Each year, Nutrition Australia use National Nutrition Week in October to raise awareness on the food we eat and its impact on our health. Nutrition Australia’s annual campaign is to ‘Try for 5’, which promotes Australian adults to reach the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendation of 5 serves of vegetables daily. According to Eat for Health, majority of us Australians are only eating about half of the recommended serves of vegetables each day. This means majority of adults are missing out on essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and many other health promoting properties.
This fact is what inspired me to share today’s recipe with you. This colourful recipe is quick, easy, delicious and comes in handy when you are feeling time poor or are preparing meals in advance as they will keep well for a few days when stored properly in the refrigerator. Majority of the ingredients are kitchen staples, and it is an easy meal to tweak if you do not have all the ingredients on hand or simply would rather swap vegies to your preference.
As it is, this recipe makes enough for two serves, with each serve providing roughly 4 out of 5 of the daily recommended serves of vegetables (1 serve of vegetables = approx. 75g or ½ cup).
(Psst… if you make it to the bottom of this blog you will find a bonus dessert recipe! It is on today’s theme of getting in your vegies, but I promise it will not disappoint!)
Green Pea & Quinoa Salad
1 cup (or 150g) green peas, cooked (I personally use organic frozen peas that I quickly boil up ahead of time, but you can use any kind that you prefer. This recipe is about making eating vegetables easy and convenient!)
1 cup (or 150g) cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup or 1 small/medium carrot, grated
½ cup (or 75g) red radish, thinly sliced
½ cup (or 75g) cucumber, diced (I use baby cucumber and thinly slice instead but regular cucumber is fine)
½ (or 75g) red onion, diced
1/3 cup quinoa (I used white quinoa but any kind works well.)
2/3 cup water
1 red chilli, sliced (If you don’t have fresh chilli, chilli flakes work well too. Add to taste)
1 lime, juice & zest
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
50g feta cheese, crumbled
1. After thoroughly rinsing quinoa under running water, combine quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover saucepan with lid and reduce heat to a simmer for 10minutes, or until water is absorbed. Set quinoa aside to cool.
**Tip: Quinoa is ready when grains have a swirl or tail pop out.
2. While waiting on the quinoa to cool, let us prepare the salad dressing. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and zest, olive oil and chilli and set this aside.
**Tip: Start with ¼ or ½ of the chilli and taste. If desired, you can always add more later.
3. In a large salad bowl, combine your pre-prepared vegetables and toss. Then go on to add in the cooled quinoa and feta cheese and toss again until well combined.
4. Lastly pour the dressing over the salad, toss, serve & enjoy!
This salad is great on its own, but it would also be great paired with fish, meat, poultry, poached eggs, tofu of grilled halloumi instead of feta. The creative freedom is yours my friend!
Now that you have made it this far, time for dessert. On today’s menu we have Vegie-laced Brownies. While avocado is considered fruit, this recipe also contains 2 cups of spinach which I guarantee goes undetected. This a quick and easy recipe is great for using up your avocado before it browns and gets rid of last bit of spinach sitting in the crisper drawer! Vegies and all, please do not be mistaken.
These brownies are a treat that I would not recommend eating every day due to the sugar intake. But it is a rich and delicious dessert that you can feel good about because it still offers some nutritional value.
2 cups baby spinach
1 small avocado
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup almond meal
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
¾ cup honey (I use manuka honey)
½ cup dark cocoa powder (I use organic raw cocoa powder)
½ cup milk of choice (I use regular cow’s milk but any milk will be fine)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup dark choc chips (or choc nibs)
**Optional: ¼ cup walnuts, macadamia, pistachios or any nut of choice for crunch!
1. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. While oven is heating line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a large food processor, blend your avocado, spinach, honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Blend on high until avocado is smooth and spinach is finely ground. Once mixture is smooth transfer wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
3. To the mixing bowl add in dry ingredients and fold until well combined.
**Tip: add in a little bit of the dry ingredients at a time and fold in before adding more to ensure the ingredients are well combined and hold together.
4. Once the mixture is mixed, fold in choc chips. I reserve about 1tablespoon to top.
5. Pour batter into baking tray and spread evenly. Sprinkle the last of the choc chips on top and place in the over to bake for 40-45minutes, or until you can poke brownie with a skewer and have it come out clean.
6. Once baked allow to cool before slicing into squares and removing from baking tray.
For more information on what a serve of vegetables looks like and the benefits of eating the recommended amount please visit: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/vegetables-and-legumes-beans?fbclid=IwAR2eX6Zj2YQsRAEOTTsdTDOYr_P_6FFGAHjEu7ztLwkVLrfKFZGU-hrFDNE
For further information, more vegie loaded recipes and tips please head to Nutrition Australia’s ‘Try for 5’ website: https://www.tryfor5.org.au/
With you in health and happiness,