Tag Archives: the slow kitchen

3 Bomb-Awesome Salads: The Slow Kitchen

It’s the last month of summer here in Australia (in terms of the official seasons anyway – it tends to stay warm here until late-April at least) and that means it’s the season of salads. Since I stopped eating meat I found I need more from my salads than just leafy greens, cucumber and tomatoes, so I’ve pulled together three of my favourite salads that won’t leave you gnawing on the tablecloth once you’re done.

Aside from satisfying, these awesome salads all accompany other dishes really well and are also great to keep for work lunches and those hot lazy nights when leftovers are just what the doctor ordered.

Plus, like all other recipes in my Slow Kitchen series, they’re simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Enjoy!

3 Bomb-Awesome Salads: The Slow Kitchen

Packed Salsa
(Makes a big bowl – enough for 4 people as a side)

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ripe avocados – diced
  • 2 corn cobs – steamed, kernels sliced off
  • 2 large tomatoes – diced
  • 400g tin red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
  • handful fresh coriander – roughly torn
  • lemon juice
  • glug of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Combine all ingredients and top with good squirt of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil.
  2. Mix.
  3. Eat with abandon.

Try serving with:

  • A baked potato topped with melted cheese, natural yoghurt and baby spinach.
  • Chilli con carne or my lentil and vegetable chilli.
  • Steamed fish or a BBQ.

 

Garden-in-a-Bowl Salad
(Makes a huge salad – enough for dinner and lunch the next day)

You’ll Need:

  • handful brussel sprouts – shredded
  • medium-sized beetroot – peeled and grated
  • 1/2 small head broccoli – chopped into florets
  • a few handfuls baby spinach, kale or other leafy green
  • avocado – diced
  • 2 cobs of corn – steamed, kernels sliced off
  • cucumber – sliced
  • tomatoes – sliced
  • 1/2 small head cauliflower – chopped into florets
  • handful green herbs – coriander, basil or mint
  • cup of cooked quinoa or other grain
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Combine all ingredients (if you aren’t eating immediately, keep the beetroot out until just before serving).
  2. Add or subtract ingredients based on seasonal availability and add more pulses or legumes as desired. (Black beans or kidney beans are also a great inclusion, as is crumbled goat’s cheese).

Try serving with:

  • Pita bread, felafel, pickled jalapenos and natural yoghurt
  • Grilled field mushroom
  • A piece of fish or BBQ

 

Quinoa and Roast Vege Salad
(Makes enough for 8)

You’ll Need:

  • 400g packet quinoa – cooked
  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin – roughly chopped (skin left on – it’s quicker)
  • 3 large beetroot – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls kalamata olives – drained (I love olives but you can leave them out or have less in your salad if you’d prefer)
  • goat’s cheese
  • baby spinach
  • baby rocket
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Simply:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220C / 420F.
  2. Place the pumpkin and beetroot on a roasting tray in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until bottom of vegetables begins to colour.
  3. Pull the vegetables out of the oven, flip and add a few handfuls of kalamata olives to the tray. Return to oven for another 20-ish minutes or until the veges begin to caramelise and crisp up.
  4. Remove vegetables from oven and leave to rest for a little while.
  5. Combine quinoa, vegetables, baby leafy greens and goats cheese in a large bowl and combine well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Enjoy!

Note on cooking (and pronouncing) quinoa:

It’s pronounced KEEN-wah, and the best way to cook it for most savoury needs is:

  1. Rinse in a fine sieve under warm water. Use your fingers to swirl the seeds around and ensure the water runs clear from the bottom of the sieve or there will be a slightly bitter, soapy flavour.
  2. Put in a saucepan on high heat and add double the amount of liquid to quinoa. That is, if you’re cooking 1 cup raw quinoa, add 2 cups of liquid.
  3. You can cook it in water, but I prefer to cook in vegetable stock. Gives it a little more flavour.
  4. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat, put the lid on and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Quinoa should be nice and fluffy, with the white ‘germ’ visible in the cooked seed.

Try serving with:

  • Tortillas and natural yoghurt.
  • Lamb or chicken skewers.
  • Felafel and pita bread.
  • Nothing! This is a delicious meal on its own and keeps very well for weekday lunches.

 

Feeling hungry (and strangely virtuous) just writing about these. Bon appetit, my friends!

The Slow Kitchen – Easy Green Pasta

It’s a weeknight. You’re tired. You have a distinct lack of enthusiasm for cooking and dealing with the post-dinner clean-up. You want to eat something healthy, but it also needs to be quick, easy and, well, appealing. I get it. And this is where my Green Pasta comes in.

