Meatless Monday: Seitan Doner Kebab ‘Meat’ [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 3-4
Prep: ≤30mins
Cooking: 4 hrs (SC/low heat setting)
Cooling: 20 mins (minimum)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, non-stick pot w/lid, colander, food processor, measuring jug, large mixing bowl, kitchen foil, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, protein, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, no added sugar and per serving- a moderate quantity of added salt and fats. 

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! You’ll have to excuse our lack of posts lately, there’s been a lot going on (all good) and we haven’t been keeping up to date (including getting to see what everybody else has been getting up to on here!). But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been cooking, of course we have… so you’ll have lots of lovely recipes to look forward to! 🙂

Today we our sharing a seitan recipe….

…move over dried soya mince, tofu, tempeh, and high salt/fat and overpriced preformed vegan ‘meats’, there’s a new guy in the Eat2Health Kitchen- seitan! For those that are unaware, it’s made from wheat gluten, spices and seasonings, (and in this case a sweet potato!); it’s an effortless, nutritious and delicious meat alternative that has a great texture, giving rise to endless possibilities (faux sausages, meatballs, steak, duck, doner, chorizo, mince… just to name a few!)

Using wheat gluten is something we have wanted to try for a while now; unfortunately it’s not widely available in shops so we purchased ours online. Our 1kg bag cost just over £4; has anyone purchased it at a lower price or does that seem about right? For those that are keen, you can have a go at making it yourself! It sounds quite laborious to us; just do a quick internet search to see if it’s something that you’d enjoy! 😛

With a cursory internet search we also found that there are several recipes for seitan knocking about; given the cost and practicality of acquiring seitan we decided to start by adapting someone else’s tried and true recipe. One that caught our fancy was a doner seitan recipe at Flash Gordonette.com. Her recipe seemed straight forward and used a steamer to cook the seitan, but we’ve used our trusty slow cooker to do the same thing. Cooking wheat gluten to make seitan is indeed effortless and there are several ways to do it, again you only have to look in your preferred search engine to find that out. 

The seitan doner kebab resemblance to actual meat is a little uncanny. Of course it isn’t ‘meat’ and we were not looking to replicate it! Yep, no desire what so ever to replicate the mystery ‘elephant leg’ that spins in every kebab shop in Britain…(ha!) …our line of thoughts we more into finding another cheap, healthy, tasty and versatile protein source. This mock meat works perfectly in a vegan doner kebab, in sandwiches, salads, as part of a meze platter or used as a healthy plant-based pizza topping!

We packed our vegan doner kebab with plenty of veggies (yummy suggestions below) and topped it all off with a delicious tahini sauce and dollop of plain soya yoghurt! 

Some other good things to note include:

  • If you do not have a food processor, finely chop the onion before cooking. Mash the cooked potato and onion in a large mixing bowl instead; mix in the remaining ingredients with a silicone spatula and then knead the dough.
  • The ingredients list looks long but it’s mostly spices and/or seasonings! Adjust the spices and seasonings to your own perfect mix. Unfortunately there is no way of checking how it really tastes until after it has cooked (the raw mixture tastes terrible btw!), so don’t go too over board with the spices or salt! 
  • Handle your wheat gluten flour with care; it’s so powdery that it can easily end up all over your work counter instead of in your recipe! 
  • This seitan recipe combined wheat gluten with sweet potato, but we have seen others that have used tin beans or other vegetables instead! 
  • The raw mixture looks a bit weird and maybe slightly off putting but don’t let that scare you. It completely transforms once it’s cooked. For those new to a plant based lifestyle, looking to swap their standard recipes this Meatless Monday, perhaps do not get on with tofu and/or paying for overpriced vegan meats, give this a go! You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
  • Letting the seitan cool is vital if you want thin slices of doner ‘meat’. We left ours for 12 mins and then started to shave/cut it with a bread knife; unfortunately this was not long enough and some slices were thicker than others. The thinner slices allowed you to really taste the lovely flavours and it wasn’t chewy (as some of the thicker slices were).
  • This ‘meat’ will dry out, so once cooled wrap immediately and refrigerate. 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Wheat gluten consists of almost pure protein and very little starch; 100 grams contains 75-80% protein! It’s the natural protein left over when you wash the starch out of wheat flour; it’s then dried and ground back into flour. It’s the perfect resource to improve the texture, rise and elasticity of your bread or make the veggie and vegan meat alternative seitan; it’s so versatile, healthy and effortless!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients
280g   Sweet potato
85g      Brown onion
3½ C.   Water
6g        Fresh coriander (2 tsp)
1           Garlic clove (1 tsp)
1 tbsp   Veggie stock powder (low-salt)
1 tsp     Salt
1 tsp     White pepper
½ tsp    Dried chilli flakes
1½ tsp   Ground coriander
1 tsp       Ground cumin
1 tsp       Garlic powder
¼ tsp      Mild paprika
¼ tsp      Cayenne pepper
1 tsp        Dried oregano
½ tsp      Cumin seeds
1/8 tsp    Ground mace
1 tbsp      Rapeseed oil
1½ C.        Vital wheat gluten (220g)
1               Brown onion (small)
  • Pitta/wrap filling suggestions: shredded iceberg lettuce, diced salad tomato, carrot ribbons, shredded cucumber, diced (raw) brown onion, shredded red cabbage, pickled chillies, diced fresh coriander, all topped off with your favourite sauce…try: a tahini, chilli or garlic sauce or a dollop of plain soya yoghurt instead.

Need an easy-print PDF? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Wash, peel and then chop the sweet potato into small chunks. Peel and chop the onion into quarters (or smaller if applicable). Pour 1½ cups cold water into a non-stick pot. Add the sweet potato and onion. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to a gentle boil. Simmer and cook for 4-5 mins or until tender. Remove from the heat. Drain in a colander. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the coriander; remove the leaves from the stems and roughly chop them. Peel, chop and finely mince the garlic. Tip: If you have a garlic press, just use this instead!

Place the cooled potato and onion into a food processor (or mixing bowl if applicable). Add the fresh coriander, garlic clove, 1 tbsp veggie stock powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, 1½ tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin,1 tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp mild paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp cumin seeds, ⅛ tsp ground mace and 1 tbsp rapeseed oil. Process the ingredients until a thick puree is achieved.


Add 1½ cups wheat gluten into the food processor. Process until the mixture is combined and starts to form a ‘dough’ texture. Transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl. Gather the mixture, forming a ball and knead it for about a minimum of 5-10 mins or as long as you can (we kneaded ours for 8 mins); the mixture will be tacky, but will become more smooth and elastic. Tip: Kneading will help improve the texture of the seitan. Use your hands and shape the mixture into a fat log (it won’t be perfectly symmetrical but this is OK!).

Transfer the dough onto a long piece of kitchen foil. Roll the foil over the dough, completely covering it and then loosely twist each end close. Boil 2 cups of water in a kettle. Peel and horizontally slice a small brown onion. Place the slices of onion onto the base of the slow cooker. Pour in 2 cups of freshly boiled water. Place the wrapped dough on top of the onions. Cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat setting for 4 hrs.


