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It’s Veganuary – try this high protein, low calorie whipped tofu spread!

High-protein, low-calorie whipped tofu recipe:

It’s Veganuary! And whether you’re looking for more plant-based options or a healthy recipe to shake up your meal, planning, we’ve got you covered! This whipped tofu recipe is great to use as a base for harvest bowls, to add into a stew or curry or to use as a spread.

There’s so much you can do with whipped tofu! And it’s a great way to add extra lean plant protein into your diet. Add it to sarmies, in wraps, use as a creamy addition to a harvest bowl or swirl it through your favourite hearty stews.
Getting the smooth consistency right will depend on your blender (high speed needed) and you might need to add more moisture (soya milk) or fat (extra virgin olive oil) to get the consistency just right.

What You Need:
– 1 block of firm tofu (300-350g)
– 2-3 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
– ¼ to ½ cup Soya milk (or water)
– Zest and juice of a lemon
– Salt
– Black pepper

Method:

1/ Crumble the tofu into the high-quality food processor or blender. Add in ¼ cup of soya milk or water, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of zest and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Blitz together until well combined. Check the texture. If it’s still grainy, add 1 tsp oil and tsp water or soya milk and blend again. (Adding a little more until the texture is right for your taste).

2/ Taste is as important as texture. If you would like the whipped tofu to have more acidity, add more lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes: You can add herbs, roasted garlic (or garlic oil) to add more flavour to your whipped tofu.

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Midweek Lemony Asparagus Spring Pasta

Make the most of seasonal spring greens, like your herbs and asparagus and throw together this easy midweek pasta recipe.

If you’d like to make this recipe low-carb, simply swap out the pasta for courgette noodles or cut your own slices (no need to buy the fancy stuff or even use a spiraliser). Simply cut your courgettes into a shape that resembles penne and then lightly boil and then sauté in olive oil. While this recipe is plant-based, you could easily use cow’s milk and add grated Parmesan instead of the nutritional yeast. Short on time? You could also cook the asparagus in an air-fryer or pan, just watch for burning! And check that it’s cooked through but still has a little bite.

What You Need:

  • Bunch of asparagus (about 150g)
  • 2-3 lemons, zested and cut into slices
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Pasta of your choice, cooked according to package instructions

For the white sauce:

  • 2 tbsp tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced into slivers
  • 2 tbsp flour (a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend works just as well)
  • 1-2 cups plant milk (I used oat)
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (to your taste)

Method:

1/ Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees Celsius. Roast asparagus topped with lemon slices, olive oil and salt & pepper for about 20 minutes, until tender with a slightly charred.

2/ While the asparagus cooks, prepare your pasta according to package instructions and make the white sauce.

3/ Start by sautéing the garlic slices in the olive oil until just cooked. Add the flour and stir to combine and immediately start adding the milk, a little at a time, constantly stirring. Make sure to get the lumps out (a whisk works best). When you have the desired volume and consistency, add the nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4/ Stir your cooked pasta into the white sauce to coat. Once your asparagus is cooked, remove from the oven and slice into bite-sized pieces then add these to the pasta and sauce mix. Garnish with lemon zest, seasoning and more nutritional yeast (or Parmesan).

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Easy Tomato, Chickpea and Aubergine Stew Recipe

This vegetarian meal is great for meal-planning as it keeps really well in the fridge for up to four days. It’s also easy to mix up: serve it one day as a warm bowl with quinoa, couscous or brown rice, the next in a pita with some tzatziki and hummus, on grilled sourdough slices with a drizzle of olive oil or alongside an added portion of protein, like a chicken breast.

What You Need:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
    ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoky paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (or ras el hanout spice blend)
  • 2 medium-large aubergines, sliced into 2-3cm pieces
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes (or 6-8 freshly chopped tomatoes)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • Fresh basil or Italian parsley, for garnishing (optional)

Method:

1/ Heat a large pot over medium heat. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil inside and then sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and a little extra olive oil as needed and sauté for a further 2-3 minutes.

2/ Add your aubergines and stir to coat in the spices and slightly cook the outsides. Aubergines suck up liquid quickly, so add another tablespoon of olive oil. After 2-3 minutes, add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir to combine.

3/ Add 1 to 2 cups of water, to cover the vegetables, and set aside to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4/ Once the vegetables have cooked through and the mixture is thick, remove from the heat.

