CHICKPEA FLOUR FLATBREADS, ROCKET PESTO + VEGGIES – MAIN

I love the beginning of the Rugby Six Nations for the sole reason that it coincides with the coming of Spring!  There’s always a great atmosphere and I know lots of friends and families who gather at home to watch the games.

If you’ve signed up for the Lloyds Pharmacy Change Your Health Direction Programme, or have simply resolved to eat more nutritious, whole-foods for 2017, having friends and family over on match-day (or in general!) can be a challenge and its tempting to reach for the takeaway menus!  But what if you didn’t have to compromise?!

This veggie flatbread tastes like it should be a treat and yet its super-healthy! I used chickpea flour for the flatbread base – an ideal gluten and grain-free alternative to refined, white flour, and you will benefit from a higher protein and fibre content as well.

To keep the nutrient density up I made pesto with rocket leaves and walnuts, and used a variety of colourful vegetables as toppings.  You can add a little parmesan cheese, chilli oil or toasted pine nuts at the end for more flavour.

These are a winner with kids –  they love pizza, and bright colours so if you’re changing your entire family’s health direction, this is the recipe for you!

RECIPE

(makes 2 large flatbreads; serves  6-8)

For the flatbreads:

  • 2 cups of chickpea flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 good pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 6 Tbsp water

For the Rocket Pesto:  (if you really want to save time, use a good quality shop-bought basil or red tomato pesto)

  • 3 large handfuls of rocket leaves, washed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, you will need about 6 tbsp
  • A handful of walnut halves
  • A handful of grated parmesan (optional, you could use nutritional yeast as a dairy-free alternative)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Sea salt + black pepper

Toppings:

  • 1 courgette, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half-moon shapes
  • 1 long red pepper, cut thinly across the horizontal, into rings
  • 1 small golden beetroot, peeled and sliced very finely
  • Optional: shavings of Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese / toasted pine nuts / rocket leaves / chilli oil

Instructions:

For the flatbread:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpea flour, baking powder and sea salt. Pour in the olive oil and use your fingers to combine the mixture until it resembles a coarse crumb.
  2. Add the water by tablespoon, working the water in using your hands until the dough starts to come together. If after adding 6 tablespoons the dough feels too dry, add another tablespoon of water. Similarly, if the dough is sticky and wet, add a little extra chickpea flour. The dough should be pliable!
  3. Shape the dough into a smooth round and brush the surface with olive oil. Cover with a linen tea cloth and leave to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into two even pieces. Dust your worktop with chickpea flour and form one piece of dough into a disc. Flour the top of the dough and using a rolling pin (or a glass water bottle!) roll the dough into a thin 9-inch circle (or rectangular shape). If the edges crack just pinch them together. Repeat with the second piece of dough and don’t worry about creating perfect shapes!!

For the rocket pesto:

  1. Put the rocket into a for processor and add a good glug of olive oil to get it going. Pulse until the rocket is broken down (you might need to scrape the mixture down from the sides and pulse again).
  2. Add the walnuts, parmesan, garlic cloves and lemon juice and pulse again to combine.
  3. Scrape the mixture down from the sides one last time and replace the lid. Then switch on the blender and gradually pour the olive oil into the mixing bowl. You want to achieve a good spreadable consistency.

Prepare the vegetables:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to make courgette ‘ribbons’.
  2. Peel and finely slice the beetroot with a sharp knife or mandoline.
  3. Peel the red onion, cut it in half and then slice into ‘half-moon’ shapes, slice a long, thin red pepper horizontally, shake out the seeds and slice thinly into rings.

Assemble the flatbread:

  • Preheat oven to 200C (400F) with the baking sheets inside (I used one circular and one rectangular sheet)
  • When the oven is hot, carefully remove the baking sheets and set them down onto a heat proof surface. Transfer the flatbreads onto the pre-heated baking sheets.
  • Spread each flatbread with the rocket pesto and arrange the vegetables on top until the dough is covered. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the vegetables with olive oil.  Season with a little sea salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer the flatbreads into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes – 25 minutes until the edges of the dough are crispy and the vegetables are cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and dress with rocket leaves, pine nuts, chilli oil or parmesan shavings. Serve and enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Per 1 whole (plain) flatbread 476 20g 22g 53g 5g 12g
Per 1/6th (plain) flatbread recipe 159 7g 7g 18g 2g 4g
Rocket Pesto (per 1/6th recipe) 179 19g 2g 2g 0.5g 0.6g
Per 1/6th serving flatbread with pesto + toppings (not incl. extra parmesan / pine nuts. 370 26 10g 26g 5g 6g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

 

QUINOA & CHORIZO STUFFED ROASTED PEPPERS WITH FETA, AVOCADO & GREEN SALAD – MAIN

When it comes to making healthier food choices, flavour can make a huge difference to your success. Enjoying and feeling satisfied by your meals means you’re less likely to feel deprived.

