Super Protein Quinoa & Buckwheat Granola

IMG_9274Although I love a good old fashioned oats based granola, it can get a bit too much when you want to sprinkle it on top of your porridge, oats on top of oats? You know what I mean.

So this granola has been one of my recent favourite toppings for overnight oats, smoothies, chia puddings and even desserts. It’s the perfect post work out breakfast or snack as it’s jammed packed with protein thanks to the quinoa, chia seeds, nuts and seeds.

I like to make huge batch because it safely keeps in an air tight jar for up to 4 weeks so whenever I fancy something crunchy and a bit sweet I can always grab and handful. As always I personally believe than making your own is much better than buy it in the store as you can decide exactly what goes into it and this case you can also decide how much sweetener you want to add. I like to keep my granola quite low in sugar, so I have only used dried apricots which mixed with the cashew butter and coconut oil create the most delicious, sticky sweet paste!Feel free to add a bit of maple syrup or honey if you like it sweeter.

Ingredients:

2 cups of cooked quinoa

¾ cup of buckwheat groats

1 cup of  coconut chips

½ cup of chia seeds

½ cup of pumpkin seeds

½ cup of sunflower seeds

1 cup of dried apricots ( try to buy the ones without any sulphites)

2 tablespoon of coconut oil

2 tablespoon of cashew butter (almond butter will work as well)

1 cup of mixed chopped nuts or the nuts of your choice ( I have used a mix of almonds, pecans and brazil nuts)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

Optional to add after the granola is baked:

1 cup of goji berries

1 cup of quinoa or brown rice pops

Start by preheating the oven at 150 degrees Celsius.

In a food processor combine the chopped dried apricots, nut butter and coconut oil until a sticky paste starts to form.

In a separate bowl combine your other ingredients: quinoa, buckwheat, coconut chips, chia seeds, seeds and the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder and mix well. Add the sticky paste and with your fingers massage it into the granola until it’s evenly spread.

Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper and spread the granola on it. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Give it a good stir so the bits on top will not get burned. Place it back in the oven for another 20 in total. Every 10 minutes I would recommend to stir to avoid burning.

Once is all nice and gold  take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for at least 20 minutes. Once cold add the goji berries and quinoa or brown rice pops (if using) Store it in air tight jar for up to the 3-4 weeks.

I love serving mine with almond milk or coconut yogurt with fresh fruit.

 

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Miso glazed aubergines with quinoa tabbouleh

IMG_9140This dish is definitely one of my favourite summer dinner. Although is not summer yet and the temperatures in England are everything apart from summery, I have been craving lighter and fresher dishes lately and this always managed to hit the spot. The marinade for the aubergines is just so delicious even by itself, it’s sweet but salty and it has a lovely tangy notes from the lemon. The perfect accompaniment is a herby quinoa tabbouleh with lots of parsley, mint, lemon and chilli. All these flavours juts work wonderfully together creating a light but very filling dish which will bring you sunshine no matter where you are! 😉

You can eat the dish as it is or if you want to make it even more delicious drizzle it with this super creamy tahini dressing which works perfectly with all these middle eastern inspired flavours. I have been actually obsessed with this dressing recently, it works well with any kind of salad, stir fries or even roasted veggies.

 

Ingredients:

1 large aubergine or 2/ 3 baby aubergines

2 cups pf cooked quinoa

1 bunch of fresh parsley ( I used the flat leaf one)

1 bunch of fresh mint

The juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of date syrup

2 teaspoon of brown rice  miso paste

Salt and pepper to taste

For topping:

Fresh pomegranate seeds

Sesame seeds

Fresh chopped red chilli

Pine nuts

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon of tahini

The juice of ½ lemon

The juice of ½ orange

1 teaspoon of tamari

A splash of water if needed to adjust the consistency

Method:

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

If you are using a large aubergine slice it in round disks, if you are using baby aubergines you can slice them lengthways. Prepare the marinade: in a bowl put the miso paste and date syrup and mix together adding a splash of lemon juice. Using a kitchen brush covered the sliced aubergine with the marinade. Place them in a baking tray and add a tiny bit of water at the bottom of the tray. That will prevent the aubergine from drying out too much and will keep them moist.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. While the aubergines are cooking make the quinoa tabbouleh: chopped the fresh herbs very finely, if you are not a good chopper like me place them in a food processor and blitz them coarsely. To the fresh herbs add the cooked quinoa and the juice of 1 lemon. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Make the dressing: place the tahini, orange juice, lemon juice and tamari into a bowl and whisk well. Add gradually a bit of water if you feel the consistency of the dressing is too thick. It should be creamy but still quite runny.

