Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | gluten free | vegan

You need to make these tonight. Spicy peanut sauce coats zucchini noodles stuffed inside sweet roasted capsicums for a vegan, gluten free dinner that tastes sinful, but is secretly healthy – and super easy!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love peanut sauce dishes. You can just put another notch in the ‘Things Amy loves that contain Peanuts’ list that I’m sure everyone is keeping. Basically the list reads: everything. If there is a way to add peanut butter to a dish I will find it. This dish is no exception.¬†The peanut sauce that coats the zucchini noodles is everything a peanut sauce should be: deeply peanutty with a hint of sweetness, a dash of astringency, and a good dose of spice. I have so many memories of a peanut satay sauce that my sister and I were both in love with during high school. I don’t think either Mum or Dad were particularly fond of it, but they let us ride out our teenage cravings. Plus, they were getting dinner cooked for them, so I guess that was a win on their behalf ūüėČPeanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFast forward to today and I’d much rather create my own sauces than get them from a bottle – it’s all about customisation, and avoiding any unnecessary additives, right? And making your own spicy peanut sauce is easier than getting the ‘safety plastic’ off a shop bought bottle. Anyone else unable to get that stuff off? Just me? Moving on.

These roasted capsicums are fancy enough to serve to company, but easy enough for everyday, and while the peanut sauce is decadent, they are actually quite healthy! Rather than using noodles I made zucchini ‘noodles’ and coated them in the peanut butter sauce then stuffed them inside the roasted capsicums. Result: delicious and healthy.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe spicy, savoury peanut sauce coated noodles are a great contrast to the sweet roasted capsicums. And the capsicums act as perfect containment for every single drip of peanut sauce. You can’t let that deliciousness escape!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis dish comes together in six¬†simple steps:

  1. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds.
  2. Bake.
  3. Prepare noodles and sauce and mix.
  4. Stuff capsicums.
  5. Bake again.
  6. Serve.

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFor those six simple steps you are rewarded with layers of flavour in every single bite. To take this to the next level I couldn’t help but garnish it with extra salted peanuts and some chopped spring onions for a little extra crunch. Every bite is a mouthful of molten sweet roasted capsicum, spicy peanut sauce soaked zucchini noodles, crispy spring onions and salty-crunchy peanuts. It’s everything a Wednesday night needs without being so heavy you want to hibernate for the rest of the week. Bonus: your kitchen will smell like the best Asian restaurant in town as these flavours mingle in the oven.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums

Gluten free | Vegan | Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a light meal or appetiser | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size red capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut your capsicums in half and remove the core and seeds. I like to leave the little green tops because I think they look cute.
  3. Place capsicum halves cut side down in an ovenproof baking dish. Mine was about 6 x 8 inches.
  4. Bake capsicums for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.
  5. While the capsicums are baking, prepare your filling.
  6. Using a vegetable spiraliser or a julienne peeler create long thin ‘noodles’ from your zucchini.
  7. Crush garlic into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together with peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, grated ginger, and chili flakes.
  8. Toss zucchini ‘noodles’ with peanut sauce gently but thoroughly until they are coated in the mixture.
  9. Pile zucchini into capsicum halves. Spoon any extra sauce over the noodles.
  10. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tops of the noodles are golden.
  11. Remove capsicums from oven. Toss together salted peanuts and spring onions and top the capsicum halves.
  12. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

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

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios¬†in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comYesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a¬†talented and¬†tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and¬†after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad.¬†Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet of strawberries (250 grams)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams haloumi
  • 6 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  3. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

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

Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing

Get ready to roast all the winter root vegetables until they are sweet and soft then pile them on top of buttery millet and garnish with a yoghurt-based roasted garlic and marjoram dressing. This dish is comforting, super simple, and filled with good-for-you, fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes on a Tuesday night on the way home from the gym you get a call from your little sister telling you that she is going to hospital because she has pains in her chest. Sometimes you feel powerless because there is nothing you can do so you need to go home and do something that keeps your hands busy because otherwise you will go crazy. So you go home and peel and chop and roast vegetables while eating roasted almonds and dark chocolate. Or so I hear. Note: she is now home and fine. Not a heart attack just a strained chest muscle. Phew.¬†Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNot only are winter vegetables the best for keeping worried hands busy, they are exactly what my body is craving right now. I love all the winter vegetables in their sweet, carbohydrate-storing glory – parsnips, beetroot, sweet potato, swedes, turnips – send me your root vegetables and I will love them. Winter vegetables are hardy, they grow in the rough, hard, cold ground to nourish us all winter long.¬†And when you blast them with heat they will reward you with sweetness, straight from the earth.Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI used a mix of my favourite winter root vegetables in this dish, and you can replace the ones that you aren’t too fond of (I am aware that not everyone shares my love for swedes – the vegetable, not the people) with your favourites. The most important thing to remember when roasting a large amount of vegetables is to make sure that your pieces are all roughly the same size. This way they will cook in a similar amount of time and you won’t have crunchy beets and soggy sweet potatoes. Ick. These, mostly uniformly sized, chopped winter veggies were cooked through and soft, but not squishy, and the mix of vegetables provided contrasting flavours in each bite. See, even in the middle of winter variety abounds!Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI paired my roasted vegetable gems with millet. I love this¬†‘pseudo-grain’ (it’s really a seed) for it’s naturally buttery flavour, and how easy it is to prepare. Much like quinoa it goes into a pot on the stove, boils, simmers, sits and voila! Ready to serve in under 20 minutes! The yoghurt sauce was inspired by aioli. I love aioli, but I’ve never tacked it at home (yet…). I had some thick Greek yoghurt, some garlic, and marjoram in the fridge. Roasted garlic is my siren song, so into the oven it went where it turned from sharp edged fresh garlic to golden, molten roasted garlic heaven. Mmmm. The plain sweet, roasted vegetables and buttery millet welcomed the herbed garlic yoghurt dressing perfectly. Gather your favourite winter vegetables and let’s make this tonight!Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4

