Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad

It’s been a little quiet here on Nyoutritious this past week as my husband and I ventured over to New York City for a week with both kids. It was our first trip traveling as a family of four and it was great. We had an incredible time in the city we called home for over 3 years, and best of all, got to spend time with some of our amazing friends. The only downside is we all caught a bad cold and ended up back in London with the sniffles and jetlag in tow. But hey, sometimes a few days of snuggling on the couch with the kids aint so bad after all.

Continuing our Healthy Holidays theme, I’m celebrating the return of my smell and taste (finally!) with this warm roasted winter dish. Featuring deliciously roasted brussels sprouts, peas and maple glazed pecans and cranberries, this warm salad makes a perfect side dish for your christmas or thanksgiving table.

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad

Nutritional + Health Benefits…

Brussels sprouts offer some fantastic health benefits and are rich in many vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. They are particularly rich in vitamins C with just 1 cup providing more than 100% of our daily need of this important nutrient. Like most other green vegetables, brussels sprouts are also an amazing source of vitamin K – a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient that helps prevent and counteract inflammation that can result from excessive stress and other environmental and lifestyle related factors, including over the counter medication, poor diet and lack of exercise. Including brussels sprouts into your holiday menu will also benefit your body’s ability to effectively detoxify itself and cope with the extra indulgences that often follow the holiday season. Healthy detoxification is vital to our overall health, and a side dish like this is a great and delicious way to savour the holidays while being mindful of nourishing our overall health the best way possible in the midst of all the festivities.

Roasted Pea + Brussels Sprouts Salad
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Recipe type: salad
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Serves: serves 2
Ingredients
  • 450 gm (1 lbs) fresh brussels sprouts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • few sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 60 gm (2 oz) fresh peas
  • 45 gm (1½ oz) pecans roughly chopped
  • 30 gm (1 oz) dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  2. Rinse, peel and halve the brussels sprouts and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized glass bowl, combine 1 tbsp olive oil, minced garlic, a few sprigs rosemary and salt + pepper. Add the halved brussels sprouts and toss to coat until all the sprouts are covered in the oil + herb mixture.
  4. Place the brussels sprouts on a piece of non-stick parchment paper and place in a pre heated oven. Roast for 15 mins until golden brown.
  5. While the sprouts are in the oven, combine fresh peas, cranberries and pecans in the same bowl used to coat the sprouts. Add maple syrup, olive oil and salt + pepper and mix well using your hands or a spoon.
  6. After the sprouts have cooked for 15 mins, remove the tray from the oven and add the pea mixture to the sprouts.
  7. Place the tray in the oven again and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until brussels sprouts are cooked but not mushy.
  8. Remove tray from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad

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Carrot Cake With Vegan Lemon Cream Frosting

carrot cake with lemon cream frosting

We were walking our neighbourhood the other afternoon, in the dark at around 5pm, when we passed the newly opened ice rink next to the Natural History Museum. We stopped to admire the perfect scene of the ice rink surrounded by trees covered in fairy lights and with a beautiful old school carousel next to it. It set the perfect scene and reminded me of how much I love this city during this season. And every other season, but this one in particular. And it gave me a great excuse to share my first healthy holiday recipe. Carrot cake.

So, about this carrot cake. I mean, I don’t even know where to start with this one. It is rare that I’ve been this proud of a cake creation, and after introducing it to several friends (as well as a good handful of toddlers) who all loved it – I’m pretty sure you guys will love it too! And with all the upcoming festivities surrounding thanksgiving & Christmas, what better season to introduce you to this wonder of a cake! And one that, despite being healthy, doesn’t taste like it.

What’s good about it…

This cake is bursting with freshness, rich flavour and incredible nutrition. Packed with fresh carrots, it is full of antioxidants, vitamin A and fibre that will leave you perfectly satisfied – minus a nasty sugar high! In fact, 1 cup of carrot provides four times of your daily need for vitamin A. Made with a mix of coconut and almond flour, this cake is gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free and suitable for those following a grain-free or paleo diet.
The lemon cream frosting is raw and very simply made from a mix of soaked cashews + macadamia nuts with a touch of vanilla and lemon. It has an amazing and fresh lemony flavour that compliments the cake so well and adds a great lightness that is just irresistible.

