Pourgouri (Bulgur Wheat)

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I think this dish may be more Cypriot than Greek but it belongs in this section the most 🙂 I am discovering more about Cypriot cuisine and the different cultures that have influenced the herbs and spices used in Cypriot cooking. I love bulgur wheat (or cracked wheat) and to make this dish even simpler, my local Mediterranean supermarket sells bulgur with vermicelli noodles mixed in. This is an amazing side dish and seems to get better over a few days. It also has only a few ingredients which are pretty much store cupboard staples.

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Arabic Chickpea Salad

Mashed.com

This salad is my wonderful ‘throw together’, put in the fridge, and let it marinate beauty! I love the flavours in this salad and with the cost of living rising sharply, it’s pretty cheap and very filling. Even if you are not a fan of chickpeas (which is probably because they have been served in a bland way) the mixture of mint, lemon and paprika are just delicious. I always use the jarred chickpeas which I pick up in my local Turkish supermarket for 89p a jar! (they have gone up recently by 20p) Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein and break down slowly in the gut, keeping you fuller for longer. did you know that chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are considered a vegetable and a legume because they are so nutritious? well, you do now!

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Fava Dip

Dimitras Dishes

I first tried this delicious, garlicky dip on a trip to Santorini and I loved it immediately. I guess you could compare it a little to humous, it is smooth and comforting and lovely served with hot pitta bread. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are going on a date as the garlic packs a punch! Made with a few simple ingredients, with the star being yellow split peas (not fava beans – go figure!) it is a staple on a lot of the Greek islands and is served as one of many meze dishes. It’s been around for thousands of years, so if you haven’t heard of it – where have you been?! 🙂 Also this is soooo cheap! – you will thank me!

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Butter Bean and Callaloo Stew

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I am sharing a plate full of Caribbean sunshine here! This dish has all the flavours that I love and is healthy and nutritious. I miss my mother-in-law and this Jamaican dish reminds me of her. This dish can be rustled up pretty quickly and is I believe, a breakfast dish but it’s amazing any time of day. The whole dish probably took me about 20 minutes to make and I will be sharing this with friends served with rice and an avocado salad. It’s vegan and is very kind on the budget, which is just as well as everything has gone up massively.
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Ancient Breakfast Varvara

I was drawn to this recipe after watching My Greek Odyssey It didn’t sound like something that would work and then I saw Peter Maneas, the presenter demolish a bowl of this with gusto! This dish has its roots in ancient Greece and was a breakfast dish (they certainly knew how to eat well in ancient times), some Greek islands serve it as a dessert also. Named after St. Barbara (Varvara) this dish is traditionally prepared the night before the saints day along with a prayer for the health of children. Although it takes a little bit of prep I have found a quick way to cook it and you WILL thank me for this recipe – a big batch made on the weekend will last you a few days. Please use organic barley, not pearl barley. I now make this every week and my husband calls it ‘miracle food’ as it aids digestion, fills you up (for hours) and is very healthy!

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Maple Roasted Sprouts and Potatoes

Oven-Roasted-Brussels-Sprouts-and-Sweet-Potatoes-2-800x800
Eatwell 101

I hope I am not the only one who loves brussel sprouts?! They are one of my favourties and they are in season at the moment. This is one vegetable that grows in the UK (they thrive in cold weather) and are incredibly good for you, unfortunately a lot of our mothers boiled them to death and they became something to be endured rather than enjoyed! These little green heroes are full of vitamin K (which can promote bone health), fibre and suprisingly contain Omega 3 fatty acids. This is a great side dish to liven up any dish and ofcourse its heatlhy and fairly cheap.
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Marvellous Mushroom Pate

mushroom pate
Culinaryginger.com

Happy New Year! I went to the Queen of Hosts yesterday 🙂 (Tracey Fenner is the Queen!) for a wonderful New Years Eve visit  – there was amazing food, lots of laughs and even some tractor driving thrown in! Now, I don’t think anyone has ever left Tracey’s home hungry – maybe rubbing their belly because they over induldged but never hungry! So, there were snacks before we went for our country walk and then a massive meal when we came home – and our snack before we set off was this amazing mushroom pate served on toast. I always plan to pace myself and eat delicately but this was just too good and very tasty so I just got stuck in! This is a great dish to serve as a starter or when having friends over and will be my new favourite for a snack. As mushrooms are full of vitamin D – they actually help fight off colds – they also contain selenium which helps support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.
So get some toast or crackers and get involved 🙂
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Greek Artichoke Stew

