Pumpkin Spiced Porridge

It’s only cold here for about 3 months of the year, which means there are 12 weeks of prime-pumpkin-porridge-tasting time to be enjoyed!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 200g butternut pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • pinch of pumpkin spice (I use 1 tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
  • coconut or Greek yogurt and flaked almonds to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Skin and chop the pumpkin into small pieces and roast until soft and golden (approx 20-30 minutes).
  2. Place the pumpkin, spices and almond milk in a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Use the ‘pumpkin smoothie’ as a base to cook the quinoa flakes, on a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously (particularly the bottom so it doesn’t stick) until the flakes are soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. If you need to add more liquid, add more almond milk as you go.
  4. Top with yogurt and flaked almonds just before serving.

Tip: The most time-consuming part is roasting the pumpkin. So, roast a large pumpkin early in the week so that there’s plenty on hand to make porridge whenever you fancy!

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Granola-Crusted Salmon

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but trust me, it works! The trick is to use a granola that’s nut-based and doesn’t contain added refined sugars.

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 2 salmon fillets, skin off
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 bunch asparagus (I prefer raw, but it can also be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute just prior to serving)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the sweet potato into rough chunks and place on a lined baking tray. Bake until soft (20 minutes).
  2. On another lined baking tray, place the salmon and bake for 10 minutes. Crust the granola in a small bowl, and while still hot, place the salmon skin side down into the granola and press firmly to stick. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, and allow to rest before serving.
  3. Serve the salmon with potato, spinach and asparagus.

Salted Caramel Protein Balls

Warning, these little mouthfuls of bliss are slightly addictive! Perfect for curbing those afternoon cravings with a healthy mixture of protein, carbs and good fats.

Ingredients (makes 8 large or 12 small) 

  • 1 small banana
  • 4 dates
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 40g of Botanika Blends salted caramel pea protein (OR use vanilla pea / whey protein and add 1/2 tsp salted caramel essence, found in the baking isle of the supermarket)
  • 1 tbsp carob powder (can use cacao or cocoa instead but carob is naturally sweeter in flavour)
  • 3/4 cup granola of your choice

Method

  1. Process the banana, dates, tahini, oil, pea protein and carob powder in a food processor until smooth
  2. Stir in the granola until well combined, then roll into balls and set in the fridge.

Note you will find it much easier to roll the balls if your hands are wet. 

Roast Pumpkin and Eggplant Bake

This is one of my favourite meal-prep dishes ever, and I have been known to exist off it when I’m on a week of night shift. This is vegetarian soul-food at it’s finest – packed full of veggies and unbelievably tasty, plus easily adaptable to suit the vegans, dairy-free and coeliacs among us!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 250g kent pumpkin
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes
  • 4 fresh basil leaves or 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 clove of garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup salt-reduced stock (use either veggie or chicken  – use a gluten free stock to make this coeliac friendly!)
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 2 large carrots
  • 150g bag of baby spinach leaves (can also substitute for green kale)
  • shredded mozzarella for sprinkling on top (portion dependent on how cheesy you like it, can be substituted for dairy-free cheese instead) 

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Slice the pumpkin into 1cm thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake until just soft (about 20 minutes – continue the rest of the recipe in the meantime!).
  2. Prepare the sauce: Place the tomatoes, stock, garlic and herbs into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. If you like your sauce thicker, you can also add 1 tbsp tomato paste or substitute the tinned tomatoes for passata instead. 
  3. Prepare the rest of the veggies: Slice the eggplant width ways into discs. Dice or slice the capsicum into small strips. Also slice the carrots length ways into small discs.
  4. In an oven-proof baking dish, start by laying down a layer of eggplant slices. Top with the spinach leaves, then a layer of pumpkin, followed by the capsicum and carrots, then half the sauce and a small sprinkle of cheese. Repeat the process with another layer of eggplant, then spinach, pumpkin, capsicum and carrot, with the rest of the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with cheese to your liking.
  5. Bake until the eggplant is soft and the cheese on top is golden brown (about 20-30 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note that even when it has been cooked, the eggplant skin can be a little tough to slice, so go slowly with a big knife! Also feel free to experiment with different types of cheese – I have used combinations of Jarlsberg, Edam, feta, mozzarella, ricotta, goats cheese and provolone with great success! 

