Best Ever Veggie Patties

What do you get when you mix protein-rich chickpeas, nutty LSA and a tasty range of vegetables from the market? Some of the best veggie patties I’ve ever made!

Ingredients (makes 12) 

  • 100g pumpkin
  • 100g sweet potato
  • 1/2 small head broccoli
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup LSA (linseed, sunflower seed, almond meal)
  • 1 large egg
  • herbs from the garden – sage, thyme, parsley, chives, tarragon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Chop the pumpkin and sweet potato into small pieces and roast until golden and soft (approximately 30 minutes).
  3. Place the roast pumpkin and potato, broccoli, spinach, chickpeas and herbs into a food processor and process until combined. Add the egg and LSA, and mix well.
  4. Heat a large frypan over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil. Roll 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into balls, place onto the pan and flatten with the back of a spatula. Lightly brown both sides  (don’t cook all the way through).
  5. Transfer the patties to a lined baking tray and bake until firm (approximately 30 minutes). Serve as veggie burgers, as part of a buddha bowl, or as a delicious snack straight from the fridge!

Meal Prep for Professionals #3

I’ve written before about easy meal prep recipes to make in bulk and freeze for easy meals at work and during the week. This edition of “meal prep for professionals” focuses on one particular kitchen appliance – the trusty oven!

“Baking” can seem daunting for some, and you may even be one of those people who uses their oven for storage instead (Carrie from SATC I’m looking at you). But the oven can be your best friend when it comes to meal prep, where you can roast multiple different proteins and vegetables at the same time to create any number of amazing dishes.

The trick to it is choosing proteins that cook quickly and vegetables that can be grouped into those which take a similar amount of time to cook. Remember this is all being packed away, so it doesn’t really matter if it’s not all hot at the same time!

An example of one of my recent meal prep afternoons:

Three dishes (making 3-4 portions of each = 9-12 meals!)

Pesto barramundi with carrots and sweet potato

  • 2 large barramundi fillets
  • 3 tablespoons of your favourite pesto
  • 3 large purple and 3 large orange carrots
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 3 small sweet potatoes

Turkey with zucchini, beetroot, pumpkin and dukka

  • 500g turkey breast fillet
  • 150g spinach leaves
  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • 6 small beetroots
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons of your favourite dukkha

Ras el hanout spiced pilaf with pumpkin and honey mustard pumpkin seeds

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout (Arabic spice mix)
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 1 tin tomatoes (salt reduced)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 packet of microwave brown, black and red rice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

While the list of ingredients may seem potentially expensive, I save heaps by buying the “ugly” produce where I can (still tastes the same!) and by also shopping seasonally.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C.
  2. Wash and chop ALL of the vegetables! This may seem like the longest part, but it can be made much more enjoyable with Netflix or music playing in the background. Leave the skin on wherever practical to maximise your micronutrients, while also saving time on peeling.
  3. Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds! Wash them, remove the pumpkin strands, then toss in the honey and mustard, and set aside ready for roasting.
  4. Proteins first. On separate oven trays, roast the barramundi and turkey until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Remove and set aside to rest to free up some oven space!
  5. Group the starchy vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot) and group the slightly softer ones (zucchini and carrots) together on the oven trays (you may take up the entire oven!). The softer ones will take about 20 minutes while the starchy ones will take more like 30-40 minutes. The perfect way to keep track of this is to keep a timer on your phone. Put everything in at the same time and put your feet up until you need to take the trays out!
  6. While you’re waiting for this, now is the time to prepare the ridiculously easy pilaf. Microwave the rice according to the instructions, then mix in a large bowl with the chickpeas, Ras el Hanout and tomatoes. Simple!
  7. Leave the pumpkin seeds until last because they can burn if you leave them in for too long. 10 minutes should do the trick.
  8. And now, the assembly! Grab all of your airtight containers and lay them out on the bench. Put spinach in the bottom of all of them, then the vegetables as per the recipe above, then your designated proteins, then your toppings (pesto, dukka or pumpkin seeds). Put a couple in the fridge and a few in the freezer and you’re officially set!

Herbed Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs

Despite living in Australia, we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with our friends thanks to two of them spending a number of years working in Vancouver. While these turkey meatballs are no competition to the amazing roast turkey and myriad of sides our friends serve up, these meatballs do happen to make for super easy mid-week meal prep!

Ingredients (serves 2-4 depending on size)

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 piece stale bread (I use gluten free bread and it works well) OR 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup cranberries
  • herbs of your choice – I use 1/2 tablespoon each of fresh parsley, dill, chives and rosemary from our herb garden! But if you’re on a budget, just dried parsley is totally fine!

If you need to make these on a bigger scale, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled by multiplying all of the quantities. 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the bread in the food processor and process until crumbed. Add the egg, herbs and mince and process until well combined.
  3. Place 2-3 tbsp of mixture on your palm and flatten, then place 3-4 cranberries in the middle, then close the mixture over the top before rolling. Roll the mixture into small meatballs and allow to set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Heat a large fry pan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the meatballs, flatten slightly with the back of a spatula, and brown both sides (don’t need to cook through). 
  5. Transfer the browned patties to the oven tray and bake until cooked through (about 10 minutes or so).
  6. Serve with your choice of greens (or in this case, lettuce with red sorrel from the garden, with cauliflower roasted with a sprinkle of aged parmesan).

S’mores Brownies

Life is all about balance. And sometimes, that involves eating brownies that make your soul incredibly happy, even if your pancreas isn’t. After a little trial and error, I’ve discovered the perfect way to make your usual brownies taste just like s’mores – and wow do these little s’moresels (hehe) pack a punch!

Ingredients (makes 12-24 depending on how you cut them, I prefer mine smaller as these are pretty rich!)

  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 packet McVittie’s digestive nibbles (or similar, but essentially you need small balls of digestive biscuits that are entirely covered in chocolate – normal digestive biscuits will just go soggy in the mix!)
  • Your usual favourite brownie recipe (or packet mix, there is no shame in using a packet mix!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven as per your usual recipe or packet mix instructions. Line a brownie tray with baking paper.
  2. Prepare your usual brownie recipe or as per the packet mix instructions.
  3. Just before baking, mix in the marshmallows and the digestive nibbles, stir well to combine.
  4. Pour into the tray and bake until just cooked through. Allow to set and cool in the fridge before cutting as the marshmallow will be incredibly sticky while hot!!

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!

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.