Remove and allow it to cool for at least 20 mins before serving. Tip: The seitan cools down considerably within 10 mins of removing, but to achieve thin slices of doner ‘meat’, the mixture needs to cool and set further first. 

Tip: Wrap any leftover seitan in kitchen film and refrigerate; reheat leftovers in a frying pan with a little oil and consume within 2-3 days. 

Enjoy!

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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? 🙂

Glowing Shamrock Smoothie

Healthy Recipes

Firstly, here’s a huge thanks to the lovely and always helpful Larice at Feeding Your Beauty for sharing this recipe! 🙂

What a refreshing way not only to enjoy St Pattie’s Day but to add some nutritional balance into your day! We think that if you’re going to have a green smoothie, this definitely sounds like a delicious way to go. 🙂 We love the combination of ingredients, particularly the use of coconut water with fresh greens and mint; we can never have too much mint in our lives! We can’t wait to enjoy this drink when it gets a little warmer, but first, to go and try and revive our neglected mint pot! ^^’

Feed Your Beauty

glowingshamrock

This sweet minty smoothie is not only the perfect green beverage to sip for St. Patrick’s Day, but for the rest of spring and the warm days of summer too. It’s frosty, fruity, and sweet with a big minty punch. While myCopycat Shamrock Shakeis creamy and indulgent, this smoothie is light and refreshing, loaded with antioxidants and ultra-hydrating ingredients.

One of my favorite plant-based beauty food guru’s is Kimberly Snyder. Her books, website, and podcasts are such an awesome resource for anyone seeking to improve their health and looks naturally through diet and lifestyle. This smoothie is inspired by her Glowing Green Smoothie, a fresh concoction designed to boost your glow from the inside out. It’s my go-to smoothie when I want to reboot. That was exactly what I was going for when I created this blend. I put my own spin on it, and used…

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Homemade & FreeFrom Energy ‘Flapjacks’ (or ‘Bites’!) [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-16
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-40mins
Cooling Time: 20mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega 3 & 6, phosphorus, zinc and per serving is low in salt and has a moderate quantity of added, sugar and fat!

We simply love oats! From a simple and tasty bowl of porridge to some delicious muffins or slightly more indulgent crumbles or flapjacks! With all of this cooler weather that has suddenly rolled in, we are definitely craving fuel, an oaty-based snack…which got us thinking; a while ago we tried a leading plant-based bar which had ‘peanut flour’- gorgeous to say the least but at 90p a bar you can forget it!

So last week we decided to prepare an ‘almost’ flapjack with two great food loves of ours (peanut butter and oats!). So, ‘almost’ because the texture is slightly spongy and not crispy and/or oily, simply because it does not contain a tonne of typical golden syrup and butter, in addition to the fact that ground peanuts and peanut butter do not make it very authentic either! 

As the bars are energy packed, we’d advise to halve them into ‘bites’ and enjoy them as a healthy snack on the go, for those colder winter days to come; whether you’re out Christmas shopping or enjoying a long wintery walk in the snow! However, enjoy them as an occasional bar and save yourself a few pennies!

Overall we were happy with the result! There is certainly a huge margin for adapting these lovelies- let the sky be your limit! In terms of alterations, there isn’t many. We have advised using a little more milk, a little less flax and that the dried cranberries are optional, but you could reduce the quantity and just keep a few for added texture! If you want to help reduce the fat, try using less peanut butter or adapting the recipe with almonds instead. We definitely recommend toasting the peanuts, or any nuts that you use before grinding them (we forgot to!); it’ll really help bring out their lovely nuttiness! 

We think that these bars were just sweet enough, but it you have a ‘sweeter tooth’ than us you could perhaps try:

  • using a sweetened protein powder or DF milk. 
  • adding some ripe and mashed banana (or your favourite fruit!). 
  • omitting some of the cranberries and/or dates for more fruit syrup or try using some fresh fruit juices (apple, pineapple etc.) instead! Of course you could always try omitting the syrup altogether and just use ripe bananas- they always make everything really (naturally) sweet!

Happy GF, DF and refined sugar free baking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

++++++++7                Pitted Dates (60g)
++++++++55g            Unsalted Peanuts (toasted)
++++++++2 tsp          Virgin Coconut Oil (20g)
++++++++¼ Cup       Natural Peanut Butter (80g)
++++++++30g           Soya Isolate Powder (unsweetened)
++++++++1¼ cup      Almond Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
++++++++2 cups       Porridge Oats (GF if required) (180g)
++++++++1½ Tbsp    Ground Flax Seed (30g)
++++++++1-2             Pinches Table Salt
++++++++1 tsp          Ground Cinnamon (3g)
++++++++¼ Cup       Fruit Sweetener (Your favourite: agave, carob, date, etc!) (55g)
++++++++1/3 cup     Dried Cranberries (Naturally sweetened)*Optional (50g)

 

Nutrition:

 

Directions:

1. Place the dates into a bowl. Pour in some freshly boiled water, enough to cover them. Cover the bowl with a large plate. Allow to soak for 8-10 mins.

 

2. In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the peanuts. Dry-fry until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer into a food processor. Pulse until a ‘fine-ish’ flour is achieved. Transfer the ground peanuts into a large mixing bowl. Tip: Fancy some added texture? Save some of the nuts, roughly chop and then add them into the raw flapjack mixture later on!

 

3. Remove the dates from the water with a slotted spoon. Transfer them into the food processor with 6-8 tbsp of its ‘soaking’ water. Pulse until mostly smooth. Add the coconut oil and peanut butter. Pulse until smooth and combined.

 

4. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease (or line with a liner) an 8X8″ baking tin.

 

5. Place the protein powder into a shaker bottle (or just use a large bowl if you do not own one). Add the milk. Shake (or whisk if applicable) until all of the powder has dissolved.

 

6.  …Time to work those biceps! 🙂

NB: Add the milk and the date mixture into the ‘well’ at the same time and mix together. Do not mix the milk and the date mixture separately (as we have shown here); it’s easier to do it all in one simultaneous step…but the choice is yours! 🙂

  • Place the oats, ground flaxseed, salt and cinnamon into the same bowl as the ground peanuts. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Make a well in the centre of the oaty mixture.
  • Pour the milk and date mixture into the ‘well’.
  • Using a silicone spatula or large spoon mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the dried cranberries and/or chopped pieces of peanuts (if applicable). Stir through. Tip: The mixture will be a bit ‘tacky’, but this is OK!

 

7. Place the mixture into the greased tin. Use the back of your spatula or a piece of parchment paper to help press it evenly down into the tin, making it as flat and as even as possible.

 

8. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 16-19 mins or until just lightly browned and firm to touch. Remove and allow the mixture to cool in the tin for 20 mins before slicing (that’s just enough time to make and have a perfectly cooled cup of tea!).

Tip: Loosen the sides of the baked mixture with a dinner or palate knife before slicing. Also slice the mixture into rectangles/’bars’ and then remove and allow them to cool on a cooling rack before slicing into smaller ‘bites/squares’.