5/ Taste test and season accordingly. (hint: if your mixture is too acidic from the tinned tomatoes, add a ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda and stir it in, to help neutralise.)

6/ Garnish with herbs and serve.

Enjoy!

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Easy pak choi, pea and rice vermicelli stir-fry

This stir-fry is a celebration of Spring green veg and is a great week-night meal to make because it cooks in less than 15 minutes.

Rice vermicelli is a thin rice-based noodle that cooks really quickly. Simply soak in boiling water for a minute to two and then add to your stir-fry pan with the rest of the ingredients. Stir-fries are meant to be cooked in a hot pan, so it’s advisable to get all your ingredients chopped and ready to go, because once the cooking starts, it all happens quite quickly. Do not overcook the greens.

What You Need

  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
    150g protein of your choice (tofu cubes, chicken breast slices)
    1 brown onion, peeled, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
  • 200g-300g pak choi
  • 100-120g sugar-snap peas
  • 100g bean sprouts (optional)
  • 100-120g vermicelli
    Coriander leaves, for garnishing
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnishingFor the Stir-Fry Sauce:

    2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free)

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped green chillies
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

 Method

1/ Heat your wok to medium-high heat and put the kettle on to prepare the noodles.

2/ Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to your pan and once it’s hot, add the protein of your choice. Cook until just ready and then remove and set aside on a plate. (Don’t forget to soak your noodles according to the package instructions).

3/ Add a second tablespoon of sesame oil and add the onions. Sauté for one minute. Add the sauce and then the rest of the veg. Add a couple tablespoons of water.

4/ Once the veg has just wilted, add the noodles. Stir-fry for a further couple of minutes, making sure that everything is coated.

5/ Serve immediately, garnished with coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

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How To Make Baba Ganoush – A Healthy, Low-Calorie Dip!

Baba Ganoush is a mediterranean dip that’s easy to make, low in calories and works well on toast, in a wrap or served with pita breads. Here’s how to make it.

Whether you grill your aubergines in the oven or grill them on the braai, this recipe is a great way to make that veg so versatile! Braaiing the aubergine will give it that classic smoky flavour, while oven roasting will yield a subtler flavour. The trick with baba ganoush is to char the aubergines whole and, when they’re cooked through, to then scoop the flesh out, leaving the charred skin behind. If the aubergines are undercooked, they may taste bitter, so make sure that you cook them until they are really soft.

Helpful Tips

  • To create a more flavourful baba ganoush, allow some of the moisture from the cooked flesh to drain in a sieve over the sink for around 10 minutes. This is not necessary, but can help if there’s a lot of moisture.
  • User 3-4 smaller aubergines, as opposed to 2 large ones, could mean less moisture and less seeds.
  • Use firm, ripe aubergines, not overripe or soft aubergines as these can be more bitter.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make a chunky version of this dip by mashing and mixing with a fork or using a pestle and mortar.

What You Need:

  • 3-4 aubergines, pricked all over with a fork
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch each of salt, cumin and paprika
  • A fig sprigs of fresh parsley (to garnish, optional)

Method:

1. Whether you’re braaiing, grilling or roasting your aubergine, allow them to cool down before scooping out the flesh. Once cool, scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender.

2. Now make the dip, by adding the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and blitzing until smooth or your desired consistency is reached. Add only 1 tbsp lemon juice and then taste test before adding more.

3. Garnish with some olive oil and serve. To store in the fridge, place in an airtight container with a little olive oil drizzled over the top and consume within three days.

To read more about the health benefits of aubergines, click here! Plus, there’s a great Caponata recipe, which also works so well as a side dish, on toast or in a lunch box.

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Nutrient-Packed Green Soup

Nutrient-Packed Pea, Courgette and Baby Spinach Soup

This green soup is packed with nutrients, low in calories and easy to prepare, making it a great weeknight meal.

What You Need:

  • 1 small brown onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 4 fingers of celery, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 4 to 6 medium courgettes, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Pinch each of black pepper, salt and chilli flakes
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • ¼ cup cream or coconut cream (optional)
  • Fresh basil, for garnishing

Method:

  1. Sauté the onion in a little olive oil over medium heat. After a couple minutes, add the carrots and celery and saute for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Add the courgettes and garlic and saute for a further 2 minutes before adding in the vegetable stock.
  3. Add the peas to the liquid and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes.
  4.  Taste the liquid to check for saltiness and then add the seasoning.
  5. Add the baby spinach and let it steam / wilt.
  6. Using a hand-held blender, begin to blitz the soup until roughly smooth. The cream is not essential, but adds richness to the soup, but also more calories (optional).
  7. Tear in a handful of  fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
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How To Make Fattoush – A Hearty Winter Salad

Fattoush is a Lebanese or Mediterranean salad dish that’s affordable, but filling and can easily be spruced up in a variety of ways. Here we show you how to make this recipe and ways in which you can enjoy it!

