Roasted cauliflower, chickpea and kale salad

Well, what a crazy week it was last week! I’ve been busy working on a new segment to be regularly featured on Emma Lauren that I am really excited to share with you! But, you’ll have to stay tuned until the end of this … Continue reading

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Pumpkin is one of my favourite roasted vegetables, the sweet yet nutty taste gets me every time. Instead of enjoying it as a side dish, I wanted to make it the main focus for a change.

The flavours in the moroccan spiced lamb really complemented the earthiness of the roasted pumpkin and I just know this is going to be a favourite dish of mine during winter – actually, make that, during all seasons!

One butternut pumpkin half

I used butternut pumpkin/squash as its shape acts as a ‘boat’ that can hold the moroccan lamb mixture without if falling over the sides.

Moroccan spices

The spices in this dish include cumin, paprika and cinnamon – you could definitely add fresh chilli or chilli flakes if you’d like some heat. When cooked, the spices become aromatic and fill the room with a beautiful earthy fragrance.

Adding the red lentils

I always associate red lentils with moroccan food; maybe it’s due to their rustic red colour. The lentils add extra bulk to the dish in the way of flavour and texture.

Moroccan lamb mixture

This dish is vegetable friendly, virtually any variety in your fridge could be used. This is great for those nights when you have a few vegetables to use up or need some extra nutrients!

Flesh scooped out

Once the pumpkin is cooked, scoop enough flesh out to create a ‘boat’. I kept about 1cm from the edges and made sure there was still enough pumpkin flesh on the bottom so the moroccan lamb mixture didn’t seep through.

Ready to fill the pumpkin

As I don’t like waste, I added the scooped pumpkin flesh and seeds to the lamb mixture along with the coriander for extra moroccan flavour.

Nearly ready to be enjoyed

As you can see, the pumpkin has now been filled and is piled quite high. I love the colours in this dish – it really goes to show just how beautiful healthy food can be.

Mint yoghurt dressing

This mint yoghurt really sets off the moroccan spices as it brings an element of freshness to the earthiness.

Decorated and ready to be enjoyed!

This dish will keep for two days in a sealed container in the fridge. Store the mint yoghurt separately and serve on top once reheated in the oven.   

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with moroccan spiced lamb

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut pumpkin halves, washed
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, washed and diced
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup coriander stalks and leaves, washed and roughly chopped – extra leaves for decoration
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt or natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup mint, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place butternut pumpkin halves on baking paper and roast for 45 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil to a large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Cook onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cumin, paprika and cinnamon then stir for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  6. Add lamb mince and cook for 5 minutes or until brown then stir through lentils for a further 1 minute.
  7. Add beef stock, tomatoes, celery, spinach leaves, salt and pepper then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Remove pumpkin from oven and spoon flesh from inside the pumpkin.
  9. Roughly chop the flesh and add to lamb mixture, along with coriander.
  10. Fill pumpkin with lamb mixture then return pumpkin to the oven for 20 minutes.
  11. Mix yoghurt and mint together and set aside.
  12. Remove pumpkin from oven, transfer to a plate, top with mint yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander leaves, pistachios and pine nuts. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If there is leftover lamb mixture it would be delicious over some cooked quinoa or brown rice!
  • Also, to make it vegan/vegetarian – omit the lamb and use chickpeas instead, and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.
  • You can use any vegetables you like – grated carrot, mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum and corn would all work really well in this dish.
  • You can definitely eat the pumpkin seeds and skin!

Although it seems as though there are a lot of ingredients, once broken down into spices and vegetables, there really isn’t much to it. It’s definitely worth making and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Since Sunday I have been down in Melbourne as I am completing an internship for three weeks as part of my university studies! As I’m a self-confessed foodie I have already been sampling the delicious food Melbourne has to offer. So, I thought I’d share some meals with you..

Vegan shepherd’s pie with salad and chutney!

I enjoyed this gluten free vegan shepherd’s pie from The Organic Food and Wine Deli in Degraves St Melbourne CBD, for lunch on my first day. It was absolutely delicious and really reasonably priced!

Delicious dinner at Mamasita’s!

I caught up with a good friend at Mamasita’s, Collins St Melbourne CBD, last night for dinner. Although there was about a 30 minute wait to be seated, I believe it was well worth it. We enjoyed their signature corn, a taco each (I chose the fish) and their chickpea fritters – these were my favourite of the night! The entire restaurant is gluten free, yet the most surprising part was the bill. All of this only cost us $20 each – such great value! I highly recommend eating here, but do be prepared to queue!

So now onto the recipe…

As I’m working 9-5 days I’m experiencing what it really is like having to cook after a busy day at work. I believe the words ‘simpler is better’ are very appropriate to use here!

Chopped vegetables

This salad is very simple and you can basically use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Cooking away

The quinoa and chickpeas add an element of protein to this filling salad.

A little tip – cook a lot of quinoa on Sunday and store it in a sealed container so you can add it to dishes throughout the first part of the week!

Simple, healthy dinner

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days – perfect to take for lunch the next day!

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 eggplant, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 3 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup rocket, washed
  • 3 TBSP hummus
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place a large frypan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
  2. Add in carrot, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, broccoli and mushrooms, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add cooked quinoa, cumin and chickpeas to vegetables. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Stir through rocket, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with hummus.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: goat cheese would work really well with this salad!

As I’m down in Melbourne for three weeks, I welcome any suggestions from you for healthy cafes/restaurants for me to try!

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

I often draw inspiration from looking into the fridge to see what ingredients have to be used up. Today it was zucchinis so I decided to make fritters for lunch.

These fritters can be enjoyed for breakfast with poached eggs, for lunch with a fresh salad or even as a light snack.

Making ‘flax eggs’

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that a flax egg is what vegans use as a substitute for eggs. It’s also a great source of omega 3s and acts as a binding agent. If you don’t have flaxseed meal, you can use 3 eggs instead for the fritters.

One bowl wonder!

I try to keep my cooking as simple as possible by using only one mixing bowl and mixing all the ingredients at once. This also cuts down on the amount of washing up!

All well combined

Once mixed, the ingredients all come together to create a fairly wet mixture. Don’t be alarmed by this as it helps to keep the fritters moist.

Frying away…

To make sure the fritters stayed together when cooking, I rolled them into balls then flattened them in the frypan. Once cooked they take on a beautiful golden colour.

Cumin coconut yoghurt

The cumin coconut yoghurt really adds a contrasting flavour to the fritters. I love how the earthiness of the cumin really brings out the freshness of the mint. If you don’t have coconut yoghurt, you can use full fat natural yoghurt instead.

All stacked up!

These fritters will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.

Mint chia zucchini fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt

Makes 20 small fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchinis, washed and grated
  • 3 TBSP flaxseed meal
  • 9 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped
  • 6 TBSP buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • Coconut oil for frying

Method:

  1. Place flaxseed meal and water in a bowl and set aside to thicken for 5-7 minutes to make a ‘flax egg’.
  2. Mix grated zucchinis, ‘flax egg’, chia seeds, mint, buckwheat flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tsp of coconut oil.
  4. Form mixture into small balls and flatten in the frying pan.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all mixture is cooked.
  6. Mix coconut yoghurt and cumin together.
  7. Serve fritters with cumin coconut yoghurt and enjoy!

What do you like to eat with zucchini fritters?