We baked ours for 18 mins in a fan-assisted oven.

Our ‘bites’ ready for the freezer!

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Turkish Pilaf [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: ≤ 35 mins
Cooking Time: 2-3 hrs (*on a high heat setting.)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), sharp knife, colander, large/non-stick frying pan, frying spatula, measuring jug, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving has a moderate quantity of added sugar, salt and fat!

Pilaf is a simple, global and personalised dish; in fact it’s so simple that you can even cook it perfectly in a slow cooker! Arguably, it may of even cooked better than our stove top variety; sometimes ‘cheaper’ varieties of rice can be a headache! Yes, a simple rice dish (with minimum prep!) that is typically a one-pot meal (sorry about the frying pan!). 

Our fluffy Turkish pilaf was cooked in a seasoned broth with tasty mint, cinnamon and chilli and served with some of our delicious ‘crumbled feta‘, a dollop of low-fat houmous and a wedge of pitta bread. Garnish by scattering some lovely and beautiful pomegranate ‘gems’, toasted nuts, tasty dates and a delicious medley of herbs. Serve it in a large bowl and enjoy every delicious spoonful packed full of great Middle Eastern tastes! 🙂

Perhaps this is an ideal dish to add to your weekend planner?! #mealplanning 

We hope that you do try this delicious, stress free rice that can be seasoned with any flavour(s) that take you fancy; enjoy it often with spices and seasoning’s from all around the globe! 

Have a good weekend everyone and happy cooking!

 

We decided to use rapeseed oil (not olive) and no bell pepper! We also added a splash of rose water (not seen here). The ‘dried dill bottle’ was a reminder for us to defrost some of our frozen dill  and flat leaf parsley! We used packaged’ pomegranate seeds, but check out our previous Middle Eastern recipe on how to remove pomegranate seeds from a pomegranate. 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++3             Garlic Clove (fat ones, about 20g!)
+++++++++++++++180g       White Onion
+++++++++++++++1              Green Chilli (we used a 30g Serrano!)
+++++++++++++++260g      Carrot
+++++++++++++++1 tbsp     Rapeseed Oil
+++++++++++++++2g           Dried Mint
+++++++++++++++3g           Ground Cinnamon
+++++++++++++++¼-½ tsp Salt & Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++350g      Dried Easy Cook Basmati Rice
+++++++++++++++720g      Cooked Chickpeas (*about 3 tins or 360g dried + cooked)
+++++++++++++++700ml   Boiling Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++++++++1 tbsp     Rose water (*optional)
+++++++++++++++60g        Hazelnuts (or pine nuts)
+++++++++++++++60g        Dried Dates (or your favourite dried fruit)
+++++++++++++++               Fresh Dill
+++++++++++++++               Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
+++++++++++++++100g      Pomegranate Seeds

 

 

Directions

If you fancy it, prepare our ‘crumbled feta‘ first. Cover and refrigerate until the pilaf has finished cooking. Alternatively prepare it the night before; dice and serve it with the cooked rice.

 

Peel and dice the garlic. Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash the chilli, remove the stem, deseed and then finely chop. Wash, peel, trim the ends and finely cube the carrot.

 

 

  • Heat some rapeseed oil (or spray some low-fat cooking oil spray) in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat .
  • Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until soft.
  • Add the chilli and carrot. Gently fry for a further 2-3 mins or until softened. Tip: Whilst your waiting for the veggies to soften, boil 700ml of water in a kettle (you’ll need this for your stock!).
  • Add 2g dried mint 3g ground cinnamon. Season it with ¼- ½ tsp salt and black pepper. Stir to coat.
  • Add the rice. Stir to coat. Remove from the heat.

 

 

  1. Transfer the rice mixture into a slow cooker. Add the cooked chickpeas (*drain and wash any tinned varieties before adding!).
    2. Prepare the stock; pour it into the slow cooker. Add the rose water (if using). Stir together.
    3. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 2-3 hours (NB: ours took 2.5hrs).
    4. Fluff the rice grains with a fork just before serving; taste and season as necessary…but try not to eat it all of it straight out of the slow cooker! 😛

 

Before the rice has finished cooking, prepare some garnishes. Toast some hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat (and then roughly chop), finely dice some dried fruit (if applicable) and wash/finely chop some fresh dill and/or parsley (if desired).

 

Serve in a large bowl in addition to the ‘crumbled feta’, houmous (or minty yoghurt!) and pitta bread (if desired). Garnish the rice with nuts, dried fruit, fresh dill and/or parsley.

Both pictures show one portion of pilaf. 🙂

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover rice in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days. Alternatively freeze the rice (without garnishes) in one or more resealable containers; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Refrigerate the ‘crumbled feta’ in a separate air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 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. 

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

‘Souper Duper’ Green Soup w/ Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins (*Dependent upon skill, desired portion size and/or the number of handy kitchen helpers present!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, omega 3, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

A few weeks ago a moment of hunger and convenience had us purchasing and trialling a new flavour of ‘Covent Garden’ soup; the taste was fantastic but the colour (and price) was left to be desired for! So with that in mind, we decided to have a go and make our own twist on their green soup. How many of you have tried doing this? Do you find it enjoyable and really satisfying too? 🙂

We were happy with our result! A soup with a creamy and sweet ‘under note’ (from the puréed swede and baking potatoes) with an all round satisfying and delicious taste of chunky little veggies and grains.

We cooked this soup in bulk and it created five tasty lunches! So adjust your ingredients accordingly. We have also used a variety of grains (it was time to use up some of our tiddley, cupboard leftovers!), but feel free to use just one grain and/or your favourite(s)! If you need a completely GF option, swap the bulgar wheat and pearl barley for millet, buckwheat, brown rice and/or even lentils instead!

Also don’t be shy when it comes to using frozen vegetables, they can be just as tasty and nutritious, sometimes even more so! We used some of our delicious frozen spinach that we had previously purchased at Tesco. Thanks to the Orchard at Tesco, we had a coupon that allowed us to receive a discount! The price is extremely favourable, £1.40 for 900g, which works out much cheaper than fresh; so there’s no spoilage and you can have spinach whenever you fancy it! If you shop at Tesco, you should also look into becoming an Orchard member too!

 

Quick Foodie Facts and Tips:

  • Per serving (based on 10 servings) there is about 3.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! That’s one and half more than the Covent Garden version! 😀
  • As we’ve previously mentioned, a swede is also known as a rutabaga (in America!) or ‘neeps’  (in Scotland!) and is similar to a turnip. It is also in season until early next year!
  • Fancy another swede orientated soup, check out last year’s recipe here!

Happy cooking and have a great weekend everyone!

 

The potatoes and grains are not shown here!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Quinoa
+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Bulgar Wheat
+++++++++++++++++++100g     Dried Pearl Barley
+++++++++++++++++++1.3kg      Swede
+++++++++++++++++++400g     Baking Potato
+++++++++++++++++++500g     Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Celery
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Yellow Bell Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++230g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++2             Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++2 tbsp    Dried Thyme
+++++++++++++++++++               Ground Black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++3L           Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++220g      Frozen Peas
+++++++++++++++++++160g      Tesco Frozen Spinach
+++++++++++++++++++3 tbsp    Ground flaxseed
+++++++++++++++++++               Salt

 

Directions:

Cook your grain(s) according to the packet instructions.

