Do you need some new ideas in the kitchen? Here are some quick and healthy recipes that work great for children.
Soups and Salads
Asparagus Couscous Salad
1 cup frozen green peas
12 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
2 ounces snow peas, trimmed and cut diagonally in half
1 onion, finely sliced
4 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
2 tomatoes, diced into small pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
Place carrots, frozen peas and asparagus in a pan of boiling water and cook for approximately 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and add the onion and cook for approximately 2 to 4 minutes until tender. Set aside. Cook couscous according to package instructions but replace the indicated amount of water with the same amount of vegetable broth. Once the couscous is ready fluff with a fork and transfer to pan with onions and cooked vegetables.
Add a little soy sauce and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
8 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, mashed
2 tablespoons dry cooking wine
6 cups vegetable stock (fresh or homemade)
Large handful of fresh chopped cilantro (also known as coriander) 4 tablespoons crème fraiche (note: Use low fat plain yogurt as an alternative)
In a large pan heat the olive oil and add the onions. Gently sautee for approximately 5 minutes until soft. Add the carrots and mashed sweet potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes (stirring often).
Now add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until carrots are tender and liquid has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.
Place the soup mixture in a food processor or blender and blend on high for approximately 2 minutes (longer if you prefer a smooth soup, a little less if you prefer a chunkier texture).
Place the soup back in the pan and gently heat again. Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with a little fresh cilantro and a dollop of crème fraiche in each bowl.
Mediterranean Vegetable and Lentil Salad
2 cups of mixed Mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant.
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup green lentils, rinsed well and drained (preferably French puy, or alternatively you can use canned lentils if you’re in a hurry)
2 cups vegetable stock (homemade or from powder)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves
2 small rounds of goat’s cheese or feta cheese
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spread a non-stick baking tray with olive oil and add chopped Mediterranean vegetables. Toss with one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and roast for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, place the lentils in a large pan of boiling water and cover with stock. Boil for approximately 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender the broth is reduced. If using canned lentils simply drain, and then heat lentils in a pan over low heat.
Place the cooked lentils, roasted vegetables, one teaspoon olive oil and one teaspoon balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with basil and topped with the goat’s or feta cheese.
* * gluten free (vegetable broth must read gluten free or be homemade without gluten – you can easily find gluten free vegetable broth at the health food store)
Mixed Bean Salad with Lemon and Cilantro
This salad is very quick and easy to make, yet makes a nice lunch or light dinner. It’s packed with fiber.
1 can of mixed beans, drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (also known as coriander)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of ½ of a lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ small red onion, finely sliced
1 tomato, diced into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Serve sprinkled with feta cheese and whole wheat nutty bread.
Pancetta and Pine Nut Salad
6 slices of Pancetta
2 ounces of pine nuts
Large bowl of salad leaves, enough for four (try adding a variety of leaves such as rocket, red, and green leaf)
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Juice of half a lemon
Cut the pancetta into small pieces. Place in a non-stick frying pan and cook over low heat for approximately 2 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the salad – in a bowl add your salad leaves and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and a little salt. Serve salad onto individual plates and top with pancetta, a few pine nuts and a few spring onion slices and serve.
For additional taste add a little grated parmesan cheese.
Punchy Black Bean Soup
This soup is dramatic and delicious. The chilli and garlic give it a really strong flavor that’s also packed full of goodness. If you find dried beans too time consuming to cook, feel free to use canned beans.
8 ounces of dried black beans
16 ounces of vegetable stock (homemade or made from dried powder) 4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons cilantro (also known as coriander)
4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 (14 oz) can of organic chopped tomatoes
** I can never remember to soak beans overnight but it’s not actually necessary. By rinsing the beans in cold water and boiling on high for 10 minutes (without any other ingredients) you’ll get the same effect. Another trick to help get rid of the bloating and wind caused by eating beans is to add a small piece of chopped ginger to the water when boiling.
Boil the beans for 10 minutes then drain. Rinse the saucepan to get rid of any remaining residue and return beans to pan. Add the stock and bay leaves. Cover and simmer on low until tender. Warning, this will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Add additional stock if necessary during this process.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and chillies. Cook on low for approximately 4 minutes and add the garlic. Cook for a further one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes to this mixture and stir together. Set aside.
Once the beans are fully cooked, add the tomatoe mixture to the beans and stock. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool and strain beans. Discard bay leave and return stock to pan.
Place the beans and vegetables in a food process with a little reserved stock and blend on high for approximately 1 minute until smooth. Place this mixture back in the pan with the reserved stock and mix together. Gently heat through and serve immediately.
Garnish with a few finely chopped spring onions and a dollop of crème fraiche.
Sundried Tomato and Black Olive Dip
Low-fat dip that’s delicious served with cut veggies or baked pita triangles.
1 cup of sun dried tomatoes
1 cup black olives, pitted
1 teaspoon capers, drained
3 large tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped (alternatively you can use one half teaspoon dried basil)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper to taste.
Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend for approximately 1 minute. You probably don’t need salt as the capers tend to be quite salty but add according to taste. Place mixture in bowl and serve. For a creamier dip add half a cup of plain, low-fat yogurt to mixture and stir.
** gluten free, dairy free.
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