Black Vinegar Veggies

When i traveled to Japan, one of my favourite side dishes was vegetables cooked with black vinegar. Prior to this trip, i always sauteed my vegetables in soy sauce for a quick, healthy vegetable side, however i can confirm that black vinegar will definitely be making more of an appearance on my plate!!

In Australia, it is recommended that adults eat 5 serves of vegetables a day. Its super important that we try our best to reach this target as vegetables are filled with all the vitamins and minerals (e.g. magnesium, vitamin C, folate,) and fibre – all of which help our body function and work at its best!

Eating vegetables also helps us maintain a healthy weight and/or lose weight as they are low in kilojoules (calories). EVEN BETTER, eating a variety of vegetables and meeting our 5 serves a day has shown to decrease our risk of developing many cancers, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension!!!

For more information, visit “Eat for Health”, an devidence-based, Australian website full of information:

There are SO many reasons to be eating vegetables, so why not give this delicious recipe a go!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Serves 2

Ingredients

You could really use any mix of veggies you wanted to – even add some tofu, seafood or meat if you would like! However just in case, here is what i used ๐Ÿ™‚ For all the veggies, feel free to just chop them roughly!

  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 1/2 head of broccoli
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 100g lotus root (fresh or frozen)
  • 100g pumpkin (make sure you slice these thin!)
  • 1 tbs olive oil for cooking

thumbnail_20161222_110015.jpg

For the sauce

You can find all of these ingredients at your local chinese grocer. I think western supermarkets (coles, woolworths in Australia) also stock these ingredients in their international food aisle.

  • 1/2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs reduced salt soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2tbs chinese black vinegar
  • 1tsp corn starch

Here is a picture of the black vinegar i used

20161222_110156.jpg

Method

1. In a wok on high heat, heat the oil
2. When the oil is hot, add veggies and stir-fry for about 2-3 min
3. Reduce heat to medium, then add about 1/4 cup water. Cover the wok with the lid and let veggies steam cook for about 5 min
5. Whilst the veggies are steaming, whisk together sauce ingredients
4. When the veggies are cooked through, remove lid and let the rest of water evaporate
5. Once evaporated, turn stove back into high and pour in the vinegar mixture
6. Coat the veggies with the sauce and then let the sauce thicken (about 1 min). Once finished, serve as a nutrient-packed, delicious side dish to your meal!!

I enjoyed this with some brown rice and and edamame beans ๐Ÿ™‚

20161222_112328

Crispy Sesame Tofu Bites

I love tofu. It is so versatile and it absorbs whatever flavours you cookย  or marinate it in. This tofu recipe is full of flavour and goes super well with some rice and veggies, or as a mid-afternoon high protein snack ๐Ÿ™‚

Tofu isย  also a great alternative to meat for a source of COMPLETE protein. This means it has all the essential amino acids for your body to function at its best. I also recommend buying calcium-fortified tofu for a good source of calcium, especially if you are vegan ๐Ÿ™‚

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 150g FIRM tofu (NOT silken)
  • 1tbs low-salt soy sauce (or alternative e.g. coconut aminos, tamari)
  • 1 tbs vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 thin slice of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs corn/potato starch
  • 1/8 cup white sesame seeds

Method:

1. Cut the tofu into small bite sized cubes

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and ginger

3. Marinate the tofu cubes in the soy sauce mixture, cover and leave in fridge for atleast 1 hour

4. After the tofu has marinated, pre-heat the oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with baking paper

5. In another bowl, mix the starch with the sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper

6. Roll each tofu cube into the starch and sesame seed mixture, then place on baking tray.

7. Bake tofu in oven for 12-15 min (until a dark brown colour)

8. Once the tofu is cooked, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool for about 10 min. This step is important because it lets the tofu get super crispy!!!

9. ENJOY ๐Ÿ™‚

TIP

If you like chilli, add some freshly chopped chillies or chilli flakes into the soy sauce mixture!

Banana and Coffee Smoothie

Smoothies are one of the easiest things to make – all you need is a blender! They are super versatile as you can really put whatever you want into it!!

This smoothie combines the natural sweetness of banana with the bitterness of coffee to create a delicious breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up!

I usually use frozen bananas in my smoothies as it makes it thicker and keeps it chilled without having to dilute it with ice. I always look out for super ripe bananas that are on sale (sometimes you can get a huge bag for just $2!). I peel these bananas, chop them up, put them into a container or ziplock bag and freeze them for my smoothies ๐Ÿ™‚ However, do feel free to use a non-frozenย  banana!

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped
  • 1 cup of milk of choice (i used unsweetened soy, but you can use almond, coconut, skim dairy etc)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 shot of espresso (you could even use a shot of vanilla, hazelnut or any other flavour)

Method:

Simply blend bananas + milk + cinnamon! Then pour it into a glass and finish it off with a shot of espresso poured over top. You could blend it in, however i just think it creates a cool pattern when poured on top haha!

I topped mine with some fresh raspberries and passionfruit. I encourage you to get creative and top with whatever you like! Shredded coconut, cacao nibs, chia seeds, mixed nuts and seeds etc, the possibilities are endless!

Quick Nutrition:

This smoothie provides you with 1 serve of fruit which is a fantastic source fibre, vitamins and minerals. It also adds a natural sweetness to the smoothie, meaning you DONT need to add any sweeteners or syrups!

1 cup of calcium-fortified plant milk (or 1 cup of skim milk if using dairy) provides with you 1 serve of dairy/alternatives for a source calcium for your bones!If using soy/dairy milk, then you’ve also got yourself a great source of protein to keep you full until your next meal! I recommend using soy as a dairy alternative because of this reason. Additionally, opt for unsweetened as it doesn’t contain the added sugar!

20161216_134323

 

 

 

Buckwheat Lentil Salad w/ Balsamic Roasted Carrots

This recipe provides a wonderful source of whole grains, veggies and is flavoured using fresh herbs and spices. Even better, its super easy to make! Buckwheat is also a gluten free grain and is a great alternative to cous cous for Coeliac’s !ย  This saladย  works super well in a lunchbox and is perfect for a work/uni/school lunch ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy it as a main or side!

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked buckwheat kernels (you could probably use any grain e.g. rice, couscous)
  • 60g brown lentils (i used canned)
  • 1/2 cup salt-reduced veggie stock
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 carrot
  • EVOO
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

ย 

Toย  cook the buckwheat:

  • Place buckwheat kernels + veggie stock in a sauce pan. Bring it to the boil, then cover and reduce to simmer.
  • The kernels should swell and be soft and fluffy!
  • It should take about 20min to cook, however if unsure, just go off the cooking instructions at the back of the buckwheat packet ๐Ÿ™‚

To make the salad:

  • Simply combine buckwheat, lentils, chopped coriander and parsley in a bowl.
  • Whisk together 1 tsp EVOO, garlic powder, cumin and the juice of 1/2 lime in a separate small bowl.
  • Mix the dressing into the buckwheat salad and add salt and pepper to taste (i did not add any to mine)

To roast the carrots

  • Preheat oven to 180 C
  • Simply wash & cut your carrots, place them onto a baking tray and drizzle with EVOO and balsamic vinegar.
  • Roast carrots in oven for 40-50ย  min (depends on size of carrot!)
  • NOTE: i would recommend roasting more than 1 carrot as turning on the oven for just 1 carrot is a bit of a waste! Roast up a few carrots to have with dinner or to add to your lunch the next few days ๐Ÿ™‚

Serve the salad+ carrots together for a delicious meal! It can be eaten warm or cold ๐Ÿ™‚

lentil-buckwheat-salad