URBAN OUTFITTERS: butternut squash and quinoa burger

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In collaboration with Urban Outfitters, I’ve put together a fresh and bright colourful for a little festival food inspiration that’s protein packed, antioxidant rich and crammed with healthy fats. If you fancy an alternative to the standard beef burger for a summer barbeque or picnic, this vegetarian and gluten free burger is incredibly juicy, hearty and nutritious – totally blowing away the mound-of-earth misconception of veggie burgers. The balance of the spices, depth of the ground walnuts and kick of the fresh coriander and garlic creates a truly flavour packed treat. The idea originated from ingredients that make up one of my favourite salads – spicy roasted squash, quinoa, goats cheese, avocado, red onion. The thought was to turn the concoction of flavours into a tasty patty, so really, when you’re eating this burger you’re basically eating a salad? Warning: it was difficult to refrain from demolishing the mixture before I could even shape the burgers.

You can make up a batch of the burger mix up and freeze the patties ready for a quick summer weeknight dinner or a weekend BBQ. They also make a delicious packed lunch, stored in this Gentlemen’s Hardware Aluminium Lunch Tin; for those days when you feel like eating like a gentleman. The tins are also the perfect size for fillings with a few patties to share with friends.

Check out the post on the Urban Outfitters blog here.

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Butternut squash and quinoa burgers with goats’ cheese

Ingredients
[Makes 5-6 burgers]

700g peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Sea salt and pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil/ghee

1/2 cup quinoa (preferably soaked for 8 hours, or if you can’t soak it, thoroughly wash and rinse the quinoa and follow packet instructions)
1/2 cup water

3/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 onion, finely diced (white or red)
2 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 packed cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 free range egg
Coconut oil to fry

Extras:
Goats’ cheese
Avocado
Red onion
Tomato

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Recipe

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Chop the butternut squash into very small cubes and coat in the spices, salt and pepper. Place coconut oil in a baking tray and place it in the oven for a couple of minutes to melt. Then chuck the squash into the baking tray and coat with the melted oil. Bake this for about 40 minutes or until the squash is very soft.

2. Whilst the squash bakes, cook your quinoa. Soaking the quinoa before cooking makes it easier to digest and enhances the nutrients. If you are soaking, thoroughly rinse, bring 1/2 cup water to the boil, add the quinoa, reduce to a low heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, if you do not soak the quinoa, follow the packet instructions for cooking.

3. Whilst you wait for everything to cook, chop the onion, garlic, and coriander. Place the walnuts and sunflower seeds into a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until a fine flour forms.

4. Once the squash is cooked, take the soft cubes out of the oven and place in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand-held masher, puree the squash cubes together. Add the cooked quinoa, ground walnut and sunflower seeds, onion, garlic and coriander and stir together. Now crack the egg into a small bowl, whisk and add to the rest of the mixture. As I do not currently have a food processor, I have combined the burger mix by hand, however, you could simply place all the ingredients into a food processor to save time and washing up! I actually really like the texture that the hand-mixed method gives.

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5. Take a couple of large spoonful of the mix into your hands and mould it into your burger shapes. I found this mix made about 5 fairly large patties, however, feel free to experiment and make smaller sized burgers. You could also create smaller, flatter burgers which could be stacked with goats’ cheese and avocado in the middle.

6. Now take a frying pan or griddle, add a spoonful of coconut oil and set on a high heat. Make sure the pan is very hot so that the burgers cook well in the oil. Once hot enough, add one of the burgers, turn the heat down to a medium and fry the burgers on each side for a couple of minutes until golden. Repeat this for each burger. Alternatively, you could also try cooking these patties a barbeque, with some grilled Portobello mushrooms.

7. Crumble on some goats’ cheese, a few slices of avocado and any other garnish you wish. A tahini dressing or dip or hummus would also taste great with this!

