Chimichurri Quinoa Salad |vegetarian | gluten free

The star of this hearty summer salad is most definitely the dressing. A triple-threat of bright and flavoursome herbs with a splash of lime juice this chimichurri inspired dressing soaks into every bite and unites all the other ingredients in summery perfection.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChris and I arrived in New Orleans after a very long day of travelling. Our lovely Air BnB host Georgia recognised two weary and hungry travellers and took us on a tour of the neighbourhood, which ended at the gorgeous St. Roch Market.St Roch Market New Orleans | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf you are staying anywhere in the St. Roch neighbourhood or nearby, you need to stop by the marketplace. Walking inside you are welcomed by a line up of vendors on either side of the historic building each offering a different taste experience or regional cuisine. Chris fell in love with the ‘Dirty Mac and Cheese’, which features smoked gouda, crawfish, and bacon. My heart, however, belonged to the team at JuiceNOLA from the very first bite of their Greek Goddess Salad. When I tasted their Chimi Chimi Bang Bang Salad for lunch one day, and had to return for a second round at dinnertime that night, I knew I had to find a way to keep getting this salad in my face when I returned home.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe base of this salad is quinoa and your favourite green. I used oak leaf lettuce because I have a serious leafy green crush on it that will never end. To this you add butter beans. The team at JuiceNOLA used black beans so mix it up as you wish. The magic is in the dressing. Chimichurri is essentially a mix of parsley, coriander, chives, and basil with a spark of bright acidic sharpness and garlic. It is absolutely what makes this salad such a stand-out.Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe magic dressing aside, there are just so many bits and pieces in this salad that make every nibble unique and moreish. Into our solid base of quinoa + greens + beans we add chopped roasted capsicums and a healthy dose of pumpkin seeds. Toss everything together with the dressing and make sure all the nooks and crannies are coated in green deliciousness, and then top the bowl with avocado and feta. I may not be in New Orleans anymore, but I can bring some JuiceNOLA magic to work in my lunchbox everyday!Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3 generously | Leftovers will keep for up to two days in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 head of oak leaf lettuce (or 4 cups of your favourite greens)
  • 400 gram can butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/3 cup crumbed feta

For the chimichurri dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or use oil from roasted capsicums)

Method

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then cover with the saucepan lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the dressing. Place basil, coriander, parsley, chives, lime juice, garlic, and olive oil into the bowl of a small food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped and then pulse until pureed.
  3. To assemble the salad place cooled quinoa, lettuce, butter beans, roasted capsicum, pumpkin seeds and dressing into a large bowl. Pour chimichurri dressing over the top and then toss gently but thoroughly until everything is well mixed and coated in dressing.
  4. Thinly slice the avocado and place on top of the salad. Crumble feta over salad and serve.

Chimichurri Quinoa Salad | vegetarian | gluten free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Six Salads Perfect For Spring Lunches

Sometimes I make myself a little sick by eating too much cookie dough, or buttercream, or ice cream, or…anyway, you know how it goes. Luckily I am also just as in love with big green leafy things, nutty grains, and fresh food straight from the earth, or the farmer’s market. Now that spring has come barrelling in here with an explosion of green from the earth and skies so blue they make your heart ache when you are trapped inside an office, it’s time to break out some of my favourite lunch box salads!

Here, in no particular order, are six of my favourite spring-perfect gluten free and vegetarian salads! Green is always in fashion darlings 😉Six Salads for Spring | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Number One: Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad. Big, green, fresh and full of all of my favourite flavours. Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Two: Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Mustard Dressing. Crispy, crunchy and sweet with a mustard and yoghurt dressing. Fill me up!Apple Celery Walnut Salad 1Number Three: Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad. Hearty quinoa salad with a generous dose of exotic spice and sweet roasted pumpkin. Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Four: Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts – you can’t go wrong.Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Five: Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs. This is a great dinner salad: nutty brown rice pairs with fresh seasonal vegetables and protein-rich drippy soft-boiled eggs.Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Six: Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad. Sweet, plump fresh berries paired with salty grilled haloumi in a hearty quinoa based salad. My new favourite and it practically sings of spring!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

There you have my six picks for a healthy, gluten free, vegetarian spring lunch. Make your colleagues jealous and pack a big luscious green lunch today!