Take the aubergine out of the oven, at this point they should be quite soft and squishy. Place them on a plate on top of your quinoa tabbouleh. Top with pomegranate seeds, fresh chopped chilli, sesame and pine nuts  and drizzle the dressing on top .

 

 

 

 

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Banana, sultanas and cacao breakfast bars

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I am always on the hunt for on the go breakfast recipes. I have been loving working out before go to work recently and although most of times I have breakfast after my work out, sometimes I like to have a little snack before as well (any excuse to eat is always a good one).

Most of the breakfast bars you buy in the shops tend to be packed with sugar, so I definitely recommend to make your own, especially when they are so easy as these banana, sultanas and cacao one.

You can make these bars completely sugar free, by eliminating the dates syrup and using only extra ripe bananas that combined with the plump sultanas should add enough sweetness.

The extra bonus of these bars is that they also taste of chocolate and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a bit of chocolate in the morning? J These are totally chocolatey and yet totally healthy as I have used raw cacao, that in case you don’t know is packed with anti-oxidants, magnesium, calcium, zinc and copper! So enjoy these beauties without any guilt, knowing that they are actually good for you!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of oats

2 very ripe bananas (make sure they are nice and spotty)

2 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1/2 cup of sultanas

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of coconut oil melted

2 tablespoon of date syrup ( you can leave this out if you want to make them completely sugar free, the bananas should add enough sweetness)

1/3 of a cup of almond milk (add more if the consistency is too dry)

Method:

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Start by soaking the sultanas by covering with warm water and set on one side for at least 1/2 an hour.

In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork. Add all the other wet ingredients. Drain the sultanas and squeeze the excess water out. Add them to the bowl.

In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well together. Line a baking tin with parchment paper, pour the batter into it and smooth it out with the back of a spoon.

Place it in the oven and bake it for about 25-30 minutes. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes into the tin, before transfer it to a cooling rack. Slice it into bars and enjoy!

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Almond butter, cacao and banana hummus

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If you have been following me for a while you will probably know by now that there three things which I am totally obsessed with:

  • Almond butter
  • Chocolate
  • Hummus

So I thought why not combine these three things together?! I know it sounds really weird (chocolate hummus what?!) but I promise you it works so well. If you think about it, chickpeas have a very neutral flavours, unless you add spices or seasoning to them they taste pretty bland. For this reason I think they are the perfect base for this protein packed spread. Add almond butter for creaminess and flavour, banana for sweetness and when you finally add the raw cacao powder the all thing just come together in a beautiful silky, creamy, packed with goodness chocolate flavoured spread!

It’s just the perfect post workout snack or breakfast. I love spreading some on rye or gluten free bread and top it with fresh sliced strawberries or more bananas.

After this so successful experiment I feel like the sky is only the limit when it comes to flavoured hummus! I am already thinking about new sweet combinations, uhm… will definitely keep you posted!;)

Ingredients:

1 cup of cooked chickpeas ( if you are using tin ones please make sure they have no salt in it)

2 heaped tablespoon of almond butter

2 heaped teaspoon of raw cacao powder

2 very ripe bananas ( make sure they are nice and spotty)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

2 tablespoon of dates nectar ( you can also use honey or maple syrup, I find the caramel flavour of the dates goes really well with the other flavours)

1/2 cup of almond milk (go for a creamy non diary milk, I wouldn’t recommend to use brown rice milk in this recipe)

Method:

Simoly place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. I have used my Vitamix in this occasion and it worked perfectly. If you feel your hummus is too thick add gradually more almond milk until you reached the desire consistency.

Keep in an airtight container or jar for 4-5 days.

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Chocolate and strawberries brownies

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I am always experimenting with gluten free chocolate brownies and I am still looking for that kind of fudgy, dense, perfect consistency, well I think this time I got pretty close. There is always room for improvement obviously but hey these little beauties are so so good! I have topped them with strawberries as I find when they bake they become particularly sweet and almost pungent.

Apart from being gluten free they are also paleo as I have only used almond flour. As regard of the sweetener the stars of the show are dates! they are just the best, aren’t they? They are naturally so sweet and they also are packed with essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and fibres.

