Quick and Easy Butternut Squash 7 Grain Salad

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Rachel Kelly’s book The Happy Kitchen. I made a few tweaks to it including adding 7 grains to it to make it more filling. I love this recipe it is super easy to make and can be made in advance, just leave adding the avocado until ready to serve so it doesn’t go brown.

Spinach is great for every part of the body as it is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Spinach is particularly good for your colon due to the high levels of flavonoids which protect the body from cholesterol and free radicals. The folate in spinach is good for a healthy cardiovascular system, and magnesium helps lower high blood pressure. Studies also have shown that spinach helps maintain your brain function, memory and mental clarity.

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sprinkle chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 1 250g packet of quick cook 7 grains
  • 200g spinach (washed and ready to eat)
  • 2 avocados
  • 3 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp maple syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6
  2. Peel the butternut squash and cut into 1” cubes, place on a baking tray and toss in the oil and chilli flakes
  3. Bake the butternut squash for 20-30 minutes, until tender. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool
  4. Cook the grains according to the packaging, I got them from Tesco and they just need to be boiled for 10 minutes. Once cooked drain and leave to cool
  5. To make the dressing , place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork
  6. Chop up the spring onions and avocado
  7. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, add the dressing and stir well

Healthy Rhubarb Flapjack – Vegan

If you are in need of an energy fuelled sweet treat then this flapjack is just the thing for you. Sports clients and busy mums equally love it as it is so quick and easy to make and it can be frozen. Personally I freeze it in individual portions and then take one out in the morning and by mid morning it has defrosted.

Oats are a slow release carbohydrate and can help to lower cholesterol levels. Along with being packed full of fibre they contain a number of minerals including magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.

Ingredients:

  • 300g oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 200g dates (chopped finely in a food processor with splash of water)
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 100g sultanas
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 200g rhubarb, orange and ginger compote

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except the rhubarb, together and stir well
  2. Put half of the mixture into a greased and lined try, push it down firmly
  3. To make the rhubarb compote place 200g rhubarb in a pan with the juice and zest of 2 oranges and 1cm root ginger, grated. Cook until the rhubarb has broken down but not too runny
  4. Put the rhubarb compote on top so that it is a layer on top of the flapjack mix
  5. Add the remaining mixture and press down so that the rhubarb is in a layer in the middle of the flapjack
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes at gas mark 5
  7. Slice whilst warm and leave to cool

Chocolate Avocado Bites

These avocado chocolate bites are delicious, they melt in your mouth like a truffle! They are higher in sugar than my normal recipes but I came up with them as a snack to be eaten whilst breastfeeding when your body needs  extra energy (and things that can be made in advance)! The addition of avocados means these bites are packed full of nutrients, much more than a standard truffle!

Making these bites takes about 10 minutes to make and then you leave them to set in the fridge for a couple of hours before rolling them into balls. They couldn’t be easier to make! Oh and they are vegan and gluten-free!!

These are a snack to have occasionally in the same way you would a chocolate truffle.

Ingredients:

Makes 20, depending on size

  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 100g 70% chocolate
  • 20g desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Blitz the avocado with a slash of almond milk until smooth
  2. Add the vanilla, and ground almond and blitz again
  3. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of water (bain marie)
  4. When the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir in the avocado mixture until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours until firm
  5. Remove the mixture from the fridge and roll into small balls, roll in coconut and then place them in the a container in the fridge until you are ready to eat them

Super Energy Boost Green Smoothie

This smoothie is packed full of energy boosting ingredients and makes a great breakfast. It only has one piece of fruit in so won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. It’s super versatile so you can swap or remove any ingredients you’re not keen on.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large handfuls of spinach or kale
  • 1 apple
  • Small piece of fresh ginger root
  • 2” piece of cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 10 raw almonds
  • 1” piece of lemon
  • Water (the amount will depend on the consistency you like your juice to be)

Method:

  1. Remove the skin and pip from the avocado
  2. Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender and bend until combined

Easy Bean Dip – Vegan and Gluten-free

This dip is super quick and easy to make and will be sure to impress your friends with it’s taste.

Cannellini beans are a great part of a healthy diet as they are high in both protein and fibre. Beans such as cannellinni are frequently used in weight loss as they can help to maintain healthy, normal blood sugar levels in the body. Beans not only help you to feel full but they are also low in calories so they can be used to help achieve a calorie controlled diet. Along with the high fibre content this also makes them a great food for diabetics.

Ingredients:

  • 1x 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 heaped tbsp. sesame seeds
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Large handful flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon juiced

Method:

  1. Whizz all ingredients, except 1 tbsp lemon juice, in a hand blender until smooth and creamy, taste and add more lemon juice if required
  2. Serve with pitta bread, bread sticks or crackers

Chicken Fajitas with Guacamole and Salsa – Dairy-free

This recipe is so easy to make. One of the great things about it is you can leave the chicken to marinate in advance or if you don’t have time you can just leave it to marinate whilst you prepare the rest of the dish.

Smoked paprika is made from a combination of dried sweet peppers and dried chilli peppers, the colour varies depending on the type of peppers used. Paprika is rich in Vitamin C and carotenoids, it is rich in beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin, preventing wrinkles and promoting a brighter complexion.