Tell me, dear readers, what’s your favourite salad combination? Or what’s something weird that you love in salad? Mine: I loved tinned, vinegary beetroot and sometimes I sneak a few pieces onto the side of my salad no matter what else is in the bowl!

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

It’s officially the second day of spring! Let’s make a hearty salad perfect for welcoming the warmer weather and getting our bodies ready for the summer months. This salad features grilled zucchini, crispy green beans, nutty brown rice and a spicy-sweet harissa and honey dressing. Flavoursome, filling, and sturdy it’s perfect for filling lunchboxes all week long. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBeing told by your doctor that you aren’t allowed to eat veggies, fruit or wholegrains for three days might seem like heaven to some people. Yay: bring on the white bread, white pasta, ice cream! But for me, last week’s restricted diet was a nightmare. So when I woke up on Saturday morning all I could think about was making big luscious, green and grain filled salads to wake my body up again and get my eating back on track.  This spicy, hearty salad was just what the doctor  blogger ordered!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeGreen beans were abundant at the greengrocer on the weekend and I helped myself to a large bag of them because nothing beats the crunch of a green bean snack while I’m cooking, and they are so versatile! I love grilled green beans because the outside gets a little crispy while the inside stays totally fresh and snapable. Zucchini is very sweet around this time of year as the season begins and it begs to be thrown on my little grill pan for just a few minutes to soften and char. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe best thing about this salad though is the two finishing touches that bring a big boost of flavour to this hearty green bowl. Firstly, we have a spicy harissa and honey dressing that soaks into each grain of rice and is the perfect partner to crunchy sweet spring greens. Secondly, we finish the salad with a chopped mix of parsley and salty, crumbled feta. Taste explosion! Make a big batch of this gorgeous green salad and eat liberally to celebrate the coming warmer weather, the jacaranda trees that are starting to show signs of life outside my window, and the pure green light that filtered through my weekend walks last weekend. I’m so happy spring is here! I’m going to eat some more salad to celebrate!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 very generously. Easily multiplied | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 large handfuls of green beans
  • 1 spring onion
  • 3 cups butter lettuce (or other greens)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa (I used dried, you can use paste instead)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 50 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) flat parsley leaves

Method

  1. Place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook without stirring for 30 minutes or until rice is al dente. Drain off any excess liquid, place in a large bowl, and allow rice to come to room temperature.
  2. Chop zucchini into coins about 0.5cm thick and top and tail beans. Heat olive oil in a grill pan over medium heat and add zucchini coins and beans in a single layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until softened but not sloppy. Turn over and cook for a further minute or two. Drain on some paper towel and cool to room temperature. Then add to the bowl with the rice.
  3. Slice green onion into thin slices and place in the bowl with the cooled vegetables and rice.
  4. Tear lettuce into large pieces and add to bowl. Toss salad thoroughly.
  5. To make dressing whisk all ingredients together and then pour over the salad.
  6. For the feta topping mix together feta and parsley leaves and pile on top of your salad.
  7. Divide salad between two plates, ensuring both get a decent amount of the feta topping.

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet

Grilled mushrooms and zucchini are tossed in bright basil pesto with an avocado twist and served over buttery millet in this light but substantial gluten free, vegetarian dinner that is sure to become a weeknight favourite.

Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comWhen you are surrounded by piles of unshelved books and mountains of unpacked boxes it’s tempting to ‘just have something quick’ so that you can get on with the insurmountable ‘to do’ list, and forget about sitting down to a real meal. The same thing happens on busy weeks when you aren’t moving house. But in those busy moments, when it is so easy to forget about treating our bodies well, we should take a deep breath and a few moments to focus on thoroughly nourishing ourselves. Half an hour of self care can recharge your batteries and give you the energy to face down that ‘to do’ list and defeat it. That was my story last night. Instead of opting for the quick option (cheese, avocado and rice crackers) I took an hour (including 30 minutes to fuss about with photos) to myself between gym time and unpacking time to make a real meal, the first in our new house, and then I powered through our walk in robe for the rest of the night. Now, let’s talk about what fuelled my fashion foray. Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comFirst, let’s talk about this pesto. This stuff is dangerously easy to eat straight from the jar. Or spread on any available edible surface. Luckily I managed to control myself and most of it ended up in dinner. I love this avocado-spiked pesto so much. It’s creamy, and smooth but still has signature basil pesto flavour. And it’s super easy to make! In the bowl of a small food processor you just whiz together avocado, almonds, lemon juice, basil leaves, salt and pepper and then stir in finely grated parmesan right at the end. How easy is that!

