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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Hope you’re all loving autumn and will enjoy this salad as much as we do!

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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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Cleansing GLOW Smoothie

This smoothie is called the cleansing GLOW smoothie for a reason. It is a health + immune boosting nutritional  goldmine that will do wonders for your body – nourishing it from the inside out while kicking flu season in the face! It is fabulous for your skin, circulation and digestive health and tastes amazing.

cleansing glow smoothie

It really has the consistency of a juice more than a smoothie even though it is blended – so don’t worry, you won’t need a juicer to whip this up at home. A super simple combination of fresh cucumber, raw ginger root, lemon and antioxidant-packed goji berries, this smoothie juice is not only refreshing but full of kick from the raw ginger and lemon that is sure to energise you and your insides instantly. I love having this smoothie first thing in the morning before any food while the body is still in “cleansing mode” from the night fast. Having it before food enhances the cleansing qualities and allows the body to effectively absorb all the nutrients. That said, I do often save some leftovers for the afternoon as I find it really helps me overcome any energy slumps and sweet cravings. Aside from its cleansing effects, it is also brimming with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which I’ll explain more about below. If you, like me, isn’t a huge fan of ginger don’t write this off just yet. I dislike ginger in most things (ironically it reminds me of morning sickness), but admit that juices are the exception. As far as this one goes, the more ginger the better – and knowing just how good it is for my body really helps too. You can, of course, adjust the amount you use and gradually increase to reap more of the benefits this amazing root has to offer.

cleansing glow smoothie

Ingredients… Here’s what’s good about them…

Ginger is an incredibly root – highly anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants, it helps stimulate digestion and soothes the digestive tract, making it great for those with stomach and digestive troubles. Ginger is also a fabulous for improving circulation and helps give your skin an amazing glow.

Lemon is bitter and nutritious and full of cleansing properties – hence why many cultures have traditionally practised having lemon in warm water first thing in the morning. Personally I get pretty bored with lemon in hot water and find that this juice is a great alternative. Lemon is also packed with vitamin C, is a great immune booster and powerful antioxidant that help protect against cell damage and signs of ageing.

A large percentage of this juice is cucumber, which is not only very hydrating but also great for your skin. The phytochemicals in cucumber help the collagen in the skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer of your skin while also reducing the visibility of cellulite. Cucumbers are high in vitamin K and a good source of B vitamins zinc, vitamin C as well as the beauty mineral, silica.

Renowned for being super charged with a variety of powerful antioxidants, goji berries are also high in protein, fibre and vitamin A, E + C. They add a great colour, boost the nutritional benefit and add a subtle sweetness that makes this juice extra tasty.

As the recipe notes, you can make this with water or coconut water. I like using a mix, and the addition of raw coconut water is super delicious as it also add that exotic flavour and a bit of sweetness. Personally I love this brand of coconut water, but obviously if you have access to the real deal that is even better!

Cleansing GLOW Smoothie
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Recipe type: Drink
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Serves: 600 ml (20 fl oz)
Ingredients
  • 200 gm organic cucumber
  • Juice from 1½ lemons (1/2 cup / 120 ml)
  • 1 tbsp goji berries (pre soaked in water for 5 mins)
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, grated (I use around 30 gm / 1 oz)
  • 1½ cups (360ml) water or 100% raw coconut water - or a mix of both.
  • A little raw honey or few drops liquid stevia (OPTIONAL)
Instructions
  1. Place goji berries in a little water and let them soak for 5 mins. Drain and place the goji berries in a high speed blender.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the blender (I used a Vitamix) and blend on high for about a minute.
  3. Add honey/stevia to taste (if using) and blend again.
  4. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge (consume within 24 hours for optimal nutritional benefit).

On an entirely different note, I have returned to my long abandoned Nyoutritious instagram account. So head on over to instagram and follow me under @nyoutritious for daily inspiration + tips relevant to everything healthy and nutritious.

Thank you!

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Fig + Walnut Muffins

Fig walnut muffins

I’m all over this fall weather and have been channeling my inner baker this week. During the summer months I barely bake, and tend to spend the majority of my time outside. So, when autumn finally kicks in I’m all about being cosy… big knits (admittedly, we’re not quite there yet), cinnamon tea, and candles everywhere… and, I’m also one of those people who starts getting excited about christmas before people start thinking about halloween.

These healthy fig + walnut muffins are a result of my cosy fall madness. They’re great treat and will fill your house with the sweet smell of cinnamon… as a bonus they are healthy, and enough so to be enjoyed for a weekend breakfast. Featuring nutritious unrefined whole grain spelt flour and omega 3 rich walnuts, these muffins are only lightly sweetened with maple syrup (only 3 tbsp in the entire recipe!) + the dried figs, which are high in fibre as well as a good source of calcium and iron. I added a generous amount of cinnamon, which helps call out all the sweet flavours while also adding some great health benefits. (Read more about that here… How cinnamon benefits our health).

fig walnut collage

Adapted from this recipe Blueberry Spelt Muffins 

Fig + Walnut Muffins
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Recipe type: Cake
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Serves: 8-10 muffins
Ingredients
  • 2 organic free range eggs (medium sized)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) maple syrup (honey and agave syrup will work too)
  • 3 tbsp (30 ml) virgin coconut oil, melted (alternatively you can use macadamia oil)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar (to activate baking soda)
  • ⅓ cup (50 gm) unrefined whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk or water
  • 75 gm ( 2½ oz) figs, chopped
  • 60 gm (2 oz) walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  2. Whisk eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar together in a bowl.
  3. Add water (or coconut milk) and chia seeds and combine well.
  4. Leave to set for 10 mins to allow the chia seeds to expand.
  5. In a separate bowl combine, spelt flour baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  6. Add the dry flour mix to the bowl with eggs and chia seeds, mixing well with a spoon until the batter has a smooth consistency.
  7. Chop the walnuts and dried figs into smaller pieces and fold into the batter.
  8. Scoop out 2-3 tbsp of muffin batter into muffin cases (the batter should give you approx. 8-10 muffins depending on the size of your muffin cases).
  9. Place the muffins in the oven and bake at 150°C (300°F) for 12-15 mins. (Keep in mind that baking time may vary between different ovens so keep a close eye on the after the first 10 mins.).

Fig walnut muffins

Happy fall!

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