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Coconut yogurt + roasted beetroot dip

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Inspired by part of a lunch I had at Raw Press last month – a divine baked beetroot with a blob of coconut yogurt on top – I wanted replicate the melt-in-the-mouth delicious-ness in the form of a sweet yet spicy dip. This is a perfect side to accompany some baked rosemary sweet potato fries or fresh crudités. I’ve used the natural coconut yogurt by the Coconut Collaborative for an incredibly creamy flavour. Although here I could only get my hands on the purple packaging which comes with a small packet of seeds and berries, the flavour of the yogurt is still natural and I have just reserved the seed mix for breakfasts/smoothies.

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Behold, yogurt made from the milk of the coconut!

The dip:

2 small beetroot, roasted
1/2 cup coconut yogurt
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 spring onion
A handful of fresh coriander
1 tsp cumin
Pinch of cayenne, paprika and chilli flakes
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Scrub and dry the beets then wrap each one in tin foil. Bake them for about a hour, until soft on the inside. Once cooked, leave to cool and assemble the rest of the dip ingredients. Once cool, place the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the spices to your liking. As I’ve said before, I’m a spicy food kinda gal so used quite large pinches of spices, but just go with your instinct. To serve, drizzle some extra chilli flakes, olive oil and some sesame seeds (toasted or raw).

I served the dip with some baked fries, made by slicing 1 sweet potato and 1 large carrot and roasting in ghee/coconut oil, S+P, cayenne, rosemary and cumin. Simply bake for about 30-40 minutes, whilst the beetroot cooking! This would also be lovely with a sprinkle of feta and a fresh rocket salad.

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Spiced butternut squash, carrot + cauliflower soup

DSC_6636-2Winter means one thing – soup season. There is nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of soup for tackling those cold, dark nights, but put away those tin openers (sorry Heinz) and get chopping some fresh produce for a nutrient rich, hearty version. Making your own soup is soup-er easy [hangs head in shame] and can be whipped up quickly in the evenings or even be left to cook slowly for a few hours on a low, low heat. Butternut squash is packed with vitamins, which along with the carrots and fresh ginger (and basically every ingredient in the soup) can boost your immune system to help prevents colds over the chilly winter months.

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Spiced Butternut squash, carrot and cauliflower soup
Makes 3.5 Litres / Serves about 6 or more

Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
3 garlic gloves
2 celery sticks
4 carrots
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1.2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Asmall chunk of fresh ginger
1 large butternut squash, chopped into small cubes
1/2 a large cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 cup red split lentils, rinsed
2 litres of organic vegetable stock/boullion
Sea salt + pepper
Fresh rosemary

Finely chop the onions, ginger, celery and carrots, and prepare the rest of the veg. In a large pot, fry the onion and garlic in coconut oil until brown, add the carrots and celery and fry for a couple of minutes. Combine the spices to the pot, rinse and add the lentils, cubed butternut squash, cauliflower and stock, and then cook for about an hour on a low-medium heat. As I said before, you can also keep this cooking for longer on a low heat, until you’re ready to blend. Turn off the heat and pour the soup mixture in batches into a blender, and blitz until soup-y. If you like, you can also keep a small portion of the original mixture and then add it to the blended soup to leave some lumps. Transfer the soup back into the original pot and season with more sea salt/pepper and fresh rosemary. I love to top my soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of cayenne pepper, black pepper and black sesame seeds.

When I made this soup, I hadn’t intended to make quite as much as I did and so this recipe yields a massive pot. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your quantities, or alternatively, you could make a big batch and freeze in portions to use throughout the month for a quick lunch/dinner fix.

DSC_6657love, Ellie.

 

Crunchy Brown Rice Salad

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Great for easy summer evenings or brightening up dreary autumn day, this salad makes a hearty meal or beautiful side dish to share with family – quite literally a rainbow salad that looks great served in a big bowl on the table. The blend of the almonds, sesame seeds and brown rice gives a rich, nutty flavour, and works beautifully with the colourful, crunchy cabbage and carrot combination (alliteration queen over here). I also love the creamy taste from mix of avocado and hint of tahini in the salad dressing. As you will probably come to learn, tahini is a staple in my cooking and is used a lot in recipes; from salads, breakfast, baking, and of course, hummus. So if you don’t own a jar of the vitamin-rich stuff, I strongly suggest you invest in one, and if you then find the taste a little strange at first, I advise that you learn to love it sister.

