Healthy one pot vegetarian wonders
As the seasons change our bodies crave warming meals to energise and nourish. Today I’m serving up my top five plant based one pot wonders to supercharge your health and put a skip in your step.
Baked oats with carrot and pear
Plain porridge just had a little make over. Transform regular oats on stovetop to an oven-baked sensation that’s so close to crumble, minus the indulgent guilt. Oats are a wonderful energy food to kick off the day, rich in fibre, slow release carbohydrates and easier to digest than wheat based cereals. However the beauty in this brekky is we’ve upped the ante on vegetable intake for the day by adding the humble carrot. Other vegetables such as zucchini and sweet potato will work a treat too.
1 cup rolled oats
1 small pear, cored and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch celtic salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 180C and grease an oven proof bowl, small loaf tin or ramekins with coconut oil or butter. In a separate mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir together. Pour into ramekin and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving yoghurt.
Tomato and quinoa risotto
Remaking the old favourites is where the fun lies in food for good health. Not that risotto is bad, it’s rice, stock and extra flavours, but depending on the ingredients can leave you feeling heavy. And whilst rice is delicious, making a swap for quinoa means you’re also giving a little love to plant based proteins too. Quinoa has a rich nutrition profile and since it hit our shelves has been a favoured ingredient to add a touch more protein to meals. Your choice for extras in a risotto such as parmesan cheese can easily be swapped for ingredients such as nutritional yeast which is a deactivated yeast, cheesy in flavour and particularly rich in vitamin B-12.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup organic dried tomatoes, sliced (swap for cherry tomatoes if not available)
4 spring onion, white part only, finely sliced
1/4 bunch basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (can omit if using cheese)
75g goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
Place quinoa, dried tomatoes, spring onions and basil stalks in a small saucepan with stock and pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then remove lid, reduce to simmer to 10 minutes. Stir through basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, olives and nutritional yeast. Spoon into two serving bowls and top with goat cheese (optional), a good grind of black pepper and serve.
Zucchini noodle pho
Bringing those sumptuous flavours of Vietnam right into your home is where it’s at! You can use vegetable based broths to keep things simple and plant based or if you’ve some beef or chicken broth roaming the freezer, then don’t hold back. Beef or chicken bone broth in a pho will also add a super dose of gelatin and nutrients to line the gut, reduce inflammation and recharge your immune system for the winter ahead.
For the broth:
2 carrots, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 stalk lemon grass, husk removed, bruised and cut in half
2 stalks celery
3cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 large brown onion, peeled and cut in half
6 star anise
½ tsp celtic salt
For the soup:
2 large zucchini, (approx 500g) spiralised to form noodles
1 cups snow peas
2 cups (400g) broccoli florets, lightly blanched and refreshed
1 cup bean sprouts
2 spring onions, white and green finely sliced
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup holy basil
1 large red chili, seeded and finely sliced
1 cup lime juice, approx 2 limes, or to taste
To make the broth:
Combine all ingredients in a large stock or cast iron pot and place on a medium heat on the stove.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer 4-5 hours.
Remove the vegetables from the stock pot and eat as you wish. They are delicious with just a hint of spice from star anise and work well with other Asian flavours.
To make the soup:
Arrange snow peas, broccoli, bean sprouts, spring onions, coriander, mint and basil on a beautiful platter ready to create the pho.
Bring your broth to a simmer once again, add zucchini noodles and allow to cook approximately 3-4minutes. Remove from heat and divide between four deep bowls then add 2tbsp lime juice per person.
To serve, delicately drop in a small amount each of snow peas, broccoli, spring onion, coriander, mint, basil and chili. This can be done by the chef but is such a beautiful experience to do as a group together at the table.
Time to up your egg game with a touch of Mexicana in the morning (or anytime really – eggs are ALWAYS a good time!). Eggs are the simplest solution to give your protein intake a nudge and can evolve into dishes and flavours as diverse as your mind is open to trying new things. We’ve gone with some seasonal ingredients such as corn, capsicum and tomatoes then boosted the flavour with herbs and spice. Don’t forget the power of culinary herbs and spices to increase your intake of the phytochemicals to fight stress, illness and disease.
1 cob corn, kernels cut from cob
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 small red capsicum cut into strips
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup picked coriander leaves, stalks finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
1-2 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 free range eggs
Sea salt and ground black pepper
To serve : avocado, Tabasco, toasted tortilla or gluten free bread
Warm a small saucepan over medium heat, add oil and onion and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add corn, capsicum and cherry tomatoes, and sauté a further 3-4 minutes before tossing through spinach, coriander stalks, paprika and jalapeno peppers. Crack eggs over the top and cover with a plate, lid or piece of foil for 2-3 minutes (or as you prefer your eggs cooked). Remove from heat and serve with fresh coriander leaves, sea salt, black pepper, Tabasco (optional) avocado and tortilla or gluten free bread.
Carrot and kale dahl
When you need meals to turn from dinners to lunches and then again a week later (stash in the freezer is the simplest trick in the books) look no further than a truly wholesome Carrot and Kale Dhal. Legumes such as split peas, lentils, moong and chickpeas absolutely have a place in the diet beyond #meatfreemonday, because they are such a great team player for fibre, protein and carbohydrates. I love dhal with carrot and kale but pumpkin and sweet potato will make for great swaps and you can up the green factor with other leafies such as spinach. Dhal is all sorts of delicious wrapped in a big silverbeet leaf with some roasted cauliflower the next day.
2 tablespoons ghee
2 (400g) medium brown onions, sliced
3 (350g) carrots, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 cups red lentils
3 cups water
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 stalks (50g) kale, leaves removed and torn and stalks discarded, to serve
1/3 cup picked coriander leaves, to serve
2 tablespoons ghee, to serve
Heat the ghee in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes until translucent. Add in the grated carrot and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, coriander, cumin turmeric, curry leaves, mustard seeds, ground ginger and chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add in the lentils and cherry tomatoes with 3 cups of cold water and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, stir through torn kale leaves and the extra ghee. Divide the dhal between bowls and top with fresh coriander leaves.
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