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.

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.

Pesto Zoodles

What do you call fake spaghetti? An im-pasta.

Jokes aside, this easy mid-week meal with oodles and oodles of zucchini noodles is a delicious alternative for those who are wanting to be carb conscious or just increase their daily intake of vegetables. For an added protein hit, add roasted chicken, otherwise this dish is vegan, as well as dairy and gluten free!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 medium zucchini (or you can buy pre-zoodled packs in major supermarkets)
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality basil pesto
  • 200g butternut pumpkin
  • 4 small chicken breasts (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon of dukkha (I used the pistachio dukkha by Table of Plenty here)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the pumpkin into chunks and lightly spray / coat with olive oil. Roast on a lined baking tray until soft and golden (about 25 minutes). If using the chicken, place the breasts onto a lined baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and roast until just coked through (about 15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Using a spiraliser, turn the four zucchini into noodles and toss in the pesto.
  3. Serve the zoodles with the pumpkin, chicken and dukka on top. Easy!

Fig and Feta Salad

It’s hard not to love the epic combination of roast pumpkin, fresh figs and creamy feta cheese!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 4 figs
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1/4 small pumpkin
  • 1/2 small cauliflower
  • 1 small head broccoli, stem removed
  • vinaigrette of your choice (I used Harnett’s rapeseed oil redcurrant vinaigrette but a light balsamic works just as well!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Slice the pumpkin and cauliflower into small pieces and spray with olive oil. Place on a lined baking tray and bake until soft and slightly golden.
  2. Leave the broccoli raw and break the florets into small pieces. Cut the figs into small pieces.
  3. To assemble the salad, place the spinach on the bottom and top with the pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and figs. Crumble the feta over the top, then drizzle over the vinaigrette.

Eggplant Tacos

Warning – these are totally delicious and unashamedly messy!

Using eggplant instead of taco shells is a novel way to increase your vegetable intake, as well as cater for those who may not be able to eat usual soft taco wraps. My suggestion of a healthy vegetarian version is below!

Ingredients 

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced length-ways
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 200g medium firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning (I used 1/4 tbsp each of  Sally and Sahara blends by Mingle Seasoning)
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup red cabbage (pickled or plan)
  • salad bits (I used slaw and spinach here)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 220*C. Finely slice the eggplant length-ways, spray with olive oil, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  2. To make your tofu ‘mince’, crush the tofu with a fork and mix with the seasoning and tomato paste.
  3. To construct your taco, place the salad bits on top of the eggplant, followed by the tofu mix, finely sliced cabbage and capsicum, then top with cottage cheese and avocado. Eat while attempting not to dribble any juices down your arms…..

Cauliflower Rice ‘Sushi’

This is not quite your average sushi! I love the taste of brown rice but don’t always feel like the carbohydrate load that comes with it. Instead, you can achieve the same gorgeous nutty flavour with cauliflower and tahini.


Broccoli Avocado Tofu Sushi

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1/2 medium cauliflower head
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Handful spinach leaves
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 200g medium firm tofu (plain or flavoured!)
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 sheets nori (seaweed)
  • 1/2 cup stock (I recommend using vegetable or chicken stock for this recipe)

Method

  1. Grate the cauliflower using a food processor or box grater until fine. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook in a rice cooker in the microwave for 7-10 minutes or until soft and the water absorbed. Drain any remaining water and add the tahini to the cauliflower mix. Stir until well combined.
  2. Break apart the broccoli florets into small pieces. They can be eaten raw or if you’d prefer them more soft, blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Place the nori on a sushi mat. Spread the “rice” on nori until 2/3rds covered. Then add the avocado,broccoli, tofu and spinach along the longitudinal side. Roll the nori and cut into four pieces. Serve with teriyaki sauce.

Mushroom and Spinach Sushi

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/4 cauliflower head
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tahini
  • Handful spinach leaves
  • 1/4 medium avocado
  • 4 button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 sheet nori (seaweed)

Method

  1. Slice the mushrooms and allow them to marinate in a bowl with the soy sauce for 10 minutes.
  2. Grate the cauliflower using a food processor until fine. Add 1/4 cup of water or stock and cook in a rice cooker for 5 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the cauli is soft. Drain any remaining liquid and add the tahini to the cauliflower mix. Stir until well combined.
  3. Place the nori on a sushi mat. Spread the “rice” on nori until 2/3rds covered. Then add the avocado, mushrooms and spinach along the longitudinal side. Roll the nori and cut into four pieces. Eat!

Sweet Potato Sushi

This version has a sweet potato and roasted cauliflower “rice” with leafy greens and tofu. The recipe serves 2 (or 1 if you’re hungry!), making 6 sushi rolls.

Ingredients

  • yaki nori seaweed sheets
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/4 white cauliflower head
  • handful leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, rocket etc)
  • 200g medium firm tofu
  • soy sauce to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220*C. To make the “rice”, grate the cauliflower and bake for 10 minutes. Peel and chop the potato into chunks and steam until soft. Mash the potato and mix in the grated cauliflower until well combined (add salt and pepper to taste).
  2. Using a bamboo sushi mat, place the seaweed shiny side down. Spoon the “rice” along the seaweed leaving a 3cm margin at one end. Place the sliced tofu and leafy mix along the opposite end and use the bamboo to roll the sushi, so that the 3cm margin is at the end. Cut roll into three pieces. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  3. Serve with teriyaki or soy sauce on the side.

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.