It’s comforting, it’s packed with veges, it’s easily adaptable depending on what you have on hand, and it’s damn tasty. Plus, like all other recipes in my Slow Kitchen series, is simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Bon apetit!

Tasty Green Pasta

Green Pasta

(Serves 4, Ready in 20 minutes)

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 handfuls kalamata olives (drained)
  • 2-3 handfuls sliced mushrooms
  • 2 handfuls broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 large zucchini cut into strips
  • 2 handfuls frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls leafy greens (kale, baby spinach)
  • 1-ish cup natural yoghurt
  • pasta of choice (I typically use spaghetti or a spelt penne)

Simply:

  1. Put the water on to boil and prepare vegetables.
  2. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Put the pasta on to cook in lightly salted water.
  5. Add the mushrooms and olives to your frying pan and cook for another few minutes, until mushrooms are soft.
  6. Add the broccoli and zucchini. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add your frozen peas, and if you’re using a coarser green like kale or silverbeet, add these too. (If it’s a more delicate green like baby spinach, wait until just before serving to add it.)
  8. Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Mix.
  9. Add the rest of your butter and mix through. Add any remaining greens and stir until just wilted.
  10. Remove from the heat and stir through half the yoghurt.  Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Top with a little more yoghurt, salt and pepper.

Variations/Additions:

Need Meat? Add a couple of handfuls of diced ham before adding your vegetables to the frying pan, or add some shredded BBQ chicken to the mix.

More Vegetables: You can add roasted pumpkin for added substance and sweetness. I’ve also cooked it with cauliflower florets, fresh snow peas or sugar snap peas and more greens.

Vegan: Replace the butter with coconut oil and either avoid the yoghurt or use a dairy-free alternative.

Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free pasta and you’re good to go!

 

*Image via SimpleProvisions on Flickr

The Slow Kitchen – Lentil and Vegetable Chilli

I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet for about 6 weeks now, and this hearty lentil and vegetable chilli (spice optional) has been on my menu every one of those weeks. It ticks a lot of boxes: it’s healthy, it’s easy to make, it pairs perfectly with lamb or chicken skewers so is great for those nights when I can’t face cooking two meals, it freezes very well and is also great for breakfast.

In short, this recipe is a winner that should satisfy most tastes in your home, and like all other recipes in my Slow Kitchen series, is simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Enjoy!

Tasty Vegetable and Lentil Chilli

Lentil and Vegetable Chilli

(Serves 6, Ready in 40min+ depending on simmer time)

You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 large carrot – grated
  • 1 cup mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 large zucchini – grated
  • corn cob – kernels only
  • 1-2 handfuls broccoli – roughly chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls cauliflower – roughly chopped
  • 2 cups leafy greens – roughly chopped
  • tin of black beans, red kidney beans or similar – rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup dried red lentils – rinsed
  • 1/2 cup passata
  • tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • Natural yogurt, chopped coriander/cilantro, to serve

Note: This is another of my “use any vegetables in the fridge” recipe, so feel free to change up the vege mix to suit.

Simply:

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic with some olive oil. Cook until onion has softened.
  2. Add the cumin and chilli powder and stir for a minute.
  3. Add your chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to soften.
  4. Add your rinsed lentils, combining well.
  5. Add your passata, tomatoes, stock and beans. Bring to the boil.
  6. Cover and simmer on medium heat for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with yoghurt and coriander.

Note: This keeps very well and makes a great mid-week leftover meal or a healthy, substantial breakfast or lunch to take to work. 

Variations/Additions:

Need Meat?: Serve with a piece of steak or lamb cooked with some garlic and coriander. Marinated chicken skewers are also a good accompaniment and popular with kids.

More Vegetables: This recipe will work with virtually any vegetables you have on hand. Pumpkin, squash, kale, potatoes, carrots – they all cook up beautifully. Just note that you may need to add more crushed tomatoes or vegetable stock if you up the vege content by a lot.

Vegan: Leave off the yoghurt and you’re good to go with this dish. Try some sliced avocado on top instead.

Gluten-Free: This is a gluten-free dish, happy days!

The Slow Kitchen: Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Vegetables

Let’s say it’s Thursday night. You’re feeling a little worn out, you’re short on time and food-related creativity but you’re not ready to call for pizza. You still want to prepare a healthy, nutrient-packed dinner that everyone will love but, ugh, can’t someone else do it?