Fattoush is made from toasted or fried pieces of flatbread, combined with mixed greens and other vegetables, such as radishes and tomatoes. It’s simple and tasty and filling thanks to the pieces of flatbread in the salad. You can serve this alongside other pita ingredients, add in some extra grilled vegetables, spoon over some hummus and add the leftovers into a wrap.

Preparing Your Pita

If you have any leftover flatbread that’s getting a little stale, then this is the perfect recipe to whip up. To add life back into the flatbread, spritz with a little olive oil and bake in the oven until it starts to get golden edges. Alternatively, rip it into smaller quarters and toast in a hot pan with a little olive oil. Once ready, slice your pita into small pieces, around 1-2cm cubes.

What You Need:

  • 1 large head of crunchy lettuce (like Romaine or Cos, but Iceberg will also work), shredded or thickly sliced
  • 2-3 large ripe roma tomatoes, roughly diced (not too small)
  • 5-6 baby radishes, finely sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3-4 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced (or a little red onion)
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Handful of fresh Italian parsley
  • Pita bread (prepared according to above instructions)

For The Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses or honey (optional)

Method:

  • Place the lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, peppers, cucumber and chopped onions in a large salad bowl.
  • Remove the mint stalks and roughly chop the herbs, adding to the salad.
  • Make the dressing, by whisking the ingredients together and then drizzling over the salad.
  • Toss in the pita bread pieces just before serving.

Fattoush is occasionally served with a few dollops of plain greek yoghurt, but you can also serve it with some hummus or baba ganoush on the side (both work so well with wraps too). Looking for some healthy hummus recipes? Click here for three tasty hummus recipes.

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Healthy Vegan Leek & Potato Soup Recipe

This soup is really easy to make and perfect for those chilly winter evenings. It also keeps really well and thus is an excellent meal-planning winner for the week.

This healthy leek and potato recipe is really easy to make and is naturally creamy – thanks to the potatoes.

What You Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 300g leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried herbs, such as thyme or rosemary (or a pinch of both)
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4 large or 6 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 1 litre of good-quality vegetable stock
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut cream (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chives, for garnishing
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Method:

1/ Add the oil to the pan and saute the onions and leeks, adding the garlic after a minute or two.

2/ Add the dried herbs to the pan and saute for 30 seconds and then add the chopped potatoes and litre of vegetable stock.

3/ Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.

4/ Discard the bay leaves. Using a hand-held blender, blend the ingredients together with the coconut cream to form a thick soup. Add a little water as needed.

5/ Season with salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (if desired) and serve with chopped chives and another drizzle of olive oil.

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Healthy Plant-Based Iron-Rich Recipe

It’s common knowledge that red meat is high in iron, but what if you’re vegetarian or vegan? Here is an iron-rich plant-based recipe that ticks all the boxes

This vegan recipe contains a variety of iron-rich plant-based ingredients and has a dose of vitamin C to help the body absorb the iron too.

Baby Spinach, Tofu and Orange Winter Salad

This plant-based dish is high in iron and – thanks to the orange segments – gets the kick of vitamin C which helps your body to absorb iron. It’s also a great well-balanced meal with carbs, protein and fats, plus nutritious veggies. This recipe serves 2

  • 100g baby spinach
  • 20g water cress
  • ¼ to ½ red onion, very finely sliced
  • 200g firm tofu
  • 1 avocado, sliced into thin slivers
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • Handful coriander leaves
  1. In a large bowl or platter, place the green leafy vegetables. Add the onion slices.
  2. Press the tofu to remove excess water with paper towels, then crumble over the salad as you would with a large block of feta. Toss all together.
  3. Top with avo slices, coriander and orange zest.
  4. Juice the one orange and slice the other into segments, removing the pith. Add the orange segments to the salad.
  5. Mix the juice with two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and drizzle over the salad as desired.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

For more information about iron and an iron-rich list of foods, click here.

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