Vegan Pumpkin, Carrot, Coconut and Za’atar Soup

Another soup to warm the hands, heart and soul when our weather finally cools down! Pumpkin soup is one of my absolute favourites, and after a recent admission to hospital, this was all I felt like eating to restore my body back to normal working order!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 500g Kent pumpkin
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 litre stock (vegetarian if you’re vegan, chicken if you’re not)
  • 400mL can light coconut cream
  • 4 tablespoons Za’atar (a sesame based Arabic spice mix, try your local deli or if you live in Sydney or Melbourne, you can’t beat the version made by Gewurthaus)
  • Dollop of yogurt to serve (plain coconut if you’re vegan, plain Greek if you’re not)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Leave the carrots with the peel on but chop into similar sized pieces. Place onto a lined baking tray or two, spray with olive oil, and roast until golden brown and soft (approximately 30-40 minutes).
  2. Place the stock, coconut cream, pumpkin, carrot and 3 tablespoons of za’atar in the blender and blend until smooth. Top with the extra za’atar and your choice of yogurt to serve

5 Ingredient Pesto Fruffins

These mini pesto fruffins are a cross between a frittata and a muffin, and make for a quick and easy lunch box snack (or in my case, hidden in my scrub pockets at work…)

Ingredients (makes 12 big or 24 mini)

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 heaped tablespoons pesto
  • 100g block of your choice of cheese (feta, Edam, cheddar or Gouda work well here!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200*C. Line a muffin tin with cases or grease with oil.
  2. Mix the eggs, pesto, flour and yogurt until well combined. Pour mixture into muffin tins.
  3. Dice the cheese into 12 or 24 pieces depending on your muffin tray size, and press one piece into each blob of muffin mixture.
  4. Bake until risen and golden on top (15-20 minutes). Eat warm!

Vegan Mushroom and Cauliflower Soup

Soup-er easy, nourishing, heart-warming and vegan – it’s just like a big hug in a bowl!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 250g mushroom cups
  • 1 small whole cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 litre stock of your choice (vegetable if you’re vegan, chicken if you’re not)
  • 150g shimeji or enoki mushrooms
  • brown rice to serve

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the cauliflower and the mushroom cups into small pieces of roughly equal sizes. Leave the shimeji mushrooms whole. Spray the vegetables with olive oil, and roast on a lined baking tray until the mushrooms are squishy and the cauliflower is browning / crispy around the edges (approximately 15-20 minutes).
  2. Cook the brown rice as per directions on the packet.
  3. Place the roasted mushroom cup pieces, cauliflower, garlic and stock in the blender, and blend until smooth. Top with the brown rice and shimeji mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Clementine, Cointreau and Dark Chocolate Tart

Definitely soul food rather than body food, but who can resist the rather delicious combination of citrus and dark chocolate?

Ingredients 

  • 100g Choc Ripple biscuits
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup clementine marmalade (you can use orange instead)
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a spring form cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Process the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and process to combine, then spread across the bottom and sides of the cake tin and bake for 10 minutes until firm. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, mix the marmalade, Cointrea and almond meal together.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips along the biscuit base before topping with the marmalade mixture. Bake until the edges have caramelised and the filling slightly firm, then chill for 4 hours before serving.

Rainbow Frittata

This colourful slice makes for a great breakfast on the go, a lazy dinner or just a delicious protein-laden snack!

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 cup shredded coleslaw mix (or alternatively, 1/2 cup grated carrot and 1/2 cup purple cabbage)
  • 4 large Swiss chard / Silverbeet leaves
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • Grated cheese of your liking

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Finely slice the Swiss chard, and place on top of the baking paper with the coleslaw mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, yogurt and pesto together.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the slice pan. Top with cherry tomatoes and your choice of cheese.
  5. Bake until firm and the cheese has melted (~ 15-20 minutes).
  6. Slice into 6 and enjoy!