That’s where this super easy baked chicken breast and vege dish comes in. Just like other recipes in The Slow Kitchen series, this weeknight dinner is simple, easy, healthy and full of real ingredients. Enjoy!

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Veges

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Vegetables

(Serves 4, Ready in 45min)

You’ll need:

  • 2 whole chicken breasts
  • 1 sweet potato – skin on, roughly chopped
  • 1 zucchini – roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms – sliced
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • brown rice

Simply:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220C/420F and put the brown rice on to cook.
  2. Chop the sweet potato, zucchini and mushrooms and spread over the base of a non-stick baking tray (a deep one with a lid is perfect, otherwise use a castiron pan. A regular baking tray or casserole dish is also fine – just make sure you can cover it well with aluminium foil).
  3. Lay the chicken breasts over the top of the vegetables and rub with garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  4. Top the vegetables with the beans and then the tin of tomatoes. Drizzle this with a little extra olive oil.

Easy Baked Chicken Breast and Veges

5. Cover the dish and put in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the chicken is steamed all the way through. (It should be deliciously tender.)
6. Give the entire contents of the baking tray a good mix, add in the baby spinach and pop back in the oven for another few minutes.
7. Serve over rice, topped with more basil, chilli sauce or the topping of your choice.

Variations/Additions:

Meat-Free?: Leave out the chicken and add in some more veges. You could also up the protein content with some pre-soaked red lentils. (If this is the case, you may want to add a cup of vegetable stock to the mix too, as the lentils will soak up a lot of moisture.)

More Vegetables: This recipe will work with virtually any vegetables you have on hand. Pumpkin, squash, kale, potatoes, carrots – they all cook up beautifully in the tomato base. Just note that you may need to add more crushed tomatoes or a cup of vegetable stock if you up the vege content by a lot.

Vegan: Cut out the chicken, obviously, and you’re good to go.

Gluten-Free: This is a gluten-free dish, happy days!

 

The Slow Kitchen: Spinach, Mushrooms and Eggs

Votes are in (thank you for being so enthusiastic about good food!) and a recipe will now appear on the blog each fortnight. The recipes will be:

  • simple
  • quick
  • healthy
  • family-friendly (depending on the kids, of course!)

While the series is called The Slow Kitchen – on account of the simple, good, real food we’re preparing – the recipes featured are focused on healthy, tasty, real food that can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Many of you have asked for vegetarian/vegan options, as well as gluten-free. While I’m none of those things, I do enjoy a lot of vegetarian meals and avoid too much gluten in our diet, so many of the recipes will apply. Not all though, sorry!

The Slow Kitchen - Sauteed Spinach, Mushroom and Eggs
{via Queenie and the Dew on Flickr }

A note on eggs:

We use eggs from our backyard chickens, and the yolk is out of this world. Not everyone is able to access eggs quite so fresh, but I would suggest using the best quality, freshest eggs you can find.

To poach, there are a few methods. The traditional (and delicious) method of poaching in a pan of water is explained here and will provide you with the best tasting eggs. Considering this series of recipes is all about quick and easy, you could also simply use the microwave to poach your eggs. (This is how we do it during the week. The weekends afford a little more time).

This recipe is easy as pie, and a regular on either our breakfast or dinner table. Ben grinned one morning and said, “Just like a cafe, but in our pyjamas,” and I have to agree.

Sauteed Spinach, Mushrooms and Eggs
(Ready in 10 minutes, Serves 2)

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups soft leafy greens, washed (baby spinach is perfect, or you can try silverbeet, chard, English spinach, kale)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • knob of butter
  • 2 cups firm-fleshed mushrooms, sliced
  • eggs (free-range/organic if you can)
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)

Simply:

  1. Melt the butter over a hot stove. Add the garlic and sautee for a minute.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sautee.
  3. Meanwhile, poach your eggs.
  4. Once the mushrooms begin to soften, add your spinach and stir until it begins to wilt.
  5. Plate up the veges, add your eggs to the top and season with a little salt and pepper.
  6. Add a dash of chilli sauce.

Variations/Additions:

More Vegetables: Add cauliflower and broccoli to the mushrooms if you want to add more nutrient-rich veges to the mix.

Need Meat?: Add some bacon or smoked salmon.

Vegan: Substitute egg for tofu scramble.

 

I know it’s not a ground-breaking recipe, but this is such a great way to start or finish the day. You get the benefit of eggs (one of the best whole foods around) and a nutrient boost from the leafy greens. Plus it tastes good and is ready in less time than it takes to order a pizza!