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Crunchy Brown Rice Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain brown rice
1/2 large red cabbage
1-2 large carrots
1 small red onion
1/2 red chilli
2 spring onions
1 avocado
handful fresh coriander, chopped
pinch of fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
sprinkle of black/white sesame seeds
black pepper

Dressing:
Juice of 1 small lemon
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp tamari
black pepper & sea salt

To cook the rice, bring 2 cups of filtered water to the boil, rinse the rice, and place it in a saucepan with sea salt. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Once cooked, empty the rice into a bowl and leave to cool.
Dry toast the almonds in a pan until slightly brown and set aside to cool. Once cool, chop into small pieces.
Finely slice the red cabbage and place in a bowl. You could also use a grater or a food processor to chop the cabbage.
Grate the carrot, finely slice the red onion, fresh chilli, spring onions and fresh herbs, and combine with the red cabbage.
Add the diced avocado, chopped almonds, sesame seeds and black pepper.
Combine all the salad dressing ingredients in a small cup or jar and mix together, before pouring onto the salad.


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Lentil Chilli

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This Lentil Chilli was a little bit of an experiment tonight, hence the random spoonful of tahini and dash of cacao powder – which I would not usually add, however, it strangely worked and although barely noticeable, adds to the flavour and consistency!

Lentil Chilli
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
Small chunk fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
A small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 large red chilli
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp oregano
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2-3 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup green lentils
3 mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 tin of kidney beans, drained
1 tbsp tahini
1/2-1 tsp cacao powder
3-4 cups water
sea salt and pepper

Fry the onion, ginger, chilli, coriander and garlic in a pan with coconut oil for about 5-10 minutes..
Add in the spices, tomato puree and stir the contents of the pan together – this should form a sort of paste.
Then rinse the lentils and add them into the pot with the finely chopped mushrooms.
Add about 3 cups of water, sea salt and pepper, and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes add the drained kidney beans, cacao and tahini.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and adding more water if required. After 20 minutes the chilli should be cooked and good to eat, however, you can also continue cooking the chilli for a further 20-30 minutes on a very low heat to really soften and blend the ingredients.

 

Vegetable, Lentil Coconut Curry

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I’ve always been a massive fan of spicy food, end of. So, with butternut squash being one of my favourites, this curry is definitely one of my favorites.

The blend of spices, vegetables, exceptionally good fats from the coconut oil and coconut milk, and fresh ginger, creates this hearty, tasty dish that’s equally as amazing for our bodies. It’s also very simple and easy to make!

Butternut squash, as well as fiery tasting red chillies are a very good source of Vitamin C and are high in potassium and iron. The fresh ginger and spices, such as turmeric and cumin, have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Coconuts provide good fats that are mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFA), compared to the majority of oils in our diets, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). MCFA are very different and are thought to a positive effect on cholesterol, lowering heart disease. Consumption of coconut milk can also protect the body from infections and viruses. I like to use organic Biona coconut milk, as it is pure coconut rather than coconut milks that contain synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. So, this dish is a great blend of nourishing ingredients and is full of rich flavour.

Vegetable, Lentil Coconut Curry
Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large red onion

2 garlic gloves

1 thumbs-sized chunk of fresh ginger

A handful of fresh coriander (plus more to serve)

1 red chilli

2 cups water

1 tin of organic coconut milk (I use Biona)

1 butternut squash

1 cup red split lentils

60g trimmed beans

60g mangetout

1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper

1 large tomato (cut into quarters)

2 spring onions

2 handfuls spinach (sliced in a bunch)

Black pepper & Pink Himalayan or sea salt

Juice of 1 lime (optional)

Spices:

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp yellow mustard seeds (grind in pestle and mortar)

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and then fry the diced onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander for about 5-10 minutes.
Add the squash, boiling water, and coconut milk into the pot and put the lid on, cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
Then add the lentils and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables and sliced tomato and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. At this stage you may wish to add more water.
Towards the end chuck in the spinach, turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime (if you want to).
Serve with fresh coriander, brown rice, quinoa, or whatever you fancy.