This recipe is inspired by Spain and South America. Whilst I don’t recommend overdoing cured meats, a little does go a long way. Just be sure to choose a really good quality chorizo sausage with no sulphites (preservatives) or E numbers (the alternative is to leave it out and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and extra diced vegetables such as tomatoes instead).

Bell peppers have high concentrations of antioxidants.  Just one will provide more than twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and almost 75% of recommended daily vitamin A. When it comes to weight loss, its important to get the most nutritionally dense food possible and at only 37 calories per serving, bell peppers provide a wide range of essential nutrients.

Black quinoa is a protein-rich seed originally cultivated in Colorado (the original quinoa hails from the Andes in South America). It is especially abundant in essential minerals, and is grain and gluten-free which is good news for people with celiac.

I’m serving these delicious stuffed peppers with a little crumbled cool Greek feta cheese, unctuous avocado and a light green salad of just rocket leaves and diced cucumber.  Feta is traditionally made from a combination of sheeps and goats milk and is often less inflammatory and allergenic than cheese made with cow’s milk.

Enjoy this dish as a light lunch for 4, or if you’re extra hungry, as a main meal for 2-3 people.

(serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil*
  • Half a medium white onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 100g good quality chorizo sausage
  • 80g uncooked black quinoa (makes approx. 1.5 cups cooked volume)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 2 whole red bell peppers, sliced in half (lengthwise), seeds & white pith removed
  • 50g greek feta cheese
  • 1 medium-sized avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 100g cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Basil pesto (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment. Put the pepper halves onto the parchment and drizzle with a little melted coconut or olive oil.
  1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  1. In the meantime melt a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions reduce the heat slightly and sweat for 5 minutes.
  1. Dice the chorizo sausage and add to the frying pan with the onions. Continue to cook on a low heat so the onions take on the colour of the chorizo.
  1. Once the quinoa is cooked, drain any excess water and add to the onions and chorizo. Add the chipotle chilli flakes and lightly season with a pinch of sea salt. Sauté over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  1. Remove the quinoa from the heat. Pile the mixture into each of the pepper halves. Cover lightly with foil and put into the oven for 35 minutes (remove the foil after 20 minutes).
  1. Prepare the toppings and salad: peel, de-stone and slice the avocado (squeeze juice of half a lemon onto the avocado to stop it from going brown). Set aside. Crumble the feta cheese into a small dish and set aside.
  1. In a salad bowl add 4 large handfuls of rocket leaves and diced cucumber.
  1. After 35 minutes remove the peppers from the oven and carefully transfer them to a serving plate. Sprinkle the crumbled feta and the avocado slices over the peppers. Season with a little sea salt. Serve  with a teaspoon of basil pesto and a pile of green salad.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE QUARTER SERVING (including toppings & side salad)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
320 19g 12g 18g 6.5g 7g
A source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and Iron. Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Grain free.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – AUTUMN SUPERFOOD SALAD

Our week 10 Love Your Health recipe, by nutritional therapist Pamela, is AUTUMN SUPERFOOD SALAD!

I am a firm believer that salads are not just for summer. With such a variety of gorgeous vegetables coming into season at this time of year it seems a shame not to show them off in all their glory.  I adore the deep, rich tones of beetroot, figs and purple kale. This earthy salad features lots of familiar superfoods that deliver an abundance of nutrients including protein, iron, vitamin B1 and folate; antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds found in purple kale, beetroot and figs and antioxidant vitamins C and K. The soluble fibre in lentils and essential fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil and avocado make this a vegetarian main course for lunch or dinner.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2 hungry people as a main course (or 3-4 as a light lunch or side dish)

  • 2 beetroot (approx. 250g peeled weight) chopped into cubes
  • 1 red onion, peeled & quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cups cooked green lentils (or 1 can organic cooked lentils, drained)
  • Juice of 1 small (or 1/2 large) lemon
  • Handful of fresh basil or parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 whole fresh figs, washed and quartered
  • 4-5 stalks purple kale washed and chopped into chunks
  • 1 avocado, peeled, stone removed and chopped into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • Sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Place the beetroot, red onion, garlic, cumin and thyme onto a roasting tray, douse with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the onions slightly caramelised.
  3. While the beetroot is roasting, prepare the rest of the salad:
    • Place the lentils, lemon juice, basil, figs, kale, avocado and pine nuts into a large bowl and toss gently to combine the ingredients.
    • When the roasted vegetables are ready, discard the thyme from the roasting tray and allow the vegetables to cool slightly.
    • Toss the beetroot, red onion and garlic into the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients and gently combine. Taste and season with more lemon juice, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – APPLE & BLACKBERRY HAZELNUT CRUMBLE

