Category Archives: Quinoa

Healthy Eating On-The-Go

Healthy Eating On-The-Go

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One of the questions people always ask me is how do you stay healthy when you’re busy or out at work all day. It might seem like an impossible task, but trust me it’s way easier than you think! Plus taking your own food almost always tastes better than any store brought sandwich or unexciting salad, it’s much less expensive and it makes you feel so much more energised. So how do you do it?

Every weekend I make big batches of the foods that will be the basis of my lunch. This starts with either quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat – I change my grain each week so I don’t get bored but I normally cook them in the same easy way. All three are boiled with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a drizzling of tamari, dried herbs and pink salt and at the end I stir in a spoon or two of tahini to create a richer, creamier flavour. I then make lots of roasted vegetables, normally this is a mix of carrots, squash and sweet potatoes as I find these taste the most delicious cold – they seem to get more delicious stored in the fridge whereas other veggies can go a bit soggy. I cut them all into small cubes, place them on a baking tray and bake at 180C for an hour with a generous sprinkling of paprika, dried herbs, cinnamon and pink salt plus a drizzling of olive oil. My third staple is hummus, either my classic hummus or my roasted red pepper and paprika hummus, both are super easy to make and last for a week or so in the fridge. I love adding them to my on-the-go rainbow bowls as they add a delicious smooth, creamy texture that really brings everything together. Plus they’re an amazing source of fibre and protein, both of which are really important for keeping your energy levels up.

So the grains, roasted veg and hummus I prepare in advance and keep in tupperwears in the fridge but of course eating the same three things everyday would get boring so I then buy a variety of other veg to add in each morning. For this I focus on things that won’t take more than a minute or two to prepare, so I love things like juicy cherry tomatoes, peppery rocket, soft avocado chunks, grated carrot, salty olives, marinated kale, pink pomegranate seeds, fresh spinach leaves, crunchy pumpkin and sunflower seeds, meaty mushrooms, sweet raisins, rich sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. I add a different selection everyday to keep it interesting and then normally drizzle fresh lemon juice over the whole thing. I promise it really does only take five minutes to throw the whole thing and it will taste incredible! The weekend food prep only takes about an hour too so it really is so easy and so worth taking that time as it will really help you feel amazing all week!

Healthy Eating On-The-Go

Serves 1 for 5-7 days:

For the grain:

- 1 and a 1/2 cups of quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat

- 2 tablespoons of tahini

- 1 tablespoon of tamari

- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

- dried herbs

- pink salt

For the roasted veg:

- 2 sweet potatoes

- 2 carrots

- 1 butternut squash

- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

- 1 tablespoon of paprika

- dried herbs

- olive oil

- pink salt

For the hummus see my recipes:

- Here for the classic hummus

- Here for the roasted red pepper and paprika hummus (my favourite!)

Plus extras like:

Cherry tomatoes, rocket, avocado, grated carrot, olives, marinated kale, spinach leaves, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, mushrooms, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, pomegranates and pine nuts

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Almond, Quinoa & Pumpkin Seed Bread

Superfood Bread

I’ve always been a bit nervous of making a delicious gluten free, vegan, super healthy bread, it just seemed like a very daunting and slightly impossible task, but after the success of my burger buns two weeks ago I realised that it was time to attempt it and what a simple success it was! I can’t tell you how easy this recipe is and how insanely awesome it tastes, it also left me feeling like a serious domestic goddess: seriously I was jumping all around my kitchen in such excitement! The bread is just perfect, with a beautifully rich, wholesome, nutty flavour and a wonderfully soft texture. It’s so great to have bread back in the house again too and I’ve been really enjoying slices of it toasted with all my favourite toppings – think creamy avocado with lemon juice, chilli salt and sliced tomatoes; homemade almond butter with banana slices and medjool dates; roasted red pepper hummus with bean sprouts and black pepper, healthy nutella with pieces of roasted hazelnuts… the list is just too awesome!