Our cooked grains! NB: We used all of the pearl barley shown here and 2/3 of the quinoa/bulgar wheat…but don’t worry, we have adjusted the ingredient list accordingly!

 

In the meantime…

1. Wash and halve the swede and potato.
2. Peel the swede and potato.
3. Cube the swede and potato.
4. Place them into a large pot and fill it with cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10-12 mins or until tender.
5. Drain.

 

 

Whilst the swede and potato are cooking…

1. Place another large pot full of 3 litres water over a medium heat (this will be for the soup). Bring to a boil.
2. Prepare the other veggies. Tip:Chop them as small or as large as desired! Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into small cubes. Wash, trim the ends and finely cube the celery. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the onion and garlic.
3. Once boiling, place the stock into the pot of water. Whisk to dissolve. Add the carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, peas, thyme and some black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid. Simmer and cook for 5-7 mins or until tender.
4. Meanwhile, dice the frozen spinach.
5. Add the spinach during the last 2 mins of cooking.
6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Feel free to complete this step with a hand-held stick blender instead!

1. Once the swede and potato have cooled, transfer them into a blender. Tip: You might have to add a little water to help purée it.
2. Purée until smooth and creamy. NB: You will have to complete this step in batches.
3. Transfer the soup into a container or pot (as appropriate).
4. Add a little of the soup into one of your batches (to help give the soup a vibrant green colour!). Blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the remaining puréed soup into the large plastic container or pot.

 

 

1. Add the remaining soup into the container or pot. Stir together.
2. Add the cooked grains. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
3. Add the ground flax seed. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
4. Taste and season the soup with some salt and ground black pepper as necessary.
Tip: This is important as the puréed swede and potato will slightly ‘neutralise’ the soup’s flavour. Reheat over a medium-low heat (if required).

 

 

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some croutons, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh or dried parsley (if desired).

This shows one serving (based on ten servings) of reheated soup!

Enjoy! 😀

One Year Blogging: A Year in Review

Other

Happy ‘Blogiversary’ to us ! 

Unfortunately there is no celebratory cake, but that’s only because we are still working thorough Alex’s birthday cake from last week!  Yum! 😀

A delicious, homemade, raw, vegan cake… still defrosting at this stage!

 

It was one year ago today that we created our first post and now one-hundred and fifty posts later we decided to look back at that first one; an article discussing diet and exercise! It’s hard looking back at any of our first posts without being critical, but we should all embrace our previous experiences, learn from it and move on.

Initially publishing content seemed impossible; from battling with a one week, self-led crash course in WordPress (WP), inclusive of plenty of hair pulling and profanities(!), to the thought of having a published voice was, in all honesty (at least at the time), a little bit daunting!

We think that those that persevere and battle through all of WP’s ‘techy wizardry’, social media platforms and who generally take a leap of faith will agree that it is an amazing roller coaster ride, one that you cannot completely prepare yourself for!

Blogging doesn’t really come with a manual or person spec, although there are plenty of websites and eBooks to help with promotion and IT troubleshooting, it just comes with a learning curve. A right of passage which involves learning how to use HTML, SEO, analytics, correct tags and formatting, in addition to learning how to proof read like your life depends on it, the reality of how long it actually takes to create quality content and even knowing what direction you’re going with it. You will also (and most importantly) develop the ability not to sweat the small stuff, especially when it does not go to plan.

Anyone that starts blogging will start out with an idea or a ‘plan’, but what has materialised one, four or even twelve months on? Even the best intentions can change, but it doesn’t mean that we should give up on our goals. Our blog is our own. Our own creative outlet that we have decided to share with the world! We will all have different expectations and measurements for success, but the key is passion, hard work and commitment. Keep hold of why you started blogging in the first place. You cannot compare your progress to others, expect to have overnight success or even assume that your last three months of Google Analytics will be indicative of your next six. We’re pretty sure that we’ve read somewhere that about half of all new blogs give up after nine months; anyone belonging to this crazy ‘blogosphere’ could easily emphasise with this.

It you are new to blogging, please don’t give up! Inspiration and motivation comes and goes with the reality that blogging is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding! It can almost end up being a full-time job, but unless your blog is your business, you need to be realistic about it. Like all the other components in your life, it’s just one more to learn how to juggle and to find balance with. Our lives will inevitability encroach upon our blogging goals, but it might also help to inspire new ideas…which is fantastic because blogs continuously need new, genuine and interesting content.

We’ve really enjoyed blogging; from meeting new people, reading your guys fantastic posts, discovering new islands in the Pacific Ocean and having a lot of self-discovery, reflection and personal growth along the way. One bonus about providing food posts is that we can finally put all of our recipes in one place… instead of countless pieces of paper and notebooks! Yes, a virtual notebook that can also be used to highlight what we actually eat when we say to people that we consume ‘plant-based foods’ and of course the response is “so what do you eat?!” 😛

As you guys will know, Eat2Health encompasses ways on making sure you can make healthy and informed decisions regarding your health, as we all deserve to be healthy, happy and in control of our life. We’d like to thank everyone that has supported, inspired and joined us over the last year. We really love hearing about the things that you have enjoyed or how we might of helped you in some way; it’s priceless. There are no words to describe what you mean to us but we would like to reciprocate by saying that our door is always open. We always appreciate feedback and if there is a topic you would like to know more about (even about blogging) then please do not hesitate in dropping us a line!

We’d also like to mention that it’s been really interesting to see the search terms and the literature that has taken the most interest and maybe even resonated with you. Based on your views, here are Eat2Health’s all-time top five recipes and articles over the last year:

 

All-Time Top 5 Recipes

 

All-Time Top 5 Articles

 

So again,thanks so much for joining us for year one!  What would you like to see more of during year two? Please share your ideas below. We’ve got a few possible ideas in the pipeline and are definitely looking forward to another great year ahead! 😀

Happy blogging everyone and let’s always remember that when we put our minds to it, we are all capable of great things! ❤

 

1 Year Anniversary Achievement

 

Feature Image: Pink-birthday-cupcake By: ladybug-julie_Flickr

Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Mock Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Diet & Weight Loss

What a fantastic recipe! So creative and nutritious- we can’t wait to try it! 🙂

The Calgary Beet

If you’re hosting over the holidays, you may have at least one friend or family member requesting a vegetarian or vegan meal option. This roasted vegetable terrine is festive and makes a rich and hearty vegan option for those on special diets. And it tastes divine – food from the Gods in my opinion! Don’t omit the smoked chipotle pepper – it adds such great flavour! 

There is nothing difficult about making this terrine but there are three separate components that come together to make this dish what it is – the tomato pesto, the nut cheese and the roasted vegetables. Each of the individual components can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the terrine. Make the mock goat cheese first as it needs 24 hours to ripen. 