It’s week 9 of nutritional therapist Pamela’s mouth-watering healthy recipes and she is making it harder & harder for us to pick a favourite! This weeks recipe is Apple & Blackberry Hazelnut Crumble. It’s Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free & contains No Refined Sugar.

“Late August, given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the Blackberries would ripen”

– From ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney’s poem is by far one of my favourites….so evocative of summer’s end and the arrival of autumn. This healthy dessert showcases the best of local autumnal fruits. Blackberries are high in antioxidants which are responsible for their deep purple colour and I used new season apples from last weekends farmer’s market haul. Apples are high in pectin fibre, and slow releasing sugars so they control blood sugar levels and promote healthy digestion. The crumble topping is grain free and deliciously nutty.  Hazelnuts are an indigenous nut and are rich in antioxidant vitamins E and K which protect the heart.  They are also bursting with folate, which is particularly beneficial if you’re planning a pregnancy; and biotin, which supports skin and hair health. I like to serve this with whipped coconut or almond cream but you can use dairy cream if you wish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Apples (peeled, cored & chopped)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 50g coconut palm sugar
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 100g raw hazelnuts
  • 100g mixed seeds
  • 100g almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 125g coconut oil
  • 1 cup dates soaked in 1/2 cup hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Place the apples, cinnamon, star anise, coconut sugar and water into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the blackberries.
  4. Pour the mixture into a deep oven proof dish and dust with a little almond flour.
  5. To prepare the crumble blitz the hazelnuts and seeds in a food processor until coarse. Transfer to a bowl and add the almond flour.
  6. Use a hand blender to blend the dates & hot water to make a paste, add the coconut oil and mix.
  7. Combine the nut and seed mixture with the date paste and coconut oil and combine.
  8. Pour the mixture over the apple and blackberries. Cover with a sheet of tinfoil to prevent the nuts from burning, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes (remove the foil after 30 minutes to allow the crumble to brown).
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving warm with coconut or almond cream.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – ULTIMATE BEET BURGERS!

Welcome to week 8 of nutritional therapist Pamela’s divine but healthy recipes. This weeks recipe is ULTIMATE BEET BURGERS…. & ruby-stained fingers!

INGREDIENTS

Makes 10 burgers

  • 1 small red onion, peeled & chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 large beetroot (approx. 600g), peeled & chopped
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 2 ounces raw walnuts
  • 2 ounces Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 150g ricotta cheese
  • 150g organic oat, buckwheat or millet flakes
  • 1 teaspoon maldon sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil for brushing

September is probably one of my favourite times of year at the farmer’s market.  A feast of courgette, squash, pumpkin, kale and savoy cabbage, the last of the summer cucumbers and first of new season apples.

My local market is on Sunday mornings at The People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire, but you’ve got to get to McNally’s Organic Farm stand early for the richest pickings! Last week I grabbed some humongous purple beetroot, which feature in this week’s recipe. Beetroot contains betacyanins – a group of antioxidant compounds that give this root vegetable its rich jewel tone – betacyanins support liver detoxification, reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation (the latter being the reason that beetroot is an athlete’s best buddy!).

These nutrient-rich vegetarian beetroot burgers are packed with protein from ricotta cheese (another farmer’s market purchase), walnuts and hulled hemp seeds (Nua Naturals to the rescue yet again), and are a rich source of omega 3 fats, iron and B-complex vitamins. These are truly delicious, ideal in the lunchbox or for dinner with sweet potato fries or a gigantic green salad (see serving suggestions below).

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients (except the oat / millet / buckwheat flakes & the olive oil) into a food processor. Pulse until fully combined, but with plenty of texture. Transfer to a large glass bowl and stir in the oat flakes. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour (this step is important, as the oats will absorb excess water from the beetroot).

Heat the oven to 200oC. After 1 hour, remove from the fridge and use your hands to shape the mixture into burger patties. The mixture will be moist, but if it feels too wet, stir in another handful of the flakes you used or add 1 tablespoon of coconut flour (I use Nua Naturals). Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each side of the burgers with olive oil and place onto an oven dish lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the burgers and turn them over gently with a spatula. Bake for another 10-12 minutes and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Delicious warm or cold!

