Raw Spicy Thai Green Papaya Salad

This incredible salad is the last of the amazing dishes that I discovered during my stay at the Amatara Wellness Resort in Thailand! It takes just a few moments to throw together and is an iconic dish from this beautiful country.

The salad itself contains an abundance of ingredients that pack a healthy punch, and the pumpkin seed garnish gives it an extra nutritious boost! Also, if spicy isn’t really your thing then you can always make this salad without the addition of the chilli!

Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats, as well as being an excellent source of magnesium and zinc. Studies have suggested that regularly consuming pumpkin seeds could help to keep your blood pressure down and to promote an optimum sleep cycle.

Papaya is another exciting ingredient from this exotic dish, and may not be one that you consume often! Papaya is a rich and colourful source of nutrients, in fact – it has one of the highest vitamin C counts of all of the fruits! It is also an excellent source of potassium, beta-carotene, and lycopene! As well as being a delicious addition to salads, you can also simply enjoy this fruit on its own, or as a juice!

Ready to make this salad for two people?

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 50g long beans, sliced diagonally in 1-2cm pieces
  • 100g green papaya, fine julienne
  • 50g carrot, fine julienne
  • 10g chilli, fine julienne
  • 10g coriander leaves

Dressing

  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp coconut nectar
  • 2 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 5g garlic, minced

Garnish

  • 10g pumpkin seeds

Method:

Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Next, to make the dressing, mix lime juice, coconut nectar, sea salt, garlic and tamari soy sauce together. You can then pour the dressing over the salad and mix lightly.

Serve your salad onto plates and garnish with a few pumpkin seeds. So simple!

Raw Spicy Thai Green Papaya Salad Julie Montagu

Wellness for Women

If you have seen my wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2018!

Also, if you wan to learn about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health and your energy levels, then click here now to check out my starter guide!

Chilli, Lime, Sweet Potato and Rice Bowl

This rice bowl is another one of my super simple to make recipes that doesn’t take much time at all to create! It’s essentially a selection of some of my favourite foods combined to make a delicious lunch or dinner option.

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If you know me then you will know that I LOVE all things hot and spicy – but that doesn’t mean that you have to spice yours up if you don’t want to!

The following recipe makes enough to serve two to three people – depending on how big you want your bowl to be.

Ingredients:

  • 125g of cooked brown rice
  • 400g of cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of coriander
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, chopped into small chunks
  • A handful of cashew nuts
  • 2 small handfuls of pumpkin seeds
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 lime, sliced in half
  • Maple agave (or your favourite natural sweetener)

Method:

Start by preheating your oven to 200C or 400F. Next, place your sweet potato chunks on an oven tray and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over them. Roast the potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes.

Place the cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds in a separate oven dish and roast with the potatoes for the final seven minutes of the 20 minutes.

While the sweet potato and the nuts and seeds are roasting you can turn your attention to making your salad dressing. For this you will need to place the ginger, the red chilli, and the garlic in a bowl. You can then take the lime halves and squeeze as much juice as you can into the bowl. Add four tablespoons of olive oil to the mix with two tablespoons of the tamari soy sauce and two tablespoons of the maple agave – or your favourite natural sweetener! Whisk the contents of the bowl together.

Next, take a large handful of the rice and place into each bowl, alongside a large handful of the sweet potato and the black beans and the nuts and seeds. You can then pour the salad dressing over the top of each bowl and sprinkle with coriander.

Want to learn more about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health? Click here now to check out my starter guide!

Spicy Kale Chips

Kale has boomed in popularity in the last few years – and for good reason! It is not only incredibly nutritious but also super versatile and can be included in countless dishes. Chuck it in your morning smoothie, add it to your lunch time salad or top your dinner with it. However you choose to eat it, doing so is great for your health! It has such an amazing nutritional profile, with Vitamins A, C and K being present in extremely beneficial amounts! It is also a fantastic source of calcium, magnesium, iron and those all important antioxidants!

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu4So, munch out on this super-healthy snack that has all the crunch of potato chips (that’s crisps for those outside of the U.S!) but with all the good stuff and none of the bad!

To make a dish of my spicy kale chips that will serve two to three people, find the following ingredients:

1 big bunch of kale
1½ tbsp of almond butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of ground cumin
½ tsp of chilli flakes
½ tsp of pink Himalayan sea salt

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie MontaguGet started by first preheating the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4. You can then wash and dry the kale. Make sure you dry it completely and then tear it into large pieces. As you do so, make sure to remove the thick stalks and set them aside.