I absolutely love this dish – it’s comforting and tastes delicious. The sweetness of the leeks and peas along with the mild scent of dill is a winning combination. I found frozen artichoke bottoms in my local shop (I have no clue what to do with the intact fresh ones!) I had this first in Crete and although wasn’t sitting on a sunny veranda with the sound of crickets – it still tasted amazing and brought back great memories. Artichokes are full of nutrients and antioxidants, plus protein and fibre – so they pack a longevity punch! This is simple to make and cost-effective.

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Orange Tahini Biscuits

tahini biscuits
Deliciouslyorganic.net

I could have posted my own photo of these delicious little biscuits but they disappeared rather quickly! I made these on a Monday night after work, so that shows you how simple they are. I really loved the flavour of these biscuits and they go really well with a cup of tea or coffee. I would probably double up on the ingredients and make a bigger batch as they won’t be around for long 🙂 

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Olive Bread

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I found this very simple olive bread recipe from watching My Greek Oddysey – ok this show which documents Australian Greek, Peter Manias navigating the Greek islands in his super yacht got me through the long months of dingy English weather and working from home! Considering the superyacht part, he seems a down to earth guy who is really enthusiastic and passionate about his homeland so he has my vote 🙂 The lovely, cuddly chef Kyriako throws this bread together very easily, and apart from the fact it has to rise a few times, its really easy to make but a word of caution – its very, very moreish and needs to be put out of sight or you will eat the lot! It is vegan and pretty cheap so can become part of your store cupboard staples. This recipe is not light and fluffy but they digest well and can be stored in the freezer for when you have guests.

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Kisir Salad

I love bulgar wheat and despite the onset of Autumn I still enjoy a nice, hearty salad. This recipe is cheap, easy and very tasty – it can be eaten hot or cold and lasts very well in the fridge. Bulgur wheat is a minimally processed whole grain and is packed with fibre and a decent amount of magnesium and iron. Kisir is a popular dish in Turkey and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds will raise the dish to a very satisfying lunch!

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Turmeric Tofu Scramble

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Charitymorgan.com

I am always on the lookout for cheap and nutritious meals, that also can be put together quickly. Working from home for so long is having an impact on my desire to cook after a long day in front of the screen – so the quicker the better! I often have this dish for brunch on the weekend but it is equally as good in the week. As always be adventurous – throw in your favorite things and see how it turns out 🙂 I often chuck in a handful of spinach or some courgettes, mushrooms etc. Leftover boiled potatoes (fried) also go well with this dish. I paid almost £11 for this dish recently (I know I know! but I live in London) and this will cost you a fraction of the price.
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Longevity Apple Pie Bars

dutch-apple-pie-oatmeal-squaresAnother Blue Zone recipe that combines flavour and health. I love apples and oats so this is a winning combination for me. I do enjoy fruit but sometimes you just want a sweet treat or a snack that feels comforting. You don’t have to compromise on flavour in order to eat in a healthful way  – these bars can be eaten for breakfast or for a snack with a cup of tea or coffee. Cheap, simple and Vegan.

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Crowd Pleaser Broccoli Crunch Salad

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5aday.com

Ok -so sometimes you just hit on a recipe that seems to go down well with everyone. Whether they are plant based or not -this crunchy broccoli salad appears to tick a lot of boxes! It lasts well in the fridge for around 4 days and gets better as it goes along! Eating (well cleaned) raw broccoli means you are not reducing nutrients in the cooking process  – such as vitamin C and sulforaphane (which helps prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes and digestive issues). Thank you to my friend Angel who served me this at her birthday celebrations and gave me another ‘keeper’ for my recipe book 🙂 Use all of the broccoli chopped finely – no throwing away the stalk! 

