Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

I cannot believe it has been a week since Melbourne Cup, as the year goes on time just seems fly by! To celebrate Melbourne Cup at work we all brought in a dish to enjoy for lunch whilst watching the race. I hope you backed a winner!

I made this roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto as it caters for almost all dietary requirements as it’s gluten free, vegan, dairy free and can be made nut free by swapping the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds in the pesto.

Basil pesto

My very first post was a quinoa salad (actually, very similar to this one) and remembered how delicious it was. It’s really the perfect dish as it feeds a lot of people, it’s very tasty and you can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

I added lemon juice to the pesto as it lends a freshness to this otherwise heavier salad due to the roasted vegetables.

Salad ready to be served!

This salad will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Roasted vegetable quinoa salad with pesto

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetables (I used carrot, sweet potato, red and green capsicum, potato, pumpkin and zucchini), all thoroughly washed and diced*
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2 cups basil, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/8 cup macadamia oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place vegetables onto baking paper and coat with just enough coconut oil.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.
  4. Place basil, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and garlic in the food processor. Process until everything is combined. Slowly add macadamia oil (you may not need 1/8 cup) and continue to process until it forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix together the cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables and spinach leaves in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Fold through the pesto and mix until the quinoa and vegetables have all been coated. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If you like to keep the skin on your vegetables (like me) ensure they are washed thoroughly to remove all the dirt
  • This is delicious when topped with hummus and sliced avocado!
  • I doubled the recipe for Melbourne Cup and it served 10 people easily
  • If you don’t use all the pesto, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days!

What’s your favourite dish to bring to a friend’s party/work function?

Vegan chickpea patties

When I have a busy week ahead I always make sure my food is prepared in advance. This is to prevent me from reaching for anything in sight when hunger strikes.

These chickpea patties are great to have on hand to add into salads, used as a filling in a wrap or top with hummus or pesto for a delicious snack.

Main ingredients

The main ingredients in the patties are chickpeas and pumpkin seeds. They are both full of protein and fibre which will keep you fuller for longer.

Adding some colour

The carrot and parsley not only add colour but extra nutrients to the patties.

‘Flax egg’ as a binding agent

As I’ve mentioned before here, flax eggs are a vegan replacement for eggs. They act as a binding agent and help keep the patties together.

All set for baking

These chickpea patties can be cooked in a frypan however I prefer to bake them as it means no extra oil is required.

Dinner is served

These patties will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to four days.

If you want to freeze them, do so before baking and layer between baking paper to prevent them from sticking together. Defrost the patties before baking and do so as per the instructions below.

Chickpea patties

Makes 11 medium-sized patties

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 250g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, washed
  • 1 TBSP macadamia oil
  • 3 TBSP flaxseed meal
  • 1 TBSP water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal and water together in a bowl to make the flax egg. Set aside for 5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Place chickpeas and pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Process for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Add carrot, garlic, parsley and macadamia oil. Process for a further 2 minutes or until combined.
  5. Add flax egg and process for a final 2 minutes or until all combined.
  6. Roll into balls, place on prepared baking tray and press down gently to flatten.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes then flip and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with salad and enjoy!

Colourful dinner

I always try to eat a rainbow everyday!

How do you plan ahead with your food for a busy week? I’d love to hear any hints you might have!

Spelt pita crisps

I believe everything tastes better and fresher when made from scratch, which is definitely the case with these pita crisps. They are the perfect addition to a middle eastern meal, served with dips or taste amazing just by themselves.

Some people have the perception that making your own pita crisps is difficult. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have included photos of practically every step so you are able to be guided through.

Activating the yeast

When adding the warm water to the yeast, little bubbles should appear. This means it is activating and will ensure your dough rises.

Ready to knead the dough

It is really important to knead the dough until it is not longer sticky. This helps the pita bread to become elastic which in turn helps it to expand and rise.

Finished kneading

Your dough should be smooth and easy to handle once kneaded.

Dough has risen

It’s important to let your dough rise for 90 minutes as it enables the flavours to develop.

Ready for rolling

Break the dough up into eight portions as they will not only cook quicker but are easier to manage.

Rolled and set for cooking

I actually prefer all the pita bread to be different shapes and sizes as this gives the dish a rustic feel.

Last step!

The macadamia oil and salt add flavour to these pita crisps. You could add spices such as cumin, paprika, dried herbs or pepper as well.

Now enjoy!

These will keep in a sealed container in the pantry for up to four days. Either reheat them in the oven at 180C/350F for 5 minutes or enjoy straight from the container!

