Healthy Recipes: Quinola for breakfast, lunch and dinner

So we’ve all heard of the impressive health benefits of ‘superfood’ quinoa, but have you ever considered working it into traditional recipes which you’d otherwise have to avoid? I’m talking carb-laden pasta bakes, or bad-for-you chicken nuggets. Quinoa is also a great alternative if you’re totally not into carbs or don’t enjoy the gluten that comes in breadcrumbs or the bloating that comes from refined wheat.

Quinoa is super not only because it can be easily worked into easy old-fashionedrecipes, but also because of how much energy a small serving provides – packed full of iron and magnesium and as a healthy wholegrain keeps you fuller for longer – and BEST OF ALL you can work it into any recipe, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner (trust me – in the morning it can imitate oats, in the evening it can imitate rice, it’s fab!).

Related posts: Top 5 Best Quinoa Products On The Market

I use Quinola quinoa in all of these recipes because you can buy it pre-cooked or uncooked and has a distinct aromatic flavour that I’ve never experienced with other quinoa products. 🙂

Quinoa recipes for breakfast

Choc-Banana Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

chocolate banana quinoa breakfast bowl recipe

Ingredients

  • 60g uncooked quinoa
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 50ml water
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, boil the quinoa, almond milk, water and a dash of salt. If at the point of boiling you think it could use more liquid, add a little more milk or water until you’re satisfied. I prefer mine thicker, but it’s all down to preference.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed. This should takes between 5 and 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mix to a bowl and mix in the banana, honey, cocoa powder and vanilla. Make sure all the cocoa powder and bananas are well distributed.
  4. Add a little more almond milk in these final serving stages so you get that fantastic pudding texture.
  5. Enjoy!

Quinoa recipes for lunch

Cauliflower Quinoa Bake

cauliflower quinoa bake recipe

Ingredients

  • 30 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 150g uncooked quinoa
  • 30 ounces tomato sauce (I use Mr Organic for a healthier version of this classic)
  • 2 tbsp quality olive oil
  • A handful of chopped fresh basil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 5 ounces grated hard cheese (I use hard cheese because it’s better for my IBS although it doesn’t melt as well as milk-based cheese like mozzarella so it’s all down to preference)
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. In a large baking dish, combine the cauliflower, oil, salt, oregano, basil and pepper. Roast the mix in the oven for about 20minutes until the cauliflower starts to brown on top.
  3. In the meantime, cook the quinoa in a saucepan (or alternatively use Express Quinola. Once cooked, add the tomato sauce and a little salt to taste.
  4. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and add the quinoa mixture to it. Top with the cheese and bake until the tomato sauce starts bubbling (around 20 minutes).
  5. Serve up for a healthy pasta bake mock up!

Quinoa recipes for dinner

Chicken Strips with a Crunchy Quinoa Crust (or nuggets)

chicken quinoa strips recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into nuggets
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt + ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs + 2 tablespoons water
  • 200g cooked quinoa

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c and grease and line a baking sheet.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and water.
  4. Dunk the chicken nuggets into the flour mixture, then the eggs and then coat in the cooked quinoa, over-compensating with the covering as some is likely to come off during baking – plus you want to retain that super crunch from the quinoa coating.
  5. Place the prepared nuggets on the baking sheet and drizzle in cooking oil to get them crispy during the bake.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the nuggets are visibly browned.
  7. Leave to cool and serve up like the healthiest McDonald’s meal you’ve ever had.

Also check out my quinoa beetroot burger recipe here https://mywellbeingjournal.com/2015/05/20/healthy-gluten-free-recipes-quinoa-beetroot-burger/

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Healthy Drinks: Post-workout low-sugar Nutella milkshake

Packed full of protein, potassium and healthy fats, you’ll feel 100% satisfied after this healthy Nutella milkshake.

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Best of all, you don’t have to be afraid of the word ‘Nutella’ for once as I’ve thrown in my absolute FAVOURITE chocolate spread from Torras which is sugar-free and full of crushed hazelnuts.

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Ingredients

  • 3 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut spread from Torras
  • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 400ml almond or coconut milk
  • Handful of crushed ice
  • A few hazelnuts to decorate

Method

  1. Blitz all the ingredients together in a blender. Once completely combined and thickened, pour into glasses and top with a few hazelnuts and a teaspoon of yoghurt.