Note: the vegetables listed below are what I used in my dish, but feel free to replace them with your favourite winter veggies!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroot
  • 1 large swede
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 5 large shallots (substitute two red onions)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked millet
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

Dressing

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3¬†tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves (substitute oregano if you’d like)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons verjuice/lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Peel and chop beetroot, swede, sweet potatoes, and parsnip into fairly uniformly sized pieces, just larger than a playing dice. Peel shallots and slice in half.
  3. Place chopped vegetables onto baking tray, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap head of garlic in foil and place on tray too. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes or until soft in the centres.
  4. While vegetables are cooking, prepare the millet. Rinse millet thoroughly and then place in a medium sauce pan with vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Once the millet is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and place the lid on the sauce pan. Cook for 15 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat, allow it to rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  5. To make the dressing. Peel and quarter shallot. Place into a small food processor with marjoram and whizz until finely chopped. Squeeze heads of roasted garlic out and add to food processor. Whizz until combined.
  6. Add yoghurt, verjuice, and salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
  7. Divide millet between plates, top with vegetables, and garnish with yoghurt dressing.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Millet and Roasted Garlic Marjoram Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies

Mondays are like a blank slate. When my alarm clock goes off on Monday morning I feel like the starting gun has fired and I am off and racing through the week. Monday means everything starts again in a way. You have the chance to make the coming week whatever you want. You can wake up with a whole new approach and start taking steps for the positive. Monday also means my calendar is loaded up again. Just like most people I imagine! There is work, uni, running, family and friends to catch up with, and then the dreaded housework…It’s more like an obstacle course than a race some days I think!

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Like any race you need to make sure you have some healthy snacks to keep you fuelled along the way. I snack a lot. I am what my Mum calls a ‘grazer’. I just can’t go longer than 2 hours without something delicious to eat. I keep crackers and peanut butter, apples, almonds, mandarins, and cranberries in my drawer at work so that I always have something healthy to reach for when the need to munch arises. When I’m at home I snack on fruit, crackers, and sometimes cookies or cake…or leftover ice cream cake from my boyfriend’s birthday party….ahem.

On Sunday I had a delightfully big breakfast to celebrate my Mum: two slices of seeded gluten free bread with smashed avocado and feta and slow-roasted tomatoes. Delicious. Needless to say by lunch time I wasn’t feeling like too much lunch. I was feeling the need for a substantial snack that would leave some room for a cookie or three for afternoon tea after I scrubbed the oven. Don’t ask. A smoothie was the answer to my needs, and I was inspired by my cousin Grace’s tall glass of mixed berry smoothie at breakfast.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This smoothie is refreshing, cool, flavoured with blueberries, and vanilla, thickened with oats and chia seeds. It filled me up until Chris and I slurped up bowls of black bean chilli for dinner. It makes a great snack for two, or a filling but light breakfast for one. This smoothie is perfect as an after school snack for kids. Sweet, but not so much that it will have them bouncing off the walls, and filling without ruining their dinner.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies

Makes 2 small or 1 large smoothie | Gluten Free |

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, not defrosted
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or dairy if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup Greek style fat free yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free quick oats (or rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw almonds

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into glass/es and serve immediately.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | 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‚Äôt worry, this is not about to become a weight loss blog ‚Äď I have a coconut ice recipe coming your way on Friday ‚Äď 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?

Roasted Carrot and Mountain Rice Salad

I was asked recently to seriously consider these questions: What do you want from your life? What would you like people to say about you at your 90th birthday party?

I was being asked to think about my life goals in reverse. What do you want to be able to say when you reach the end? Let that lead your life goals rather than looking out from the situation you find yourself in at the moment. The glasses looking from here into the future are murky and smudged, but the lens from that future point back to where you are anchored at present is sharper.

When I (hopefully) reach that milestone birthday and have blown out the candles on my three-tier chocolate cake (you know it) what would I like people to say about me? What would I like to be able to say about my own life?

