Spanakopita-Style Frittata

One of my favourite meals growing up was Spanakopita: a Greek spinach and cheese pie, lovingly wrapped in filo pastry. There is no way I can replicate the sheer awesomeness of my mother’s recipe, so I improvised and made a Spanakopita style frittata instead. It’s packed with veggies and perfect for meal prep!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 150g bag baby spinach leaves
  • 4 large Swiss Chard / Silverbeet leaves
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup salt reduced chicken stock
  • 200g Greek or Australian style feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Lightly grease a roasting dish with oil.
  2. Wash, peel and chop the pumpkin and potatoes into chunks. Roast in the dish until soft (about 25 minutes).
  3. Chop the spinach and silverbeet leaves into large pieces.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, parsley, crumbled feta, yogurt and stock, and mix until well combined.
  5. Remove the dish from the oven, toss the roasted veggies with the spinach and silverbeet leaves in the dish, then pour the egg mixture on top.
  6. Return to the oven until firm (about 20-30 minutes). Enjoy hot or cold!
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Healthy ABC Cake with Lemon Ricotta Icing

I adore banana bread and carrot cake, but I wanted to make something a little different to use up some old vegetables. So here’s my version of an ABC (apple, banana, carrot) cake instead! Packed full of fruit and veggies and with no added refined sugar, this can be a rather nifty way to contribute to your 7 serves a day!

Ingredients 

ABC Cake

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 large banana
  • 3/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil Nuttalex

Lemon Maple Icing

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C.
  2. Grate the carrot and apple. Set aside.
  3. Place the banana, milk, eggs and Nuttalex in a bowl and mush until combined (the banana can stay in chunks).
  4. Add the carrot, apple, almond meal, flaxseed meal and baking soda to the wet mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. Place the mixture into muffin tins (or a 20cm cake tin) and press flat. Bake until golden and firm to touch (~30 minutes). Allow to cool before icing.
  6.  To make the icing, mix the yogurt, ricotta, maple syrup and lemon zest in a bowl (mix slowly to avoid lumps), the stir in the coconut. Spread on top of the cake / muffins and allow to set in the fridge before serving. I topped mine with honey roasted macadamia nuts for a little extra crunch!

Linseed and Strawberry Donuts

Linseed or flaxseed is something that I usually find at the supermarket but have rarely used in cooking until recently. It’s a shame, because it’s a great source of good fatty acids and fibre, and is also the preferred fibre supplement for those who suffer from IBS and are prone to bloating.

In light of that, I may have accidentally created the ultimate bloat-free donut! Free from dairy, refined sugar and gluten!

Ingredients (makes 6 large)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup linseed meal (also known as flaxseed meal)
  • 1/2 cup teff grain 
  • 250g punnet strawberries
  • 1 cup almond milk (or you can use regular milk)
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons of melted olive oil Nuttalex (or just use olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla pea protein powder (entirely optional and just to add a bit more protein, but if you do add it, add another 1/4 cup almond milk)
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or your choice of sweetener e.g. rice malt syrup, Stevia)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Grease a donut or bundt tray with your choice of oil or butter (or alternatively, NoDo Donuts make a great silicon mould!).
  2. Mix the quinoa flakes, linseed meal, teff grain, baking powder +/- protein powder until well combined.
  3. Add the almond milk, eggs, melted Nuttalex and maple syrup and mix well.
  4. Chop the strawberries into small chunks and add to the mixture, leaving some aside.
  5. Pour the batter into the tray, top with the rest of the strawberries and bake until they spring back when touched (about 15-20 minutes). Eat warm with your favourite natural peanut butter!

Lemon Rocket Pesto

This pesto recipe was a bit of a happy accident. I call it an accident in that, while I was house-sitting for my mother, her wildly growing herb garden wilted in the cold snap. Rather than attempting to resuscitate the plants, I preened them and ended up with an abundance of rocket and parsley.

I’ve now written a handy guide for growing and storing your own herbs after I learned my lesson – but at least I have some wonderful zesty pesto to show for it!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cups rocket leaves
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • 1/2 cup flat leafed parsley
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon infused olive oil (OR use regular extra virgin olive oil and add 1 tsp lemon zest)

Method

  1. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a fry pan over a medium heat until browned. Set aside to cool. Note that there is about a three second difference between ‘toasted’ and ‘burnt’ pinenuts so watch them like a hawk!
  2. Place all of the dry ingredients in a food processor. While processing, slowly add the oil until everything is well combined. Serve with fresh warm bread, your favourite poultry, tossed with boiled potatoes……  the possibilities are only limited by your tastebuds!

Carrot Cake Chia Bircher

It’s like carrot cake, but not as you know it!

Ingredients (serves 1-2) 

  • 1 small grated carrot
  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt
  • 1/6 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup granola
  • 15g pea or whey protein of your choice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom

Method

  1. Mix all of the above ingredients and set in the fridge overnight.
  2. Top with whatever takes your fancy – I used natural peanut butter and more granola!

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!

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