Tasty Kale Salad with Sweet Potato and Courgette

img_5141

The longer I stick to a predominantly plant-based diet, the more I crave it. Funny isn’t it? Contrary to what one may think, making your meal consist of mainly veg is actually not the purist, boring and lonely avenue some may proclaim it to be, rather it is an incredibly delicious, energising and unifying endeavour which keeps on giving. Continue reading “Tasty Kale Salad with Sweet Potato and Courgette”

Sweet potato and pomegranate salad

image

Is it just me or did this summer come and go way too fast? It feels like I have not had a chance to use half of my summer wardrobe and now it’s almost too late. I say almost as I’ve decided to fight autumn every step of the way. It helps that I’m off to Spain for a lovely wedding this weekend and sunshine and bikini are some of the menu items. I will enjoy every minute of the sun and festivities. Continue reading “Sweet potato and pomegranate salad”

Super quick Pesto ‘Pasta’

glutenfree pasta and pestoI used to be the world’s biggest pasta lover. Weren’t we all? Pasta was the staple, the go-to and the ultimate comfort food. A quick and easy friend who mixed well with anything.  It was a mutual love affair.  As with lots of yummy things there is an underbelly and the boring thing about refined carbs is that, unfortunately, the more you consume, the more you crave. It’s like a bad cycle that never ends.

These days I still crave the satisfying feeling that only a dish of pesto pasta and a salad can give you but I recreate it into my new vegan, gluten free version which is surprisingly tasty. It’s quicker than cooking regular pasta and the vegan pesto recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent cheese substitute in savoury vegan dishes should you want to avoid dairy. I don’t rule out dairy completely myself but love to experiment with vegan substitute to see how it compares and nutritional yeast is a great way to include in your cheesy dishes if you have chosen the dairy free road. You can find it in most health food stores as well as online.

The good news is that you avoid the pasta pot belly by consuming only veg and grains that are actually good for you and your digestion.  Here is the low-down on the nutrients from my favourite menu items;

  • Courgettes – contain potassium (good for lowering blood pressure) and vitamin C which strengthen your immune system.
  • Basil – good source of magnesium, vitamin A (good for eyes) , anti-bacterial.
  • Pine nuts – vitamin A, C, Magnesium, iron, can aid weight loss due to feeling full faster.
  • Olive oil – great source of monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants and vitamin E.

This lunch or dinner dish is simply jam packed with nutrients and healthy fats to re-charge your body and mind. Add veggies of your choice, such as steamed broccoli, tomatoes and peppers. It looks lovely and will add a crunch to your dish.

Quick and Easy Pesto ‘Pasta’ (serves 1)

Courgetti

1 large courgette, julienned or spiralized

Vegan Pesto

1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic

1/3 nutritional yeast

Salt + Pep

How to:

Stick all ingredients in your food processor or high speed blender. Be prepared to stop the machine occasionally to scrape the mixture off the sides until you have the consistency you like. I prefer a slight crunch to my pesto instead of a fine puree but that is entirely personal. You do what works for you.

Slightly wilt the courgetti in a pan of boiling water (but with heat turned off). No longer than 2 minutes, then drain, toss and pour the pesto over the warm vegetable noodles. Add your vegetables of choice (broccoli, tomatoes, peppers or spinach for example) once the noodles have been thoroughly coated in pesto. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

birgitta signature

 

 

Mung bean casserole with brown rice

20140502-120006.jpgOne of the most remarkable aspects of living in a large multicultural city, such as London, is the diversity of foods on offer. Supermarkets will tailor their wares depending on demographics and this makes for some interesting grocery shopping from one district to the next. In London you can find foods from all corners of the world and everything in between. Should that not be enough, however, the abundant Borough market in the city is on hand with anything you may be missing – it is a gem and a must see destination. Funnily enough, tourists tend to visit more than locals. Go figure. Still, we are truly lucky to be living in this melting pot of cultures and colours. Diversity is the key to acceptance, tolerance, interaction as well as education of the palate.

No where is this more noticeable than when travelling. The homogenous output of dishes and ingredients as well as the physical similarity of inhabitants in less diverse societies are stark reminders of how far we’ve come with integration in this country. Let’s celebrate our differences and share ways in which to heal our bodies and minds, whether through Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, Buddhist meditation, yoga, stillness, being kind and so on. We can all learn from each other.

Which leads me to the humble mung bean.  Used in Ayurvedic medicine and a staple in Indian cooking, it is considered a cleansing bean which can rid the body of toxins and bacteria. Folks suffering from gastric problems and irritable bowl syndrome could try to incorporate mung beans into their diet. They are high in potassium and contain vitamins A, C and E, folacin, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and calcium. They are also a source of phytoestrogens.

Todays recipe was inspired by my glass jar of dried mung beans that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for quite some time. I bought the beans in an Indian convenience store last year as my mother used to cook mung bean casseroles when I was a child. A spontaneous purchase for sure but my intention was to replicate her recipe and last night’s constant downpour was the catalyst I needed. Mung bean casserole it was. I can highly recommend this dish for anyone wanting a comforting veggie dish when all the elements are against you. It was super delicious and it didn’t leave me feeling too full or bloated either.20140502-113556.jpg

 

Mung bean casserole:

(serves 4 generously)

250 g mung beans, pre-soaked for at least 8 hours in cold water

1 stock cube or 2 tsp Marigold bouillon powder

1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 – 1 ground cumin

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 courgette, finely chopped

1/2 can organic coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1′ ginger root, chopped

3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the soaked mung beans well. Heat the coconut oil in a large casserole pan. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add 500 ml of boiling water to the pan with the stock cube/powder and mung beans. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes – you want most of the water to evaporate and for the mung beans to be soft. Add the coconut milk, carrots, courgettes and spices then simmer for another 10 minutes until carrots have softened. Let sit for a few minutes then stir in the fresh coriander and serve with brown rice, chopped tomatoes and yoghurt. Enjoy x