Category Archives: Vegetarian

Red Rice and Quinoa Salad


quinoa + red rice saladWith a delicious whole baked coral trout on the menu last night I decided that this salad would make the perfect accompaniment..and being the food fanatic that I am decided to make an extra big salad so we could all eat leftovers the next day…turns out the salad was just a little too moreish as there wasn’t a grain left in the bowl by the time we left the table!

Loaded with fibre, heart healthy fats and essential nutrients this is not only the perfect accompaniment for just about any type of fish, meat or chicken dish, but it would also be a perfectly balanced meal just its own!

This dish serves 4 people.

What you need….

– 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

– 1/2 cup red rice (or can use a mixture of red & brown rice like I did for a little extra texture contrast!)

– 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

– 1 small lebanese cucumber, sliced into quarters

– 1 red onion, thinly sliced

– 1 clove garlic, crushedfish and salad

– rind and juice of 1 orange

– juice of 1 lemon

– 2 tbsp preserved lemon, finely sliced

– 1/3 cup currants

– 1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

– 1 tbsp pepitas (optional extra)

– 1/2 punnet rocquette or spinach leaves

– 1/2 cup mint leaves

– olive oil

-salt and pepper

What to do….

Firstly, cook your rice in one saucepan and the quinoa in a seperate saucepan as per packet instructions. Rinse, drain and set aside to cool. This can even be done ahead of time, just make sure you bring the rice and quinoa back to room temperature before assembling the salad.

Meanwhile, heat a small non-stick frypan and add a dash of oil to the pan before adding the red onion and sauteing til soft and slightly translucent. Set aside to cool.

Next add the juice of an orange, 1.5 tsp of orange rind, the juice of one lemon, about 2 tbsp olive oil and the crushed garlic to a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Then throw in the rice, quinoa, rocquette leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, mint leaves, currants, preserved lemons and toss to combine.

Finally, sprinkle over your pepitas and toasted almonds just prior to serving and there you have super light summer salad that will be sure to please even the toughest crowd! Oh and did i mention its gluten free for all those with gluten sensitive tummies!

Here is sneak peak at the delicious whole baked coral trout that was served up last night with the salad! Yum yum yummm!


fresh fishbbq'd trout

Happy Sunday Everyone!



Roasted Beetroot and Mint Dip


This dip is seriously delicious if I may say so myself! Had some left over roasted beets that needed using up from a salad the night before so this is what I threw together!! Not only is this dip easy on the eye but it is also packed full of fibre, essential vitamins minerals (like magnesium, zinc, potassium and calcium), good heart healthy fats and powerful antioxidants! Did you know that the vibrant purple colour of beets is due to the high levels of anthocyanins, a powerful type of antioxidant found in most blue and purple fruit and vege. Beets are also believed to help control blood pressure along with a myriad of other health benefits! So, if you’re wanting to give this simple, tasty dip a go here is what you’ll need!

What you need…IMG_3607

– 4 cooked beets, skin removed

– 1 tbsp tahini paste

– 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

– 2/3 cup low fat natural yoghurt

– salt and pepper


NOTE: if you dont have time to roast the beets yourself (they usually take about half n hour or so) try picking up a packet of the freshly cooked beets in the fruit and vege section of your local supermarket. There is a great brand that sell just this called Love Beets Australia that I have seen just about everywhere and they are great for those with busy schedules!

What to do…

Throw the cooked beets, yoghurt, mint leaves and tahini paste into a food processor or blender, season lightly with salt and pepper and whiz away until it reaches the consistency you’re after! Check the balance of flavours and add extra seasoning or tahini if required!

And there you have a delicious, nutritious dip in less than 5 minutes!! Yum!



Christmas Highlights: Part 1 – Healthy Pre-Dinner Snacks


So Christmas is done and dusted for another year, but I have no doubts the memories (and delicious food) shared amongst family and friends are likely to be treasured for a long time to come! Though it all seemed to whizz past in the blink of an eye, I managed to take a few snap shots of some of the tasty delights that my family and I managed to whip up over the Christmas break which I thought I would share with you, as you all prepare for another exciting year ahead!