The pesto is the star of this dish and can save you from many a midweek dinner problem. Some more ideas for this creamy, lemony, basil-filled flavour bomb:

  • Use as the dressing for potato salad
  • Toss with cooked pasta for a super quick dinner
  • Spread it on toast at breakfast time
  • Slather it on buns with veggie burgers
  • Dip your sweet potato fries in it

So many uses for this easy to prepare, bright and moreish condiment!Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comIn my midweek offering this week my amazing sauce coats hearty grilled button mushrooms and zucchini with a side of buttery millet. As soon as these photos were taken you can bet I mushed everything around so that even the millet was coated in creamy avocado and basil pesto. I just wanted to maximise the amount of pesto in my face. As soon as summer comes I am planting my own basil crop just so I can have this pesto on tap at all times! No more midweek dinner dilemmas!Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3 | Time: 30 minutes

Veganise it: simply leave out the Parmesan cheese for a vegan dinner!

For the omnivores: toss in some grilled chicken with your mushrooms!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry millet
  • 1 1/2 cups salt reduced vegetable stock (or water)
  • 3 cups button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped into half moons

For the Avocado Basil Pesto

  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons whole almonds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (packed) basil leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Rinse millet thoroughly in water and drain well. Place in a medium size saucepan with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. When millet reaches boiling point, reduce heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook without stirring for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove the millet from the heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  2. While the millet is boiling, make the pesto sauce. In the bowl of a small food processor combine avocado flesh, garlic, almonds, lemon juice, and basil leaves. Puree until smooth. The thickness should be similar to mayonnaise. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if required. Stir in grated parmesan, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. On a medium non-stick grill pan (or non-stick frying pan) saute mushrooms and zucchini until cooked but still firm. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked toss the pesto through the vegetables.
  5. Divide millet between plates and top with pesto coated vegetables. Enjoy!

Grilled Mushrooms and Zucchini with Avocado Basil Pesto and Millet | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Celeriac, Parsnip, and Greens Soup with Quinoa, Feta and Chilli | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

A bright midwinter vegetarian soup filled with gnarly root vegetables, fresh greens, and herbs, and topped with a simple spicy quinoa garnish. This soup makes the most of deep winter greens and hardy winter vegetables. Celeriac, Parsnip, Greens and Quinoa Soup | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI’m a greens-loving girl. I love big bowls of crunchy freshness, smoothies packed with spinach, and I’ve been known to snack on broccoli stems while making dinner. (It’s okay Mum I’m still eating cookies too.) In the middle of a biting winter night though, there is nothing more soothing than a big bowl of thick, flavoursome soup and this one comes packed with the goodness of greens too!Celeriac, Parsnip, Greens and Quinoa Soup 1Celeriac is the ugly duckling of the vegetable world. It looks nubbly and knotted and really rather ugly. But just like that aesthetically challenged duck, when celeriac comes into its own it brings a singular beauty to the world, or your dinner table in this case. Celeriac tastes like the halfway point between celery and potato. Creamy, with a bit of a bite. You can roast it, mash it, or you can make delicious and hearty Celeriac, Parsnip, and Greens Soup with it. Celeriac is joined by the ultimate greens: kale and broccoli. Say hello to a boost of iron, vitamins A, C, and E, folate, and calcium! Bye bye winter colds!