  IMG_6028

SERVES 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 14”…

View original post 991 more words

Masala Lentil Curry Bowl [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, non-stick pot w/lid, wooden spoon, small dish, fork

Notes: This recipe contains*: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre,calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in salt, sugars and sat fats!  (*These nutritional contents can vary due to the ingredients and quantities used).

This is such a quick and easy dinner! Just a few staples from your pantry, fridge and/or freezer to produce a tasty and impromptu Masala curry! We had some previously cooked raw pulses and legumes, but don’t feel that you have to stick to our ingredients list; utilising any spare vegetables and/or legumes or pulses (tinned, frozen or fresh) and some spices that you have lying around in your kitchen is all part of what this recipe is all about!

With minimal prep, delicious flavours and a great way to help meet your 5-A-Day, this curry will start making you feel good from the inside out!    

#seasonalvegetables  #nofoodwastage  #plantbasedlove

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients
~Make sure to wash your veggies first!~

1               Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed
40g          Root Ginger, peeled and grated
1               Green Bell Pepper, core removed, deseed & finely chopped
250g       Cooked Brown Lentils
120g        Cooked Chickpeas
2tsp         Rapeseed Oil (or low-fat frying oil)
20g          Masala Curry Paste
5g            Cumin seeds
+++++++  Ground Black Pepper
1               Tin Chopped Tomatoes
20g          Tomato Puree
15g           Corn Flour
30g          Baby spinach, large stems removed
10g           Fresh coriander, remove leaves from stems & finely chop
————————————————————————————————–
100g        Green Beans, steamed
2               Salad Tomato, stem removed & diced
1                Red Bell Pepper, core removed, deseed & sliced
2               Radish, stem removed & sliced
60g          Roasted Butternut Squash, sliced
4 tbsp      Soya Yoghurt
4g             Brown Mustard Seeds

 

Directions

1. Heat a non-stick pot over a medium heat. Spray it with low-fat cooking oil (or add 1-2 tsp of rapeseed oil). Add the garlic, ginger and green bell pepper. Gently fry for 1-3 mins or until softened.

2. Add the lentils and chickpeas. Stir to combine.

3. Add 20g curry paste, 5g cumin seeds and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to coat. Gently fry for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes and 20g tomato purée. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cover with a lid. Bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 10-12 mins or until the tomatoes have become tender.

5. In the meantime, steam the green beans and/or prepare any other veggies that you wish to company this dish!

6. Add 15g corn flour into a small dish with equals parts water. Stir into a paste. Once the curry has finished cooking, stir and pour this mixture into the curry. Keep stirring, the sauce will thicken slightly. Tip: If you prefer a thinner sauce, skip this step.

7. Add the spinach and coriander into the curry. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Remove from the heat. Allow the spinach to wilt slightly before serving.

8. Serve in a large bowl! Place any additional veggies around the edges of the bowl. Ladle the curry into the centre. Add a couple spoonfuls of soya yoghurt. Garnish with the mustard seeds and additional coriander if desired!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air tight container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, if you are making a bigger batch, store and freeze this curry instead; reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Enjoy! 

 

 

Love curries as much as we do??! Check out some of our other recipes for some further inspiration!

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Baked Tofu & Chickpea Flour Omelette [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves 2-4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins
Type: Main meal

Notes: This recipe contains: B- Vitamins, Vitamins D & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sugar and sat fats!

Vegan omelette or savoury pancake?! We’ll let you decide! This baked ‘omelette’ has a delicious faux ‘egg’ taste with the consistency of a pancake! Fill it with your favourite grain and/or seasonal vegetables and feel free to experiment with the spices and/or flavourings you use to season it with!

Admittedly we over estimated on the amount of rice we needed; I guess our stomachs got the best of us at the time! We used 150g of dried brown long grain rice, but we’d recommend using 80-100g instead…unless you have a hungry crowd or fancy the idea of putting it onto a bed of rice. Be warned though, this omelette is already pretty filling on its own! 🙂 

Our ‘omelette’ is also very versatile and relatively cheap to make! We sourced our gram flour (on sale!) in our local grocers; two  thumbs-up for cheap ethnic aisles! As most of you may already know, gram flour (which is also know as chickpea, garbanzo or besan flour) and tofu are both a great source of nutrients including: protein, iron and zinc (just to name a few)! It’s also good to note that gram flour is gluten free (but still check your package labels before purchasing folks)!

Soooo…

Have you got a lazy Sunday at your disposal? Fancy something new on the menu? Well then try whipping this recipe up for brunch or dinner!

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

Batter Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++3g          Asafoetida (or onion powder)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Garlic Powder (unsalted)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Ground Cumin
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Mild Paprika (or Pimenton de la Vera Dulce)
+++++++++++++++++++++1g           Ground Tumeric
+++++++++++++++++++++5g          Mustard Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++110g       Gram Flour
+++++++++++++++++++++2g          Baking Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++—————————————————————————-
+++++++++++++++++++++349g      Silken tofu
+++++++++++++++++++++120ml    Soy or Coconut milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++10ml      Cider Vinegar
+++++++++++++++++++++               Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++               Ground Black Pepper

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the dry ingredients (the first 8 items listed!) into a large mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.

 

 

Place the tofu into a food processor. Pulse until creamy and smooth.

 

 

Add the soya milk, vinegar and gram flour mixture. Blend until the ‘omelette’ batter is thoroughly combined. Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.

The batter might seem thick, but do not be tempted to make it thinner by adding additional milk!

 

 

Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper. Pour in the batter. Use a silicone spatula to spread it evenly over the tray.

If lining your tray with parchment paper, leave some overlapping, like the mat.

 

 

Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 25-35 mins or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Test it towards the end of baking (like you would a cake) with a toothpick- does it come out clean?! If yes, then it’s ready! NB:We used a fan-assisted oven.

 

In the meantime, cook some rice according to the packet instructions and prepare your veggie fillings! Wash, chop and cook (if required) any veggies that you would like to ‘roll’ into your omelette!

 

Once your omelette is removed from the oven, leave it to cool for about 5 mins in the tray and then transfer it (still on the mat/parchment paper) onto a cooling rack. Leave it to cool for a further 6-10 mins. NB: the longer you let it cool, the more stable the omelette becomes.

 

Assemble your fillings!

Our assembly went a little like this…

Firstly, gently (and carefully) loosen the omelette away from the mat or parchment paper using a palate or large kitchen knife. NB: you don’t want your omelette sticking and tearing when you finally roll it up! :/

Secondly, layer the ‘flatter’ ingredients first…

 

 

…followed by your bigger ingredients!

 

 

Finally, add your seasoned rice (or any other grain you prefer!).

We had a lot of filling, which made rolling it up super tricky! NB: our rice had red and spring onion, salad tomato, red bell pepper, cumin seeds, salt, pepper and some fresh coriander. Yum!

 

Carefully roll it up (a bit like rolling sushi or making a ‘Yule log’ cake!).

 

 

Finally, (and carefully!) slide it off the mat onto a serving plate for all to enjoy…

 

…or slice and serve instead!

 

As we mentioned earlier, we overestimated the rice…so we had an overload of plant-based deliciousness!