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Vegan Black Bean Burger

Perfect for vegetarians, celiacs, and those with other digestive ailments, these nourishing black bean burgers are a lighter choice than a regular burger and are protein-rich, full of fibre and contain no meat.

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If you’re fed up of chickpeas and want a legume with a little more OOMPH, these black bean burgers will be right up your street. Hot, spicy and full of flavour, these burgers go nicely with a cool salsa or guacamole.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g sweetcorn
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs (you can make these yourself by allowing around 5 gluten-free bread slices to stale and then blitzing them in a food processor)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mash the beans in a bowl until thick.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the bell pepper, onion, and breadcrumbs together and then stir into the beans.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, sweetcorn, chilli powder, cumin and hot sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the beans mixture until thick and doughy.
  6. Divide the mixture into 8 patties and place on the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  8. Serve with gluten-free pitta or flatbreads.

You can also give these other meat-free burger recipes a go: Tofu Burger, Lentil Burger, Black Bean Burger, Beetroot Burger & Broccoli Burger!

Healthy Food Reviews: Organic Superfood Jam

Jam is a problematic food product for IBS sufferers, and for anyone looking to live a healthy lifestyle, as its first ingredient is almost always glucose-fructose syrup, and if it isn’t it will be somewhere along the line of ingredients.

Of course, this is to be expected. Jam is a sickly sweet preservative that’s preserved by the sheer amounts of sugar that makes it what it is.  In fact, in a normal jar of jam, 60% of that is sugar. To put this into perspective, not even a gooey chocolate cake or a melt-in-the-mouth brownie has that kind of sugar content.

So how do you have jam without consuming all that nasty sugar?

Upon searching endlessly for reduced sugar jams, I couldn’t find any which weren’t pumped full of chemicals to compensate for the lower sugar levels, which affect my IBS just as bad as the sugar would.

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The only healthier type of jam I could find was by a pleasant independent London company called Erbology. These jams are recommended for diabetics as they are sweetened only with fruit sugar, and are also free of added colours, chemicals, wheat, gluten and dairy.

I tried their Sea Buckthorn spread which, having never tried buckthorn before, I was very surprised with how tasty it was. Not quite as rich as your traditional strawberry jam, buckthorn has a subtler taste and provides a runnier but ever more spreadable consistency.

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These jams are also packed full of good stuff like omega 3, 6, 7, 9, vitamins B1, B2, C, D E, K, folic acid, flavonoids, beta carotene and dietary minerals. Buckthorn is also known for its antioxidant properties which means it’s great for the immune and digestive system.

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Each jar contains only 3 ingredients – sea buckthorn, pears and fruit sugar. Compare this with your typical jar of strawberry jam, and even the posh versions, which contain up to ten ingredients including namely sugar, gelling agents and acidity regulators.

On toast, in porridge, or even as a sweet dip, you really have to try it to be part of the fan club. Once you do, you’ll never have to worry about jam-related IBS problems anymore!

Finally! A Tasty Cheese With 50% Lower Fat Comes To Market

A lot has been said in the press about loosening the noose around full-fat versions of foods we love as new research has trickled out telling us that full-fat foods keeps us satiated for longer, leading to more stable weight management.

cheese

This has also come at a time where the 1970s ethic ‘If they want less fat, we’ll carve out all the fatty ingredients and replace them with additive and sugar’ reduced-fat versions have become less and less sought after as a “healthier” alternative to the real deal.

In light of this research, consumers have shifted the way they eat in favour of full-fat versions, something which is particularly prominent in the dairy aisles. Margarine sales have plummeted in favour of “real butter”, whole milk is increasing its market share against semi-skimmed and skimmed varieties and full-fat natural yoghurts have shown their teeth against fruity, low-fat sugar-laden versions.

creamcheese

Until now, there hasn’t really been a low-fat cheese that’s a) worth eating and doesn’t taste like cardboard, b) isn’t packed full of bad stuff to compensate (cheese is after all the fat by-product of milk) or c) has the same creamy consistency of full-fat cheese. Even the category manager at Arla Foods Ingredients (who own Nutrilac) stated: “Taking some of the fat out of the cheese has a major impact on quality, principally because it makes the product matrix too hard. This means the majority of low fat cheeses compare poorly with their full-fat counterparts.”