Paprika contains high levels of iron; 1 tsp contains 6% of men’s and 3% of women’s recommended daily intake of iron.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 8 wholemeal wraps

For the Guacamole:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 6 cherry tomatoes

For the Salsa:

  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 6” cucumber
  • 10 basil leaves
  • ½ lime

Method:

  1. Place the chicken into a bowl, add the cumin and paprika stir well and cover. Set aside to marinate (depending on how much time you have this can be a few hours or just the amount of time it takes to prepare the other ingredients)
  2. To make the guacamole remove the skin and pip of the avocado and place in a blender with the tomatoes and the juice of 1 lime. Blend until combined and then set aside
  3. To make the salsa chop the tomatoes into quarters, dice the cucumber and then add both to a bowl with the juice of ½ a lime. Finely chop the basil, add to the bowl and stir well
  4. Slice the peppers, mushrooms and onions
  5. Put the coconut oil into a wok and heat
  6. Add the onions and chicken stirring regularly
  7. When the chicken is sealed (about 5 minutes) add the mushrooms and peppers and cook until the chicken is cooked through
  8. Place a wrap on to a plate, add some of the chicken and pepper mixture, top with guacamole and salsa and then roll into a wrap
  9. Serve 2 wraps per person

Granola

This granola is quick and easy to make and keeps in an airtight container for a few weeks. It has a lot less sugar than shop bought granola. For a vegan version replace the honey with maple syrup.  The recipe also works well with gluten-free oats if required.

Ingredients:

Makes 15 servings

  • 2tbsp/30ml of vegetable oil
  • 75ml honey
  • 75ml fresh orange juice (about 1.5 oranges)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g oats
  • 125g mixed seeds (I use sunflower, pumpkin and a few sesame seeds)
  • 100g dried fruit (I use sultanas and apricots)
  • 50g desiccated coconut

Method:

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2/150C

  1. Mix the oil, honey and vanilla in a bowl
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the dried fruit and coconut
  3. Mix well
  4. Spread the mixture evenly on to two baking trays
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then add the coconut and mix it in
  6. Bake for a further 10 minutes
  7. Add the dried fruit and bake for a final 5 minutes (you can add the fruit at the same time as the coconut but I find it burns a bit)

 

Frittata Cups Dairy-free and Gluten-free

These are my favourite thing at the minute, so quick and easy to make and they can be eaten cold as a breakfast on the go or taken to work for lunch. I tend to use whatever vegetables I have in the fridge so feel free to mix it up and add any herbs you like. If you like your vegetables crunchy then use diced vegetables, it you prefer them softer then grate the harder vegetables. You can easily double the recipe to make more so you have plenty left for lunch or switch it up by adding some grated cheese.

Eggs are a great source of protein and omega 3 they also contain Vitamins A, B5, B12.

Ingredients:

Makes 6

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ courgette
  • 1 small carrot
  • 5 mushrooms
  • ½ an onion
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh coriander leaves (or any herbs you like)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200C
  2. Chop the vegetables into small pieces or if you prefer grate the courgette and carrots. Chop the spinach in to small strips and finely chop the coriander
  3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the vegetables and coriander and stir well
  4. Using a muffin tin, divide the mixture evenly between the muffin moulds
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the egg is set
  6. Serve with salad

Rhubarb Overnight Oats

This recipe is great if you are short on time in the morning. You can make it the night before, leave it in the fridge and the next morning it is ready to eat before you leave the house.

Rhubarb is in season and it is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to help keep the body healthy. Rhubarb has a high fiber content and as a result is often used in Chinese medicine to relieve constipation and other stomach ailments. Rhubarb also has very high levels of Vitamin k which not only supports healthy bone growth but some research suggests that it may help with the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Among its many health benefits a key one that is often unknown is that rhubarb is a great source of calcium, it is up there with salmon and spinach!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 30g fresh rhubarb
  • 1 orange
  • 1/4tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 130g jumbo oats
  • 50ml of dairy-free yoghurt or plain natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ banana
  • 1 tbsp pump[kin seeds

Method:

  1. To make the compote chop the rhubarb and place in a small saucepan with the juice of ½ the orange and the grated ginger. Simmer until the rhubarb is soft, about 15 minutes
  2. Leave the rhubarb compote to cool
  3. When the rhubarb is cool add the yoghurt, and stir well. Next add the oats and chia seeds and stir well. If the mixture is too thick add some more yoghurt
  4. Place the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight
  5. In the morning remove from the fridge, top with banana, orange slices and pumpkin seeds

Vegan Pesto

This recipe is a great way to make the most of seasonal ingredients. The addition of wild garlic leaves gives it a great colour and flavour; however it works just as well with a garlic clove. This dairy-free pesto works well with both pasta and salmon.

Ingredients:

  • 40g cashew nuts, pine nuts or almonds
  • A small handful of wild garlic leaves (or 1 clove garlic)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small handful of basil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Put the nuts and garlic into a hand blender and blend until they are roughly chopped.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except the olive oil and blend.
  3. Add a little bit of olive oil at a time so that there is just enough to make a paste consistency.
  4. Optional extra: add a couple of tbsp. of tomato puree to make a tomato pesto, great on pizzas!