Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Vegetable Marinara Sauce W/ Kidney Beans [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 7-8 hrs
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, colander, blender, slow cooker, large spoon

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

What better way to start the week, fight the cold weather and help keep your healthy lifestyle in check than with a delicious, Free From & simple pasta sauce!

We’d like to think that our sauce is suitable for any dinner guest (well, excluding anyone that might be allergic to vegetables! Sorry Emma!) and love that it’s really effortless to prepare! With minimal prep and the use of a slow cooker, you’ll have a delicious marinara sauce that is not only vegan and gluten free, but one that contains over six types of veggies…but we are willing to bet that your kids will never be the wiser! 

Our veggies and herbs are chopped, diced and blended before slow cooking into a great depth of flavours; we even threw in some added kidney beans for some added texture, carbohydrate, protein and soluble fibre! Keep the veggies seasonal, fresh, frozen or just some of your absolute favourites! If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, we’d recommend using some pinto, black or butter beans instead. 🙂

A few good things to note include:

  • If you prefer a slightly thicker sauce, just whisk through a ‘corn flour slurry’ at the end of cooking until your desired thickness is achieved.
  • If you’d prefer a chunkier sauce, just omit the ‘blender step’!
  • We added a spoonful of sweetener. This is optional, but as tinned tomatoes tend to have a slightly bitter taste, we’d recommend it. However, if you’re using fresh/ripe tomatoes instead of our basic tinned ones, you probably won’t need it!
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can always use a high-powered food processor instead.

If you fancy some further pasta sauce (or pasta meal) inspiration, check our some of our precious tomato-based sauces including: our Soya & Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese, ‘5 Minute Thrifty Marinara Sauce’, Home-made Marinara (as featured with our Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa Meatballs!) and one included in our delicious  Vegan & Gluten Free Lasagne w/a Tofu & Spinach Filling!

 

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • Per serving, this sauce contains about 4.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! What an easy way to incorporate a variety of veggies into your diet! 

 

 Happy cooking and buona cena everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++++++3              Garlic Cloves (fat ones!)
+++++++200g       Red Onion
+++++++160g        Red Bell Pepper
+++++++200g       Carrot
+++++++25g          Fresh Basil
+++++++480g       Cooked Red Kidney Beans (2 tins/no added salt or 250g dried/cooked)
+++++++4              Tins Plum Tomatoes (no added salt/ 1.6kg)
+++++++40g          Sun-Dried Tomato Puree
+++++++30ml        Balsamic Glaze
+++++++30ml        Lemon Juice
+++++++30ml        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++1-2 tbsp   Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++++++½ tsp        Asafoetida (or onion powder)
+++++++½-¾ tsp   Salt
+++++++                 Ground Black Pepper
+++++++160g         Frozen Spinach, defrosted (about 7 cubes)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

  • Peel the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then quarter the carrot. Wash and then roughly chop the basil. If applicable, drain and wash the kidney beans in a colander.
  • Place the garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrot, basil, 1 tin of tomatoes, 40g sun-dried tomato puree, 2 tbsp balsamic glaze, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp asafoetida, ½ tsp salt (or to taste) and a few grind of black pepper into a blender. Tip: If your blender is large enough, add all of the tinned tomatoes during this step! Blend until puréed. Transfer the mixture into a slow cooker.
  • If applicable, open and place the remaining tinned tomatoes into the blender. Blend until smooth.Transfer into the slow cooker. Mix until thoroughly combined. Taste and season the sauce as necessary. Add the cooked kidney beans. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Cook for 7-8 hrs on a low-heat setting.
  • About 30 mins before the end of cooking, carefully dice some frozen spinach into smaller chunks. Add the spinach into the slow cooker. Stir through. Alternatively, dice and steam the spinach, and then stir it through the sauce at the end of cooking. Taste and season the sauce as necessary.

 

Serve warm. Ladle the sauce over your favourite pasta with additional veggies or a small multi-grain roll (if desired). If preferred, garnish the sauce with a few marinated olives, basil or oregano leaves and/or a spoonful of nutritional yeast!

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat over a medium-low heat (do not allow it to boil) and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively store and freeze in one or several container(s) and then just simply defrost and reheat; best consumed within 1-2 months of freezing.