This soup is so easy. I made it on a Monday night and enjoyed a boost of greens at lunchtime all week long. While you are sipping on a hard-earned cup of tea and massaging high-heel tortured feet (or sipping diet coke and wearing sweaty gym clothes like I was) you peel and chop a few parsnips, some onion, a large celeriac and a few cloves of garlic. Then pop the whole lot into some vegetable stock with a few large tablespoonfuls of herbs and let it bubble away while you relax for thirty minutes. Add some roughly chopped kale and a head of broccoli and you are just a puree away from hearty green heaven.  Celeriac, Parsnip, Greens and Quinoa Soup | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis soup is made extra hearty and filling by the addition of a dollop of spicy quinoa. While the soup bubbled away I boiled up some quinoa, and then let it cool to room temperature before tossing through some flavoursome extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes and crumbled feta cheese. Every mouthful is a slurp of creamy, green, herby soup accompanied by the hearty chew of quinoa, salty feta, and a slight bite of chilli. Simple but perfect. Just what a midweek dinner should be. Serve up Celeriac, Parsnip, and Greens Soup with Quinoa, Feta and Chilli for dinner tonight!Celeriac, Parsnip, Greens and Quinoa Soup | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Celeriac, Parsnip, and Greens Soup with Quinoa, Feta and Chilli

Vegetarian | Vegan adaptation: replace feta with chopped black olives | Gluten Free | Serves 4

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to a month. Reheat on the stove over a gentle heat.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 large celeriac
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups (1 litre) low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of kale

For the quinoa

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 grams feta, crumbled (or olives for vegan option)
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Peel and dice onion into medium chunks.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add onion. Sauté until tender.
  3. Peel and crush cloves of garlic and add to onion.
  4. Peel and dice parsnips and celeriac into large chunks. Add to pot and sauté a few minutes until the edges of the vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Add dried herbs and pepper and stir to coat vegetables in herbs.
  6. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat to very low and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for thirty minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
  7. While soup is cooking prepare the quinoa. Place rinsed quinoa into a medium sauce pan and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes without stirring then remove from the heat and stand for five minutes. Then stir in salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Allow to sit until serving.
  8. Once the soup has been cooking for thirty minutes roughly chop the kale and broccoli (including stem) and add to the pot. Cook for a further ten minutes then remove from the heat.
  9. Use an immersion blender to blend soup until smooth. Place over a low heat to keep warm.
  10. Stir crumbled feta into quinoa.
  11. Ladle soup into bowls and top with quinoa mixture.

Celeriac, Parsnip, Greens and Quinoa Soup | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry

Recently I met a new friend at the wedding of two other new friends. This last weekend we all gathered in our newly-married mutual friend’s house sharing some wine and talking late into the night, really early into the next morning. This new friend is a busy professional woman and she often doesn’t get home until 8 o’clock at night! That doesn’t leave much time for making and eating dinner before falling into bed. Her dilemma got me thinking, after all, dinner is one of my three favourite meals of the day…

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I am lucky in my job that I get home after the gym most days with plenty of time to potter about the kitchen and make dinner for Chris and myself, but there are nights when I get caught up in something and don’t make it home until late. I feel like they become more common in autumn and winter as the days grow shorter and the night gathers her arms around us more quickly. I come home in the dark and still want the comfort of a home-cooked meal but I also want to be curled up on the couch with a book or watching television with Chris. Rather than pulling out the takeaway menu, or settling for beans on toast (which are a totally acceptable comfort food sometimes) I like to have some quick, healthy recipes on hand that I can throw together with barely a thought while I am catching up with Chris and trying to transition my brain from work mode to home mode.

This stir-fry is a recipe for one of those nights.

Anna, this one is also for you. (Thanks for reading my blog)

The chunky-cut mushrooms will provide B vitamins and minerals and fill you up without weighing you down. Easy-to-prepare rice noodles are my favourite way to imitate comforting takeaway without all the mystery ingredients and the sauce coats everything in a spicy sweet splendour. You can make this even easier by using pre-sliced mushrooms and broccoli, or even a stir-fry mix. From start to finish this meal takes about 20 minutes. I served Chris’s with some grilled lamb and mine in its original vegan state.

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 2 with leftovers | Gluten free | Vegan

If you do not have Gourmet Garden Thai Stir-In Seasoning simply leave it out.

