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!

Stuffed Sweet Potato

My stuffed sweet potato recipe is the perfect dish to cook up after a particularly taxing day. This is because it will re-energise your mind and nourish your body due to the combination of super healthy ingredients!

Sweet potatoes are packed full of calcium and potassium, as well as an abundance of vitamins A and C. In fact, the gorgeous colour of this vegetable is due to the presence of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. The presence of this vitamin in adequate amounts is key to the optimum health of your skin, immune system and your vision.

You may not have come across samphire in your cooking before but there are many great reasons to begin making an effort to include it in your diet. This tasty sea vegetable grows in abundance in marshland and along shorelines. It is perfect for adding to salads but some people prefer to boil it as it can often be quite salty. Samphire has a very exciting nutritional makeup, containing a wealth of vitamins A, B and C, as well as being a good source of folic acid. It is thought to be useful for aiding digestion and boosting mental clarity.

Stuffed Sweet Potato2 Julie MontaguTo make this dish for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes
Rapeseed oil
1 onion (finely diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely diced)
100 grams of red split lentils (pre-soaked)
1 tbsp of cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
A handful of samphire

To get started making my stuffed sweet potatoes, you will first need to score each potato. Once this is complete you can drizzle them with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven and cook them at 200C for 45 minutes. By this time they should become soft on the inside.

While the potatoes are cooking, add the onion, garlic, cumin and turmeric into a pan with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and a dash of water. You can then cook this pan on a medium heat until the onions are caramelised. At this point you should add the lentils into the pan too and season with salt and pepper.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and serve with the lentil mix. Top with samphire and enjoy!

Eating a diet that includes foods bursting with nutrients is essential for the optimum health of your body and mind. To learn more about nutrition and healthy eating, head to my online e-learning portal, The Flexi Foodie Academy!

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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Sweet Potato Soup with Chia & Linseed

You can’t beat a good soup and one packed with nutrients is even better. This creation combines wholesome sweet potato with healthy garlic and flavoursome onions. It is incredibly simple to prepare and can easily be done whilst you multi-task during a busy evening at home! The thyme is the secret weapon in this delicious soup and really brings a splash of extra flavour. Many people prefer to peel sweet potatoes before they use them in cooking but the skins are actually a fantastic source of nutrients such as fiber and potassium. So for this recipe I advise that you keep the skins on to get that extra dose of goodness into your meal! Add to that the amazing health benefits of chia seeds and linseeds  and you can’t go wrong. To make enough for two people, acquire the following ingredients.

IMG_1912Ingredients

Two medium sized sweet potatoes

One large onion

Five cloves of garlic, finely sliced

A bunch of thyme

Two carrots

Two cups of vegetable stock

Chia seeds

Linseeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut oil

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So to start, slice your onion and cut your sweet potatoes into manageable chunks. Then fry the onions and garlic in coconut oil over a medium heat. After two or three minutes add the sweet potato in too. Leave this to heat for ten or so minutes, remembering to stir every now and then to prevent anything from burning.

Next, take the bunch of thyme and finely chop it. It is more than likely that the thyme won’t get totally broken down during the blending process so the better you chop it now, the less time you will have to spend sieving later! You can also take this opportunity to chop the carrots.

sweet_potato_soup_chia_linseed_the_flexi_foodie3If your ten minutes has passed then you can move the garlic, onion and sweet potato into a large pot with two cups of water and two cups of vegetable stock. Add in the carrots and boil the pot for a further ten minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer. Leave it on a low heat for twenty minutes to really soften the sweet potato up before removing from the heat, chucking in the thyme and blitzing with the blender.

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Once you’ve got as fine a soup as you can manage, leave on a low heat for ten to fifteen minutes before passing through your sieve. Then simply serve into two bowls, garnish with chia seeds and linseeds before you enjoy!

Mung Bean & Sweet Potato Casserole

I haven’t really done a proper bean post before and one of my favourite beans are…. mung beans.  I actually think they’re really sweet and cute, and they do taste amazing too.  A wonderful trait about mung beans is that they are easier to digest compared to larger beans and you don’t need to soak them for hours.  You can just pop them in and let them cook for about 45 minutes.  Hurray!

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Some people have difficulty digesting beans and legumes. They may develop gas, intestinal problems, irritability, or unclear thinking. Here are a few techniques for preparing and eating legumes that will alleviate most problems.

  • Soak beans for several days, changing the water twice daily, until a small tail forms on the beans.
  • Chew beans thoroughly and know that even small amounts have high nutritional and healing value.

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  • Avoid giving legumes to children under 18 months because they have not developed the gastric enzymes to digest them properly.
  • Experiment with your ability to digest beans. Smaller beans like adzuki, lentils, mung beans and peas digest most easily. Pinto, kidney, navy, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lima and black beans are harder to digest. Soybeans and black soybeans are the most difficult beans to digest.
  • Experiment with combinations, ingredients and seasonings. Legumes combine best with green or non-starchy vegetables and seaweeds.
  • Season with unrefined sea salt, miso or soy sauce near the end of cooking. If salt is added at the beginning, the beans will not cook completely. Salt is a digestive aid when used correctly.

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So what’s the scoop on mung beans, you ask?  Well, for starters, ancient China used mung beans for detoxifying the body, so a high five to the Chinese on that one.  Mung beans are high in soluble dietary fibre.  What’s soluble dietary fibre  you say?  Read after the pic of the green chilies!

