Cheesy Polenta and Sweet Roasted Butter Beans with a Beetroot Sauce

This dish is a great choice for those who enjoy a cheesy aroma in their cooking without actually having to use any dairy products! It is quick to prepare and can be beautifully presented, which is great for when you have guests over. Apart from the polenta, you will more than likely have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already, meaning it is minimal effort to give it a try!

One of the great perks of following a plant-based diet is having such a fantastic range of foods available to experiment with. Polenta is one such food that you might not be too familiar with if you are new to this way of eating. This yellow delight is made from cornmeal and, although it originated in Italy, is enjoyed all around the world. It is relatively easy to cook and contains iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium, as well as a selection of vitamins. If you are trying to eradicate carb heavy foods, such as bread and pasta, from your diet then polenta can help to satiate your hunger and prevent cravings for these foods.

The following ingredients will make enough to serve four people:

2 cups / 320g quick polenta
1 veggie stock cube
2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast
400g of butter beans, rinsed and drained
3 tsp of sweet paprika
4 pre-cooked beets
2 Tbsp of olive oil + excess for drizzling
2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
250g of tenderstem broccoli

To get started you will first need to preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. You can then make the polenta according to the packet instructions – but be sure to mix in the veggie stock cube with the water that you use to do so. Once the polenta is cooked you must mix in the nutritional yeast and put it to one side. The next step is to spread the butter beans onto a baking tray and drizzle them with olive oil. You should also sprinkle two teaspoons of the sweet paprika on top.

Next, grill the butter beans in your pre-heated oven for five to seven minutes, or until they become brown and crunchy. While the butter beans are roasting, add the broccoli to a pot of water and boil for three minutes before you drain and rinse. The next step is to place the beetroot, two tablespoons of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of sweet paprika into your food processor. Blend these ingredients until they become smooth. Finally, to assemble, place a good sized scoop of polenta onto each of your four plates and top with the beetroot sauce, butter beans and broccoli before you serve!

For more information about optimum nutrition, and to gain access to a selection of other healthy recipes, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Roasted Celeriac, Mushroom & Chestnut Soup

This meal is the perfect winter warmer and is also an amazing soup to go with your Thanksgiving dinner! To make it, I have combined all of my favourite Thanksgiving flavours with an extra ingredient here and there. And I’m glad I did because it created this super heart warming and hearty soup!

Chestnuts are massively under appreciated in western cooking, especially when we consider the wealth of nutrition that they yield. These little treasures contain an abundance of vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium and amino acids! They are also prized for containing a compound that helps to prevent kidney stones from forming, as do the majority of nuts!

You can serve this soup as a starter for Thanksgiving and then keep the leftovers to warm up the next day!  YUMMY!

To make your own for four to six people you will need the following ingredients:

1 large celeriac, trimmed, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 portabello mushrooms
250g of pre-cooked chestnuts
2 heaped tsp. of sweet paprika
2 garlic cloves
1 litre of veggie stock (or just water is fine)
1 small apple, roughly chopped
Coconut oil

Optional:

A small handful of walnuts, toasted
A scattering of fresh thyme

Soup2So the first thing you will need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200C. You must then thoroughly rub the mushrooms and chopped celeriac with the coconut oil. I like to melt my coconut oil first and then drizzle it over the ingredients before rubbing in. Next, place the mushroom and celeriac onto a large backing sheet and sprinkle the sweet paprika over the mushrooms and celeriac to coat.

Roast the vegetables for 10-15 minutes or until they become soft. You can then remove them from the oven and place in a large pot along with the pre-cooked chestnuts, veggie stock, garlic and apple chunks. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes until the apple is soft. Finally, scoop the mixture into a food processor or high-speed blender and whizz until somewhat smooth.  Of course, if you like a chunkier soup, then be sure not to blend the mixture too much.  You can then pour into bowls and top with toasted walnuts and fresh thyme. Delicious!

For more hearty meals and nutrition advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!   

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!