Ingredients

  • 250 gram packet dried rice noodles
  • 500 grams mushrooms (button, Swiss Brown or Cups are perfect)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • ½ head broccoli
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thai Stir-In Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Prepare rice noodles as per instructions on packet.
  2. Chop mushrooms into quarters. Peel and thinly slice onion. Chop broccoli into florets. Slice capsicum into strips.
  3. Whisk together sriracha, brown sugar, soy sauce, Thai seasoning, and 2 tablespoons water.
  4. Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and capsicum and cook stirring until onion just starts to turn opaque and mushrooms soften.
  6. Add broccoli and sauce and continue cooking until broccoli florets are al dente. This should take about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Toss through fresh coriander. Serve with rice noodles.

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

The past three weekends have been majorly food-centred: weddings, birthdays, Easter…to be truthful it’s been going on for the past two months…or maybe there hasn’t been a break since Christmas… In light of the season of skinny jeans and tight sweaters I am feeling the need to lighten up a little.

Let’s have a little more balance around here readers, a few weeks of salads and complex, vitamin-filled nutritious stuff, shall we?

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

I’m not talking crash-diets, fad diets, or paleo anything; rather, I am talking about reducing my dessert every night habit to a once a week treat. I am talking about increasing my incidental exercise, squeezing in a few more weights sessions, and being more mindful in my food choices.

Don’t worry, this is not about to become a weight loss blog – I have a coconut ice recipe coming your way on Friday – I am just getting back on track to a thoroughly nourished life in the most delicious way possible of course.

This salad came at the beginning of the Easter feasting. Luckily, because I ate more than my fair share of brownies, cookies, and peanut m&ms… This Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale salad is filled with crunchy green kale leaves and raw capsicum, soft baked sweet potato and salty cashews. Everything is coated in a spicy thai-inspired dressing that soaks into every fold in the frilly leaves. I felt bright and light and full after finishing my lunch. The protein from the chickpeas and cashews keeps you full for hours. You could add some leftover cooked quinoa for a bigger protein boost and to make this a more substantial meal for dinner.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Serves 2-3. 

If you do not like kale try another dark leafy green or even baby spinach would work. To make this vegan replace the honey with agave syrup.

 Ingredients

  • 1 medium bunch of kale
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Thai  Seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400C). Peel and dice medium sweet potato. Spread out on a baking paper lined baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced with a toothpick. Remove sweet potato from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Rinse kale well and pat dry with paper towel. Cut thick rib out of each leaf and then roughly chop the leaves. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Chop capsicum and cucumber into a large dice. Place into bowl with kale.
  4. Rinse chickpeas well and add to bowl.
  5. Once sweet potato is cool add to kale mix. Toss all ingredients well.
  6. To make dressing place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously.
  7. Add dressing to bowl and toss well so that all is coated.
  8. Sprinkle cashews over the top and serve.
  9. This salad will last well overnight in the fridge but will become softer as the dressing soaks into the leaves.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten FreeChris is definitely not a kale fan, which is fine by me because I get it all to myself. Are you a kale salad fan? No? 

Anyone else trying to lighten up a little after Easter feasting?

Peach and Banana Smoothie

There are exciting things happening in my offline life at the moment. Well, maybe, hopefully, exciting things happening, and I can’t wait to share them with you when things are a little more official. Today though, I have an excitingly delicious recipe to share with you – and it’s super healthy too! During the week I rush out the door after a run and shower and eat my breakfast at work while answering the first emails of the day. It’s always the same routine – banana, almond milk, and gluten free cereal, or maybe banana and yoghurt. It’s not world shaking.

On the weekends, when I get a little more time for breakfast, I like to put some serious thought into what I start my eating day with. There is power in the first choice you make in the morning. Eating should never be a chore, but rather a well-considered thrice daily pleasure.

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This weekend I started contemplating Saturday’s breakfast on Friday night. I wanted something light, summery and fresh to celebrate the weekend’s beautiful weather and fill me up. I wanted something healthy and filling, but I was not willing to compromised taste and pleasure either. A smoothie was in order.

Summery peaches, and ever present bananas are mixed with fat-free yoghurt, honey and vanilla in a smoothie almost too thick to suck up through a straw. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and B Vitamins; low in fat, naturally gluten free and vegetarian. It’s also like eating ice cream for breakfast – ice cream that you don’t have to feel guilty about (not that I make a practice of feeling guilty about ice cream). The other exciting part about this smoothie is that it was super easy to make – watch out week day breakfasts you are about to get a makeover!