Though these dishes will always remind me of Christmas in some way, they can really be made to share amongst family and friends at any time of year! Firstly I thought I would share a couple of my favourite simple, pre-dinner nibbles that were created in our kitchen over Christmas. Though one may conjure images of pre-packaged calorie-laden dips, chips and cheeses when the idea of pre-dinner “nibbles” are mentioned, but I like to keep things light, simple, and relatively healthy, as there is really no need to fill up on loads of unhealthy foods before sitting down to eat a big meal!

So, here are a couple of my favourite, healthier options!

1. Christmas Spiced Almonds with Mixed Olives

spiced almondsWhat you need…

  • 250g raw almonds
  • olive oil spray
  • 3 long sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt flakes

What to do…

Heat a large fry pan over the stove and throw in the almonds. Spray generously with olive oil spray and stir constantly over the heat for 5-10mins.

Sprinkle over the spices and cook for another 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat and add a good sprinkling of Maldon sea salt flakes. Set aside and allow to cool before serving.

Serve with a selection of mixed olives for the perfect pre-dinner snack to serve with a glass of bubbly or cold ale!

“Papa”-ganoush (Eggplant dip)

What you need…papa ganoush

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • ½ – 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and place in the oven to roast for 15-20mins. Once soft, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pierce the skins of your eggplant with a fork then place onto a lined baking tray. Roast in the oven until the skin blackens and the flesh is soft and creamy.
Remove from the oven and place the eggplant into a colander to allow excess juices from the eggplant to run out and cool.
Remove the inside flesh from the eggplant and throw into a blender along with the tahini paste, juice and zest from ½ a lemon. Then scrape out the creamy flesh from the roasted garlic cloves and add to the eggplant before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Blend until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl and add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts for garnish. Drizzle with olive oil and your “papa” ganoush is ready to serve!

Best served with some cut up veggie sticks, home-made pita crisps or some gluten free rice crackers.

Stay tuned, as there is more to come on my favourite Christmas Foodie Highlights!

Happy New Year Everyone!


Spicy Pumpkin and Coconut Soup


pumpkin soupNow that winter is approaching my cravings for delicious hearty soups are ramping up quickly, so I thought I better get cracking on coming up with some tasty winter warmers! I have always LOVED pumpkin soup and I thought what better way to spice it up a bit than to throw a bit of chilli into the mix! Not only is this recipe SUPER quick and easy, it is also cheap to make and tastes ridiculously good…(if I may say so myself)!

What you need…(for 4 people)
1kg of jap or butternut pumpkin
3-4cups of vegetable stock
1 fresh red chili
1 heaped tsp of green curry paste (you can alter this to make it as spicey or mild as you like!)
1 large brown onion
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
100ml low fat coconut milk (or use coconut flavoured evaporated milk if you want to be extra weight/heart conscious as it contains for less saturated fat than coconut milk)
fresh coriander
low fat yoghurt and poppadums to serve

What to do…
Chop the pumpkin up into chunks and dice up your onion. Place a large saucepan over medium heat on your stove and add a splash of olive oil. Then, add your onion and saute until soft and transparent. Add your garlic, chopped chili, curry paste and ginger to the pan and saute for another 1 -2 minutes.

Add your cut up pumpkin to the pan and add enough stock to cover the pumpkin. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer away until the pumpkin is soft and cooked through. I just used a hand held whiz stick to blend up my pumpkin soup mixture but you can transfer your mixture to a food processor if you have one! Either way, blend away until the soup mixture is smooth and relatively lump free!

Add your coconut milk and stir through before serving up into some nice soup bowls. To each bowl, add a sprinkling of nutmeg and some fresh coriander along with a good dollop of low fat natural yoghurt! And you’re ready to eat! Easy huh?



Vegetarian San Choy Bow



Now I’m sure at some stage many of you will have heard the term “Meat Free Mondays” before..but what the hell is it and why on earth would anyone want to eat vegetarian style once a week? Well firstly, it is highly recommended that everyone should try to have at least one meat free night a week..why? Because it’s an easy way to cut down on the “bad” saturated fats in our diet, as these fats are predominantly found in animal based products like meat!