Advertisements

Banana & Berry Soya Muffins

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 12
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins

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

We went through a phase last year where we were making loads of these muffins! This is a recipe that we both enjoy and recommend! 

Ever since we began our vegan journey, our sweet tooth has slowly become a thing of the past! Which is why these muffins do not contain any added sugar. The ripe bananas and berries add a wholesome, natural sweetness; use fresh berries for an even sweeter taste! 

These muffins are gluten free (GF), but they are are not your typical GF product (you know what we mean!)… they are not dry, nor do they burst into a pile of crumbs as soon as you take a bite! They have a spongy texture (obviously less moist than a classic muffin- which contains butter, milk and sugar!) with plenty of flavour.

Feel free to experiment; try altering the fruit and flavourings as you see fit! We would also encourage you to use some wholemeal flour (if gluten is not a concern) instead- just make sure to omit the xanthan gum as it won’t necessary. 

 

Quick(ish) Foodie Facts:

  • Porridge oats are a versatile and low-GI food that also provide a good source of soluble fibre (in the form of beta-glucan); which has been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels (*when consuming a minimum of 3g of beta-glucans/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. a bowl of porridge containing 30g of oats and 2 tbsp. of oatbran sprinkled over some yoghurt, soup or stew would be suffice.  
  • Soya isolate is a versatile and high protein food source also containing iron, calcium and all of the essential amino acids- which includes tryptophan (which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin!); literature has shown that a drop in tryptophan can cause a corresponding drop in brain serotonin production, which therefore can cause mood swings and memory impairment.

Soya products have also been shown to actively lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce your risk for heart disease (*when consuming 25g of soya protein/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. a 250ml glass of soya milk and 75g of silken hard tofu or 85g of edamame beans would be plenty.

  • Ground flaxseed is a versatile, high fibre and low GI food containing omega three oils, polyunsaturated fats, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc; it makes a good ‘food fortifier’! 
  • Baking powder is high in calcium. Make sure you throw a little extra into your recipe the next time you bake; we did and it added an extra 347mg of calcium to our muffin batter! 

 

 

We didn’t use the sunflower seeds (they were going to be a ‘topping’)!

 

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++140g      Frozen berries (or fresh)
++++++++++++++++++++100g      Porridge oats (Coeliac friendly if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++480ml   Soya milk (unsweetened and fortified)
++++++++++++++++++++40g        Soya isolate
++++++++++++++++++++               1 ‘Flaxegg’ (16g flaxseed mixed w/3 tbsp. water)
++++++++++++++++++++310g      Banana flesh (approximately 3 ripe bananas!)
++++++++++++++++++++60ml     Rapeseed oil
++++++++++++++++++++4g          Vanilla essence
++++++++++++++++++++220g     Plain GF flour (if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++8g          Baking powder (GF if needed)
++++++++++++++++++++5g          Baking soda
++++++++++++++++++++4g          Xanthan gum
++++++++++++++++++++8g          Ground cinnamon
++++++++++++++++++++               Salt (just a pinch!)
++++++++++++++++++++10g         Vegan spread (low fat)

 

 

Nutritional Info:

 

 

Directions:

Place the berries into a microwavable dish. Defrost in the microwave!

These are defrosted! NB: We used a ‘mixed berry’ pack, but we normally opt for just blueberries!

 

 

Meanwhile, place the oats into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Place the milk into a ‘shaker cup’. Add the isolate. Cover. Shake until mixed.

Alternatively, whisk the milk and isolate in a mixing bowl (add the milk first though).

 

 

Pour the milky isolate mixture into the oats. Whisk together. Leave the oats to soak for approximately 10 minutes.

 

 

Create the ‘flaxegg’. Place the flaxseed into a small dish. Add the water. Stir until combined. Leave for approximately 5 minutes.

 

 

Peel and place the banana into a separate mixing bowl. Mash.

 

 

Add the oil, ‘flaxegg’ and vanilla.

 

 

Mix together.

 

 

Place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt) into a separate, large mixing bowl. Mix together.

