January is a month of new beginnings, whether it is creating new habits, taking up a new hobby or starting a new healthy eating plan after an indulgent Christmas period. Sometimes, we become over fastidious about the food being healthy rather than tasting good and getting your taste buds tingling. I always think that people forget that eating well should taste good, and not just be good for you. We eat with so much more than our mouths so I created this salad which smells fragrant and looks delicious. For those of you participating in Veganuary, this recipe ensures that you have a good balance of both macro and micro nutrients, ensuring that you give yourself the optimum nutritional balance.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g of pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and sliced into 0.5cm wedges
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tsp sumac
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a pomegranate, deseeded
3 spring onions, finely sliced
I bulb of fennel, finely sliced
10g each of mint, flat leaf parsley and coriander leaves
50g baby spinach leaves, washed
Juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp za'atar (I use Zaytoun)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
300ml good quality chicken stock (I like to use Ossa Organic)
2 star anise
1 small thumb of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 small head of pak Choy
1 spring onion, sliced on the diagonal
50g bean sprouts
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
some sprigs of fresh coriander
50g rice noodles (King Soba pumpkin and ginger are my favourite)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (I prefer to use Clearspring)
Juice of ½ lime
100g chicken breast
This quick and easy salad using one of Merchant Gourmet's convenient grain pouches is perfect for plant based eaters, and anyone else as an accompaniment, after work. I like to serve this with a seared piece of salmon but it works equally well with chickpeas or grilled halloumi. The perfect after work pick me up!
Ingredients (serves 2 as an accompaniment)1 packet of Merchant Gourmet Spanish style grains and rice
Sunday 13th August is #blueberry day so what better day to brunch on these heathy protein packed blueberry pancakes? Blueberries are packed with antioxidants which can prevent heart disease and cancer and other age related diseases.
Ingredients (makes about 20 pancakes)
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tbsp agave nectar
200g punnet of blueberries
maple syrup to serve
This light salad is a refreshing update on the traditional Vietnamese or Northern Thai ‘ larb salad’ that is often made with chicken or pork. The dressing uses the classic South-East Asian flavours of hot, sweet, salty and sour to flavour the simple chicken filling.
Serves 4-6 as a main
For the salad:
4 chicken breast fillets or 6 chicken thigh fillets
3 tbsp groundnut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp grated root ginger
2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 handful of coriander, finely chopped
4 little gem lettuce
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 2 lemons
4 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
1. Mince the chicken breasts in a food processor.
2. Heat a large frying pan and add the oil.
3. Add the chicken and ginger when the oil is hot and cook for about 5 minutes, until is turns white. Season to taste.
4. Drain the chicken and mix with the onion, chillies and chopped coriander and mix well.
5. Prepare the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a small jar and mix well.
6. Toss the chicken salad with the dressing and check the seasoning.
7. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter and spoon the chicken filling into the leaves.
8. Serve immediately.
If avocado and brownie are two words you never thought you'd see together, then think again. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth with some relatively guilt-free homemade chocolate treats then these avocado brownies are a must-try.
Makes 20 brownies (159kcal, 4g protein, 10g fat, 12g carbs)
225g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 medium eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
25g cocoa powder (make sure it's gluten free!)
50g ground almonds
2tsp vanilla extract
2 very ripe avocados, thoroughly mashed
To celebrate National Vegetarian Week (15th-21st May) I wanted to share one of my most loved (and meat-free!) summer dishes. This delicious seasonal salad is inspired by the vibrant flavours of the Middle East and was one of the first recipes I created after leaving my City job in 2004 and starting my MSc in Nutritional Medicine. It remains one of my favourite salads as it's so simple and healthy and makes a great lunch or even a fresh addition to the typical barbecue fair.
Better yet, chickpeas are beneficial for the body as they are high in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C. Chillies are thought to speed up the metabolism by up to 15%, which is particularly useful for anyone trying to lose weight.
100g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Coriander leaves, shredded
1. Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl.
2. Add all the dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake to mix thoroughly.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and garnish with crumbled feta cheese.