But Nutrilac SoftCheese, the soft cheese manufacturers under Arla, have revealed a new processing technique which sees fat reduced by 50% in their cheese without losing any of its original creaminess. Nutrilac SoftCheese is a whey protein solution naturally found in cows’ milk and is simply added to the cheese milk prior to the pasteurisation stage. Creamy cheeses with added Nutrilac outperformed regular creamy cheeses in a taste test for taste, texture and appearance.

So you really can finally have your cheese and save on calories finally, without any horrible product replacements. Instead, all you’re doing is lowering your calorie intake with the same good stuff you always loved. A diet rich with these types of cheeses as well as other healthy fat sources such as nuts, seeds and olive oil will see a healthy weight restored and lessening of cravings.

You might even see Nutrilac enriching the supermarket where you shop fairly soon too, as Arla Food Ingredients acknowledged it was possible to include Nutrilac into most cheese recipes without the need for any declaration on the label. So next time you see a “reduced-fat cheese” don’t scoff and think it’s poppycock – it might actually do you some good!

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Broccoli Avocado Mac & Cheese

Perfect for celiacs, IBS sufferers and those looking for a healthy alternative to stodgy pasta dishes, this avocado mac & cheese recipe is packed full of healthy fats, magnesium-rich greens and is super easy to make!

Broccoli_20Whole_20Wheat_20Pasta_20Cheese-9686_splash_feature

Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food… that much has to be said. The only problem with comfort food is that it is notoriously ‘comforting’ because it’s so calorific. Despite low-cal options being sold left, right and centre in the shopping aisles, these are usually either unsatisfying or just full of replacement sugar.

Nobody wants that with a nostalgic classic like Mac & Cheese.

So instead, I decided to do it justice and make a lower-calorie gluten-free version; one that wouldn’t upset my IBS but would taste just like the old family favourite.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 300g gluten-free elbow Macaroni (Barilla and Ancient Harvest do some really good versions of this
  • 50g gluten-free bread, staled
  • 100ml water
  • 1 small broccoli, chopped
  • 2 small avocados
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 100g reduced fat sharp cheese (traditional Mac & Cheese recipes use up to 500g cheese!)
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta for 20 minutes. Once cooked, drain and leave to cool
  3. In a food processor blitz the basil, breadcrumbs, pesto, broccoli, avocados and a little water.

avocado-mac-n-cheese-avocado-in-processor1

  1. In a separate bowl, mix the Greek yoghurt and cheese.
  2. Add the broccoli mix to the cheese mix.
  3. Throw in the combined mixtures to the cooked pasta.
  4. Add a little water until the sauce is to the right consistency you want (I prefer mine slightly thicker so I only add around 5 tbsp water during this stage as the pasta absorbs the water in the oven).
  5. Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish, sprinkle (generously) the broccoli breadcrumb mix over the top.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until it starts to crisp.
  7. Serve up and enjoy once cooled! J

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Vegan Lentil Burger

Perfect for vegetarians, celiacs, and those with other digestive ailments, these warming lentil burgers are a lighter choice than a regular burger and are protein-rich, full of fibre and contain no meat.

lentilburgers

My word – I love lentils. Not only are they hugely satisfying to eat, but they taste meaty whilst being obviously meat-free. They’re up there with avocados for me for their nutritional profile as they’re naturally high in fibre, protein and iron. They’re also low in calories and contain virtually no fat.

lentil_burgers_onion_beetroot8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp ground oregano
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Handful of basil
  • Pepper (to taste)

Method

  1. Boil the lentils with the water on a high heat for 10-12 minutes. Then take off the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain the lentils and fry with the oil on a medium heat until lentils are dried.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the egg) and fry for a further ten minutes.
  4. Throw it all into a bowl, add the egg and form into patties.
  5. Fry using a little more oil until the lentil burgers start to brown. Keep a close eye to see they don’t burn.
  6. Serve with gluten-free pitta or flatbreads.

You can also give these other meat-free burger recipes a go: Tofu Burger, Lentil Burger, Black Bean Burger, Beetroot Burger & Broccoli Burger!