Enjoy!

Broad Bean, Roasted Bell Pepper & Spinach Sandwich [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Assembly: ≤8 mins
Type: Main Meal

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

It’s Friday- so let’s make this post quick and tasty! 🙂

This is a great vegan sandwich (that admittedly we made ages ago) that is perfect for those lunch time slumps! We’re not just talking about fuelling you with postprandial energy (because this sandwich has loads of sustainable energy!), but for when you are bored with your regular lunchtime menu. #stuckinarut #samelunchforamonth !!

Planning is important to help create a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle (particularly one that you won’t loathe and that will continually develop your palate and cooking skills!)…

…but if you follow a plant-based lifestyle, this typically means that you will have to plan ahead (unless you don’t budget!?!) and really tap into your creative and adventurous side, so that your meals avoid becoming repetitive, boring and/or potentially unhealthy or just not nutritionally balanced! 

If you’re like us, lunchtime is the most difficult meal to meal plan, not only due to schedules but general indecisiveness! We can be creatures of habit when it comes to our main meals, but sometimes we really don’t know what we’ll fancy for lunch until the day; all the more reason to meal plan some decent eats! 

This sandwich can be prepped in advance and prepared on the day (or the night before). It contains our lovely and zesty broad bean and spinach dip (that also makes an awesome sandwich filling!). Add some beautifully roasted red bell peppers and delicate baby spinach; all layered between a couple slices of toasted multi-grain bread (delicious!).👌 Wash it down with a glass of unsweetened almond or soya milk and you’re good to get on with the rest of your day! #thatfridayfeeling

Check out some of our other sandwichessaladssoups or our vegan bites for some further hearty and healthful lunchtime inspiration!

Quick fact:

  • Per serving, this sandwich provides you with approx. 2.5 servings of fruits/veggies towards your 5-A-Day!

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

1           Roasted Red Bell Peppers, cut into strips
3T.       Broad Bean & Spinach Dip
1           Handful of Baby Spinach, washed & dried
2          Slices of Multi-Grain Bread, toasted (GF if required)

 

Directions (In Seven Simple Steps!)

  1. Chop the roasted bell pepper into strips (if you haven’t already done so).

       2. Wash and dry the spinach. Remove and discard any large stems.

       3. Place the bread into a toaster and heat until lightly brown and crispy.

  4. Spoon 2 tbsp of broad bean dip onto one slice of the bread. Spread evenly.

 

5. Layer the spinach over the spread.

 

6. Layer the strips of roasted bell pepper over the spinach. Spoon 1 tbsp of bean spread onto the other slice of bread, spreading evenly.

 

7. Place the slice of bread (with just the bean spread) over the roasted bell pepper. Slice into halves and serve.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Pearl Barley Tabbouleh-Fattoush Fusion Salad w/ Crumbled ‘Feta’ [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep,Cooking & Assembly: 40-45 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or grain used).
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), large bowl or casserole dish, large pot (with lid), colander, sharp knife, baking tray (or grill pan), small dish, pastry brush, resealable containers

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

We’re both fans of Middle Eastern (ME) foods, so when looking for something to add to our meal plan last Saturday, Tabbouleh sprang to mind! It’s a great recipe that enables you to still make use of some tasty, cheap and seasonal ingredients (tomatoes and cucumber!) or herbs from your garden before summer is officially gone. Yes, this salad can really put a spring in your step courtesy of its wonderful, healthful and fresh flavours; mint, parsley and lemon are delicious and they can really transform a dish!

For those that are unfamiliar with this recipe, Tabbouleh is a ME dish that offers big flavours, and beautiful colours that are all really satisfying to the last bite! It can be served with flatbreads, but we thought about taking that idea one step further and created this Tabbouleh-Fattoush fusion salad (with crumbled ‘feta’ aka marinated, silken tofu)!

Fattoush is another ME classic where flatbreads (that have become stale) are then seasoned, toasted or fried to create croutons. These delicious morsels of bread are then combined in a chunky, vegetable-based salad; mint, parsley and sumac (a tart and citrusy spice that comes from a flower) are typical flavours that give this salad a fresh and tangy taste.

So why the pearl barley?? We prefer larger grains in our salads, but unfortunately giant couscous (at least where we live) can be quite pricey in comparison to other grains. Luckily, pearl barley makes a tasty and cheap substitution… it just takes a little longer to cook (but we assure you it’s completely worth the wait)!

We kept our salad veggies slightly chunky and varied; radish is another great, seasonal vegetable that works well in this salad. We also added crushed sumac berries (aka ground sumac) to not only to season the croutons, but the salad and tofu. If you are not keen on pearl barley, you could use more traditional Tabbouleh grains such as Israeli couscous or bulgur wheat, or even experiment with orzo. If you need a gluten free option, be inventive! Try using cooked quinoa, millet, brown basmati or wild rice, or a GF couscous (if you don’t mind the taste of maize).

Please adjust the flavourings, grains and/or vegetables to your own personal taste and we hope that you enjoy this healthy salad as much as we did! 😀

Quick Foodie Facts & Tips:

  • Per serving, this salad provides you with approx. 3 servings of fruits/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!
  • Pearl barley is naturally low in fat and sugar and is a great source of many nutrients including: protein, fibre, Vitamin B3, iron, zinc (just to name a few) among other vitamins and minerals.

 

Ingredients

NB: If using more than two pitta breads, increase the oil mixture accordingly. Also, if you’re using fresh lemon juice, use the juice from approx. three small lemons or two large ones.

Need an easy-print recipe?Print here. 🙂

 

Directions
  • Prepare the ‘crumbled feta’. Open, drain and place the tofu into a casserole (or large) dish. Sprinkle over 2g onion powder, 2g dried oregano and 1/2 tsp crushed sumac berries. Pour over 2 tbsp garlic-infused and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Leave it to marinade for about 40-45 mins (if possible). Tip: Prepare this the day before; the longer you allow for marinating, the better the ‘crumbled feta’ (aka tofu!) will taste.
  • In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions. Drain. Rinse with tepid water (if necessary). Allow to cool. NB: Ours took about 30-35 mins to cook. We rinsed ours as it was a bit ‘starchy’ post-cooking.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the salad veggies. Wash and remove the mint and parsley leaves from its stem; coarsely chop them. Wash, trim the ends and roughly dice the cucumber. Wash, trim the ends and chop the spring onion into slices. Remove the stem, wash and then dice the tomatoes. Wash, trim the tops and finely slice the radishes Tip: a cheese grater works great for this!

 

 

Prepare The Croutons (The Fattoush!)

NB: Use 1/2 to 1 pitta bread/person. We recommend heating the bread in ‘larger pieces’; smaller pieces burn faster and you’ll have  an unnecessary amount to turn over!

  1. Heat the grill to a medium-high setting.

2. Place 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of crushed sumac berries and a pinch of salt into a small dish. Mix with a fork to thoroughly combine.

3. Slice the pitta bread into halves. Lightly coat both sides with the oil mixture using a pastry brush or your fingers. Place under the hot grill for 2 mins, turn and heat for a further 2-3 mins or until lightly toasted. Remove.