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Saucy Vermicelli Noodles

download (2)Absolutely delicious!  I do love noodles but often find they can be greasy when I buy them outside. These tasty sesame infused noodles are just the job! The sauce that accompanies this lifts the dish and makes it rather mooreish – however, rice vermicelli noodles are low calorie – yay! have no cholesterol and are a great source of carbohydrate. You can get this tasty dish onto the table pretty quickly (about 20 minutes) and look like a pro!
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Ethiopian Split Peas (Kik Alicha)

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I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours cooking with an Ethiopian chef a while back, making this dish as well as a few others. The tip I took away from that day was to cook the onions and garlic until they almost become a puree (this does mean you have to keep stirring!) but the result is delicious. You can spice up this dish as much as you want – I prefer a gentle warm sensation! Split peas are so overlooked nowadays – they are a great source of plant-based protein , folate, iron and potassium, while being low in fat and high in fiber – and best of all they are cheap! Great for diabetics.
I would advise soaking over-night – just to make sure they are gentle on the tummy, if you catch my drift 🙂

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Lentil and Mushroom Loaf

I had the great pleasure recently of returning to a face to face Made in Hackney community cooking class. Although some restrictions are still in place – it was really great to meet new people (from a distance) and cook up a storm! There is something very therapeutic about cooking with others and making something great out of a few ingredients and then seeing and eating the fruits of your labour 🙂 I took my efforts home and me and my husband tucked into this excellent lentil loaf, roasted veggies and vegan onion gravy. The lentil loaf was made in a small loaf tin but you can double the ingredients and make in a normal tin. This is a great Sunday lunch dish and is really easy to whip up 🙂 you can of course chop any veg you like really small and add into the mix!

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Healthy Breakfast Spread (Tahin Pekmez)

tahin pekmezI stumbled upon this little gem by pure accident whilst looking for directions on making Turkish tea (I now own a fantastic Turkish double tea pot!) This amazing breakfast spread is a well kept secret and has become a firm favourite in my home. It is so simple but really delicious. This is a blend of tahini and molasses (I have used either blackstrap molasses or grape molasses) Molasses is good for the health, helps reduce PMS and reduce joint pain among other healthful properties. Grape molasses was used as a ‘cure-all’ in ancient times. Tahini is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals and also very good for heart health – so you can slather this on warm bread in the morning without any guilt!
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Ital Red Pea Soup

red pea soup
Healthiersteps.com

This is probably my favourite West Indian soup – I have eaten it mainly at funerals! but nevertheless it’s been so tasty and filling and really comforting. Red peas are kidney beans and this soup allows you to experiment with different vegetables – pumpkin, sweet potato, yam, butternut squash etc. The beans need soaking overnight or use a pressure cooker to cook them and save time. Kidney beans are a good source of plant-based protein, fibre and have a low glycemic index rating – all round a good, healthy bean! Every time I have eaten this soup it has had ‘spinner’ dumplings in it – which are delicious and make it a meal on its own – so I have included the little dumpling recipe aswell.
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Pea and Basil Soup

pea and basil
homemakershabiitat.com

I don’t think the UK has got the memo yet that we are edging towards summer! We had a glimmer of good weather but it’s dissapeared again and its COLD! However, this soup is great for Spring and can be thrown together very quickly. Just because food is good for you doesn’t mean that it can’t deliver on flavour – the two should go hand in hand. The humble pea is packed with vitamin C, E and Zinc and helps to reduce inflammation (the cause of many illnesses). Basil tastes divine but also contains magnesium which can aid blood flow. This soup is a winner as it is cheap, tasty and has ingredients that you will normally have in the fridge or freezer.
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Thai Style Crunchy Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing

Thai-Noodle-Salad-with-Peanut-Sauce-105
Feastingathome.com

You know something is going to taste good when you see a rainbow of colours on your plate. The sky is the limit really with the ingredients for this refreshing salad BUT it needs to have crunch! You can be adventerous with salad leaves and you can use noodles or brown rice to bulk this salad out. The dressing is very tasty and easy to make. 

