Artichoke and Lentil Salad with Raspberry Dressing

This dish is amazing for all round nutrition as it combines fruits, vegetables and legumes in one delicious creation. The inclusion of maple syrup in the dressing gives it an extra nourishing kick and because this meal doesn’t take long to make, it is the perfect choice after a tiring day at work! When I’ve had a long day teaching yoga and then running the kids around after school, this is one of my first choices as it means less time between getting in the door and filling everyone up! The raspberry dressing is a great fit for most salad dishes and if maple syrup isn’t to your tastes then it can be swapped out in equal measure with any other natural sweetener!

To feed two people you will need the following ingredients and just double up for a family of four!

One cup of puy lentils

Pink Himalayan salt

Two cups of kale

50 grams of raspberries

One lemon

Apple cider vinegar

Maple syrup

Olive oil

One cup of pre-cooked artichoke

One red onion

Half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes

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It’s always best to soak puy lentils before you use them. Upwards of four hours will do the trick but if you want to leave them soaking in the fridge overnight then that’s great too. Once your lentils have been soaked, boil them in a pan with two cups of water and a dash of salt.

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As soon as this pan is heating up, chuck your kale into a separate pan with three cups of water and boil. Next, in a jug or mixing bowl take your raspberries and blend them with one teaspoon of lemon juice, two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of maple syrup, one tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of water. Sieve this mixture and place in the fridge for now.

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After approximately 10 – 15 minutes your kale and lentils should be cooked. So the next step is to transfer the kale into cold water to cool down and then drain the lentils before returning to the pan (with the heat turned off). Finely dice your red onion and mix with half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes into the pan of lentils. Once the kale is cooled it can also be added into the pan with the lentils, onion and sun-dried tomatoes. Your meal is now ready to serve so spoon onto two plates, drain the artichokes before you add them and finally take your raspberry dressing from the fridge to drip on as required.

Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines

Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines is a fantastically filling side dish that will perfectly complement any nutritious meal. When you’re shopping for your ingredients, try to select a wide range of aubergines to make your meal much more beautiful and fun to make. The aubergines in my recipe were the purple and white striped “greek” variety, the skinny “little fingers” aubergine and the baby aubergine, all purchased from Clapham Whole Foods in London. So to get started creating this meal for four, you’ll need to acquire the following items:

500g of a selection of auberginesGinger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains1
Rapeseed oil for frying
2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped finely
2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp. umeboshi paste
1.5 tsp. coconut palm sugar or agave nectar
75ml water
The flesh of 1 small mango
Sea salt

To begin you must first take all of the aubergines you have selected and cut them into 1.5cm slices. You can then place them in a dish and sprinkle with a good quality sea salt before leaving them to sit for 30 minutes. As these 30 minutes are coming to an end you must then add a splash of oil to a pan in order to fry the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger. Once the onions have begun to brown and soft, you can then add the spices into the pan and continue to fry for a few more minutes. Now that these ingredients have been combined and cooked, you can remove them from the pan and place in a separate dish.Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains2

Using a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll, wipe the salted aubergines until they are dry and then place them into the pan that you previously fried the other ingredients in. Whilst doing this, it may be necessary to add a dash more oil into the pan. Keep frying until the aubergines are golden on both sides and then pop them into your oven on a fairly low setting, just to keep the warm.

It is now time to take the fried onion mixture and return it to the frying pan. You must also now include the umeboshi paste, sweetener and the 75ml of water. Allow this concoction to boil then stir well and leave it to simmer for five minutes. Once finished, move the mixture from the frying pan into a food processor and chuck in the flesh of the mango. Blitz together for 30 seconds before returning to the dish.

Now you can have some fun with the presentation by arranging the aubergine slices onto a platter. The sauce that you have just created in the blender can now be drizzled over the top and the rest served on the side of the dish. Present on the dinner table alongside your meal and your whole family will be satisfied until breakfast!Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains4

Aubergines are revered as a health food and loved by many for their low calorie count and their rich fibre content. Eating 100g of aubergine will provide you with just 24 calories but will also account for nearly 10% of your recommended daily allowance of fibre. The skin of the aubergine is just as good for you as the flesh itself and contains an impressive amount of anti-oxidants. Aubergines also rate incredibly low on the glycemic index of vegetables.

The vitamins that can be found in aubergines are essential to the body’s process of replenishing proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Also you can find great amounts of potassium, copper, iron and manganese in this tasty vegetable which are all fantastic for keeping the body functioning well. With all of these factors considered, you can understand why aubergine is an all round amazing addition to your diet!

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Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burgers

So the snow has fallen in abundance in London causing the schools to close and all four of my children to be at home! My kids are so active and into every sport imaginable, therefore chaos is the norm in our house. For this reason it’s not very often that the six of us are all together at the same time so what a treat it was to be snowed in! I relished the opportunity to get them all cooking together in the kitchen and that’s where this week’s recipe was born.

My kids are definitely lovers of veggie burgers. They’re the kids who order them at burger restaurants, at pool side cafes or even birthday parties and I’m so proud of them for it! Eating a wholesome veggie burger is like getting an injection of so many nutrients rather than cholesterol and saturated fat. So it was a unanimous decision – we would make their favourite and my speciality, Grass, Roots & Grains Veggie Burger….served, of course, with a side of sweet potato chips and green peas!

If you’re getting ready to make this dish at home yourself then first you’ll need to raid the supermarket for the following ingredients:

125g or 3/4 cup of whole-wheat couscous
100g or 1/2 cup red lentils
1 tbsp. whole meal flour
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 a bunch of coriander
1 courgette, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon, tahini
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Sea salt and black pepper

Once you have gathered the necessary ingredients you can begin by putting all of the couscous into a bowl and pouring 200ml of seasoned boiling water over it. A simple bouillon is perfect for this and will really flavour the couscous. Quickly mix together before covering and placing to one side.P1050292

You can then rinse your half a cup of lentils and place in a pan with 300ml of water and bring to the boil. After about twenty minutes in the pan, the lentils should have become soft so it’s now time to drain and chuck them into your food processor. Now is also the time to include the diced onion, carrot, courgette and tomato along with all of the spices and herbs, flour and tahini.

Once all of your ingredients are blended together you can remove the mixture from the blender and add it to the bowl of couscous that you prepared earlier. You must now mix the two concoctions together vigorously with your hands. As soon as your couscous combination is ready, you can wet your hands and have some fun moulding the mixture into burger shapes. With the amount of ingredients used you will have enough burger mix to make four burgers, or alternatively you could make more slightly smaller burgers.P1050299

Your burger patties can now be added to a frying pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and cooked for three or four minutes on each side. As soon as they’re ready you can pop them out of the pan and into wholemeal baps. Garnish in any which way you like and enjoy!

The combination of vegetables inside these burgers is a great mix and provides a generous amount of nutrition in each portion. Tomatoes are an amazing source of antioxidants, especially lycopene which protects the body from those nasty free radicals. Courgettes are also prized for their antioxidant values as well as their high potassium count which is great for your blood pressure. Similarly onions and carrots are rich sources of vitamins and nutrients, especially beta-carotene for the latter which helps maintain your vision.

Although the burgers are technically cooked, the amount of time they are heated for will allow for lots of nutrients that are normally lost through cooking at high temperatures to remain.

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