Something tells me this might be my most popular recipe yet and I know it’s something that a lot of you have been asking for for a while so I hope you love it! This type of nut and seed bread is so popular at the moment and seems to be popping up on blogs everywhere so I’m sure you’ll have come across similar versions on places like Green Kitchen StoriesOh She Glows or My New Roots (three of the best blogs ever) as well as lots of paleo versions using eggs not psyllium. I’ve changed the consistency of the typical bread though to make is smoother and softer as I like my toast to have a more traditional texture that kind of melts in your mouth, although I’ve left some whole pumpkin and sunflower seeds in there for a little crunch! Mine’s also totally gluten free as most of these types of recipes use oats, so I’ve moved to brown rice flour to make it easier for you all.

Almond, Quinoa & Pumpkin Seed BreadAlmond, Quinoa & Pumpkin Seed BreadAlmond, Quinoa & Pumpkin Seed Bread

Makes one loaf

- 2 cups of cold water

- 1 and a 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds

- 1 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour

- 1 cup of almonds

- 1/2 a cup of sunflower seeds

- 3 heaped tablespoons of psyllium husk powder

- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

- 2 tablespoons of dried mixed herbs (I used herbs de provence but basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano etc are all great)

- salt and pepper to taste

Unfortunately there is no substitute for the psyllium husk powder – they work to stick the loaf together and I’m so sorry but they’re just essential for the recipe, I tried it without them and it was just too crumbly! They’re really easy to get hold of though, every health food shop sells them and google has endless links to sites that sell them too.

P.S. I just changed the recipe a little to the original changing the quinoa flakes which lots of you were struggling to find and instead using brown rice/buckwheat flour, I’ve also taken out the flaxseeds. I find this version works much better and I hope you do too!

Almond, Quinoa & Pumpkin Seed Bread

Simply place the almonds and one cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes until a smooth flour forms. Transfer this flour into a bowl and stir in the remaining half a cup of pumpkin seeds plus the buckwheat flour, sunflower seeds, psyllium husks, dried herbs and salt. Stir the mix well before gradually pouring in the water.

You’ll then need to let the mixture sit for an hour or so to let it fully absorb all the water and firm up. During which time you can heat the oven to 180C.

Once the mix is nice and firm (I mean really firm, it can’t even be a tiny bit runny – if it is then add another spoon of psyillium) grease the base of a loaf tin with coconut or olive oil, pour the mix in and firmly press it down with a spoon or spatula. Then place the bread in the oven and bake for forty minutes to an hour, until the top begins to brown and you can pull a knife out of the middle without any mix sticking to it. Finally, slice, smother in your favourite toppings and enjoy!

I normally store the bread in the fridge as it makes it last longer, and if you want to freeze it that works too, I normally slice it before freezing first though to make toasting easier!

Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Burgers in Homemade Buns

Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Burgers in Homemade Buns

Hello! I’m so sorry for not sharing a recipe with you last week, I took a wonderful computer-free holiday, which was so amazing. I’m back now though and fuelled with all kinds of delicious ideas to share with you, starting with these insanely awesome zucchini, pea and quinoa burgers which are tucked into homemade almond and pumpkin seed buns with a thick layer of hummus, slices of juicy tomatoes and beautiful butter lettuce leaves. And guess what, they taste even better than they sound! I made these for my family and they all devoured them, they were really such a hit. The bread is so delicious, perfectly nutty and wholesome. You can really taste all the different ingredients – the almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds – all of which complement each other so perfectly, so well that even the batter was delicious and I couldn’t resist eating spoonfuls of it raw! The same thing happened with the burger batter, which tasted so insanely delicious uncooked, so tangy and creamy. I can see the burger mix of pureed peas, grated zucchini, quinoa, fresh coriander, lime juice and apple cider vinegar becoming a staple in my life! Anyway even though everything tasted perfect raw it did taste even better cooked, especially when everything was combined together, if you’re not a hummus fan I’d recommend adding some guacamole instead as the creamy layer really added to the deliciousness of the burger! Can’t wait to hear what you think of these!

Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Burgers in Homemade Buns

Makes 5-8 burgers depending on how big you make them

- 2 cups of peas

- 1 small zucchini

- 1 cup of ground flaxseed

- 1 cup of quinoa

- 1 lime

- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

- 1 tablespoon of tahini

- a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)

- salt to taste

Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Burgers in Homemade Buns

Makes 5 buns

- 1 and a 1/2 cups of sunflower seeds

- 1 and a 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds

- 1 cup of ground flaxseeds

- 1 cup of almonds

- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

- 1/2 a cup of water

- salt to taste

Options for garnishing:

- hummus

- guacamole

- slices of avocado

- slices of tomatoes

- rocket/butter lettuce

Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Burgers in Homemade Buns

Start by making the bread. First place one cup each of the almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed and sunflowers seeds in a food processor and blend for a minute or so until smooth, then transfer the mix to a bowl and stir in the remaining half a cup each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds along with the salt, coconut oil and water. Use your hands to mix everything together, kneading the mixture together with your fingers for a few minutes until everything is perfectly sticky. Then make buns using your hands to carefully mould and flatten the bread, place these on a baking tray and cook at 180C for 25 minutes. Once they are cooked remove them from the oven and allow to cool and set fully before eating.

While the burger buns cook make the burger patties. First cook the quinoa, which should take 12-15 minutes. While this cooks place the peas in a pan and cover with cold water, then place on a stove and bring to the boil. Once the water has been boiling for a minute or two drain the peas and place them in a blender or food processor until they form a smooth paste. Add this to a mixing bowl. Next, grate the zucchini and add the grated mix to the bowl along with the juiced lime, apple cider vinegar, tahini, finely chopped coriander, ground flax and salt. Once the quinoa is cooked add it to the bowl and mix everything well. Make sure that the mix is very sticky, if it isn’t sticky enough add more ground flax. Then mould the patties, place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at 180C, until the patties are perfectly firm.

Then add everything together, I like to put a bun down followed by a thick layer of hummus, then a lettuce leaf, followed by the actual burger patty, a few sliced tomatoes, a little more lettuce and finally another bun! Then bite and enjoy!

P.S. Thought I’d share a snap from my technology-free holiday! I basically spent the whole time drinking mountains of fresh coconuts and running around on the beach, it was heaven!

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Fennel, Quinoa & Broad Bean Summer Salad

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If you’re looking for the perfect summer salad then you’re in luck, this beautiful bowl of rainbow goodness is seriously the best thing around. The light, fluffy quinoa grains blend perfectly with chunks of creamy avocado, slithers of tangy fennel, crunchy bites of red pepper, soft shelled broad beans and juicy kernels of corn to create the perfect mirage of flavours and textures, which are brought together by drizzlings of fresh lemon juice, dried thyme, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. It’s just amazing! I’ve been eating it a lot for the past few weeks, serving it on its own – which is amazing – or with delicious green salads filled with kale, chard and zucchini from the garden and sides of guacamole. However you eat it I can guarantee that you’ll love it, as will all of your guests! It’s perfectly light, outrageously flavoursome and beautifully healthy.

You may have noticed that I am a huge quinoa fan, I eat it almost everyday, which is awesome as not only is this amazing grain insanely delicious with an awesomely subtle nutty flavour, it’s also one of the healthiest foods around and king of the grains! Did you know that quinoa is the only grain that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and therefore equal to all meat and dairy? It also contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains, which aids effective digestion and keeps you fuller for longer, while also helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. On top of all of this quinoa is an amazing source of vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium, manganese, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, mostly in the form of oleic acid, which improves the digestive tracts ability to absorb nutrients, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. So if you’re not already in love with this amazing grain then maybe it’s time to start loving it!

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Serves 2

- 1/2 a cup of quinoa

- 1 avocado

- 1 fennel

- 1 sweet red bell pepper

- 1/2 a cup of sweet corn

- a dozen broad bean pods (fava beans)

- 1 lemon

- 1 lime

- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme

- apple cider vinegar

- extra virgin olive oil

Optional – a handful of pomegranates and pumpkin seeds

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A few hours before you make this dish cut the fennel into thin strips, place these in a bowl with the juice of the squeezed lime, salt and two tablespoons of olive oil. Keep the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. This process softens the fennel while also decreasing its aniseed flavour by allowing it to soak up the tangy lime and gentle olive oil flavours.

