Lentil Brownies

Okay, I know this recipe might sound a bit weird and you are probably thinking, ‘is she serious?!’  But yes, I am serious!  I urge you to try this because I promise you, these brownies are so seriously good and gooey!  They do not disappoint if you are looking for an indulgent treat that is healthy too!

There are many benefits to eating lentils, such as promoting digestion and preventing ill health. The great benefits of eating lentils stem from the wealth of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and dietary fibre contained within. They are especially rich in potassium, calcium, zinc and vitamin K which all contribute to essential biological processes in the body!

To make twelve of these brownies for yourself you will need the following ingredients:

2 x 400g tin of lentils, drained and rinsed
12 Medjool dates (make sure you are using soft dates and Medjool are the softest!)
60g of almond butter
40g of cacao powder
1 Tbsp of honey
1 banana
½ tsp of baking soda

The first step in making these brownies is to preheat your oven to 200C. Next, in a food processor, pulse the lentils until they are mixed.  You can then add the almond butter, banana, cacao, honey and baking soda into the food processor and blend again.  After a few moments, scrape the sides to make sure everything is mixed together.  The next step is to add the dates and then blend again. Finally, in a greased 8×8 square pan, pour the mixture in and bake for 15 minutes.

Once this time has passed the brownies should be gooey, so if they are then that’s perfect! Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before slicing into bars. You can either enjoy them right away or place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Jam is a breakfast favorite of so many people but at the same time people might try to avoid the store bought varieties because of the high sugar count! Vegetarians and vegans often have a hard time finding jam that they can eat because several brands of jam do not qualify in either category! The best way to have control over your diet is to make things like jam at home yourself. It does not take as long as you might think, it will always be healthier than anything you can buy in the store and it will be delicious!

Strawberries are such an amazing way to get a wide range of vitamins and minerals into your diet. Even though some people opt to eat them dipped in sugar or cream, they are still very tasty without any added extras. Strawberries are particularly high in a certain group of antioxidants known as polyphenols and will provide protection for your heart as well as increasing good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

To make my strawberry jam, you will only need the following ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries, de-stemmed and chopped in quarters
¼ cup maple syrup / honey /coconut nectar
2 Tbsp chia seeds
Water as needed

To get started you will first need to add the strawberries to a pan and heat at a medium to high heat. You must also add the sweetner of your choice. The liquid from the strawberries will soon start to fill up the pan. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring every so often. Then, ussing a fork or masher, smash your strawberries to your desired level of consistency.

The next step is to stir in the two tablespoons of chia seeds and leave to cook for another minute – making sure to stir well. You can then remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool while the chia seeds swell up to thicken the jam. Don’t worry if it isn’t at the desired consistency as it will continue to thicken as it cools. Once the jam is cooled you can serve on your favourite piece of toast or top onto your favourite pudding! There’s no end to the many uses of delicious and healthy strawberry chia seed jam!

If you want to store this jam for later use then do so in an airtight container. If you keep it in the refrigerator then it will be good for up to two weeks.

To learn more about nutrition head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad

Creating delicious variations on the traditional side salad is something that I love to do in the kitchen! This recipe requires minimal preperation and can be put together in the ten minutes before you serve your main meal. Kale is an ingredient that I tend to use a lot at home because of its amazing nutritious value. For those of you who don’t know, kale is among the healthiest foods in the world! With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, it provides a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is also great for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and lowering risk factors for cancer development.

Adding the juice of one lime to the salad dressing not only helps to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients but also brings a healthy boost to this side dish. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and folic acid, the latter of which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

To make enough of this salad to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 x corns on the cob
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
250g kale, shredded
Sea salt
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
A squeeze of honey

For the dressing:
The juice of 1 lime
A handful of coriander, torn

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad2Firstly, using a sharp knife, cut the corn away from the cobs and separate the corn into kernels. In a frying pan, dry fry the corn with the paprika and the cumin for about 10 minutes until the corn starts to blacken! Next, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with sea salt for ten minutes or until it becomes soft. Add the burnt corn, the avocado, the lime and the coriander. Toss well and serve!

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Smoked Paprika, Black Beans and Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Purple sprouting broccoli is generally at its best in the spring months so now is a great time to make the most of it in your cooking! This kind of broccoli brings an amazing combination of colour and crunch to a dish and is also, of course, rammed full of nutrients. The high vitamin and mineral count of broccoli, coupled with its exciting antioxidant count, make it an all round winner for your health.

Paprika is amongst my favourite spices but not one that I use all that often! Including paprika in a dish is such a great way to boost the flavour of that meal and it packs a subtle spicy punch without completely dominating the existing taste. As well as containing a range of vitamins, paprika also has a healthy dose of iron which is essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

To quickly whip up this salad for four to six people, gather the following ingredients:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 x 400g of tinned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 spring onions, thinly diced
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. honey

For the dressing:

A handful of coriander
A small handful of almonds, ideally soaked for a few hours but don’t worry if not!
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. almond milk

broccoli_sprouted_salad_flexi_foodie

So the first thing you need to do is bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for five minutes. Be careful not to over cook the broccoli so that you don’t lose any of the nutrients. After these five minutes are up, you should drain and rinse. Next, in a frying pan over a medium heat, combine the drained and rinsed black beans and then add in the smoked paprika, cumin and honey. You can then stir this together well and cook for five minutes.

In a large bowl, you can then combine the sprouting broccoli, seasoned black beans, spring onions and avocado. And finally, combine the dressing ingredients in your food processor and blend. It will be a lovely, chunky dressing (tastes great too!) that you can coat the broccoli and bean salad well with. This is one of my favourite salads of all time!

Roasted Tomato and Sweet Potato Dip

Summer is just around the corner and that means picnics, barbeques and all manner of outdoor parties! The problem with going to so many of these events is that the food on offer can often be quite calorific! So, to avoid your waist-band increasing over the next few months, it’s a great idea to whip up your own dishes and dips to take with you. This doesn’t have to be a time consuming task and you can easily create a small selection of things to bring with you in under an hour. My Roasted Tomato and Sweet Potato Dip is just the thing for those summer days spent outside and goes well with practically everything!

Tomatoe and sweet potato in the same dish is a powerful fruit-veg combination. They are both full of antioxidants as well as their own range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A fun fact about tomatoes is that certain aspects of their nutritional value actually improves as they are cooked! When tomatoes are heated in the cooking process, the amount of lycopene, which is a chemical compound contained within, is increased. This beneficial compound is known to be effective in protecting the body against cancer and is also just useful for all round health!

So to get your summer off to a healthy start, gather the following ingredients:

8 vine tomatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 spring onions, chopped
A large handful of coriander
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of honey
Salt and pepper

roasted tomato and sweet potato dip2So to get started, pre-heat your oven to 180C and roast the tomatoes until the skins start to peel away (which should be after about 15-20 minutes). You should then remove the skins and allow the tomatoes to cool. In the same oven (even at the same time!), peel and bake your two sweet potatoes. I advise creating a few holes in the potatoes with a fork before you place them in the oven. The sweet potatoes will take a bit longer to cook than the tomatoes and you should give them about 25-30 minutes. After this time they should be adequately soft. Once they are ready, remove and allow to cool.

Once the tomatoes are cooled, peel away the skin and discard. Then you can place the tomatoes, chopped spring onions, coriander, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper into a food processor. Once the sweet potatoes are cooled, cut into chunks and add to the mix. Whizz until mixed well – close to the consistency of a puree. And voila, you have a gorgeous, easy dip to serve to your family or guests! Cut some chunky rye, spelt, wholewheat bread and top with the dip. Delicious!

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