4. Separate the pitta bread. Coat the inside of the bread with the remaining oil mixture. Place back under the grill for a further 1-2 mins or until lightly browned and slightly crispy. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

5. Break into smaller pieces (if desired).

 

Assemble The Salad!

Note: (Step 1): Oops! We got one step ahead of ourselves and put it into this bowl instead of our tupperware for future lunches!

  1. Once cool, place the pearl barley into a large bowl or (resealable plastic container) with the mint and parsley. Stir with a fork to combine and ‘fluff’ the grains.

2. Add the cucumber, spring onion, tomatoes, radish, 2 tbsp garlic-infused  and 2- 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 tbsp lemon juice and ½-1 tsp crushed sumac berries. Season it to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

3. Stir with a fork to thoroughly combine. Taste and season as necessary.

4. Gently chop the tofu into rough pieces (as small or as large as desired) to form your ‘crumbled feta’.

5. If you are not serving this straight away, remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a separate resealable container with a little of its marinating liquid (if preferred).

 

Place the salad onto a serving place. Top with the ‘crumbled feta’ and croutons.

This shows one serving. We also added some crushed pistachios and sliced black olives! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; the salad is best consumed within 3 days. NB: The tofu is best consumed within 4-5 days. 

Recipe updated: 23/02/16

“Tread with Caution- Gluten-Free Is a Fad” A Reader Response

Diet & Weight Loss

Hello everyone! Thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule today and stopping by our blog! Before you begin to read this post, please visit our friends over at theCountyfare.net. They’re a lovely, family-orientated nutrition-based site fully supporting and supplying everyone with evidence-based nutrition advice. They wrote this fantastic article on Gluten-Free (GF) diets last week that prompted us to write a response… only it turns out we actually had a lot to say!

Which is exactly what’s brought you to our blog today; this post shows our views and mutual agreements with thecountyfare concerning gluten-free diets.

Before we continue, we would like to quote thecountyfare regarding this topic “…I want to make very clear that one’s being incorrect on or unaware of the underlying science does not make him a bad person or a dumb person….I hope no one will take this article as a personal criticism – I’m attempting to criticize an idea here.”

 

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s get chatting!

 

 

Firstly, we would like to say what an outstanding post guys! To sum it up in one word… Agreed! For non-coeliac sufferers, the ‘gluten free diet’ is a fad.

You only need to enter the search terms: gluten free diet + weight loss into an internet browser to see how out of control another fad diet has become. Is it unprecedented? …No.

When it comes to nutrition people seem to think that just because we all eat, we can all be experts and everybody has an opinion and sometimes strong convictions. Unfortunately these opinions can be born out of ignorance and misinformation which is often the result of cyclic promotion amongst outspoken individuals, who resort to the online equivalent of playground yelling with their dime a dozen SEO snippets.

The truth of the matter is that there are too many people supplying us with unregulated health advice.

 

Gluten Free Diets And Weight Loss

Anyone opting for a ‘gluten free diet’ as a weight loss tool will ultimately lose weight by reducing kcals. Here’s what the British Dietetic Association (BDA) says in their article entitled “Top 5 Worst Celebrity Diets To Avoid in 2014” in which Gluten free Diet was number 3 “While important for those with coeliac disease … there is no credible published research showing that a gluten-free diet per se leads to weight loss in those without.”

 

What a gluten free diet can do is make it easier to lose weight because it can be very restrictive; but this isn’t a good thing:

1. A lot of people will cut out staple carbohydrate sources going down this path, e.g. pasta, breads, cereals etc. but do not find suitable replacements…possibly because they think they need to buy like-for-like (but GF products are pricy, so they don’t)…however, legumes, pulses, potatoes, millet, buckwheat, rice etc. are all naturally GF folks.

 

2. People typically end up cutting out a lot of processed foods in the process, e.g. all of their usual take-aways, cakes, biscuits and doughnuts etc. become off limits; empty calories that would normally expand anyone’s waistline become a thing of the past. However, there are always exceptions; people might substitute cakes for GF ones or make GF / ‘Paleo desserts’ themselves, some of which are full of coconut flour and sugar (this completely contradicts the Paleo diet in the first place!). We’re adamant that you wouldn’t see any cave men hunting ‘cakes’ or grinding up coconuts into flour and refining sugar in order to bake a cake in their imaginary ovens!

 

3. For reasons mentioned above! This new restrictive diet can be a tool for those with disordered eating behaviours (and possibly a full blown eating disorder) to fashionably lose weight under the pretence that they have gluten intolerance. Apart from medical professionals, who is willing or capable of challenging their views and diet? As one of these medical professionals I can tell you it’s not easy.

 

 

Responding To thecountyfare’s Article

Nutrition Is A Science…

(One that we have both studied) and it needs to be respected. We need to refer to evidence and studies to form relevant arguments and points as is made clear in the article by thecountyfare.

Frustratingly, even with the structured evidence that science provides, people will continue to have polarised views on what’s healthy and how they should live their lives; shutting down conversations that make them uncomfortable and/or where they are unable to back up their views with anything substantial and/or relevant.

Some people will unfortunately always argue science, even when it’s in black and white; a lot of people do not like facing change.  As mentioned, science isn’t perfect, nor does it have all the answers…but some people (when approached with new concepts) will always react as if there is some conspiracy taking place.

Most people are perfectly happy to use prescribed medications, despite the fact that almost all the research on them has been carried out by the companies that intend to sell them to us. So calling into question the ethics of researchers in nutritional subjects is a little hypocritical; whatever happened to approaching things carte blanche?

Understandably we should question the motives of the researchers and investigate possible vested interests, but it would be grossly unfair to dismiss out of hand decades of research just because of who may or may not have picked up the cheque.

 

‘Weight Loss And Feeling Better’

The ‘Paleo guy’ would have undoubtedly lost weight on a diet that was low kcal, low-fat, high protein and low G.I, and we’re sure he would have felt better (losing 60lbs would do that!).  However, the concept of feeling better than 10 years ago is such an ambiguous and subjective statement that it’s rendered almost meaningless; with the foibles that memory has, you can’t compare the state of your mind in this way over the course of one month let alone a decade.  This is one reason why subjective measurements in research are always considered second rate to physiological measurements, i.e. blood tests.  This is linked to the ‘nocebo effect’ that was discussed.

 

‘I’m Getting Everything I Need’

thecountyfare makes another good point, unless this guy has blood tests or strictly monitors and analyses his diet, he cannot evaluate his overall diet/health with confidence- no one can. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) will only request vitamin and mineral analysis on an ‘as needs basis’ and only if you can convince your GP, so the majority of people will not have these types of tests; you’ll be lucky if they go for routine blood tests. Unfortunately people seem to take matters into their own hands and do their best to avoid healthcare professionals and needles!

Now some people may use nutritional databases such as the USDA one here  and calculate their nutritional intake, but this is very time consuming and to further complicate matters there is the issue of bioavailability and optimal absorption;  put simply, this is how well micronutrients are digested and made available for use.

