One-pot meals are the savior of weeknight cooking, and this pasta is one of my go-tos. It’s pasta and lentils simmered in crushed tomatoes, finished with lots of chopped kale, saffron, swirls of tahini and chopped almonds. I made a video of how it comes together, but the gist is to simply place most of the ingredients into a big pan or skillet with boiling water, simmer down until the pasta is tender, and plate in shallow bowls with your favorite toppings (I include a list of suggestions). Variations couldn’t be easier once you get the hang of the technique. The recipe is included here, and you can also see how I pull it together in the video. As I mention in it, you can easily do a vegan version of this, or use whatever gluten-free pasta you like. I think the reason I always come back to this recipe is because you’ve got greens, protein from the lentils, and a range of whole healthful ingredients all in one pan. It’s a total crowd-pleaser, and leftovers are A+ as well.
Also! A few of you have asked where to find a list of all my videos in one spot. There will always an up-to-date list on this You Tube page. I’m also posting the shorter ones to Instagram. If you subscribe on You Tube, you won’t miss any, that’s probably the safest bet. In addition to the recipe videos, I’m super excited to post more travel videos. I’m working on one from a trip to (beautiful, sunny!) Tucson, Arizona last week, and a separate video of what I made to take along with me as travel snacks. So, if you subscribe or follow on one of those channels, you’ll likely get the heads up. I also link in the 101 Cookbooks newsletter (sign-ups are sprinkled all over)….The videos are far from perfect (especially the ones I’m in laugh/cry), but they’re so fun to make, and my hope is that I’ll get better at it over the course of the year – 2017 goals! 😉 xx! -h
An Excellent, One-pan, Protein-packed Power Pasta
French lentils or black beluga lentils are both great choices here because they retain their shape.
1 pound dried pasta (garganelli is great)
1 pound 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Zest of two lemons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup cooked lentils
1 pound kale, de-stemmed and chopped
pinch of saffron and/or other favorite spice blend
to serve: any/ all of the following: tahini, torn basil, lots of Parmesan, olives, toasted almonds, poached egg, basil
Place the pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, and salt into a large, deep skillet or saucepan. Pour 4 cups of boiling water over the tomato mixture, cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover, and simmer until the pasta is just al dente, depending on the pasta this typically takes 6-10 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the pasta is al dente, stir in the lentils, and then the kale, allowing it to collapse. Finish with the saffron. Allow the pasta to finish cooking, and much of the liquid to be absorbed, another minute or so. Serve topped with any toppings you like in a shallow bowl – dollops of tahini, chopped almonds and olives are pictured here.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 15 min
Seriously, I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to share this very last minute, made-up-on-the-spot-recipe, if not simply because I’d rather not forget it exists. As far as I am aware there are no rules for simplicity of recipes on blogs, so it seems I’m safe.
I have said this before and I’ll say it again. Curried eggs are OVERRATED! As a child, the curried egg sandwiches (complete with fluffy white supermarket bread and butter) were THE business. Moist, squeezing out the sides deliciousness. Strangely though they disappeared from my diet, along with Friday night fried dimmies (the treat when mum and dad went out), Kraft cheddar (heaven forbid) and what’s that processed meat roll called? The one we had with home made tomato sauce? I forget. Irrespective, curried eggs died an unjustified death with the rest of the processed rubbish that I (only occasionally) ate, as a treat. Shame.
Anyway, what was a very quick and easy lunch (above) was a total delight and I think it needs replicating (sans store bought mayo and any other nasties in sight).
2 eggs, hard boiled, mashed up with a fork
1 heaped teaspoon Greek or natural yoghurt (I use five:am Greek)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of salt
Mash up all the ingredients together and dollop onto your cracker, sandwich…whatever tickles your fancy. Enjoy.
It’s just after 9pm and my mind has no sooner switched off from thinking about a dinner creation and it’s moved straight onto breakfast. This is what happens when you’re a bit food ‘mad’ (I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…I’m no rabbit in the meals department). I have spent many years of a corporate career trying to find an outlet that satiates my creativity and I guess I’ve found it. The purpose of those couple of sentences is to show you what often happens in my kitchen after dinner. Breakfast happens. And attached is yesterday’s breakfast which was lovingly prepared in about two minutes.
People, this is FAIL proof, seriously. As long as you don’t add salt instead of stevia or pepper instead of chia seeds. You get my drift. In any case if you haven’t yet discovered chia seeds, please give these little seeds of joy a go. They are so very good of you – they have the highest known plant source of Omega-3 – sold?! But the best thing is that they are super versatile. Add liquid to chia and it turns into jelly, thickens up in the space of 10 minutes. For a “need-a-spoon-consistency” smoothie lover like myself, chia is a dream come true.
1/3 cup chia seeds (white or black, no difference)
3/4 cup almond milk (or your choice of milk, you could even use water)
1/4 cup raspberries
1 heaped teaspoon goji berries
1 tablespoon of natural, full fat yoghurt
Stevia to taste (I used a fat pinch)
1 dessert spoon ground flaxseed (or LSA and both optional)
A few drops of vanilla essence or vanilla powder
1 dessert spoon mesquite powder (or maca powder, both optional)
Throw it all in the glass and stir. Cover and pop in the fridge for breakfast. Voila!
