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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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. 

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.

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Plant-based, high protein, dairy-free, gluten-friendly and low refined sugar – what’s not to love about this variation on chocolate mousse?!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until set (approximately 1 hour). Top with cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Buddha Bowls

Good enough for you to say ‘Namaste in for dinner tonight’, these vegetable based bowls are bursting with nutrition, and make for a terrific ‘throw together’ meal when you’re short on time. They have the added benefit of being largely plant-based (see note below) and contribute significantly to your required 5+ servings of vegetables of day.

When constructing the ultimate buddha bowl, try to experiment with textures and tastes (refer to my The Secret to Sexy Salads!) and remember, the greater variety of colours, the better your micronutrient profile.

Note some of these bowls are vegetarian rather than vegan, but most have a vegan alternative.


Tahini Tofu Bowl (Vegan) 

Tofu, tahini, sauerkraut, roasted pumpkin and sweet potato, pistachios, cranberries and leafy greens.


Black Bean Bowl (Vegan) 

1/2 cauliflower rice mixed with 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp vegan spinach cream (a mixture of spinach and crushed sunflower seeds), 1/8 red cabbage and 1/2 stalk broccoli; topped with 1/3 can black beans and served on leafy greens.


Apple Broccoli Bowl  (Vegan option)

1 cup spinach and 1/2 stalk broccoli tossed with 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, 2 tsp mustard and 1 tsp maple syrup, topped with 1 small green apple. Substitute the Greek yogurt for almond milk yogurt for a vegan alternative.


Za’atar Cumin Pumpkin and Pomegranate Bowl (Vegan option) 

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend including sesame seeds, thyme and sumac. Some versions also include marjoram, oregano and sea salt, while I’ve seen others throw in fenugreek and coriander seeds. To make this version above, use 1 tsp each of dried thyme and sumac with 2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds. 

Roast 1/4 kent pumpkin with 1 tbsp za’atar and 2 tsp cumin, then toss with 1/4 small roasted cauliflower, a handful of rocket and spinach, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, 75g Bulgarian feta cheese and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. Substitute the feta cheese for cashew cheese in the same quantity for a vegan version.


Bean Burger Bowl  (Vegan)

Bean Supreme black bean burger pattie (but any vegetarian pattie will do!), with roasted pumpkin, zucchini and kale, fresh tomato, carrot and cumcumber, and a side of hummus.


Lemon Goat Cheese and Peas Bowl 

1 cup of peas mixed with 10 chopped green beans, a handful of cranberries, 1 roasted zucchini, pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and lemon myrtle goat cheese (but you can substitute with regular goat cheese and 1 tsp lemon myrtle).


Black Eyed Beans and Buckwheat Bowl (Vegan option) 

Mix 1/3 can of drained black eyed beans with baby spinach, 50g of feta cheese, 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes (herbed, in oil) and 1/4 cup of buckwheat groats (cooked or raw). Substitute 50g of cashew cheese instead of feta for a vegan option.

Healthy Fudge Brownies! 


They’re vegan, gluten and dairy free, with no added sugar, and they definitely help kill the cravings! 

Ingredients (makes 16)

  • 4 medium bananas
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 1 small handful cacao nibs 

Method 

  1. Blend the banana, cacao, baking soda and vanilla until smooth. 
  2. Stir in the chopped nuts. 
  3. Line a brownie tin with baking paper. Pour the mixture in and top with cacao nibs. 
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 180*C until just cooked, then chill in the fridge until firm. 

Healthy chocolatey heaven! 

Recipe adapted from one by @lilsipper on Instagram 

Vegan Protein Cookie-dough Balls


Dangerously moreish and salmonella-free! 

Ingredients (makes 12) 

  • 300g can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup pea protein 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence  
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Coco2 spread (or raw peanut butter) 
  • 3 tablespoons water 
  • Sprinkle of stevia (optional) 
  • Raw or vegan chocolate of your choice, a few squares chopped into rough chunks

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients in the food processor until a dough forms. If you prefer it slightly sweeter, add the stevia to taste. 
  2. Mix in the chocolate.
  3. Roll into balls and chill in the fridge.
  4. Devour with guilt-free enthusiasm! 

Epic Raw Bliss Balls

IMG_2290

The recipe for these bliss balls was an experiment for a Mayver’s Food competition on Instagram. They turned out spectacularly well, and I’m stoked that I’ve found a delicious new pre-workout snack!

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons cacao powder (you could use cocoa or carob instead)
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup hot water

Method

  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 5 minutes to soften them, then remove from the bowl.
  2. Place the dates, oats, cacao, tahini and peanuts in the food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together. You may need to add a teaspoon of the water here and there if the mixture seems too dry. The mixture should not stick to the sides of the bowl, but should be just wet enough to stick together when firmly pressed.
  3. Remove the mixture from the processor bowl and roll into small balls (approx. 1 tablespoon mixture each) using your palms, before rolling the balls in the coconut.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or for an icy treat, stored in an airtight container in the freezer. Enjoy these little moments of bliss!