Homemade zucchini pesto ‘pasta’ with goat cheese and asparagus

As much as I love cooking, usually the last thing I feel like doing after a long busy day is cook a complicated meal. This zucchini pasta recipe is very simple yet packed with flavour. It is a great dish to have any night of the week!

Vibrant green pesto

After making your own fresh pesto it is very difficult to go back to using the store-bought version. When you do have the chance to make some, make enough to last a few meals and store in a glass container in the fridge. That way you’ll always have fresh pesto on hand to enhance any meal.

Ribboned zucchini

By using ribboned zucchini instead of actual pasta, you are still able to have the ‘pasta’ experience along with all nutrients from the zucchini.

Asparagus

A little tip when preparing asparagus for cooking, always break the ends off. This removes the woody end and leaves you with the fresh spear. I actually find snapping the ends quite therapeutic!

Light, healthy dinner served

Homemade zucchini pesto ‘pasta’ with goat cheese and asparagus

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, ribboned
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 50g goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, washed
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, extra for on top
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced, 1 for pesto and 1 for zucchini
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Place basil, spinach leaves, pine nuts, 1 garlic clove and nutritional yeast in the food processor. Process until well combined. Add the olive oil slowly whilst processing. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large frypan, place the other garlic clove and 1 TBSP coconut oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small frypan, add 1 TBSP coconut oil and asparagus over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. In two bowls, place zucchini, asparagus, pesto and goat cheese. Top with pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

What is your go-to meal after a long busy day?

Organic tamari chicken and vegetable stir-fry

As Easter is this weekend, I am sure many of you will be indulging in a bit of chocolate. I will be too, however it will be of the dairy and sugar free kind. Yet, as much as I do love my chocolate, I find I am always craving vegetables afterwards.

This stir-fry is a quick and simple way to enjoy a meal packed with them. I love the crunchiness of the vegetables against the tender chicken.

Tamari marinade

I use tamari as it is the gluten free version of soy sauce. It can be found in most health food stores and sometimes in your local supermarket (in the health food section). This is such a simple marinade but gives the chicken a lot of flavour.

Vibrant vegetables

I always make sure I use a rainbow of vegetables as it not only looks appetising but each one of them provides your body with essential nutrients.

Fresh, healthy dinner

This can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.

Organic tamari chicken and vegetable stir-fry

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 organic chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 TBSP tamari, extra for serving
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, washed and finely sliced
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
  • 2 zucchinis, washed and chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 cabbage, washed and finely sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, washed and chopped into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Coconut oil for stir-frying
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • Sambal oelek for serving

Method:

  1. In a medium sized bowl place the diced chicken breasts and tamari. Cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to marinade.
  2. Heat a large wok over high heat then place half the tamari chicken in 1 TBSP coconut oil and stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl (including the juices) and repeat with the other half of the chicken. Set aside.
  3. In the same wok, over high heat, add 1 TBSP coconut oil, ginger, garlic and leek to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, cabbage and capsicum and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tamari chicken, along with the juices and stock cube. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Add the coriander and cashews on top.
  7. Serve with sambal oelek and extra tamari. Enjoy!

Note: this stir-fry can be enjoyed with cooked quinoa, brown rice or rice noodles.

What are your favourite vegetables in a stir-fry?

Chocolate Nut Balls

I’d like to share some exciting news with you all… I have had my first recipe published!

This is the reason I haven’t posted the chocolate nut ball recipe yet, despite teasing you by having it feature as the heading on the main page. You too can now enjoy them!

First recipe published!

If you’d like to read more, it has been published in Baked, a Bond University publication.

Too good to resist!

These chocolate nut balls have such contrasting yet complementing textures. The dates provide the chewiness whilst the almonds create the crunch.

Lined up one-by-one ready to be eaten

Chocolate Nut Balls

Makes 14

Ingredients:

  • 330g almonds
  • 16 fresh dates at room-temperature, pitted
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Desiccated coconut, cacao or crushed almonds for rolling

Method:

  1. In the food processor, place almonds, cinnamon and cacao then process until the mix looks crumbly.
  2. Add dates and vanilla extract then process until the mixture starts to come together.
  3. Add a little of water if needed so the mixture is soft and forms easily.
  4. Form into 14 decent sized balls.
  5. Roll in coconut or any other of my suggested coatings.
  6. Place in the fridge to harden and enjoy!

 Note: Store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 4 weeks (if they last that long)! No need to defrost before consuming as the dates create a chewy texture.

What ingredients do you add to your nut balls?

Gluten free chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing

Whilst in New York, we frequented Magnolia Bakery several times (made famous by Sex and the City). It absolutely killed me that I couldn’t have their infamous cupcakes due to the wheat, dairy and sugar. I have been waiting for an opportunity to make some cupcakes that I could enjoy.

We celebrated Easter early this year, providing me with the perfect occasion to bake chocolate cupcakes.

Cupcake batter

The batter is quite sticky, so make sure you use two spoons when placing it in the cupcake liners.

All cooked

As almond meal has been used for the base, they unfortunately won’t come out completely smooth on top like ‘normal’ cupcakes. On the plus side, this gives you all the more reason to make the chocolate icing!

Chocolate avocado icing

I am sure many of you would be surprised to see avocado in the icing. This gives it a creamy, smooth texture whilst providing your body with good fats.

Decorated for Easter

Gluten free chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing

Adapted from The Healthy Chef

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 TBSP honey
  • Desiccated coconut

Icing

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP cacao powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, cacao and baking powder.
  3. Mix in the eggs, coconut oil, almond milk and honey until smooth.
  4. Spoon into prepared liners and bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. For the icing, either place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined or mash the avocado and mix in the other ingredients until smooth.
  6. Top the cooled cupcakes with icing and sprinkle with desiccated coconut. Enjoy!

What is your favourite chocolately treat to eat at Easter time?

Macadamia blueberry quinoa porridge

As breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day, why not make it enjoyable? Quinoa flakes are used as the base of this porridge and are flavour neutral. They make a great base to add your favourite toppings to and ensure you enjoy your important meal!

Soaked in apple cider vinegar

I always soak my blueberries in water and apple cider vinegar for 2 minutes as this helps to remove most pesticides from the skin.

Quinoa flakes all cooked

Quinoa flakes cook a lot quicker than quinoa, so they make for an easy warming breakfast.

Porridge toppings

This is the combination of toppings I decided upon. The blueberries add a burst of juiciness, the macadamias add a crunch and the cinnamon adds warmth.

Breakfast is served

Macadamia blueberry quinoa porridge

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk, extra depending on your desired consistency
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP desiccated coconut
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • Honey

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan place the quinoa flakes and almond milk. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once cooked separate into two bowls. Add blueberries, macadamias and coconut. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

What flavour combinations do you enjoy with your porridge?