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Peach and Banana Smoothie (gluten free, healthy)

Serves 1 very hungry person, or 2 slightly less hungry people.

This makes a really large smoothie, so feel free to divide it among two people (or be greedy like me and glare at anyone who asks for a taste). You might also want to add a little more milk to make thin it out. I keep a few frozen bananas in my freezer at all times. When they reach the just overripe stage I peel, chop, bag and freeze them so they are ready for banana bread making or smoothies!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana (peeled, chopped and frozen)
  • 1 medium yellow flesh peach, chopped, pit discarded
  • 140g fat free plain Greek style yoghurt (I used Chobani)
  • ¼ cup low fat milk (you could use dairy, almond, or soy here) (increase to ½ cup for thinner consistency)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend on high until completely combined.
  3. If the smoothie is too thick add extra ¼ cup of milk and pulse to combine.
  4. Pour into a large glass, add straw, and enjoy!

Tell me dear reader, do your weekend breakfast choices differ from your weekday choices? Any favourite breakfast foods?

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Lunchbox Love: Blueberry, Chickpea, and Kale Salad

Warm summer days with plenty of sunshine means tables laden with produce every Saturday at the farmer’s markets. Which, naturally, means that I am enticed into buying beautiful vegetables that I don’t necessarily always cook with, or know how to get creative with.

Wandering through the colourful stalls last weekend I picked up a thick curly bunch of kale.

Oh kale, purveyor of so much healthy goodness. Held up and praised for its anti-cancer potential, high levels of calcium, flavonoids, fibre, and vitamins C, D, and K – and most importantly for me: high levels of iron.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet can provide the daily requirement for iron, but if you have funky blood like I do, which doesn’t absorb iron really well, you need to pay special attention to getting as much iron in your diet as possible.

Iron from vegetable sources (called non-haem iron) is helped in its absorption by pairing it with a source of Vitamin C – the technical term is ‘increasing bioavailabilty’. Fancy nutrition stuff, huh.

So, I may know about kale’s deep green secrets, but when it comes to inspiration for getting it from my fridge to my belly I need to consult one of my favourite bloggers.

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Today’s salad was inspired by Tracy from Shutterbean. Tracy lives in San Francisco (my favourite place in the world), takes awesome photos, makes my favourite listen-to-while-running podcast (with her cool best friend), and conjures up amazing food for her family. I have been inspired by (in no particular order) Tracy’s baked donuts, her Instagram feed, and her tasty salads.

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Tracy knows how to wrangle kale from pretty flower looking stalks into delicious, moreish recipes. So when I was looking for some Lunchbox Love this week, I was inspired by Tracey’s Broccoli Kale Slaw, which become the Thoroughly Nourished Life Blueberry, Chickpea, and Kale Salad.

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Blueberry Chickpea Kale Salad (gluten free, vegetarian)

Inspired by Tracey’s Broccoli Kale Slaw from Shutterbean

Serves 4 and keeps quite well for 3 days in the refrigerator. I made this at the beginning of the week and had a delicious, healthy packed lunch all week long. You will need a very large bowl for mixing this salad. This salad can be made vegan too. Just leave out honey, or replace with maple syrup or agave nectar. If you can’t find dried blueberries, you can use dried cranberries instead. I found my blueberries at a health food store.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 250 gram bag rainbow salad (also called ‘beetroot slaw’)
  • 4 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 spring onion stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 x 400 gram tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Method

  1. Empty rainbow salad into your very large mixing bowl. Add finely chopped kale, spring onions, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Add well rinsed chickpeas and using salad servers (or freshly washed hands) toss salad to disperse all ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper.
  4. Add dressing to bowl and toss very well so that everything is coated in dressing.
  5. Serve, or divide between airtight containers and store in refrigerator for up to three days.

See – healthy lunches can be quick and easy! Come and be part of my cool lunch crowd, won’t you?

Nourished Body: The Weight of All Things

Please note: the article below contains my thoughts, and details my own personal journey. This should not substitute for medical or health care professional advice. Also, this is long. Make a cup of tea and bear with me.

My sister does not own a pair of bathroom scales. She doesn’t want a pair in the house.

