Raspberry Chia Sauce

I went to cooking school in Paris. While I was there, we learned how to make “Canard avec fruites rouge” (duck with red fruits), which was essentially a pan fried duck with amazing raspberry sauce. In my usual habit of trying to recreate things, I tried to make my own raspberry sauce, but with a slightly thicker texture – and so this raspberry ‘jam’ was born. Note that it is supposed to be tart like cranberry sauce rather than sweet like strawberry jam, so don’t get a fright if you put in on your toast and something tastes a little odd!

Ingredients 

  • 200g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/8 cup white chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tsb balsamic vinegar (flavoured ones work well here, I used fig and guava with success)

Method

  1. Using a fork, gently mash the raspberries. Add the water and vinegar and stir to combine.
  2. Add the chia seeds and continuously stir until starting to thicken. Put aside in the fridge for 5 minutes and stir again (if too thick at this stage, add small amounts of water until it thins out). Return to the fridge until ready to serve.

For example – roasted turkey with spinach, slaw and a sweet potato and pumpkin smash! 

Roasted Cauli Salad with Tahini Turmeric Sauce

Another easy meal-prep option that’s vegan and gluten friendly, packed full of nutrition with a hint of spice!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 4 large kale leaves, washed and de-veined, then finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup cranberries
  • 1/8 cup flaked almonds
  • 1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt (can use plain Greek instead)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Wash and chop the cauliflower, eggplant and pumpkin into similar sized pieces. Roast the cauliflower and eggplant on the same tray until slightly charred around the edges (about 40 minutes), and roast the pumpkin until soft and golden (about 30-40 minutes).
  3. Make the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt, tahini and turmeric until well combined.
  4. To assemble the salad, place the kale on the bottom, then top with the vegetables, then add the yogurt sauce, and sprinkle the almonds and cranberries on top.

One Tray Chicken, Pumpkin and Mushroom Bake

This was a crazy Saturday afternoon experiment. While it didn’t turn out Insta-pic perfect, it did make for some fantastic meal prep with minimal washing up.

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 200g Kent pumpkin
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup reduced salt chicken stock
  • 1.4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 microwave packet of brown, red and wild rice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Lightly spray a baking dish with oil.
  2. Wash and chop the pumpkin and potatoes into small pieces and add to the dish. Bake until starting to soften (15-20 minutes).
  3. Add the mushrooms, asparagus and chicken breasts to the dish and bake until the chicken is almost cooked through (20 minutes). Add the spinach leaves and herbs and bake for a further 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted.
  4. Just prior to serving, cook the rice as per the packet directions and add to the dish.

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!

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.

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 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.