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Smokey Plant-Based Empanadas

downloadI love empanadas and the smokey, sweet tomato sauce that I used to have with tuna empanadas. These plant-based versions are just as tasty and very easy to make. I have now found ready made wholemeal shortcrut pastry (Thank you Tesco!) its light and crumbly and these little treats are great for a mid-morning snack. I bought a nifty little empanada maker from the internet which is amazing (come in three different sizes) and ensure your empanadas don’t come undone during baking. If you are having a gathering – these are very moorish and will disappear quickly!
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Tangy Panzanella Salad

panzanella-the-food-placeDespite the cold snap of weather we are having, better weather is on its way 🙂 (promise!) The lighter the days get the more I enjoy a nice tangy and fresh salad. This salad lends itself to a mix of tomatoes types – cherry, plum, yellow, vine etc. The addition of cubes of stale sourdough bread (or any uncut bread you have) make this more filling – this is a bit of grown-up salad! With origins in Tuscany, Italy the salad was created like most great, rustic dishes to avoid waste and is a typical peasant dish. If that makes me a peasant – I’m happy to be!

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Marvelous Oat Flour Cinnamon Muffins

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Any kind of white flour is becoming an issue for me. My stomach just doesn’t appreciate flour too much – a little organic wholemeal is ok, or organic unbleached but any foodstuff that has refined flour in makes my stomach bloat and I feel uncomfortable. Soooooo, finding these little beauties was wonderful. The best bit is oat flour can be hard to find BUT you just whizz porridge oats in a blender and hey presto! Oat flour! These are great for breakfast or as a snack – I will be hiding them however as I live with a bunch of vultures! 🙂

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Plant Based Pastitsio

Akis Petrezikis

This was a dish I loved when I was a meat eater (many years ago) And finally a version with no dairy and no meat! You never need to be in a flap again when your non-meat eating friends come for lunch 🙂 The pasta used in this dish is readily available in most supermarkets now and the dish is very easy to make. A friend of mine in Rhodes used to make a vegetarian version of this which was amazing also. This recipe comes from one of my favourite Greek Chefs – Akis Petrezikis – who seems to be Greece’s answer to Jamile Oliver!
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Lentil and Rice Biryani

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Our neighbours have blessed us a couple of times recently with some wonderful Bengali cooking (see – even in London there are still good neighbours!) The rice they have sent us via their young daughter was out of this world tasty, non-oily and just amazing. As you know by now I am starting to love Indian cooking and this dish is a great way to brighten up mid-week meals. Lentils are a rich source of protein and keep you full for longer.
Although it looks like a lot of ingredients  – the process is simple, so don’t let that put you off 🙂

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Spicy Ezme Salad

Bebosdish13

Although the temperatures here in London have plummeted I have been eating a lot of different salads and this one has no doubt been inspired by the amount of Turkish tv programmes I have been watching on Netflix! who knew Turkish tv was so good?! We are fortunate to have a lot of excellent Turkish restaurants here in London and this is a staple at all of them – but each restaurant makes it slightly differently. What I love about this salad is that it is quick, tangy and refreshing and can have as much chilli kick as you can handle! served with fresh bread it can be a meal on its own and will get you going back for more!

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Aubergine Meatballs

Healthy Food.com

Thanks to my good friend Charlene for making me lunch! I am trying to get away from all forms of processed food and that includes ‘healthy’ vegan or plant-based options – the list of ingredients still look too big to me with these convenience foods and if you make double the mixture for this home-made version, you can freeze them for those evenings when you just need to make something super quick. Add a lovely tomato sauce to these and you can serve with rice, bulgur or wholewheat pasta. The only thing you really need is a food processor or some elbow grease! You can add in the flavours that you like and adapt as you see fit but you will love these 🙂

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Caribbean Style Porridge

Sometimes I need a breakfast that will keep me satisfied until lunchtime -and this porridge does the job! My late Jamaican father-in-law was a regular porridge eater and he lived until he was 90! Some Caribbean porridge recipes call for condensed milk but as this is a blog site about longevity,  I am omitting the less healthy version 🙂  Oats are an all round good food – a great source of soluble fiber, a rich source of magnesium and it is great for controlling blood sugar. Best of all  – oats are fairly low cost (DO NOT use instant oats – they are not good!) and when my kids are hungry  – this is a go to for them any time of day.

