked tofu from the oven. Place onto a cooling rack.

NB: If preferred, cover it with some foil to keep warm.

 

 

 Remove the saucepan from the heat. Do not remove the lid. Allow it to stand for 8 minutes.

 

 Add the spinach. Replace the cover. Allow it to stand for a further 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted slightly.

 

 Remove the cover. Fluff and stir the rice with a fork.

 

 Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish. Top with the tofu, coriander, the nuts any other desired ingredients.

NB: I did not mix these ingredients into the rice. I also added some additional toppings: olives, capers and sweet paprika.

 

Serve immediately with a green salad or green beans if desired.

NB: I forgot to cook my beans! 😦

Enjoy!

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 

If preferred…

  • Try using lentils or some soya, broad, kidney or aduki beans instead of tofu.
  • Vary your veggies! Try using: fresh chillies, green beans, carrots, leek, kale, courgette or maybe even some cumin seeds, fenugreek or sultanas to the rice instead.
  • I used a neutral curry spice mix, but feel free to make it as spicy as you desire!
  • To reduce the fat, use less tofu and omit the cashews; use a few flaked almonds instead.
  • If you are not vegan/vegetarain, try using a bit of some poached haddock, mackerel, salmon or eggs to the dish.

Vegan Sicilian Pasta With Chickpeas

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 20 minutes

Recipe adapted from: fatfreevegan

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, potassium, iron, no added sugar and is low in saturated fats!

From what I’ve read, Sicilian pastas dishes include cheap, simple and tasty ingredients! This recipe is very fresh, light and it’s easy to execute! The orange and chilli flavours work beautifully together and it’s a nice change from dense tomato, pesto or creamy pastas.

Quick fact: The corn-based pasta and the chickpeas provide a nice bit of ‘protein combining’ action!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++130g   GF Spaghetti
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g   Tin Chickpeas (in water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g     Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g   Red onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             1 Large orange (zest and juice)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++220g   Baby plum tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g     Black olives
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g        Fresh basil leaves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Chilli flakes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Dried oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Dried basil

 

 *Based on this meal serving 2, this recipe provides approximately:

485Kcal, 18.2g Protein, 8.1g Fat, 1g Sat/fat, 1.12g Salt, 4.6mg Iron

(NB: To lower the calorie and fat content, reduce the quantity of the chickpeas.)

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions.

 

Meanwhile, drain and wash the chickpeas.

 

 Add the chickpeas to the saucepan just before the pasta is finished cooking. Save one cup of cooking water before you drain the pasta.

NB: The brand of GF pasta I used took 12 minutes to cook.

 

 In the meantime, peel and chop the garlic into slices. Peel and dice the onion.

 

Wash, zest and juice the orange.

 

Place a large non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-low heat. Allow it to heat up.

 

Meanwhile, quarter the the tomatoes.

 

Rinse the olives (if they were in brine), de-stone(if necessary) and roughly chop them.

 

Wash, dry and remove some basil leaves from the stem. NB: I used some straight out of my freezer.

 

Spray some low-fat cooking oil into the pan/wok. Add the garlic. Gently fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.

NB: I used ‘3 sprays’.

 

Remove and transfer onto a small plate.

 

Spray a little more low-fat cooking oil. Add the onions. Gently fry for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Season it with some salt and pepper to tatse.

NB: I used ‘3 sprays’.

 

Add the zest. Fry for 30seconds.

 

Add the chilli flakes, the dried oregano and basil. Stir together. Fry for 20 seconds.

 

Remove from the heat; leave the burner on.

 

By this point you can probably add (or have added) the chickpeas to the pasta. Remove a cup of cooking liquid.

 

When the pasta has been drained, place the pan/wok back over a medium-low heat. Add the cooking liquid and juice. Stir together.

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Add the tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. Stir together. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the tomatoes are just softened.

 

Add the pasta mixture.

 

Stir together. Remove from the heat.

 

Serve warm. Serve in a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Garnish and season as desired.

 

 Enjoy!

 

If preferred… 

  • Use half the amount of zest if you do not like your meals too ‘zesty’.
  • Use wholemeal or spelt pasta if you are not concerned about gluten
  • Try adding a bit of spinach.
  • Use a dried variety of chickpea; soak/cook before use .
  • Try green lentils or broad beans instead of chickpeas, or oregano instead of basil.
  • Try some other Sicilian pasta ingredient combinations, e.g. fresh pasta, dried fruits (raisins, sultanas or apricots), nuts, seeds, shaved fennel, aubergine, mushrooms, fresh herbs, capers, toasted/garlic breadcrumbs or some oily fish, prawns or cheeses (if you are not vegan).

BBC Headline: Ready Meals May Count Towards Five A Day

Review Of News Articles

This article came out this week regarding new considerations of what the ‘5-A-Day’ logo could entail.

…“Currently the five-a-day logo can be used only on food or drink that is 100% fruit or vegetable.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think including ‘ready meals’ in the Five-A-Day ‘branding’s’ could be sending the wrong message??

 

They noted:

…”Products would have to meet agreed standards on fat, sugar and salt.”

……but some of these ‘ready meals’ are not ‘great’; not just with their added sugar, fat and salt contents. A ‘token’ amount of peas, tomatoes or beans doesn’t go far into your 5-A-Day total.  These ‘ready meals’ should contain healthier levels of sugar, fat and salt anyways and they should emphasize that serving them with ADDITIONAL vegetables will help people meet healthy eating guidance! Vegetables provide us with a lot more vitamins and minerals than fruit do and therefore go a long way into preventing chronic diseases…. So we should be encouraging more people to cook from scratch, using a vary of vegetables, legumes and pulses…

 

It feels like the government has given up on the obesity problem slightly… because the masses complain about a ‘nannying state’ and portray that the current 5-A-Day structure and physical activity guidance is unrealistic … so they are ‘watering down’ the criteria of what may or may not be healthy.

…“Now government nutritionists are meeting with academics and food industry experts to decide if rules on the five-a-day logo scheme can be relaxed to include healthy foods that are currently excluded.”

If they do include ‘ready meals’, should the quantity of fruit of vegetables be increased too? Maybe 7-A-Day? How many fruits and vegetables do you currently eat/day?

 

As it stands:

…“Fewer than one in three adults and one in 10 children in the UK eat the recommended five portions a day.”

They should be reviewing the situation… and ask themselves why people are not currently making these recommendations… not ‘lowering the standards’ necessary…

It’s pretty obvious that more provisions should be made into providing: food education, healthy living and eating advice and cheaper staple foods (as food poverty has been shown to affect so many in the UK)…we shouldn’t try and make people feel g