A word of warning, don’t leave your chia seeds sitting in the liquid at the bottom of the glass even for a minute. They’ll solidify and you’ll have a battle mixing in all the other ingredients. Also, never fear if you don’t have all of these ingredients. You could throw chia, milk, a sweetener and berries and you’ll have a beautiful thick parfait. You could also add nut butters, chopped nuts, coconut oil (oh lord that’s good – it solidifies in little bits and adds great texture). Go for your life with it. Also, you can do this 15-30 minutes before breakfast. I’m just a bit food mad and can’t wait that long.
Ok, no room for modesty on this blog today – holy moly was I happy with myself this morning when a teaspoon of this creamy, chocolatey delight made it into my mouth! As far as I’m concerned healthy breakfast ideas need to be made multiple times over and enjoyed for their healthy, healing, nutritional value.
As per my instagram post at breakfast I listened to an amazing raw food lecture by David Wolfe yesterday where he shared the fact that there is a proven synergy between chocolate (the number one antioxidant food in the world – 15 times higher than blueberries and THIRTY times higher than red wine!) and berries. When these foods are combined the efficacy of the antioxidants actually getting into your blood is doubled if not tripled. I decided to listen to David and give my body a dose of what it no doubt needs – a beautifully easy and healthy breakfast idea that is also an antioxidant powerhouse! Any excuse for a chocolate hit will do.
Let me preface this by saying I love chocolate and I love it dark. If you struggle with the intensity of rich chocolate perhaps start this recipe with less cacao and see how you go. In any
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) (this portion was edited to add more liquid 5/13)
1/4 cup berries (I used frozen in the mousse)
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tablespoon good quality, raw cacao (in my case, heaped)
1-2 heaped tablespoons greek or natural yoghurt (or CoYo)
1 heaped teaspoon maca powder
2 teaspoons rice malt syrup or stevia to taste
Optional toppings: a dollop of yoghurt and fresh berries (not optional in my book 😉
Throw all ingredients into your blender/Thermomix and blend until smooth. I like mine really, really thick and smooth so I let it run for a good minute or two. Given it’s lack of liquid it will now be pretty thick. I poured mine into a glass and popped it into the fridge for 20 minutes to let the chia seeds soften (easier on your digestion).
I am seriously really looking forward to your feedback so please share!
Last week I posted a photo on my instagram feed and my Facebook page of one of the easiest dishes of all time and it attracted a little attention (seriously not worthy of it’s lack of effort!). It almost feels like cheating putting this up as a recipe. But hey, if it helps you create a pretty (and pretty impressive looking) dish then isn’t that the main thing?! I am not going to go through the entire dish today because the hero here is the quinoa side. Quite clearly you can see what we have here is a piece of baked salmon on beetroot quinoa with a big dollop (oh how I love the dollop) of dairy free basil pesto.
This recipe makes enough for the side you see in the photo, so one portion. For those of you who don’t know this already, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Cooked quinoa freezes beautifully. I always have a sweet and a savoury quinoa serve in my freezer ready to go. Simply whip it out on the day you need it and let it defrost (it defrosts quickly). To reheat just add a little more stock (if savoury) or a little milk etc (if sweet). Or water of course. You would never know it had been frozen.
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (you will need to use quinoa cooked in stock for this recipe I feel, it needs the extra oomph)
1 heaped teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup raw beetroot, grated
If you are cooking the quinoa from scratch throw the lemon rind in during the cooking process. If you’re using frozen quinoa like me here, put the cold quinoa in a small saucepan with a little stock and the lemon rind and heat gently. Just before serving stir through the grated beetroot. The colour of the quinoa quickly stains the entire dish.
And that my friends, is it!
Last weekend I went to the markets on Sunday afternoon. As many of you would know, visiting the markets at the end of the week has it’s upside – you get loads of produce very, very cheaply! The downside can be the sheer volume of people with the very same idea, which is one reason I don’t tend to go on a Sunday. Anyway. This particular Sunday I bought a LOT of strawberries (a lot of very ripe strawberries) which needed immediate attention. After the recent success of my Raw Raspberry and Vanilla Chia Jam, I decided to create an equally delicious jam, only this time using fresh strawberries. As with the last recipe – jam was never easier to make, mark my words! Oh and a special little shout out to the gorgeous Catie at The Staple Store, who is one of the most loved functional food store owners going around (in Melbourne). She rocks.
1.5 cups fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 orange, peeled
1 teaspoon orange peel or zest (I literally just sliced a little of the peel, omit if you prefer less tang)
Seeds of one vanilla pod (or vanilla essence)
Sweetener to taste (I used 4 drops of liquid stevia, the orange is quite sweet so you don’t need much).
Simply throw all your ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Cover and pop in the fridge for a minimum of an hour or overnight. The jam should last in your fridge for up to a week. If you prefers yours runnier, add 1/4 cup water to the blender.