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • On grilled portobello mushrooms with sliced avocado, rocket leaves & tomato, sprinkled with mixed seeds
  • In a wholegrain bun with sliced tomato, lettuce & hummus.

 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – Carrot, Coconut & Lentil Soup

This is nutritional therapist Pamela’s 7th enticing recipe she’s provided for us. This weeks recipe is Carrot, Coconut & Lentil Soup… perfect for this cooler weather and a lot easier to make than you’d think!

(serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled & chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger root, peeled & chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 600g organic carrots, washed, ends removed & chopped
  • 4 heaped Tbsp dried red lentils, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon dissolved in 650ml hot water
  • 1 can full fat organic coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon maldon sea salt
  • Large bunch of fresh coriander leaves, roughly torn
  • Freshly ground black pepperThis vibrant soup is easy to digest, nourishing and warming, whilst cooling coconut milk and fresh coriander offer subtle hints of summer, which is fortunate because as I write this, Ireland’s summertime is having its last hurrah (you’d know the schools are back!!). Serve with a big green salad, or a chunk of rye or sourdough bread spread with almond butter or some smashed avocado to make a satisfying, incredibly nutritious meal.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A. A diet high in carotenes is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, as well as promoting healthy skin, hair and nails. Lentils add protein, iron and a trace element called molybdenum which is excellent for oxygenating the blood (oxygenated blood = mental clarity + great skin….so that’s beauty and brains!!). Spices such as black pepper, coriander, cumin and tumeric posses powerful antioxidant and antibiotic qualities. Turmeric in particular contains a compound called curcumin which is both clinically and scientifically proven to reduce inflammation in the body. Coconut provides medium chain fatty acids. Fat has numerous important functions – it transports antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E into our body cells where they can go to work mopping up free radicals and repairing damaged cells, and its satiating, which prevents overeating and snacking too much between meals!

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot. Sweat the onion for about 10 minutes before adding the ginger, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cook for a further minute then add the carrots and lentils. Stir well over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable stock, water and sea salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending. Using a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add a few cracks of black pepper to taste.  To serve, spoon into bowls and add a handful of torn coriander leaves.

 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – Raw Cacao, Nut & Seed Bars

Welcome to week 6 of nutritional therapist Pamela’s delicious nutritious healthy recipes. This weeks recipe is Raw Cacao, Nut & Seed Bars.

Don’t forget you can also get a free printed version of this recipe and more at your local LloydsPharmacy… enjoy!

Not only are these bars magnificently tasty, they are packed with fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. They are an ideal post-workout snack and will feed  a few hungry kids after school. Add a piece of fruit or a green vegetable smoothie and you’ve got the perfect breakfast! So why are these little superfood bars so good for you?

  • Nuts have some of the highest antioxidant levels of all plant foods which help to fight inflammation and cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals.
  • Hemp, poppy and sesame seeds are equally nutritious as well as being an excellent source of protein and calcium.
  • Dates are excellent for supporting digestion, and balancing blood sugar.
  • Raw cacao powder is hands down one of the best sources of iron and magnesium as well being known to boost mood and energy levels.
  • Bee pollen. These miniature golden nuggets are high in fibre, iron and zinc that enhance energy, support the immune system and may even reduce histamine levels in people with allergies.
  • Note: I use Irish brand Nua Naturals’ superfoods for this recipe. Nua Naturals products can be found in your local Lloyds Pharmacy.

Makes 15-18 bars

Dry Mixture:

  • 1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups of mixed raw nuts (walnut halves, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans)
  • 1 cup Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Nua Naturals bee pollen
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 heaping handful of rolled oats

Wet Mixture: 

  • 1 cup of dried dates (about 20 dates)
  • 3 Tbsp hot water
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 3 Tbsp light tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • 4 Tbsp Nua Naturals raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Line an 8-inch baking tin with greaseproof paper and set aside.
  2. Place all of the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse. Don’t over process, you want the mixture to be fairly coarse. Transfer the mixture to a large glass bowl and leave aside.
  3. Now add all of the ingredients for the wet mixture into the food processor and blend until thick and smooth.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix really well until combined into a slightly sticky ‘dough’ (use a large metal spoon or a spatula, or use your hands).
  5. Transfer the mix to the lined baking tin and press down firmly. Use a small rolling pin or heavy glass jar to flatten the mix evenly.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or freeze for 15-20 minutes.

Once set, remove and slice into bars. Wrap in parchment and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist