We have been focusing on heart health this week and creating recipes specifically designed to boost the health of our hearts. Have a read of our blog here outlining the 5 foods to include in your diet to boost heart health. Leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats, legumes and antioxidant rich foods are all powerful ingredients in the fight against heart disease. Using this information, we have started making these balanced ‘heart health bowls’ regularly. They are so easy to put together and so delicious! There are endless combinations you can make yourselves, but this formula for a balanced bowl ensures you are hitting all five food groups. Do you have any good combos you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.
seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, herbs or spices to taste)
Cook your wholegrain according to package instructions. Most grains cook with a 1:2 grain:water ratio.
Cook your beans or lentils or use a ready cooked tin for ease. I like to drain the tin of beans/lentils and warm it up in a pan with some olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, simply seasoned with salt and pepper.
Cook your leafy greens and antioxidant rich foods, or serve them raw if you prefer. I usually lightly steam kale and roast beetroot, but in summer I prefer a cold bowl so use salad leaves, raw grated beetroots, shredded cabbage or a handful of berries in the bowl.
Plate up and add some nuts, seeds or other essential healthy fats. Construct your bowls with a combination of the grains, greens, beans and beets and top with some toasted seeds or nuts or a generous drizzle of good olive oil. You can add healthy fats in the form of a dressing too. Try mixing tahini, lemon juice, olive oil etc or a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Cabbage rolls are so delicious! The simmered cabbage wrappers turn tender and sweet and are the perfect vessel to hold together a tasty filling. I lean towards herby brown rice, mushrooms and beans as in the recipe below, but of course you can fill them with whatever you like. Traditional minced meat and seasonings, a spiced mashed potato and chickpea curry, or make a twist on an enchilada and stuff your leaves with a tasty chilli? Bake in a rich tomato sauce, a curried coconut broth or simmer in a simple stock. Cabbage rolls can roll with whatever you are in the mood for. How do you make yours?
Ingredients (for 8 rolls)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
10 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 400g tin of black beans, drained
200g short grain brown rice, rinsed
1 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
8 savoy cabbage leaves, rinsed
natural yoghurt to serve
Start with the filling. In a small pot which has a lid, fry the mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and when the mushrooms start to take on some colour, add the rice, drained black beans, dill and water. Put the lid on the pot. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. The rice should absorb all the water and be perfectly cooked after around 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. In a wide, heavy bottomed pan which has a lid, fry the onions and 4 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden and soft. Add the bay leaves and the tin of tomatoes. Swirl the juices from the tin into the pot too with half a tin of water. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce gently simmer while you wait for the rice to cook.
Once the rice is cooked through, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper or dill. Then you can assemble the rolls.
Use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to flatten the tough stalk of each leaf. This will make it easier to roll. Then divide the rice between the 8 leaves and wrap them up. I find it easiest to have the stalk end closest to me, place the rice in the centre of the leaf, then roll the end of the stalk away from me, over the rice, tuck the sides of the leaf in, then roll on to the top of the leaf.
Place the parcels, seam side down into the tomato sauce. Tuck them in snuggly so that they don’t unravel as they cook. Then put the lid on, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Alternatively you can place the pot in a hot oven.
We have a new product in our grocery section that is absolutely delicious. These sachets of umami pastes which are basically organic miso with added ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli. They are flavour bombs and we love them as a marinade for aubergine in this simple, hearty supper. The paste can be used to marinade skewers of tofu and mushrooms for the barbecue too, or even as a stunning broth base for a light miso soup. How would you use them?
Ingredients (serves 2)
rice for two (I bring 1/2 a mug of brown rice with 1 mug of water to a boil in a pan with the lid on, then turn down to the lowest setting and simmer until the rice has absorbed all water)
2 tbsp umami paste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves – sliced
1 bunch of rainbow chard – stalks separated and sliced
1 tin of black beans – drained
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 200C and get some brown rice on to cook – see ingredients list for my super-simple method.
Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and score the cut side deeply with a small, sharp knife. Spread a tbsp of umami paste onto each half and make sure you get it into all the cuts. Place the aubergines in a small roasting dish in the oven to cook while you prepare the greens and beans.
Separate the stalks from the rainbow chard and slice them. They take longer to cook than the delicate green leaves. Put them in a pan with the vegetable oil and sliced garlic. Sauté until just starting to soften.
Then add the drained tin of black beans to the pan and turn the heat off until the rice and aubergine are cooked through.
When the aubergine is soft (this usually takes around 20 minutes), remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Return the dish to the oven for 5 minutes to toast the seeds.
Meanwhile turn the heat back on under the beans and add the greens and a splash of soy sauce (around 2 tbsp). Stir and wilt the greens. Then serve.
Divide the rice between two bowls. Add the garlicky beans and greens and a half of the aubergine to each bowl. Enjoy as it is or with a side of kimchi.