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Bulgur, Freekeh and Green Beans

I love to find recipes that are bursting with goodness but still taste delicious and comforting – and this dish delivers. I found this on Ozlem’s Turkish Table and as I have never really used Freekeh before, thought I would give it a go. Not one spoonful of this went to waste! I ate it hot and cold and it was equally delicious. Freekeh is an acient grain (even mentioned in Leviticus in the bible) and is full of fiber, it has a unique, almost nutty taste and texture and aids digestion. Full of zinc, iron and calcium you can really eat without guilt!!! It’s simple to prepare and all ingredients are easy to source. Thank you Ozlem!

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Squash, Chilli and Coconut Soup

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Another great soup for these crisp winter days. I have to say I do use a lot of coconut milk at the moment but it adds such a lovely creaminess and flavour that I can’t resist it.  This is economical and will last about 4 days in the fridge. This is delicious served with some black olives on the side and a toasted slice of sourdough. 🙂 I now have a brilliant pressure cooker which does the whole thing in 10 minutes but have given you the traditional saucepan recipe. Butternut squash is a great source of fibre and vitamins, coconut milk reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and improves digestion – so don’t take my word for it – make this and see how you feel after!
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Spinach, Lentil and Coconut Soup

This is a great soup to throw together quickly and have for lunch  – seeing as we are all mainly working from home these days. I have struggled some days with the workload and trying to really eat well, but this is the solution! You can prep this first thing in the morning, cook, leave the flavours to entwine and then blitz and eat 🙂 this soup combines taste and healthful benefits, lentils, spinach, leeks and coconut milk.
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Vegan Breakfast Stack

 

This is my new favourite breakfast/brunch meal. This packs a nutritional punch and tastes delicious – okay, my stack looks a little wonky! but I am sure yours will be much better! I added some mushrooms and a bit of toast which kept me satisfied until later in the day. Who knew that julienned  sweet potato in the oven could taste so good! This is also a great dish to serve when having friends over.

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Wholemeal Chapatis

I’m on a bit of a curry vibe at the moment 🙂 largely because I live very close to Brick Lane, the famous curry mile near Shoreditch in East London renowned for its excellent curry houses. I recently visited with a friend and we had a wonderful plant-based meal with lovely soft chapatis. It inspired me to learn how to make them.  It always concerns me that the shop bought ones have such a long shelf life ? Can’t be good.

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Creamy Cauliflower Curry

This is a weekday or weekend meal – its really cheap, very easy and soothing. If money is tight at the moment – then this recipe should fit the bill. I made this as I had a cauliflower sitting in my fridge that was in danger of going bad – so the whole thing was ready really quickly and tasted even better the next day!
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Fasolada (Bean Soup)

Let’s face it. Summer is pretty much over here in the UK. My thoughts are turning to soothing comfort food. I needed something comforting the other day and I remembered this simple bean soup that uses the best of seasonal vegetables and delivers in flavour and nutrition. I haven’t been so organised lately, long working hours and a family to keep on track has taken up a lot of my time. I am going to make another batch of this rich and thick soup for the week, so I know I have a bowl of goodness waiting for me at lunchtime. Just remember to soak your beans in cold water the night before you plan to make it.
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Mushroom Stifado

Most people are used to eating Beef Stifado but this is just as tasty (with the same spices etc) but the meat is replaced with mushrooms. Its best to use a really firm mushroom such as chestnut or portobello so they keep their firmness through the cooking process. I like this served with rice and a little tzatziki on the side! Continue reading “Mushroom Stifado”

Roasted Potatoes with Green Beans and Mustard Drizzle

Blue Zones

Another great longevity recipe from the Blue Zone community – this originates from the Seven Day Adventists in Loma Linda California who live long and strong and practice a plant-based diet (these Californians live about a decade longer than most other people!). Meals like this can be rustled up quickly and can be a meal on their own  – the addition of chickpeas means you will feel full without having resorted to adding any grains or rice etc.

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Spicy Spinach Stew

I had this dish for the first time when I went to visit friends and my friend got into a flap because I don’t eat meat. So she ran across to her Nigerian neighbour to ask for help! I have adapted the recipe to suit my family. It’s very easy and has a lovely chilli kick so goes well with plain rice. I am in Crete at the moment and have been able to get all the ingredients and put this together very quickly. You can use fresh, tinned or frozen spinach for this recipe whatever you have at hand.