It’s also good for the environment, as a vegetarian diet is very sustainable and cutting down on your meat consumption will help cut down on green house gases! double tick! The trick with vegetable based dishes is to make sure you include some protein based foods like legumes, nuts or in this case, textured vegetable protein (TVP) which is dehydrated soya protein that can be used like normal mince!

In keeping with the philosophy of “Meat Free Mondays” tonight I made a vegetarian friendly version of my san choy bow using some TVP instead of chicken/pork mince. And you know what..we honestly hardly noticed the difference! The TVP works really well with this dish, as it is very absorbent and takes on all the other strong flavours of the dish.

Low fat, high in protein, vegetarian friendly and packed full of veggies that provide loads of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this dish is the perfect “Meat Free Monday” meal….and better still, the rest of the family won’t be any the wiser that there is not a skerric of meat on their plates!

What you need…(enough for 4 people)

1 cup TVP (dry)

1 cup chicken stock

1 large brown onion (diced)

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

1 large red chilli (chopped finely)

2 es  TVP SCB 2 hallots (chopped)

4 – 5 mushies (chopped)

1 large carrot (diced)

1 small tin water chestnuts

1/4 yellow capsicum (diced)

1/2 red capsicum (diced)

1/2 zucchini (diced)

handful of bean sprouts

handful of coriander (chopped)

1 tbs oyster sauce

tsp sesame oil

2 tsp salt reduced soy sauce or tamari

good sprinkle of sesame seeds

1/2 lime

1 small cos lettuce

What to do…

Pour 1 cup of stock into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, (or you can just add 1 stock cube to 1cup of boiling water). Place your TVP in a large bowl and pour the stock over it and leave to absorb while you cut up your veggies!

Once you’ve chopped up all your veggies, heat some rice bran, peanut or canola oil in a large deep frypan or wok and then add your onion. Saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat, then add your garlic, eshallots, chilli and ginger, cooking for 1-2 mins.

Then add your mushies and saute for a couple of minutes before adding your sesame seeds, carrot, zucchini and capsicum. After a minute or so, add your TVP mince and stir through the veggies.

Now for the sauces! Add your oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir through until well combined. Finally add your bean sprouts and coriander and stir through. Before serving squeeze some fresh lime juice over the mince to give it a bit of zing! Serve with a plate of cos lettuce leaves and it’s time to dig in!

Meat free Mondays sorted! TVP SCB 5



Roast Veggie Salad


veggie salad 3Due to the cooler weather up the coast today I was hankering for something a little heartier and more satisfying to the old summer green salad, so upon investigating what was lurking in the depths of the fridge this is what I came up with… a warm roast veggie salad (using what ever veggies I could find!) to go with some delicious eye fillet steak.. oh and a little side salad just for some greenery!

Though I made this veggie salad to go with the steak you could easily just double the quantity and serve it up on it’s own! Actually I can verify that this salad makes a damn fine meal on its own, as this salad is actually my take on a beautiful salad my Auntie made for us all for dinner on good Friday last weekend! Full of hearty, nutritious vegetables this salad is sure to please even your biggest meat loving friends!

What you need…

1/2 capsicum

1 small zuchhini

3 large field mushrooms

1 red onion

1 -2 baby eggplants

1-2 truss tomatoes

1/4 cup pinenuts

olive oil

splash of balsamic vinegar

dried oregano

50g low fat fetta (could also use low fat cottage cheese or goats cheese)

What to do…

Turn your oven onto moderate heat (180 degrees fan forced). Cut your eggplants, zuchhini, capsicum, sweet potato, mushies, red onion and tomatoes into large chunks or quarters and place in a large baking dish. Crumble the feta over the veggies and then sprinkle over the pine nuts and dried oregano. Drizzle over some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad around to mix through all the ingredients. Please in a moderate oven and cook for 20 minutes or so, or until all the veggies are cooked through!

Whether you choose to serve this dish with meat or not is entirely up to you but I can guarantee it will taste just as delicious either way!


veggie salad