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In the recipe you’ll see that the frosting calls for pre-soaking the nuts. Not only does pre-soaking the nuts soften them and make them easier to blend in order to get a smooth and creamy frosting, it also enhances their digestibility. Cashews are very high in phytic acids, also known as anti-nutrients. These phytic acids are problematic since they are non-digestible to the human body and tend to bind to other minerals in the body when consumed, causing serious deficiencies of important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, all of which are essential for our health. The simple step of soaking nuts and grains reduces the amount of phytic acid significantly, making them far easier to digest without stealing away other minerals. That said, if you have a good high speed blender (such as a vitamix) the cream will still work without the soaking, but I highly recommend soaking for the above mentioned reasons.

carrot cake with lemon cream frosting

Carrot Cake With Vegan Lemon Cream Frosting
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Recipe type: Cake
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Serves: 1 x 8" cake form
Ingredients
Cake
  • 250 gm (2 cups) grated carrots
  • 5 organic free-range eggs (medium sized)
  • 2 tbsp coconut or macadamia nut oil
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • ¼ cup (120 ml) almond flour
  • ¼ cup natural sweetener (maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar)
  • 1½ tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins (OPTIONAL)
Frosting
  • 60 gm (2 oz) cashew nuts, soaked
  • 30 gm (1 oz) macadamia nuts, soaked
  • 120 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • zest from ½ lemon (or more if desired)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp water
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and grated carrots.
  3. Add in oil, maple syrup, lemon juice & lemon zest and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine coconut and almond flour, bicarb soda, hazelnuts, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & raisins (if using).
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the carrot mix and combine well.
  6. Grease a round cake form with a little coconut oil and pour the cake mixture into the form, smoothing out the top with the back of a spoon.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 mins (I used fan force) until a knife comes out clean. (note that if you don't use fan force the cake will need to bake around 5-10 minutes longer in the oven)
  8. Leave to cool in the cake form for around 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the cake for and add the frosting. Serve warm or cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Frosting
  1. Soak cashews and macadamia nuts in water for minimum 3 hours. Rinse, drain and transfer the nuts to a food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend on high until the frosting is completely smooth and creamy in texture. Adjust honey and lemon to taste if you prefer it sweeter or less tart.
  3. Scoop out of the food processor and pour on top of the carrot cake. Spread in an even layer using the back of a spoon and decorate with a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or coconut flakes.

Needless to say, this carrot cake will definitely feature at our thanksgiving table this year. And christmas too… which we’ll be spending soaking up the sun in Australia (sorry, I just had to sneak that in there). And for all of you wondering if this will be too heavy for a hot christmas, the answer is no. What I would suggest, for those of you wanting to emphasise the freshness of it, is making a double batch of the lemon cream frosting and then serve it on the side as well. It is so delicious that you can easily eat it by the spoonful.

carrot cake

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Autumn Salad With Maple Glazed Walnuts + Fig Vinaigrette

I guess its becoming pretty obvious that I’m quite keen on the combination of figs and walnuts. From sharing a fig + walnut muffin recipe a few weeks back, to now posting this amazing autumn salad featuring some more figs and, of course, walnuts. But really… they just go so well together, especially when combined with beets, arugula leaves (rucola) and maple glazed sea salt walnuts.

Autumn Salad With Maple Glazed Walnuts + Fig Vinaigrette

I get a lot of salad inspiration from some of the local cafes in our area, a few of which have a selection of large salad bowls on display that change with the seasons. They always look stunning and colourful and I love the notion of seasonal salads.
Salads are an all year round thing in our house. They go from being fresh and fruity during the summer months, to warm and hearty during the winter season, featuring baked or roasted vegetables, including beets, sweet potato and cauliflower.

For this salad I attempted my own maple glazed sea salt walnuts and the result was fabulous! The sweet and savoury on the rich and buttery walnuts is not only the perfect salad topping but also works well in desserts. I think they would go especially well with baked apples or on fruit crumbles, and intend to find out soon!

I haven’t always been the best with eating seasonally, but since moving to London and living 5 minutes from an incredible farmers marketeating seasonally has been very easy since we tend to get the majority of our weekly produce from there. So with a fridge full of fresh figs, fresh beet roots and leafy greens, this salad was inevitable. In the process of nailing the fig vinaigrette and getting the right photo, I have enjoyed this salad a few times this week and absolutely love it. The bitterness from the arugula leaves compliment the sweet beets and figs perfectly. Meanwhile the buttery walnuts add a great crunch as well as a healthy dose of nourishing omega 3 fats, which are filling and absolutely amazing for your skin.