As always I like to make a batch on Sunday afternoon so I have got my little healthy treats to munch on whenever I get a sweet crave during the week (which happens very often :))

Ingredients:

1 cup of cashew butter (almond butter will work as well)

1/2 cup of chia seeds + 3/4 cup of water

1 cup of Medjool dates

1/2 cup of almond milk (or any other creamy non dairy milk)

2 tablespoon of maple syrup (or more if you like it sweeter)

1 cup of ground almond

3/4 cup of raw cacao powder

1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

5-6 strawberries washed and sliced

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl mix the chia seeds with the water and set aside until a gloopy gel starts to form.

Place the pitted dates, melted coconut oil, cashew butter, almond milk and maple syrup in a food processor and blitz until it becomes a thick paste.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the ground  almond, raw cacao powder and chia seeds and combine well.

Pour the batter into a baking tin lined with parchment paper and smooth it out evenly. Cover the surface with the sliced strawberries and place it in the oven for 35 minutes or until a tooth pick will come out clean.

Let the brownies cool COMPLETELY in the tin before remove them and slice them. I store them in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Chocolate and almond butter brownies

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Ingredients:

70 gr of ground almond

1 can of drained and rinsed black beans

2 tablespoon of milled flax seeds +5 tablespoon of cold water

3/4 cup of ra cacao powder

3 tbsp of melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3 tablespoon of date syrup or maple syrup

3 tablespoon of coconut sugar

70 gr of dark chocolate chopped finely

1/2 tsp of baking powder

roughly 3 tablespoon of almond butter ( preferably of a runny consistency)for the swirls

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Covered a brownies baking tray with parchment paper.

Mix the ground flax seeds with the water and set on one side until they assume a gloopy consistency.

In a food processor add the drained black beans and blitz for few minutes until a paste starts to form. Add all the other ingredients apart from the chopped dark chocolate and blitz gain. The batter should be thick and silky, not too runny. If the batter results too thick add a splash of almond milk. Transfer it to a bowl and fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour it into the baking tray and level it even with a spatula.

At this point with a teaspoon or a fork swirl the almond butter on top of the batter.

Place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. The top should start to dry out and to crack around the edges. It shouldn’t be wobbly! If it is place it back in the oven for a bit longer.

Once baked let the brownies cooled down in the tin. You can also place it in the fridge to firm it up even more. Cut the brownies once they are completely cool and store them in air tight container in the fridge. These brownies are meant to extra fudgy and gooey, I personally think they taste even better after few days chilled in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

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Almond butter and cacao cookies – grain free

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These are possibly the easiest cookies ever! They literally required an handful of ingredients and the cook in no time. They are gluten free and they also happen to be paleo as I have used almond flour which gives them a dense and rich consistency. If you don’t have almond butter on hand you can totally swap it for peanut butter or cashew butter would probably work as well. These little beauties are packed in protein and relatively low in sugar so they also say ideal as a post work out snack.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of melted coconut oil

8 tbsp of almond butter

100 gr of ground almonds

3 tbsp of date syrup or maple syrup ( use more if you want them sweeter)

1 tbsp of raw cacao

1 pinch of salt

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp of baking soda

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Covered a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl with a fork mix the almond butter with ground almonds and the baking soda. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir throughly.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough at the time and with a fork mashed delicately down onto the baking tray. Keep doing so until you finish all the dough. Decorate with almonds (optional).

Place in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until they are slightly golden brown.

Remove the tray from the oven and let them to cool for about 10 minutes. They will still be soft as soon as you taken them out but they will harden once cooling down.

Store in air tight container or jar for up to a week.

 

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Almond butter and Apple Granola

 

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I have always been a sucker when it comes to granola, it used to be my go to go breakfast for years until I realised how much sugar the regular shop bought granolas almost always have.

This granola instead is incredibly low in sugar and obviously high in goodness! I haven’t used any maple syrup or honey, the sweetness comes entirely from the apples and the dried apricots, combined with some gorgeous velvety almond butter it literally creates the most gorgeous, nutty, caramel taste granola.

 

Ingredients: ( makes a large jar)

1 and 1/2 of rolled jumbo oats

2 apples ( for this recipe I have used Jazz Apples as they naturally very sweet) peeled and chopped in bite size pieces

1/2 cup of almonds roughly chopped

1/2 cup of pecans roughly chopped

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup of gojii berries (optional)

1/2 cup of raw coconut chips

3/4 of a cup of dried apricots ( try to buy unsulphited ones, they will look brown)

2 generous tablespoon of almond butter

2 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Extras:

1/2 cup of quinoa pops

1/2 cup of buckinis

Start by dehydrate the apples. Place the chopped apples in a tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Place the them in the oven at 120 degrees for at least 40 minutes. After 20 minutes stir them to make sure they cook evenly. After 40 minutes the apples should be golden brown and crispy. Take the tray out of the oven and leave it on one side to cool.