Once you’re ready to eat cook the quinoa. Simply place the grain in a sauce pan and fill with 2 cups of boiling water, a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar. Then allow it to boil for 12-15 minutes until the grains are soft and delicious but not too gluey and stuck together. You may need to add more water to the pan as it cooks, so keep an eye on it.

While the quinoa cooks cut the red pepper, remove the seedy inside and then slice into thin cubes. Place these in a bowl. Next cut the avocado into cubes, discarding the skin and the stone. Add the avocado to the red pepper and pour in the sweet corn.

For the beans you need to shell them, remove the beans and place these in a steamer for five minutes. Then pop the beans out of their skin and add them to the pepper, avocado and corn.

Squeeze the lemon and pour this over the vegetables along with a sprinkling of apple cider vinegar, the thyme and salt. Once the quinoa is cooked and has cooled for a few minutes add it to the bowl along with the fennel – I like to add the olive oil, lime juice mixture that sits at the bottom of the fennel bowl to the salad for extra flavour. Mix everything together, add the pomegranates and/or pumpkin seeds if you’ve chosen to include them and then serve, eat and enjoy!

Savoury Spinach and Quinoa Pancakes

Savoury Spinach and Quinoa Pancakes

I’m not sure about you guys but I thought finding delicious, healthy bread alternatives was one of the hardest parts of going gluten free. After a lot of searching I’ve now found some fantastic bread brands but I’ve never found any good homemade alternatives, which is such a shame as wraps/pancakes/muffins make for such an awesomely easy lunch or snack. So I’ve been playing with different recipes for a while trying to find a homemade alternative and I think these spinach and quinoa pancakes are the answer! The recipe seriously could not be easier, it literally takes ten minutes and the pancakes last about a week in an air tight container, which is awesome too. They don’t have an overpowering flavour, just a subtly savoury essence that complements whatever you add to them, and you really can’t taste the spinach at all – it’s just there for extra colourful goodness. That’s one of the other incredible things about these, not only are they unbelievably simple, inexpensive and totally delicious, they’re also much really good for you – much better than the vast majority of ready-made gluten free products which are filled with the most bizarre chemicals and additives! These wraps are made simply from  quinoa, brown rice, spinach, water and a little olive oil – you can’t get more natural and health-giving than that – tons of fibre, protein, minerals & vitamins!

I love mine piled high with mashed avocado, chopped jalapeño, hummus, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, lime and a little pink himalayan salt. It’s just divine! Although, I have to admit that they also taste amazing with almond butter and sliced banana – seriously worth a try! Either way there is just so much goodness and so much flavour that you can’t help but love these!

Savoury Spinach and Quinoa Pancakes

Makes three pancakes:

- 1 cup of spinach

- 3/4 of a cup of quinoa flour

- 1/4 of a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour

- 3/4 of a cup of water

- 2 tablespoons of olive oil

- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

- 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (I used rosemary, but oregano/basil/herbs de provence etc are all great)

- salt

For the toppings

-  Avocado

- Hummus

- Red pepper

- Cherry tomatoes

- Sweetcorn

- Coriander/cilantro

- Lime

- salt

Savoury Spinach and Quinoa Pancakes

Start by mixing the quinoa & buckwheat flours together in a bowl with the herbs and salt, then add the apple cider vinegar, olive oil & water and mix.

Place the spinach into a food processor and blend for a minute until it breaks down, then add the rest of the mixture to the processor and blend for another minute or two until a totally smooth, green mix forms. Scrape all the batter out of the processor back into a mixing bowl, as this will make scooping the batter into the frying pan much easier!

Next, coat the bottom of a frying pan in olive oil and begin to heat. Once the pan is hot, which should take about two minutes, add a third of the batter to it. Use a spoon to mould the mix into a thin circular shape – the thinner the better. After about a minute the bottom will be solid, at which point flip the pancake over and allow the other side to cook for between 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the thickness. Remove the pancake and place on a plate, add a little more olive oil to the pan – make sure you swirl the pan around so that all the base is covered. Then go again with the next one!

Pile your pancake high with all kind of yumminess and enjoy!