When it’s cold and rainy, like it is here at the moment, soup is the perfect antidote for the weather. And the last thing you want to do when it’s raining is brave the outdoors, so I’ve come up with a delicious soup that’s hearty and full of goodness, with ingredients you should already have in your pantry. Score. You might see that this one has lentils, but don’t let their hippie connotations dissuade you. It’s time to embrace this luscious lentil, trust me! When they’re mixed with salty, delightful bacon and oodles of veggie goodness they come into their own and make this soup a real winner. I prefer to use dried lentils just because I think they taste a little nicer, but if you are short on time feel free to use tinned lentils, just add them in about 10 minutes before the soup is ready or they will overcook. If you like your soup smooth, feel free to puree it but it like it a bit chunkier like me, just leave it as is. You can make a big batch of this to see you through the week and I promise you’ll be glad you did 🙂
Bacon, Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver
- 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
- 100g cubed diced pancetta
- 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, sliced lengthways and chopped
- 3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
- 3 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- a few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- 200 g dried red lentils
- 1 organic vegetable stock cube, optional
- 410 g tinned cannellini beans, drained
- extra virgin olive oil
- Place a large saucepan (with a lid) on a medium heat. Add a large splash of olive oil and the bacon and pancetta. Fry slowly until the meats have started to release they tasty fat and start to go a little crispy. Then add the dried oregano, chilli, bay leaf, celery seed, onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic.
- Cook gently with the lid on for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft, then add the lentils and 1 litre water or vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are soft. (Check the packet instructions as different types of lentils vary in cooking time. If you’re mixing your lentils, cook for the longest amount of time to make sure they are all cooked properly).Add the tin of cannellini beans and, if the soup’s a little thick, some more water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes, then taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.Ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and the chopped parsley. Serve with some warm, crunchy bread rolls.
Acai bowls are all the rage at the moment. I for one didn’t really get it the hype around them. I mean I love smoothies, but why do you need to make a smoothie that can only be eaten out of a bowl? After making a few myself though, I realized that eating them this way is what makes them special. It makes you really focus on the flavours when you’re having it a spoonful at a time, rather than slurping it up through a straw. Plus, the toppings add so much texture and extra flavour that you just can’t get from a normal smoothie. And so, the skeptic was converted.
Not only do they taste delicious, they are ridiculously aesthetically pleasing thanks to meticulously arranged fruit and seeds on top. I think that is the main attraction of making these bowls to be honest. You can add whatever toppings you like; honey, bee pollen, goji berries – whatever you think is Instagram-worthy really. Plus, they are full of acai, which is a modern day superfood hailing from Brazil. In Brazil, you can buy them fresh in their berry form, but here in Oz we have to use the powder, which is just as delicious. They are a rich source of antioxidants and fibre and help keep you fuller for longer, which is exactly what you want from your breakfast. Deee-licious!
- 2 tablespoons acai powder
- 2 bananas, chopped roughly (use frozen banana slices if you have time)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 ½ teaspoons nut butter (I used peanut)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 cup almond milk
- Chia seeds
- Coconut flakes
Place the acai powder, bananas, raspberries, nut butter and honey in a high-powered blender. Blend until creamy, then gradually add the almond milk until you get a smooth but thick consistency. You want it to be a bit thicker than a smoothie. Pour into bowls and arrange with toppings. Serve immediately.
I was down the coast a few weeks ago and my friend Carmen whipped up these super yummy tacos. She used quinoa instead of brown rice, and they were so delicious, but I had brown rice in the cupboard at home, hence the change. Making vegetarian dishes seem just as appetising in their own right can sometimes be a challenge, but I definitely think these tacos do the trick. I didn’t even think about the lack of meat when I ate them. The addition of egg, which is used to bind the rice and corn, adds a creaminess and really balances out the filling. Once they’re topped with the salsa and sauerkraut it gives you the zingy, freshness that tacos need and makes these a real crowd pleaser. Bonus: they’re super easy and can be made in about 30 minutes!
Vegetarian Corn, Brown Rice and Chia Tacos with Avocado Salsa and Sauerkraut
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 small brown onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- Kernels from 1 cob corn
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 avocado, roughly chopped
- 1 handful coriander leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons green sauerkraut
- 4 soft corn tacos
- Salt and pepper to season
- In a medium sized frypan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and corn and cook until the onion and garlic are softened. Next, add the rice, chia seeds and chilli flakes and cook until the rice is warmed through. Then add the eggs until they have evenly coated all the other ingredients (about a minute). Remove from heat.
- To make the salsa, put the avocado and lime juice in a bowl and mix together, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Warm the corn tacos and place the egg and rice mix on first, followed by the avocado salsa, finishing with the sauerkraut.