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Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

tastespotting.com

I am eating a lot of salad at the moment and as much as I love olive oil, I am trying to cut down a little on the amount of oil I consume without compromising on flavour. This little salad dressing does the trick! I used my Nutri-bullet to blend it in seconds. This comes from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s bestselling book Eat for Life and is used as part of a whole food plant-based lifestyle. It’s easy and tasty and will allow you to add generously to salads!

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Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’

I just had this for lunch and it was delicious! I was very skeptical of this tasting any good but it was sooo tasty and the best part is that it’s cheaper than tuna! The humble chickpea is so versatile – they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, they improve digestion and the best bit for me is they aid weight loss as they keep you fuller for longer! Chickpeas are also high in protein and essential amino acids. I would recommend you use the chickpeas in a jar – they are much softer and easier to mash.
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Greek Butter Beans (Gigantes)

What4eats

This is a staple at any Greek taverna – it is almost impossible to find giant butter (Lima) beans in the UK but standard butter beans will do. It is always worth using dried beans (soaked overnight), the taste and texture are very good but if you are in a hurry you can use tinned butter beans which are also good and cheap!. This humble bean (very much overlooked in the UK) is great for heart health, diabetes prevention, increased energy levels, enhanced digestion and good blood circulation – again I stand in awe of the Greeks and their ability to take basic ingredients and make a delicious meal for a very small cost. You can buy this dish (Gigantes plaki) in a tin  – but once you have made them yourself there will be no turning back! The other benefit of eating beans like this regularly is that they fill you up, making you less likely to snack on other things 🙂
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Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Mushroom ‘Sausage Rolls’

These may look a little rustic 🙂 but they are very comforting. Although I have added them into the weekend section, they really didn’t take that long to prepare and cook. They got a thumbs up from my husband and would definitely be a winner at a social gathering – I even think meat eaters would like these. This is another recipe that you can adapt to your favourite spices and all the ingredients are readily available. Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and support the immune system, and are rich in fibre, combined with chickpeas which are high in protein, mushrooms that have vitamin D and you have a winner!
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Aloo Gobi – Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry

A traditional vegetarian dish served at nearly all Indian restaurants and this is healthy and very easy to put together. I love cauliflower and the great thing about cooking this from home is that you can put as much or as little spice as you like. This dish doesn’t use coconut milk and very little oil – so it is not a heavy dish at all. Served with warm wholemeal naan, it has a lot of flavour and digests very well. I will definitely be making this again!
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Mushroom Parcels

WordPress

The magic of mushrooms! The humble mushroom packs a great immune-boosting punch, they are full of proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antibiotics, and antioxidants. They are a rich source of fibre, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin D – so even though these are a tasty treat, they are also pretty good for you. Chilled and frozen pastry seems to be in good supply in the UK as are all the other ingredients – so get the kids and give this a go!
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Lentil Soup Syrian Style (Shorbat Adas)

I went for lunch yesterday with a good friend of mine and we went to a little local cafe where I had a delicious bowl of this soup – which reminded me how good it tastes! I’m not a huge fan of cumin but for some reason, I really find this soup comforting. Cumin is really good for digestion and is a rich source of iron, combined with an antibiotic property it really is a super spice! This soup is wonderful served with toasted pitta bread.
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Tomato & Orzo Soup (Manestra)

I am always on the lookout for cheap, flavoursome and healthy dishes and this is a winner! The weather in London right now is pants – so I fancy something warming and that doesn’t take much thought – but of course, delivers on flavour and health benefits. I never tried this when I lived in Greece but its full of the flavours of the Mediterranean! (who knew even tinned tomatoes are good for you!)
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Chickpea and Plantain Curry

Another wonderful Ital dish – I got the original idea from the Original Flava cookbook (this is the recipe that made me pick up the book and buy it!) it’s full of flavour and the plantain adds such a lovely sweet flavour – I love this with brown rice and a piece of naan bread. Make sure the plantain you use are ripe (should be speckled brown and gives a bit when you squeeze it).
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