Firstly, I would want people to say that I¬†lived, I didn’t just survive or exist, I lived my life. I took risks and played the game of life. I didn’t sit on the sidelines. I was the adventurer, the discoverer, the unafraid.

I would want people to know that I lived my life with love. I let love guide my actions and decisions. It might not always be the wisest of actions, but letting love guide your life will lead you to more unexpected blessings than letting logic guide your every step. I would want the people gathered around my armchair to know that I loved them, for them to be able to say that we never parted on an angry word, that they always knew I loved them, that I showed my love through service to the people around me.

I would want the speeches to say that I was leaving work behind that mattered; I had created something that would endure long after my name had been forgotten by my descendants. I had crafted something that touched people’s lives, not in a grand way, but in some small way that was unique to me.

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I would want people to reminisce about the meals we had shared at the kitchen table.¬†Our home had always been open to any travelling past, any lonely soul, any celebratory moment, and there was always a spot at the table for the ones who wanted to stay. I would want them to talk about the simple nights, the rowdy nights, the late into the morning nights, the breakfasts, the long lunches, and the smell of baking wafting from my ever-busy stove. I would want to look over at Chris and see in his eyes the shared memory of nights when it was just the two of us, hungry after a walk, with a bag of¬†mixed rice and a few carrots, that became nourishment and a moment stolen from a day dictated by the world’s demands. That too speaks of love, of what my life goals really are.

This meal came together in the middle of a busy week. Chris was waiting at the door for me when I got home, and suggested that we go for a walk along the harbour. We walked along, hand in hand, the most timeless expression of togetherness, of being tethered heart to heart. We talked about now, about then, about the future. We arrived home relaxed and I carried that spirit of simple joy into the kitchen. Some mixed rice, a few sweet carrots, some basil freshly picked from my co-workers garden, some honey, and a dollop of mustard, added together we had dinner fit for two.

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Roasted Carrot and Mountain Rice Salad

I used a mountain rice blend (from here) because Chris doesn’t like brown rice, and white isn’t quite right for a salad. You could of course, replace the mountain rice with the same amount of brown rice or even spelt. Cooking times may vary from those listed below. Replace honey with agave or maple syrup to make this a vegan meal.

Serves 2-3. Gluten free. Vegetarian. Vegan option.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mountain rice blend (see note)
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 small carrots
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • 2 cups rocket leaves

For the dressing

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon local honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons seeded mustard
  • 1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a medium size baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Place rice and water in a medium size saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Drain rice, return to pot and cover to keep warm.
  3. While rice is cooking. slice carrots lengthwise into long fingers. Place into a bowl with olive oil, honey and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out onto prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Spread almonds onto a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch them carefully because they will cook very quickly. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. While the rice and carrot are cooking make the dressing. Place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork. Set aside until needed.
  6. To serve: spread rocket leaves onto a large platter. Spread rice over the rocket. Place carrots on top. Pour over the dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

I served mine with some toasted chickpeas while Chris enjoyed his with crispy skinned salmon. This salad is equally pleasant and filling as a meal in itself.

Garden Vegetable Risotto

Very rarely do I give myself the chance to just stare into space anymore. Once upon a time I was a Walter Mitty style champion of adventures in the ether. I need to bring that mind-wandering time back into my life: for stress relief, and for creativity to flow.

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Risotto is a dish that forces you into a slow down; it encourages a mental hiatus. You are bound to the stove for the better part of half an hour tending to the tide of rice and liquid.

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Risotto is active meditation.
You peel and measure. Heat and stir. Add liquid and wait for the magic of absorption and stir and stir and stare out the window while the grains swell and soften.
Shower in your vegetables and herbs and watch them surrender their juices and flavour to the dish.
Just let your mind wander into the night while the cheese binds everything together and then gather at the table and share your imaginings with the one you love.

And the thing you will love about this risotto is that it is easy, and it uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. It’s creamy without being heavy thanks to the creamed corn, which also means that it is lower in fat than traditional risotto. This risotto will save you time after a busy day because even with the grating and chopping it only takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. Enough time to make a cup of tea and let your mind wander.

Garden Vegetable Risotto

Gluten free. Vegetarian, vegan without the cheese.
Serves 4 satisfactorily. Chris’s suggestion: pair with sausages or chicken for an omnivorous meal. A salad would round this out nicely.

Cheddar is what we had on hand, but you can definitely use Parmesan or Pecorino if you have it available.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 400 gram tin creamed corn
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 sage leaves finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar, and extra to serve
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Warm stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent.
  3. Add arborio rice and stir until grains are shiny and coated in olive oil.
  4. Add warmed stock one ladle at a time, stirring well between each addition and ensuring that each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next.
  5. When all liquid has been added and mostly absorbed, add creamed corn, grated carrot and zucchini, and peas. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add fresh herbs and simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
  7. Just before serving stir in cheese and season to taste.
  8. Serve with extra cheese.

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How do you meditate dear reader? Do you cook? Run? Sit quietly? Me, I run and cook, and dance in the kitchen while singing pop tunes.