Overall this salad is bursting with antioxidants, healthy fats, fibre and and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beets are a great source of betaine – a nutrient which helps protect our cells from the damaging effects of stress, while also fighting inflammation and protecting the body against a number of chronic disease. Beets also promote healthy detoxification and are traditionally valued for helping to purify the blood and support overall liver function. So many good reasons to take advantage of this delicious vegetables while its in season! Juice it, grate it into salads, bake it, steam it and add it to your muffins for a naturally sweet flavour. It is pretty much good no matter what!

Fig Autumn Salad With Maple + Sea Salt Glazed Walnuts
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Recipe type: Salad
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Serves: serves 2
Ingredients
S A L A D
  • 2 generous handfuls arugula
  • ⅓ cup (330 ml) fresh peas
  • 2 fresh figs
  • 2 medium beet roots
  • 1 ounce feta cheese (optional)
  • 40 gm (1½ oz) walnuts
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
V I N A I G R E T T E
  • 1 fresh fig
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp honey (optional, depending on how sweet your figs are)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F)
  2. Wash, peel and slice the fresh beets and place on an oven rack. Sprinkle with salt + pepper and bake in the oven for about 15 mins until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add salt + pepper to taste and adjust as needed. Pour into a small jar and set aside.
  4. For the maple glazed walnuts, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and salt and mix well using a spoon. Add the walnuts and stir until they are covered in the oil + maple mixture. Place walnuts on a hot pan and roast for a couple of minutes until fragrant and the syrup starts to set. Transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool.
  5. Place arugula leaves on two plates. Add peas, sliced figs and roasted beet slices and toss lightly. Top with feta cheese, maple glazed walnuts + fig vinaigrette and add a touch of balsamic glaze to decorate.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Also great when served with grilled chicken breast.

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Enjoy.

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Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Almost every winter I get on this soup kick where all I want is soups. They’re so simple and comforting, and an easy way to flood your body with nutrients. This year I figured I’d get started early to have a few favourites up my sleeve for when the winter truly sets in. I love how easy they are to reheat the next day and how well they freeze. I’m all over “reheat + repeat” dinners at the moment, especially with two young children and a husband who travels a lot for work. There’s nothing like making a big pot of soup that saves you time making dinner for the next couple of nights. And on the note of minimising time spent in the kitchen, one of the best things about this soup is that it also doubles perfectly as a base for curries. Simply add chopped vegetables of your choice, meat and/or legumes, and some extra herbs + spices, and you’ve got a beautiful and super nutritious curry made from scratch.

Local green markets are bursting with all varieties and sizes of squash and pumpkins at the moment, so I figured I’d start off with a seasonal favourite. Since I tend to get a little bored with the sweetness of regular butternut squash soups I added Thai red curry paste and chilli to spice up the flavours, and the result was fantastic.

Nutritionally butternut squash is loaded with antioxidant carotenoids that protect our body cells from damaging free radicals. It is particularly rich in two other powerful antioxidants known as zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which are known to protect our vision from damaging UV + blue light radiation. Basically, the more zeaxanthin and lutein you have in your diet – the lower your chances of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, leading to blindness later in life. Aside from promoting healthy vision, carotenoids are also amazing for our skin cells, making this soup great skin food! In fact, carotenoids have shown to improve the skin’s overall glow, which is totally appropriate for winter!

As for other nutrients, squash has high levels of vitamin A + C, as well as some vitamin E, almost all of the B vitamins and important minerals, including magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, and zinc. Despite its subtle and buttery flavour, it is also an amazing source of dietary fibre, with 6 gm fibre per cup of steamed squash, making it very satisfying and great for digestive health.

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This soup is suitable for those who are gluten and dairy free as well as those following a vegan or paleo diet.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup
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Recipe type: Main
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Serves: serves 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 500 gm butternut squash, chopped
  • 100 gm carrots, chopped (approx. 2 medium carrots)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1-2 tsp Thai red chilli paste (alternatively you can use 1-2 tsp chilli powder/flakes instead)
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
  • Salt + pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan and sauté garlic and onion for a few minutes until the onions become translucent.
  2. Add the butternut squash, carrots, vegetable stock, bay leaf, thyme, red curry paste and coriander seeds and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, take out the bay leaf and add the coconut milk. Pour the soup into your blender and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely smooth and creamy.
  4. Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with chilli flakes and pumpkin seeds (optional)

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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