I have a pair of bathroom scales. They have been with me like an old friend for a very long time; though now, they lie neglected beneath my bathroom cabinet and only make an appearance once a week. Gone are the days when I would weigh myself every morning, obsessively, and sometimes again throughout the day as well. I don’t know when I felt the shift from focusing on that number, to focusing on other cues to tell me if I am maintaining my weight. After a long journey of weight loss, weight gain, and weight loss again, I have come to a place where I am comfortable with my body. I am happy with the way it moves through the world, and the space it occupies. I am a healthy weight for a person of my age and stature, and just as importantly: I am at a healthy weight for my mind.

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I was listening to Jillian Michaels on the way to work this morning and she had a caller ask her ‘when do you know you are at a healthy weight, and you should switch to focusing on maintaining your weight?’

I was intrigued, after all the focus there is on BMI and waist measurement, what Jillian would say in reply to this. I really liked her answer. She congratulated the woman on her progress so far, and then told her that the healthy weight was the one at which her blood test results showed that her cholesterol and other blood measures were healthy, and when her blood pressure was in a healthy range. Essentially, when her physiology read like that of a healthy person, rather than a number on the scale. Jillian then went on to imply that sometimes a weight range could be helpful when you are setting weight loss and maintenance goals, but that eventually your body will reach a steady state at the weight it prefers to sit at. Health practitioners call this ‘set-point theory’.

When you are eating a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly at an appropriate level your body will rest naturally within a certain weight range – this is different for everyone and even different for people of the same height (check out this great article). The science behind ‘set-point theory’ postulates that adults can maintain their body weight over long periods of time due to an internal feedback mechanism that is complex and multifactoral.

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My body has reached that point. It is most comfortable within about a  two to three kilogram range. I can starve myself and exercise like a crazy woman and get to the lower end of the range or below it, but I am only faced with the rebound of feeling tired and low in energy – and hungry – which are all signals that my body needs to re-calibrate, rest, and re-nourish itself and it returns to that range again. I can stuff myself full of food and not exercise enough and I reach the higher end of the range, which has the same result as going too low. At both ends of the spectrum there are signals that I need to pay a little more attention to how I am treating my body. How I am nourishing myself with food, exercise, and a healthy attitude to both.

When I was working as a health professional I did use numbers to guide my patients, but instead of just being driven by two points on a BMI chart I encouraged them to set small weight loss goals to bring them down gradually into the healthy range. When they found a weight within that ‘healthy range’ that they could maintain through moderation of diet and exercise, a point where their body naturally stopped losing, that this was what they should aim to maintain.

Numbers about weight are easy to find: BMI, BMR, RMR, MRH, waist measurement, body frame measurement, body fat percentage – the list is endless. The problem with numbers is that there is no ideal exact number for everyone. Take my little sister and I as an example. I am only a tiny bit taller than she is, but my healthy, natural weight, is ten kilograms more than her healthy, natural weight.

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The easy and horrendous trap that exists is in the comparison we make between ourselves and others when it comes to body shape and weight. Celebrities are splashed across magazine front pages with their weights emblazoned beneath them, or speculation on how much they have gained or lost, and by just typing ‘(celebrity name)’s weight’ into Google you can compare your weight to the rich and famous.

How is any of that helpful to maintaining a healthy attitude about your body? The answer is simple: none of it is helpful.

My advice, as someone who has learned not to be number-obsessed?

  • Focus on internal feedback from your body – energy levels, how you feel after a meal, sleep patterns – listen to your body.
  • Remember that worth is not measured in pounds or kilograms. If you don’t believe me, read the obituary pages of the newspaper – see the measure of a life.
  • Look at your lifestyle as a whole, rather than reducing your whole outlook down to the dimples of cellulite on your thighs – look around you for ways to see the bigger picture of your life and the way you are living – are there ways that you can change your habits for the better?
  • Forget your scale for a month. Live in your body. Eat moderately, exercise moderately every day, smile at your reflection when you walk past the mirror. Pay attention to how you feel in your own skin. At the end of the month, you may be surprised that you are the same weight that you started at.
  • Learn what eating and exercise habits work the best for you and your circumstances. No one is the same.
  • Be kind to yourself.

Tell me dear reader, do you watch the numbers carefully? How do you keep sane in a numbers obsessed world?