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Guilt-free Caramel Chocolate Brownies

Wholesome, natural ingredients make this the best gluten-free low-sugar brownie treat ever. This recipe is really easy to make and requires zero willpower whatsoever! 🙂 Guilt-free heaven!

brownies

Brownies are one of life’s simplest indulgences. A harder, more dense chocolate cake which you can eat on the go. It’s one of the sweet treats I found hardest to give up once I became diagnosed with IBS.

Some companies which specialise in healthy brownie alternatives have produced some absolute cracking treats; Pulsin’, for example, make incredible almond cacoa brownie bites. But upon checking out their packaging and seeing how simple the ingredients list was (you don’t need a whole host of chemicals, just raw and natural products) I thought “Why not give it a go myself?”

brownies2

And boy did I enjoy learning how to make these. I fiddled with the caramel layer a little: originally I used unsalted butter and table sugar, and swapped these for healthier alternatives almond butter and honey.

Ingredients

Base

  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g ground walnuts
  • 200g crushed dates
  • 2 tbsp almond/peanut butter

Filling

  • 200g crushed dates
  • 6 tbsp almond/peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100ml warm water

Topping

  • 50g cacao butter
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp almond/peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cacoa powder
  • 100g crushed dates

Method 

  1. For the base, put the nuts into a food processor until a fine grain is formed.
  2. Add the dates and butter and pulse for a further 5 minutes. The dough should be quite sticky now.
  3. Put the base dough into a greased dish and pop into the freezer.
  4. For the filling, put all the filling ingredients into a food processor and blitz. Once well combined and smooth, pour this onto the base layer and put back into the freezer for around an hour.
  5. For the chocolate layer, melt the cacoa butter in a pan with the butter.
  6. Once melted, blitz in a food processor with the rest of the topping ingredients.
  7. Take the brownie base out of the freezer once fully hardened and spread the chocolate topping on top.
  8. brownie-batter-blogRe-freeze for around 2-3 hours.
  9. Makes 20 slices… or 15 if you’re greedy like me and do BIG portions 🙂

Healthy Cocktails: Homemade IBS-friendly Agua Fresca

Practically no calories and full of antioxidant rich fruits, you’ll be pining for more of this once you get started 🙂 

Who said eating fruits had to be boring? Try this exciting Agua Fresca cocktail recipe for an IBS-friendly, fruity drink. Ideal for getting you into the holiday spirit – you can even stick a mini umbrella in their tops if you like 😉

agua

Agua Fresca might be difficult to come by in UK cocktail bars, but making them yourself sometimes can be just as nice! Alternatively, you can find similar cocktails around which use real fruit juice and less sugar than your standard Margarita.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups watermelon (rind removed), seeded and chopped. Other fruits to use could be melon, strawberries, papaya, mango, pineapple or cucumber. I use watermelon because it’s 92% water and full of antioxidants, which means it goes down well in the gut. They’re also good at producing a natural subtly sweet taste which won’t spike your insulin levels.
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or Stevia
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (no more than 1 tablespoon)
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice (optional)

Making your cocktail

  1. All you need to do is cut up the watermelon into cubes and blitz in a blender with the sugar, lime juice and water. Then, through a strainer, force the pulp out.
  2. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Throw in a dash of vodka if you’re wanting an alcoholic beverage J

Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes: Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This week it’s Celiac Awareness Week, which is why it’s only right that you’re treated to some yummy triple chocolate chunk cookies to celebrate! Just don’t eat all the cookie dough before they’re baked!! 😉

choc cookies

Flourless and full of flavour, these homemade cookies are much nicer than what you’ll find in the gluten-free sections of the supermarket. These are made with only natural ingredients and no nasty chemicals or heaps of sugar are added to compensate for the lack of flour. You also truly cannot beat that ‘fresh out of the oven’ taste!

chococookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) grass-fed butter, softened
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut (instead of white sugar)
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated almonds
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped raw dark chocolate
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

cookie-dough

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220C
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, almonds and coconut until pale.
  3. Add the egg and the vanilla until well combined.
  4. Throw in the oats and cocoa powder to thicken it out a little. You might want to use more/less depending on its thickness.
  5. Stir in the chocolate ingredients and refrigerate for an hour or so.
  6. Spoon out into small balls and pat each one down slightly with the back of a spoon. Make sure the cookies are spread out with enough space between each (about 2 inches).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until they start to go slightly browned on the edges.
  8. Leave to cool and set – now you can eat your triple choc gluten-free goodness!