Spelt pita crisps

Serves 6 generously

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups wholemeal spelt flour, extra for kneading
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, extra for topping
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 TBSP macadamia oil, extra for bowl

Method:

  1. Combine the flour, salt, honey and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the water and macadamia oil until well combined.
  3. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes, or until smooth.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
  5. Let dough rest and rise until doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
  6. After the dough has doubled, punch down to release some gas then divide into 8 portions.
  7. Roll each potion into a ball then cover and rest for a further 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a tray with baking paper.
  9. Roll out one portion of the dough.
  10. Place rolled dough on lined tray and bake for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Take out of oven, cut into wedges and drizzle with salt and macadamia oil.
  12. Bake for a further 5 minutes, until crisp. Serve and enjoy!

I’d love to hear if you’ve have you made pita bread before?!

Vegan spelt pizza

I love having pizza nights. There’s something so enjoyable about getting friends together, making pizzas and watching movies.

This spelt pizza is a healthy, vegan alternative to the traditional pizzas. Please don’t let the term ‘vegan’ deter you from making it. Vegan basically means it does not contain any animal products e.g. eggs, honey, chicken, goat cheese, etc. However, feel free to add some chicken or lamb as toppings if you’d like some animal protein!

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients

What I really like about spelt flour is it’s very filling, but surprisingly doesn’t make you feel heavy.

Finished kneading, ready for rolling!

It’s important to knead the dough as this helps it to come together and makes it easier to roll out.

Ready to be baked

I baked this before adding the toppings as this ensured it was properly cooked.

All toppings on

I love the combination of earthy basil pesto and zesty cashew cheese – they really complement each other.

Dinner is served!

This pizza will keep in the fridge for up to four days in a sealed container. Reheat in the oven at 180C/350F for 10 minutes or enjoy cold!

Spelt pizza

Makes 1 large pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour, extra for flouring surface
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia oil
Toppings (feel free to adapt to suit your tastebuds)
  • Basil pesto
  • Cashew nut cheese – place in a ziplock bag, cut off one corner and squeeze to pipe the cheese on top
  • Red onion, washed and chopped
  • Zucchini, washed and chopped
  • Spinach leaves, washed
  • Asparagus, washed and chopped
  • Pumpkin, washed and chopped
  • Mushroom, washed and sliced
  • Broccolini, washed and chopped
  • Red capsicum, washed and chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line baking tray or pizza tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the spelt flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the water and oil. Combine ingredients gradually, be careful not to over mix.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes, until smooth.
  5. Roll the dough out to your desired thickness and place on prepared tray and into oven.
  6. Bake spelt base for 10 minutes then removed from oven.
  7. Place pesto, then toppings of your choice, finishing with cashew nut cheese.
  8. Place into oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top.
  9. Slice to serve and enjoy!

What are your favourite pizza toppings?

Vegetable and goat cheese pizza on a rosemary flaxseed base

Whilst recently travelling through Italy, I adopted the mentality ‘do as the Romans do’. This included trying the pizza, pasta and most of all gelato. However, as much as I enjoyed eating these I couldn’t deny the fact that they were making me ill. This was definitely due to the white flour, cows milk, and sugar overload!

I decided to ‘healthify’ this Italian recipe and considering there isn’t any flour in the base, it turned out pretty well!

Dry ingredients

The base is primarily made from flaxseed meal which is filled with omega-3, is very high in fibre and is rich in antioxidants.

When storing flaxseed meal, place in a sealed container in a cool place as it can go rancid fairly quickly!

Base ready to be baked

This base is a little hard to spread on the baking tray. To make it easy wet the back of a tablespoon and slowly manoeuvre it to resemble a circle.

Final result!

Vegetable and goat cheese pizza on a rosemary flaxseed base

Ingredients:

Serves 1

Rosemary flaxseed base:
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP macadamia oil
  • 1/3 cup water
Tomato sauce:
  • 1 tin organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1 TBSP leek, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Toppings:
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, diced
  • 1/2 cup english spinach, shredded
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 TBSP soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 TBSP hard goat cheese, grated

Method:

Pizza:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the pumpkin on one tray, coat with coconut oil and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix flaxseed meal, baking powder, rosemary and salt together.
  4. Add egg, macadamia oil and water and mix well.
  5. Spread base on baking tray to form a round shape.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Smear tomato paste on the cooked base. Add toppings and place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes and until the cheese is melted.
  8. Cut into slices and enjoy!
Tomato sauce:
  1. Place tinned tomatoes, cumin, garlic, leak, salt and pepper in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Note: the sauce will still be slightly runny, you can add 1 tsp cornflour to thicken it if you like. Regular tomato paste can also be used.

I found this pizza quite filling, so I enjoyed half for lunch and the other half for dinner!

What are your favourite pizza toppings?