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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Green Goddess Salad Bowl

This is a dish that my husband and I have made nearly every day for lunch for almost a year now. It is so nutritious and so tasty that even after this much time, we still look forward to it! We attribute the fact this salad is so delicious to the yummy dressing that is drizzled over the top. All four of my children agree and are even happy to have it drizzled over any other meal, anytime! Because of the ingredients used to make the dressing, it is a perfectly effortless way to get your kids to eat their greens!

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This recipe will serve two for a main course or will even stretch to four if you’re using it as a meal accompaniment. To make the salad half of the meal you will need the following ingredients:

1 head of lettuce (the darker the better!)
1 small cucumber, chopped
A range of different tomatoes (even different colours too!), chopped
2 spring onions, chopped – use all of it!
A large handful of black kalamata olives
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 an avocado, diced
A large handful of toasted pinenuts

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Simply combine all of these ingredients in a dish and mix well together!

Next, acquire the following ingredients to create the dressing:

The juice of 1/2 of a blood orange
7 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. of tamari
1/2 an avocado
A fistful of coriander
A fistful of parsley
A fistful of mint
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp. of agave nectar or 1 date, de-stoned
Sea salt and pepper to taste

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If you have a high-speed blender, such as a vitamix, then now is the time to get it out! Even if you don’t own a vitamix then a normal device will do the trick. Chuck all of the dressing ingredients into your blender and whizz together before pouring over your salad.

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This is such a gorgeous dish to make and takes next to no time to prepare once you have all of the ingredients. Salad is a lunch time favourite of many people and by including a healthy home-made dressing such as this one instead of heaps of pre-made supermarket stuff, you’re doing your body countless favours.

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The inclusion of an entire avocado in this meal, split between the salad and the dressing, is one aspect that is particularly good for you. Avacadoes are an amazing source of protein and carotenoids; despite often being associated with a high fat content, they are beneficial fats. These fats actually boost your HDL cholesterol count. As you may know, HDL is the good kind of cholesterol and is essential in the bodies fight against free radicals! The fat content is also good for the continued optimum health of your heart as it protects against a range of diseases.

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Blood oranges are fantastic for a variety of purposes, whether you’re eating them raw, squeezing the juice out of them or including in meals. They contain absolutely no cholesterol and an incredibly low amount of fat whilst also being rich in vitamin C, potassium and several other important vitamins and minerals. Consuming a portion of this fruit every day will do wonders for your health and they are also less acidic then usual types of orange.

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Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa!

Salsa makes a great accompaniment to a wide selection of meals and, with no set recipe as to how it has to be made, you can create any number of variations to suit your tastes! Depending on the ingredients you choose to use, your salsa can not only be a tasty addition to your meal but also a healthy and nutritious one! Pomegranate, Cucumber and Mint Salsa is one of my favourites to create, especially if I’m having guests over, and takes next to no time at all to put together. To whip up a dish for yourself that’ll be enough to serve six, you’ll need the following things:

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1/2 a large cucumber, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red hot chilli, finely chopped
1/2 a bunch of mint, chopped
1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped
The juice of 1 lime,
Sea salt and pepper
A drizzle of olive oil

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So first is the fun part! Take the pomegranate, cut it in half and get your fingers in there to prise all of the seeds free. Ensure that you pull away all the pith as you go. Once you’ve done this, take the cucumber, chilli, red pepper, mint and coriander and mix in a bowl. Then you can also combine all of the pomegranate seeds into the bowl before adding the juice of the lime.

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Make sure you stir everything together well and then add the sea salt, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Give the whole bowl a final stir before covering and placing in the fridge to chill.

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As soon as the time comes to tuck in, you can just remove from the fridge, uncover and serve as is! If for some reason you don’t get through the whole dish, you should be okay to re-cover and pop back in the fridge for a day or two, however it’s more than likely it’ll all be gone after the first sitting!

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Pomegranates are an amazing super-food that, as part of a balanced diet, can really help improve your overall health. They are low in calories and high in many nutrients. It is the seeds of the plant which should be eaten and you can either do so in its natural form or blend it into a juice. The seeds of a pomegranate contain absolutely no cholesterol and just a small amount of fat but will provide you with natural sugars and fibre. Pomegranate seeds are also rich in antioxidants which are great for combating the free radicals in your body which can assist the formation of some cancers.

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The nutritional value of mint is also to be admired as it is packed full of minerals and vitamins! This herb is an especially good source of carotenes and vitamin C which means good things for your immune system! Magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and calcium can also be found in abundance in a serving of mint, all of which have individual health properties; mostly pertaining to the maintenance of your bones and blood. Similarly, coriander has many of the same qualities and both are herbs which should feature in your daily diet!

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Hot chilli peppers have multiple health benefits, some of which are often overlooked. For a start it is thought that consuming even a small amount of chilli peppers will help you to sleep better whilst also making you feel more awake and energetic the following day. Chilli peppers will also aid your body in lowering cholesterol which means good things for the overall health of your heart. Also, they are great for fighting inflammation which is a common precursor to many diseases.

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