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Here’s Soluble Fibre 101: Dietary fibre refers to certain food particles that cannot be digested. Dietary fibre comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre aids in normalizing bowl movements, but it does not do much for lowering blood pressure. Soluble fibre when mixed with water in the digestive tract will form a gel-like material, which in turn aids in supporting essential bodily functions. And foods rich in soluble dietary fibres have been show to help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).   So, another high five there.

Let’s get started on creating this delicious dish!

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Grab these goods and you are ready to go!  Serves 6 – great for a dinner party!

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. fenugreek seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. turmeric

3 garlic cloves

1 inch ginger, grated

4 green chilies, sliced

2 small onions, diced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, 1 1 /2 chunks

350g mung beans

1 litre vegetable stock

400g spinach

3 large tomatoes, chunked

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Heat the coconut oil in a large pan.  Once the oil has melted, stir in the fenugreek seeds and cumin for about 2 minutes until you smell the lovely frangrance of the spices.  Add in the garlic, ginger, chillies, onion and red peppers, sauté until the onion is soft.

Toss in your chunked sweet potatoes and top with the turmeric for about 2 minutes.  Then you’re ready to stir in the mung beans and the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil and then let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are cooked.  Lastly, add in the spinach and the tomatoes until both are soft but not over cooked – again, about 7-10 minutes.  Season with your limes, sea salt and black pepper.  This dish is incredibly filling so you probably won’t need any grain to go with it!

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Puy Lentils, Sweet Potato & Pomegranate Bake

Lentils have become a real staple in our house.  From red lentils to green lentils and now to puy lentils!  But what has been so amazing about these cute lookin’ discs, is that my 6 year old LOVES them!  In fact, he loves them so much that he practically asks for them every night.  So, we’ve had to get really creative in the ‘lentils’ department to make the dishes fun (and tasty) for all 6 of us!  And this is how and why this particular ‘bake’ was born.  For those of you who sometimes wonder or get asked – like I do – where you get your protein from other than the meat slogan that’s force fed to us, well – this little legume is your answer because…… Lentils have a higher protein content than beef! No joke.

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Lentils may be small but they are a huge player in the legume family.  They are an awesome source of cholesterol-lowering fibre but they also help manage blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from quickly rising after your meal.  But there’s more!  Lentils also provide amazing amounts of 6 important minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and like I mentioned above – the full monty: protein.  And can you believe it, all of that with virtually NO fat!  Just 230 calories for whole cup of cooked lentils.  This tiny nutritional giant fills you up – not out. ImageServes 6!

250g puy lentils

600g sweet potatoes

400ml (1 tin) coconut milk

1 pomegranate

1 red chilli

2-3 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

handful of parsley, to garnish

ImagePre-heat your oven to 180C/350F.  Place the lentils in a small pot, cover with water and bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and then just set aside.

Pierce the sweet potatoes, rub with coconut oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.  Once cooked through, leave to cool but keep the oven on!  Once completely cooled, dice into 1 1/2 inch chunks.

Heat the remaining of the coconut oil in a pan and saute the garlic until soft.  Stir in the lentils, chunked sweet potatoes and spices with the 400ml of coconut milk and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour this glorious mixture into an ovenproof baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, de-seed and thinly slice the red chilli.  After the 15 minutes, place the sliced red chilli on top of the bake and bake for an additional 5 minutes until those red chillies are a bit charred!

Serve with lots of pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.  YUM!

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Although traditionally made from standard potatoes, chips made from sweet potatoes are much healthier and are actually of great nutritional value. Just 7 ounces of this vegetable contains approximately 65% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C! They are also rich in calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. As a rule, use one sweet potato per person you are feeding, I used six to feed all six of us! To make this simple recipe all you will need is the following ingredients:

Sweet potatoes (1 per person)
Olive oil
Herbamare (pure sea-salt infused with organic, garden-fresh herbs and vegetables)
A dash of turmeric or cumin

So to start, heat your oven to 180C then wash and peel your potatoes. Once they are peeled, slice each potato to 1cm thickness and then again to 1cm longways. Once they are all sliced into shape, coat them all generously in corn flour.

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You must then apply olive oil to each chip. I prefer to spray the oil on instead of pouring it, but either method is absolutely fine. Next, give your chips a good sprinkle of Herbamare and then add a dash of turmeric or cumin, completely up to you!

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Now that your chips have been prepared, align them on the baking tray side by side, making sure not to place them on top of each other as this will prevent them becoming crunchy. Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes and then take them out, turn all of the chips over and put back in for an additional 15 minutes.  Your chips are now ready to eat so serve them with some decent ketchup, preferably made with Agave or Brown Rice Syrup, not sugar!!!

The high nutritional value of sweet potatoes isn’t the only reason you should be including them in your diet. They also score impressively low on the glycemic index which makes it great for your blood sugar levels. The rich content of Vitamin A and beta-carotene makes sweet potatoes fantastic for your skin and also work to combat the free radicals which cause visible ageing effects.

The high potassium content of this vegetable helps to alleviate muscle cramps, making them great to eat if you’re particularly tense! Sweet potatoes are easily grown in your garden and you don’t have to be especially green-fingered to be successful at it!

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