To make the apricot and almond butter paste: chopped the dried apricots in small pieces and place them into a food processor with the almond butter and the coconut oil. Blitz the mixture for about 1-2 minutes until it becomes a soft and sticky paste.

Line a tray with baking paper, add the oats, the remaining cinnamon powder and the chopped nuts. Pour the apricots and almond butter paste over them and with your hands combine everything together, you should get sticky clusters of oats and nuts.

Place the tray in the oven and bake at 120-150 degrees for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes stir the granola to make sure it doesn’t burn. After 35 minutes take the granola out and add the coconut chips, the sunflower seeds and the pumpkin seeds. Place it back in the ice for a further 10 minutes. Once the granola is nice and crunchy take it out of the oven and leave it to cool. Once it’s all cooled down add the dried apples pieces baked previously. I like to also add  gojii berries, quinoa pops and buckinis, these are totally optional and the granola will taste as delicious without.

Store the granola in air tight jar for up to 1 month.

I like to serve my granola with almond milk, sliced banana and fresh berries, it is seriously the best breakfast!

 

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Lime and turmeric bliss balls

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Since I have made my lemon and turmeric pancakes I have been obsessed with this incredible combination of flavours. Apart from having quite a mild flavour, turmeric is jammed packed with endless health benefits. The one which wowed me the most is that Turmeric is a very potent skin loving superfood. It has been proven to help fighting and healing acne and in the Indian culture is also use in skin lotion and moisturises. I try to incorporate turmeric into my day to day cooking as much as I can and why not using it in sweet recipes as well?  It works extremely well with all warm, exotically sweet flavours, like bananas, dates and coconut but also with apples, pears and apricots which I decided to use for this recipe. If you don’t have dried apricots on hands you can certainly use dates, although I love the sweet but slightly fresher flavour of apricots mixed with the dried coconut.

These little beauties make the perfect antioxidants packed afternoon pick me, I like to make a big batch on Sunday and happily munch them throughout the week.

ingredients:

1 cup of cashew

3/4 of a cup of shredded coconut

1/2 cup of dried apricots ( preferably try to buy apricots without sulphites,they are darker in colour)

1 tablespoon of cashew butter (almond butter will work as well)

1 teaspoon of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

the juice of 1 lime

the zest of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of maple syrup (you can add more if you like sweeter)

3/4 of a cup of shredded coconuts for rolling the balls

Place the cashew in a food processor and blitz them for about 1-2 minutes until they start to form a flour.Do not over processed them otherwise you will end up with cashew butter!:)

Add all the remaining ingredients and blitz again for about 2-3 minutes until a sticky dough starts to form.

Remove the dough from the food processor and with your hands roll about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a ping pong size balls and coat them into the shredded coconut. Continue this process until all you finish all the dough.

Store the bliss balls in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

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Almond butter Chocolate Banana Bread

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This banana bread could possibly be my favourite thing at the moment, I am eating for Breakfast, in the afternoon as a snack, after dinner for dessert, I am totally obsessed with it! It might be because it combines three of my favourite food: almond butter + banana + chocolate, what more can I possibly ask for?

I know it’s sound pretty decadent but is actually relatively low in sugar as the bananas act as the perfect sweetener so you actually don’t need to add much more maple syrup or coconut sugar.  For the chocolate I have used roughly chopped OM BAR 70% dark chocolate as it’s so intensely rich and only sweeten by coconut sugar, but any other good quality dark chocolate would work as well.

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp of milled flaxseed + 2.5 tbsp of water mixed together
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of almond butter
  • 2.5 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1/5 cup of coconut sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp of honey or maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cup of ground almond
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup of brown rice flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of chopped dark chocolate (I have used OM BAR 70% cacao)
  • a handful of cacao nibs to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat oven and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Prepare flax egg in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes until it assumes a gloopy consistency. Add the bananas and mash thoroughly. Add all ingredients through almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine.
Add the cacao powder, almond meal, brown rice flour blend, oats and stir.
Last stir in the chopped chocolate.
If using sprinkle the cacao nibs on top.
Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. When ready should be firm with a nice crust on top. Let cool completely before cutting it into slices.
I love having mine with some almond butter and some slice banana on top.

 

 

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