Butternut Squash Winter Bake

Butternut Squash Winter Bake

I love this butternut squash winter bake and find it such a great plant based dish to serve as either a main or a side dish during the colder months. There’s something really cosy about oven bakes, right? And this one is both healthy and filling and flavoured with harissa spice, which perks it up so nicely and makes the roasted vegetables and crispy chickpeas more exotic. This dish is vegan friendly, gluten and dairy free, making it a good one for people who are on a restricted diet.

Aside from prepping the veggies and cooking the quinoa, the bake mostly cooks itself in the oven, making this a pretty low effort meal. The tahini sauce is a great and super versatile sauce you can use over any vegetables and salads. I usually keep a jar of homemade tahini in my fridge to use on salads and the like as it is a healthy alternative to store-bought dressings (..and made from only a handful of simple ingredients!) If you’re not a fan of tahini, you can as an alternative use a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt instead and sprinkle some harissa spice on top of it.

The cooking instructions below go into detail on how to cook fluffy quinoa. It’s really simple and the key is leaving the quinoa to “fluff” in the pot with a lid after its done cooking. Ensure you have the right ratio of 1:2 quinoa to water (so 2 cups water to 1 cup uncooked quinoa), and once the water is gone lid goes on and heat goes off. This is the most important step to ensure fluffy and well cooked quinoa that does not have a grainy texture. So I included it in there, just to make sure… because undercooked quinoa that hasn’t been left to fluff is not awesome.

Butternut Squash Winter Bake
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Recipe type: Main
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Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Winter Bake
  • ¾ cup dry quinoa
  • 1½ cup water
  • Pinch salt + pepper
  • 400 gm (about 1 small) butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into long thin slices
  • 1 tin chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 1 cup packed kale, washed, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Small handful almonds, chopped
  • salt + pepper
  • 2-3 tsp harissa spice
Tahini Sauce
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) tahini
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) water (you can add more if you want it thinner)
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a pot, cook the quinoa in water with a pinch of added salt. Leave to simmer without a lid for about 10 minutes until all the liquid is gone. Once the liquid is gone (but not so gone that its burning the bottom of the pot) turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot and leave it to fluff for another 10 minutes (this will help the quinoa get nice and fluffy).
  3. While the quinoa is "fluffing", peel and cut your butternut squash + carrots.
  4. Combine the butternut squash, carrots and chickpeas in a large bowl and drizzle with a little oil, salt, pepper and the harissa spice. Combine using your hands or a spoon to cover the vegetables in the spice as well as possible.
  5. When the quinoa is done, spread it out evenly in an oven tray. Top with the harissa spiced vegetables and chickpeas. Then top with a little more harissa spice.
  6. Place the tray in a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, sprinkle with half of the chopped kale and the chopped almonds - then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  7. Combine all the tahini spice ingredients and whisk together in a small jar. Once the bake is done in the oven, add the remaining kale and drizzle with tahini sauce before serving.
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  9. Additional topping ideas: pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, walnuts + hummus

 

Butternut squash winter bake

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Apple + Coconut Bircher Muesli

Apple + Coconut Bircher Muesli

Healthy and easy breakfast ideas are among the most frequent requests I get and this apple + coconut bircher muesli is a delicious and easy take on a healthy and quick breakfast option that doesn’t require too much effort. One of the reasons I love this recipe is that it is so convenient to make ahead and have ready for the morning… Once the base has soaked overnight, all you need to do is add yogurt, grated apple and your favourite toppings – throw it in a jar and you have a healthy and filling breakfast that is easy to bring on the go. You can also easily flavour it to suit the different seasons – top with berries and lemon zest in the summer, and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins for the colder months.

Nutritional Benefits

Nutritionally this bircher recipe is rich in beneficial fibre, and a breakfast high in fibre is so good for you as it helps keep you full throughout the entire morning, keeping your blood sugar levels stable and preventing you from getting too hungry before lunch time (…which then can make it harder to make a healthy choice for lunch – and also makes you more likely to overeat!). The fibre in the oats also help promote healthy cholesterol levels as they contain a particular type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which acts like a sponge in the small intestine, binding to cholesterol so it can’t be reabsorbed and instead passes as waste.

This bircher muesli is also rich in prebiotics and therefore great for your gut flora and overall digestive function. It is also a good source of magnesium, plant-based protein and antioxidants, making it a true virtue for healthy morning meals. I love making a large batch of this and serve it up in smaller jars for brunch topped with colourful fruits to make it look extra festive. I hope you enjoy!

Apple + Coconut Bircher Muesli

Apple + Coconut Bircher Muesli
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
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Serves: serves 3-4
Ingredients
Overnight Mix
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp honey (or other natural sweetener)
  • 1-2 tbsp raisins (optional)
Toppings
  • 3-4 tbsp yogurt (coconut yogurt for vegan option)
  • 2 apples, grated
  • Chopped almonds + desiccated coconut to top
Instructions
  1. Combine all the overnight ingredients in a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight (or for at least 2 hours before serving)
  2. Add grated apple and yogurt and combine using a spoon.
  3. Pour the mixture into a jar and top with chopped almonds, desiccated coconut and a touch of honey.
  4. Note: the overnight mixture will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

Apple + Coconut Bircher Muesli

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Chia Pudding Parfait With Raspberry Compote

Chia Pudding Parfait With Raspberry Compote

This festive Chia pudding parfait is perfect for breakfast, brunch and even as a healthy dessert. You can easily play around with the toppings and get creative decorating them with different fruits & nuts.

Known for their health benefits, chia seeds are rich in essential fatty acids (especially omega 3’s), high in natural plant fibre, and a good source of plant protein and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and manganese. They’re absolutely amazing for the digestive system, help boost energy levels, stabilise blood sugar levels, all while also nourishing our beauty bits – our hair, skin & nails.

If you’re not a fan of straight up chia pudding, I dare you to try this version which calls for a little added yogurt. Adding the yogurt completely changes the texture of chia pudding, making it creamier and less gooey in consistency. If you’re dairy free, coconut yogurt is a great alternative. It is naturally sweetened with a raspberry compote, which is a simple mix of raspberries, freshly squeezed orange juice, and more chia seeds, which helps it thicken up nicely, giving it a nice thick consistency.

Chia Pudding Parfait With Raspberry Compote

Chia Pudding Parfait With Raspberry Compote
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
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Total time:
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
CHIA PUDDING
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups plant milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp natural sweetener (coconut sugar/raw honey)
  • 4-6 tbsp Greek or coconut yogurt (or more if you prefer)
RASPBERRY COMPOTE
  • 4 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • splash orange juice (or water)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
TOPPINGS
  • Strawberries & blueberries
  • Chopped almonds
  • Desiccated coconut
Instructions
  1. Place raspberries, orange juice (or water), vanilla, in a pan and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Reduce to medium and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl or jar. Add chia seeds and stir gently until mixture starts to thicken up. Leave to cool in the fridge for 10-15 mins.
  4. In a bowl combine chia seeds, sweetener of your choice, and plant milk. Stir with a spoon until the mixture starts to thicken up. Leave for 20-25 mins (or overnight) until it thickens up to a pudding-like consistency.
  5. Once set, pour the chia pudding into small glasses, layer with yogurt and raspberry sauce, and top with berries, nuts and coconut before serving. Keep well in the fridge for 2 days.

 

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