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!

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?

Moroccan mince and vegetables topped with hummus

I am a huge fan of moroccan dishes; the earthy spices used provide so many warming flavours and really enhance any meal. This mince recipe is such an easy mid-week dish that will definitely tantalise your tastebuds.

With winter approaching in Australia, this would be great served over some cooked quinoa or served with some fresh spelt/gluten free pita bread to scoop up all the delicious flavours.

Easy yet tasty meal

Moroccan mince with vegetables topped with hummus

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 100g organic beef mince
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 large eggplant, washed and diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 TBSP homemade hummus or store-bought gluten free version
  • Pine nuts for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized frypan over medium heat place 1 TBSP coconut oil and onion. Cook for 1 minute then add mince. Cook for 5 minutes then add all the spices, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside covered.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat place the other TBSP coconut oil, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the mince mixture and spinach leaves. Cook until spinach has just wilted.
  3. Serve with a dollop of hommus, pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Do you enjoy cooking with Moroccan spices? If yes, which ones in particular?

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?

Coconut mushroom, goat cheese and spinach frittata

I absolutely love having eggs for breakfast, usually scrambled or poached though. However, as I like to mix up my food I decided to make a frittata. It consisted of the same ingredients I’d use to accompany my eggs, just cooked a different way. I find that eggs keep my hunger at bay for longer and who doesn’t love a cooked breakfast!

When making a frittata for breakfast, I like to cook it in a frypan as it is a lot quicker and easier to clean up as mornings are usually a rush.

Coconut mushrooms infusing the garlic eggs

By cooking the mushrooms in coconut oil, they develop this great flavour and become really tender. I find that mushrooms have a real ‘meaty’ texture and provide any meal with more substance.

All the ingredients make for a colourful breakfast

Coconut mushroom, goat cheese and spinach frittata

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 5 free-range eggs
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 100g goat cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with water until combined.
  2. In a medium frypan heat 1 TBSP coconut oil over medium heat. Place the mushrooms in the pan and cook until soft. Once cooked, place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same frypan, heat 1 TBSP coconut oil over medium heat and pour the eggs in. Place the sliced garlic on top of the eggs.
  4. Add in the cooked mushrooms and place on low heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the spinach leaves and then the goat cheese. Place a lid on and cook for a further 4 minutes, or until cooked.
  6. Cut in half and season with salt and pepper. Then enjoy!

Final result, delicious breakfast

Full of protein and vegetables, what more could you want to start your day?!