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu5Next, in a large bowl, mix together the almond butter, olive oil, cumin, chilli flakes and sea salt until well combined. You can then place the kale leaves into the bowl and toss in the almond butter mixture. Mix this together well until all of the kale leaves are evenly coated.

The next step is to spread the kale leaves on a non-stick baking tray and place in your preheated oven for 10–15 minutes or until crisp. After this time, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the spicy kale chips into a bowl.

Almond Butter Kale Chips Julie Montagu3You can either eat them straight from the oven or, if you want to eat them later, then they will stay fresh stored in an airtight container for three days.

This is one of the recipes from my soon to be released book – Eat Real Foods! You can pre-order your copy in the UK by clicking here and pre-order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

3 Bean Spicy Chilli

Being American, chilli is a big deal!  And growing up in the cold Chicago winters….well, chilli was an even bigger deal! Of course, chilli recipes ideally have meat in them which of course is fine if you’re not vegetarian or vegan. However, I’ve found that adding in a selection of beans (three in this recipe) definitely makes a great and hearty substitute for the meat.  So, on those cold, rainy days – let this heart warming chilli be your go to super easy supper.  Oh, and PS, chilli is super easy to freeze so feel free to double this recipe so that you’ll always have it on hand when the downpours arrive!

Eating a range of beans is great for your health as they are bursting with nutrients. This recipe uses white beans, which are high in potassium and calcium, black beans, which are great for protein and magnesium, and kidney beans, which are packed full of dietary fibre! What’s not to love!

To make this dish for four people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 x 400g tin white beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 400ml tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp. chilli powder
A small handful of basil, chopped
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. cumin
A small handful of coriander, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, quartered
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

FullSizeRender (1)To get started you will need to take a large pot and melt the coconut oil over a medium to high heat in it. You can then add the onion, crushed garlic, carrot and celery and then cook for five minutes. Next, add all of the beans, chopped tomatoes and the spices and then cook for ten minutes over a medium heat. Once this time is up, you can then stir in the fresh basil until soft, which should just take a minute. Finally, serve into bowls and top with sliced avocado, fresh lime juice and chopped coriander. You’ll soon agree that it is SOOOO good!

Remember, for more amazing recipes like this and nutrition information and advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Eat These Foods to Boost Your Mood!

Throughout each day your mood will be influenced by many different things. These can, of course, be both positive and negative and will affect the way you feel during each day. As well as your interactions with other people and your environment, the food that you consume will play a role in influencing your mood.

People who consume processed or sugary foods regularly are likely to find that they experience a low mood or even depression. This can be because these foods wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels which causes a fluctuation in energy levels. This can quickly lead to irritability and fatigue which will make even the happiest of people quite grumpy! Making healthy, positive changes to your diet across the whole is a great way to keep your mood steady but you can also try including certain superfoods for a quick boost!

Raw cacao powder is one of these foods and I would suggest you include a serving in your diet every day, especially if you are already struggling with a low mood. Cacao has a seriously impressive range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals within and is responsible for the perception people have of chocolate improving your mood. However, with processed chocolate products you also get an unhealthy dose of additives and other chemicals which can disrupt your hormones and actually be of detriment to your mood! Stick to raw, unprocessed cacao powder and you will soon see the benefits!

Chilli is another fantastic ingredient you can use to bring a dose of happiness to your day. Studies have shown that when we consume chilli, in any form, it increases the presence of endorphins in the brain which in turn gives us a pleasurable feeling! It is so easy to scatter just a pinch on your lunch and dinner, alternatively you can choose a delicious chilli sauce!

As you will know if you read my blog frequently, I am an advocate of the amazing health benefits of coconut oil and when it comes to your happiness this is especially true! The composition of healthy fats in coconut oil, as well as coconut milk and other coconut products, boosts your brain health. A healthy brain leads to a healthy mind and I would suggest consuming it in moderation regularly!

Most importantly of all, be sure that the majority of the food that you eat is real, wholesome, plant-based food! Don’t sabotage your mood with rubbish that is going to weigh your body down and disrupt your happiness!

For more top tips on how nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind, check out The Flexi Foodie Academy!

The BEST Refried Beans

This recipe comes from a wonderful company called Hello Fresh that I recently started using. And I can’t tell you how amazing they are! Their boxes include chef-created recipes and all the fresh ingredients you need to cook at home. Because I’m working full-time and have four kids, it’s sometimes hard to have to prepare a meal every single night of the week on those nights when I’m rushing off to teach and that’s why Hello Fresh is SO amazing. All the fresh ingredients are right there for me, with instructions and I’m easily done cooking a SUPER healthy meal for me and the kids in 30 minutes or less. And on those evenings when I can’t do the cooking… well, luckily I have a 17 year old daughter who not only follows the instructions but loves to cook too! So, here’s one of their fabulous recipes that we all love!