 

 

Grease the muffin tin with the spread using some parchment paper (or for a ‘0 calorie’ approach- line them with ‘paper muffin casings instead!).

We find this GF mixture sticks to paper casings…so we prefer to grease the tin! Perhaps a silicone muffin mould would work better all round?!

 

 

Add a little flour. Shake and tip the flour around to coat the sides of the tin.

NB: We used approx. 10g of flour for this step.This flour will give the mixture something to ‘climb’ when it’s baking (hopefully it stops them from collapsing!)

 

 

Heat the oven to 190°C/380°F.

 

 

Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the dry ingredients.

 

 

Add the banana mixture.

 

 

Stir and fold until combined.

NB: The mixture will be quite ‘tacky’.

 

 

Add the oat mixture.

 

 

Stir until combined.

NB: The mixture will be quite thick/dense at this stage- this is completely normal!

 

 

Add the berries.

 

 

Fold them into the batter.

NB: We haven’t squashed the berries! The batter has gone slightly purple from the ‘berry juices’ created in the microwave!

 

 

 

 

Spoon and distribute the mixture evenly among the muffin cases.

 

 

Top with some spare oats and a dash of spice, seeds, crushed  nuts, a berry or a slice of banana if desired.

We used another small banana (it weighed aprox. 80g without the skin). 🙂

 

 

Place into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

 

Reduce the heat to 180°C/360°F. Bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown/firm to the touch.

 

 

Remove. Allow them to cool/set in the tin for 5 minutes before removing.

They may not look perfect, but they are made with love 😀

 

 

Enjoy!

Juicy blueberries!  So delicious!

 

 

 Place in a resealable container; consume within 3-5 days (potentially sooner; temperature permitting). Alternatively, freezing them is a great option! They can be frozen for 1-2 months; just defrost before eating of course!

 

 

If preferred….

  • Add some grated orange or lemon zest.
  • Maybe try using a lemon, orange or almond extract instead of vanilla essence; using vanilla extract is also fine!
  • Add ground ginger instead of cinnamon.
  • If you prefer an even sweeter taste, add a little honey or agave syrup.

Low-Fat Oven Chips

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Cooking Time: 40 mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, iron, potassium and is also low in fat!

This time of year can make it hard for us to resist our ‘stodgy’ food cravings…so let’s try and create healthier options for ourselves! Potatoes are not ‘fatty’ by nature, it’s the ‘toppings’, the cooking processes and the quantities we choose to eat them in that can make them destined to cause weight gain.

As an experiment, we took a potato and sprayed it with some low-fat cooking oil…and yes, we were pleasantly surprised! The result- a lovely, crispy chip that was still fluffy on the inside!

Chips under 250 calories and low in fat- what more can you ask for?! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

220g Baking potato
‘1 kcal’ Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
Dried Rosemary
Salt
Black Pepper

 

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 230°C (450°C). Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper. Lightly spray it with low-fat cooking oil. Spread to coat.

2. Wash and then chop the potato into strips. Place the strips into a large mixing bowl. Spray with low-fat cooking oil. Season with rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to coat.

3. Place them onto the baking tray, leaving ample room between each piece. Tip: if you overcrowd vegetables in the oven, they will steam instead of ‘roast’; this will result in a batch of slightly soggy/soft chips.

4. Place the tray into the oven. Bake for 25-35 mins, or until lightly browned and ‘crispy’ (as much as desired). Turn once during cooking; respray with some oil before returning the tray to the oven.

5. Remove. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.

6. Enjoy as they are or serve with a little dijon mustard, or home-made tomato (low-sugar/salt) ‘ketchup’!

 

NB: These chips were baked for 35 minutes in the middle of a fan-assisted oven.

 

If preferred…

  • Try using different herbs and/or spices to create your perfect chip!

Mexican Stuffed Butternut Squash

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 50 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, paring knife, large spoon, parchment paper, baking tray, colander, small dish, frying pan with lid

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

Like our other recipes here at Eat2Health, the ingredients are not dripping in oil! Eating this stuffed squash is almost like eating a taco, it’s just missing the ‘crunch factor’ and of course the infamous stains down the front of your t-shirt!