The body tightly regulates the absorption of some to prevent toxicity, which can mean high dose supplementation is a waste of money.  Even from food sources micronutrient absorption can be impaired by competing micronutrients and other foodstuffs, not to mention that some micronutrients come in different forms depending on the food they are found in and these forms are absorbed at different rates.  To call the matter complex is an understatement but it does highlight why you can’t be blasé when claiming ‘to get all you need’.

 

Gluten Free Promotion

The science is there to support why people need to be GF (as a coeliac) but not as a ‘gluten free fad’. As it stands, people’s lives seem to be governed by GF propaganda and overpriced GF products; there is no need for this. As thecountyfare mentioned, there seems to be a monopoly over who sells what.  It’s ridiculous how many GF products are now available; it’s true, companies saw a market and now they are cashing in… on people’s concerns and laziness.

These companies have also started producing products that are not only GF but dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and/or  Vegan (V) as well, in the hope that their products will ‘appear’ even healthier. Unfortunately some of us might not realise that something that is GF, DF, EF and/or V can still be unhealthy and inappropriate. This can confuse the matter and adds to these ‘diet trends’.

 

Seek Advice

Living in ignorance about your health isn’t bliss and nor is pretending you have all the answers. For example, a simple blood test for coeliac disease could provide a diagnosis (if someone has enough antibodies), but the gold standard is still a bowel biopsy (at least in the UK).

For those that have symptoms and are concerned, the worst course of action (as with all health conditions) is to self-diagnose and self-treat, due to the risk of misdiagnosis, e.g. putting yourself on a GF diet for six months and then paying a visit to your doctor to request blood tests. This would be an exercise in futility; blood tests would show a skewed result because there would be fewer antibodies present, giving you a false negative; this might result in you having a more cavalier approach to a GF diet, rather than the total exclusion required.

We’re not saying gluten intolerances do not exist and the studies mentioned in the article raise some interesting points (especially regarding FODMAPs), people just need to seek their healthcare professional’s advice. Unfortunately, using Google (other search engines are also available!), fad diet books or your own hypochondria to base health decisions on is not a great idea.  We agree that it’s incredibly irritating and potentially harmful if these people start spreading their misguided information regarding nutrition; this is where fads of eating 100 bananas a day come from. We wish people would stop producing ‘trendy diets’ and that celebrities could make do with one less wheelbarrow full of cash and stop endorsing them!

Coeliac disease is a complex topic, and one we won’t go into now; we plan to write about it on our own blog in the future.

 

Our Closing Thoughts

We would like to mention that we have never advocated a trending ‘gluten free diet’, but we do offer it as a choice through our recipes because as we have mentioned, coeliac disease is a very real condition. The quality of GF products haven’t been the best in the past and everyone should be encouraged to bake/cook from scratch (these are essential life skills for a healthy lifestyle/healthy living) whether you have a food allergy or not.

Adapting any alternative lifestyle (especially going WFPB) requires you to plan ahead; making sure your diet is nutritionally adequate. People need to reflect on the choices they make; are they making informed ones? …What is influencing their decisions?

Every pill, supplement or diet going isn’t necessary going to produce the life-changing results they desire, it may also be inappropriate and isn’t necessarily backed by scientific evidence; although companies like to take snippets from studies sometimes out of context to sell products.

 

So thecountyfare is right folks, tread with caution indeed.

 

Article written by:
Alex Risby BSc, RD and Lynn Risby BSc, Nutritionist

Vegan And Gluten Free Tofu Frittata

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep, Cooking & Setting Time: ≤160 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, non-stick pot, food processor, non-stick frying pan, spatula, spring-form baking tin, cooling rack.

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

A great plant-based frittata with plenty of taste, easy execution (although a little time consuming than your average tofu omelette!), we assure you that it’s well worth the wait! 🙂

Happy cooking everyone! 

 

Ingredients

Directions

1. Drain and place and press the tofu between two heavy chopping boards. Allow it to drain and to remove any excess water for about 30 mins.

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

3. Heat the oven to 190°C/375ºF. Lightly grease a 22” spring-form tin with a quarter of the oil.

4. Meanwhile, create the ‘flax egg’. Place the flaxseed into a small dish; add some water and stir until combined. Peel and dice the onion. Wash, trim the ends, finely slice and then separate the spring onion ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ halves.

5. Peel and crush the garlic. Wash, remove the core and stem and then finely chop the bell pepper. Wash, dry and roughly dice the mushrooms. Wash, dry and roughly chop the spinach.

6. If applicable, break the kale leaves from its stalk, wash, dry, trim the ends and then finely shred. Wash, pat dry and then roughly chop the basil. Finely chop the olives (if using). Wash, trim the ends and then grate the courgette into thin discs. Wash and remove the stem from the tomatoes. Wash and dry the rocket.

7. Drain the remaining water off the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Break and crumble it into a food processor. Add the mustard, turmeric, paprika, onion powder, tamari sauce (or miso paste), nutritional yeast (or ‘cheese’ powder), corn starch, milk and another quarter of the remaining oil. Blend until a smooth consistency is achieved. Season it with some black pepper to taste.

8. Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Place the rice into a mixing bowl. Add the flaxseed mixture. Gently mix together with a spatula. Transfer the mixture into the tin. Press the rice firmly into the bottom, creating a smooth, even layer. Brush the top with half of the remaining oil. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 10 mins and then remove. Tip: Make sure to turn on a kitchen timer, with everything going on it’s too easy to forget about it cooking! Turn the oven down to 180°C/350ºF.

9. In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large, non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the onion, the top parts of the spring onions and the garlic. Sauté it for 1-2 mins or until softened. Add the bell pepper and the mushrooms. Sauté it for approximately 4-5 mins or until softened.

10. Add the spinach, kale, basil (or parsley if using) and the bottom parts of the spring onions. Tip: Do this step a little at a time if necessary, as there might be too much to fit in the pan all at once; this will allow time for the spinach and kale to wilt down. As it wilts, turn the heat down to its lowest setting.

11. Pour the tofu mixture into the frying pan with the vegetables. Add the olives (if using). Stir until everything is combined. Pour this mixture over the rice crust. Place the courgette on top of the frittata in a layered manner around the edges.

12. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 40-50 mins, depending on how deep or shallow the pan is. Tip: Check it after 35 mins to make sure it’s not too brown. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Allow the frittata to cool and set in the tin for about an hour before removing the sides of the pan. Once the sides are removed, allow it to cool before slicing (if required).

Slice the frittata into slices. Transfer onto a serving plate. Serve the tomatoes and rocket (as a garnish) or with some homemade slaw, tasty potatoes, or a salad instead; it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  🙂

ictures three & four: step 12

Picture one: step 8, Picture two: step 11, Pictures three & four: step 12

 

 

 

 Refrigerate any left-overs in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 1-2 days. NB: Reheat the frittata in a microwave for approximately 3-5 mins or until it’s steaming hot all the way through. Do not reheat more than once.

 

Sources:
Recipe adapted from: An ode to mungbeans  (Thanks very much for this great recipe!)