Refried beans are simple to make with just a few ingredients and with this delicious recipe is the BEST recipe I’ve discovered so far for this meal! Once you have prepped all of the ingredients it will take less than fifteen minutes to have it on the table!

Cumin is one of my favourite spices as it brings such an incredible flavour to food. It is crammed full of phytonutrients which have both antioxidant and anti-flatulent properties. It is also a great source of dietary fibre. Additionally, coriander contains a range of vitamins, minerals and essential oils. When eaten regularly, coriander can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

This is the perfect meal to make if you come home late after a busy day and want something, quick but nutritious to fill your stomach. To make some for yourself, you will need the following ingredients:

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. tomato puree
1 tsp. of your favourite hot sauce or 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
Fresh coriander
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

The Best Refried Beans TheFlexiFoodie2To get started making this recipe, take a large pan and melt the coconut oil over a medium to high heat. You can then add the chopped red onion into the pan. It should take about five minutes for the red onion to become soft. You can then add in the beans, cumin, hot sauce/chilli powder and the tomato puree. Mix well and begin to mash the beans using a fork. Next, add the lime juice and zest and reduce the heat to low. You must then cover the pan for an additional five minutes. Once mashed, mixed and warm, put the beans in a large bowl and top with the fresh coriander – enjoy!

To learn about nutritious cooking and healthy foods head over to my e-learning portal – The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Fennel and Pear Salad with Chilli Cashews and Avocado

Okay, so this is one literally one of those recipes where I looked in the fridge and was like….Oh my, we don’t have any food in the house except for fennel!  And so….. this recipe was created out of love for the fennel that was staring me back in the face, saying ‘Eat Me, I’m good for you!’  And yes, fennels are very very good for you as they help with indigestion, anaemia, constipation, heart disease, cancer, blood pressure and even brain function and bad breath!  However, I’ve learned that fennel is something you either love or hate.  It’s a super strong aniseed flavour, so quite bold in taste!  However, I’ve found that by mixing fennel with something sweet, like pear and then a bit spicy like the chilli flakes makes this salad not only deliciously nutritious but worth eating!

Serves 4 as a side and 2 for a main dish
1 Fennel
1 avocado
1 pear
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. chili flakes
large handful of cashews
1 lime, juiced
handful of fresh mint
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Once heated, coat the cashews in some coconut oil, sprinkle with chilli flakes and place in a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Using a mandoline slicer, slice the fennel into thin slices.   De-seed the avocado and cut the avocado into thick chunks.   Place the fennel and avocado in a medium bowl or large plate.  Peel the pear and grate the pear over the fennel and avocado.  Add the lime juice over the salad to keep the pear from browning.  In the meantime, in a pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.  Once melted, toast the fennel and cumin seeds for about 3-5 minutes.  Toss the toasted seeds, cashews and fresh mint over the salad and enjoy!
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Would love to hear your comments below so please post away!  And remember to head to www.juliemontagu.com for more healthy eating tips, inspiration, online nutrition courses and of course, my new cookbook SUPERFOODS!

Three Bean Chilli

With the cold weather setting in here in London, there’s no better way to warm yourself up at the end of the day than with a wholesome meal. Serving up a bowl of my chilli to your family as they come home from their days is a great way to get them smiling and nourished at the same time! To make enough for a family of four, find the following ingredients:

2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium leek, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
125g of green lentils
1 400g can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 400g can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 litre of veg stock
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of coriander
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
Himalayan sea salt

the_flexi_foodie1Before you get started, make sure you have peeled and chopped all of the ingredients as specified. Then take your coconut oil and heat it in a large pan for a few moments before you add in the onions, garlic, leek and chilli. Continue on a medium heat for approximately five minutes. After these five minutes you can add in the oregano, coriander and cumin. Fry for a further two minutes, adding in a few tablespoons of water if you feel it’s needed.

The next step is to add in the two cans of chopped tomatoes as well as the kidney beans, black beans and the lentils. Give this all a quick stir and then pour the litre of veg stock into the pan too. Bring your pan to the boil and then lower the heat to allow your chilli to simmer for approximately one hour. Be sure to remember to stir the pan every fifteen minutes. Once your hour is up, your chilli is ready to be served into four bowls. My kids love to have theirs with a chunk of wholemeal bread on top that soaks up the delicious juicy flavour as you eat! This chilli will last a few days in the fridge when kept in an airtight container so it’s a great dish to make a huge batch of for keeping for another day.

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