In an earlier post I talked about superfoods. To me, superfoods are foods that are packed full of nutrients, readily available, minimally processed, have some decent scientific research behind them and most importantly, are really tasty!
With Christmas just around the corner (and all the busyness, hidden expenses, festivities and ‘not-so-healthy’ eating that goes with it) I am always looking for easy, quick and affordable ways try to maintain some semblance of healthy eating. So as promised, here are my superfood solutions for the busy end of the year. Enjoy!
Green leaves + herby salad = I have one of my BF’s to thank for this idea… it is a winner as it look quite indulgent but is actually really healthy! Toss 3 cups of baby English spinach with a large bunch each of picked mint leaves and picked coriander leaves together in a bowl. Take a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and add fresh squeezed lemon juice (amount varies, you want a runny consistency – try 1/2 to start) and a pinch of salt, mix to combine. Toss the leaves gently through the dressing just before serving. Superfine sliced red onion optional.
Kale chips + spices = Kale chips are the perfect antidote to salty crisp cravings! Take a bunch of curly kale and rinse well. Use a knife to remove the tough stem. Slice into 3 cm strips. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil, a pinch of red chilli flakes, large pinch ground cumin, large pinch ground coriander, tiny pinch smoked sweet paprika and a miser’s pinch of salt. Place on a baking tray and bake in moderate oven, tossing occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until crisp. Serve once cooled. Best eaten immediately.
Quinoa + berries + nuts = quinoa porridge = Check this recipe in my last post for a tasty, gluten free, superfood packed breakfast.
Lazy quinoa = cook quinoa in the rice cooker just as you cook rice. It can then be used as a savoury base for hearty salads, instead of cous cous in a Moroccan tagine, as a rice substitute or as a breakfast porridge when I can’t be bothered to make the proper quinoa porridge below.
Chia + fruit shake = Take 2 tsp chia seeds and place in a small bowl or cup. Add 1 tbsp water and set aside to soak for at least 1 hour (you can soak overnight if that is easier). When ready to make your shake combine soaked chia seeds (they will be swollen and gel-like), a couple of tablespoons natural yoghurt, a handful of fruit (fresh or frozen), a couple of ice cubes and 1/2 cup of milk. Drizzle of honey is optional. Blend to a smooth consistency. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Chia + oats + walnuts = Add ½ tsp chia seeds and 4 walnut halves to natural muesli for an omega-3 and fibre packed breakfast. Just remember to check your teeth for stray seeds in a mirror before heading to work – never a good look!
Oily fish (sardines ) + legumes (cannellini beans) + green leaves = Sardines atop cannellini bean puree on sourdough is a real comfort food that can be whipped up in a flash. Not all canned sardines are created equal, I prefer meatier varieties (as opposed to the slippery ones!) that are canned in olive oil. Sauté a clove of garlic in 1-2 teaspoons olive oil over low heat for 1 minute. Add ½ can drained, rinsed cannellini beans and toss. Increase heat to medium and add a tablespoon of hot water. Cover and allow to heat through, stirring occasionally. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt. Mash with a fork, adding a dash more hot water to thin if needed. Remove from heat and add fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste. Serve on toasted sourdough and top with drained sardines. Serve with leafy salad greens for a complete meal that is on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Berry breakfast parfait (berries + nuts + oats) = As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes, so spruce up brekky into something a little more fancy by simply taking a tall glass and layer a nutty natural muesli, natural yoghurt and berries one on top of another. Finish with yoghurt and a smattering of berries and a couple of your favourite nuts. I love pistachios on top – the colours complement the berries perfectly. Serve as is or add a dash of milk or soy milk for extra moisture. You can also mix it up and add other seasonal fruit such as mango, nectarine, melon or pear to suit your taste.
Prunes = Lately I have been in the habit of having two prunes as soon as I get up in the morning. Prunes are renowned for getting your bowels moving – the active ingredient is naturally occurring sorbitol. I just eat them because I enjoy the taste. They can also be added as a breakfast topping or added to fruit cakes or fruit loafs.
Dark chocolate + prunes = the prune brownie from this great cookbook is one of the more indulgent ways to enjoy these sweet, juicy morsels. A tiny piece goes a loooong way!
Kale(or silverbeet) + chickpea sauté = A quick stove-top meal for two, one of my fall-back meals for when I want something tasty but healthy on the table fast. Sauté two finely sliced French shallots + 2 crushed cloves of garlic in a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat until translucent. Turn up the heat to medium. Add 4-5 large diced mushrooms (Swiss browns work a treat), 1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes, a pinch of black pepper and allow mushrooms to colour slightly. Add 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Toss to coat with all the yum flavours! Take one bunch of well washed and drained kale, remove the tough centre stalk and cut into thick strips. Add to the pan and toss through. Cover and allow the residual moisture from the leaves assist the steaming/cooking process. Cook, tossing occasionally until kale is softened and chickpeas warmed through. Once cooked, remove from the heat and add about 60 g crumbled feta, a sprinkle and a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Serve with toasted sourdough or soft polenta. Serves 2 generously with enough for leftovers.
Dark chocolate = Straight up: 2 squares + green tea = a standard dessert that satisfies sweet cravings and won’t push you over the edge of fullness after dinner. Break off the squares and put the rest of the block away if you have problems stopping at 2-3 squares!
Dark chocolate + berries = For a simple, impressive dessert when guests are coming to dinner, it is hard to beat chocolate dripped strawberries: Melt ½ block dark chocolate in the microwave (I do it in 30-60 second bursts, stirring well in between) until runny. Dip washed and dried strawberries into the chocolate, spinning to coast well. Allow to dry on a parchment covered plate in a cool location. If you can avoid it, do not put in the fridge or the chocolate will sweat. If you run out of time, there is no harm in simply serving the runny chocolate in one communal bowl or individual ramekins and strawberries as is and allowing your guest to dip their own!
Now it is your turn – tell me how you use nutritious foods in your everyday diet?
P.S. A note on quinoa = Always rinse before using as it may retain a natural bitter coating on the outside.
P.P.S. A note on berries = Frozen is fine! Fresh berries are a real treat for me, especially when they are in season at my local farmers’ market, but their standard price tag means that most often, it is frozen berries from the supermarket that grace my bowl! Luckily, frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh berries (and depending on how long that punnet has been sitting on the shelf, sometimes more because they are snap frozen quickly after harvest!). Instead of having to defrost them every time you want them, simply take an air-tight container, pop a handful in and leave in the fridge…. Then they are ready to use over the next few days.