We think the hardest part about this recipe was preparing the squash (at least for us)! Other than that it’s smooth sailing…straight into a mouthful of delicious ‘Mexican’ tastes and textures. 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++++++++800g      Butternut Squash
++++++++++++++++++++++5ml        Olive Oil
++++++++++++++++++++++                Low-fat Cooking Oil
++++++++++++++++++++++140g      White Onion
++++++++++++++++++++++8g           Garlic Clove
++++++++++++++++++++++170g      Red Bell Pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++400g      Tin Black Beans
++++++++++++++++++++++3g           Fresh Coriander
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Chilli Flakes
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Chilli Powder
++++++++++++++++++++++10g         Ground Cumin
++++++++++++++++++++++6g           Ground Coriander
++++++++++++++++++++++3g           Dried Onion Powder
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Garlic Powder (unsalted)
++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt and Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Tomato Puree
++++++++++++++++++++++250ml    Water
++++++++++++++++++++++75g         Avocado Pear (approx ½ of a small variety)
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Green Olives
++++++++++++++++++++++15g         Cherry Tomatoes
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Sweet Corn Kernels (tinned or fresh)
++++++++++++++++++++++50g         Mild Salsa
++++++++++++++++++++++80g         Soya Yoghurt (plain/unsweetened)
++++++++++++++++++++++1g            Cumin Seeds

 

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper.

 

  • Wash, trim the ends and then halve the squash. Tip: I a sharp bread knife can also be used to (safely!) cut through the squash.
  • De-seed; reserving and roasting the seeds later is optional! Tip: A quick job with a paring knife for this step (but feel free to use a spoon if you prefer).
  • Hollow out each side (just enough to form a shallow ‘boat shape’); please do not discard these bits of flesh. Tip: Paring knife or large spoon? Both can be used to scrape out the flesh!
  • Place the squash flesh side down onto the tray. Place the extra bits of flesh along side them. Rub both sides of the squash with oil. Spray some low-fat cooking oil on the bits of reserved flesh. Place the baking tray onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 20 mins.

 

 

In the meantime…

  • Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and dice the bell pepper. Wash and drain the beans. Wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander. Place the chilli flakes, chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander, dried onion and garlic powder into a small dish; season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Place the purée into a small dish.
  • Meanwhile, remove the baking tray from the oven. Collect the extra bits of flesh and place them into a small dish. Place the baking tray back into the oven. Continue to roast the squash for another 10-15 mins, or until the flesh has softened. NB: Ours took 35 mins in total.
  • Chop the avocado into two halves; carefully remove the stone and peel and then roughly chop it. Drain and slice the olives. Wash, remove the stem and then dice the tomatoes. Drain and rinse the sweet corn; if using a fresh cob, remove the kernels from the cob, rinse and then cook before use.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-low heat. Tip: Once hot, add a little water, a little at a time to steam-fry the vegetables. Add the onion and the garlic first, cover with a lid and gently steam-fry for 2 mins, or until softened. Stir and add a little more water occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking (continue this step as you add more vegetables).
  • Add the peppers, reserved squash flesh and the dish of spices and seasoning’s. Stir together. Cover and steam-fry for approximately 4-5 mins.
  • Add the beans, fresh coriander, purée and the remaining water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Steam-fry for a further 2-3 mins; remove from the heat. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Add any additional spices if you prefer.

 

 

Remove the roasted squash from oven.

 

 

All for under 500Kcal!

  • Transfer it onto a serving plate. Stuff each piece of squash with the bean filling. Tip: Silicone or heavy-duty oven gloves are perfect for this step!
  • Top with some salsa.
  • Add the yoghurt, avocado, olives, tomatoes and cumin seeds!

 

Enjoy!

If preferred…

  • Use your favourite type of bean! Try some pinto or black-eyed beans!
  • Grate a small portion of vegan cheese and sprinkle it over top; allow it to melt in the oven 5 mins before serving.
  • Make your own salsa instead of using a store bought one. Tip: this will allow you to regulate the sugar, salt and your spice preferences!
  • Top it with some homemade guacamole instead of avocado.
  • Swap the type of onion or olives!
  • Garnish it with some fresh coriander or parsley leaves.
  • Top it with a diced red chilli pepper or jalapeños for an extra kick!