To all those green juice addicts out there you’ll understand my sentiments here. I am a green juice addict. But with all habit forming activities this one took a while to set in. I remember (not so long ago) coming home from work and pouring myself a a big fat gin and tonic (with 3 large ice cubes and a hefty slice of lemon). I’d sit down and watch the SBS or ABC news every night with my ‘relaxant’. Far out I loved that little routine.
I thought about that tonight when I came inside from the routine afternoon dog walk. How things have changed. These days there is something about the greenness of these green juices, the thought of the goodness running through my veins that keeps me coming back for more (I promise if this addiction happened to me, it could happen to anyone!). This evening I marched straight to the fridge, pulled out bundles of chilled greens and commenced my 5.30pm (ish) green juicing routine.
So you can throw anything green in a green juice, you can also throw lemon in green juice (which I recommend if you are new to green juices, it softens the flavour). It just needs to be raw (obviously), pesticide free, ideally organic and fresh (it’s all well and good to juice your veg because they’re going soft in the chiller but let’s be honest, soft veg is lacking in the nutrients department). Green juices are seriously one of the best things you can do for your health.
1/2 bunch english spinach
1 or 2 stalks silver beet and kale
1 stalk celery
Handful of parsley & mint (if you’ve got it)
1 knob of ginger (to taste)
1 small piece of turmeric
1 clove garlic
Throw it all in the juicer and press play. Voila!
I honestly think the one meal I miss the MOST since being diagnosed with a wheat intolerance about seven years ago is a beautiful fresh salad roll or sandwich. The whole combo of fresh multi-grain bread and beautiful fresh salad (and ham off the bone if at Christmas time) was hard to beat. But when ingredients are omitted from your diet there is always a silver lining…if you just take the time to think outside the bread bin/box. I have become very sensitive to my body’s daily fuel requirements and it’s clear to me that I need good quality protein in at least two of my meals each day. Eggs (or ‘magic bullets’) and I have a very close relationship and are my very favourite protein source. So I would like to share the recipe for my anti-bread salad wrap. Don’t blink or you really will miss it.
Give two eggs a really good whisk or beat. Finely chop a heaped teaspoon of parsley and mix into the eggs with a little salt and pepper. Heat oil (I use coconut oil) in a small omelette pan. Once the pan is hot pour in the eggy mixture and whirl it around the pan. As the edges are just drying, with your spatula drag the mixture into the centre allowing the wet egg mixture to fall to the sides. Do this around the pan until it looks almost cooked. Then flip the omelette over and cook the other side, for about 1-2 minutes. Turn onto a plate and lay along one end your chopped salad ingredients. Then very carefully roll your wrap up, cut in half and hey presto – an eggy wrap!
You can add whatever salad ingredients you like but I suggest the following are essential additions: chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado, herbs (heaps and any!), rocket or spinach.
About five months ago I started eating sardines, for the first time in my young (ish ;-)) life. I wasn’t fed them as a child and they’re certainly not appealing on face value so I was happy to keep them at arms length. Irrespective, there is little fish in my diet. I eat a piece of farmed salmon once a month and canned wild red Alaskan salmon every couple of weeks. I eat the farmed salmon purely to give me variety, not because of it’s nutritional value (of which I believe there is little?) and because it is likely to have a lower mercury content than a lot of non-farmed, large fish. I wrote a post about my fish intake here, but if you’ve not got time to take a look at that I rarely eat fish because of it’s mercury content and terrible trouble with heavy metals in my system.
Why then would I starting eating sardines you may ask? Well it’s simple, and goes a bit like this: big fish eat smaller fish eat smaller fish eat smaller fish…got it?! On that basis, BIG fish have a high mercury content because of all the smaller fish they’ve consumed (I will not touch tuna as a result). Little fish, like sardines and anchovies have a lower mercury count and are therefore a healthier option for those of us needing to be extra special careful. And other sweeteners? Sardines are one of the highest sources of Omega-3, are an excellent source of B12, a rich source of Vitamin D and packed with protein. That’ll do me!
It was during a visit to my local organic store Plump
that I discovered the organic sardines and a recipe kindly shared over the counter by a very helpful staff member (not sure I’ve got it 100% right but it’s pretty good regardless, if I don’t mind saying so myself).
You don’t have to have this on bread (gluten free or otherwise), but it’s definitely a great combo and is pretty much the only time I eat this beautiful sprouted bread/toast (which is by ‘Pure Life’ by the way, you’ll find it in the fridge of most health stores in Australia).
1 slice of toasted bread of choice
1/2 can organic sardines
Approximately 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
A good handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
A good handful of parsley, roughly chopped (note, I used rocket in this photo, had run out of parsley damn it)
1 spring onion, finely chopped
A heaped teaspoon (or two) of capers, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon harissa paste or a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Roughly mix the harissa through the sardines, not mushing them completely but enough so that the harissa assimilates. Mix through the remaining ingredients and tumble over a piece of toast. Grab a knife and fork, turn the TV off, put the newspaper away, and enjoy a mindful, relaxed and very easy lunchtime treat.
P.S if my friendly Plump recipe sharer has any tips/alterations to this recipe I’m all ears! Thank you for sharing!