Eat the Rainbow - let’s start with Red, Purple & Green!
As a mum of two young boys, I’m always inventing new ways to encourage my children to eat a ‘rainbow’ of colourful fruits & vegetables to get their nutritional requirements.
Need some ideas on how to sneak in some more colour and vegetables into your everyday food? Look no further... let’s start with red...
RED: Gluten Free BEETROOT chocolate brownies
Sunday's are baking days in our house.... Today's recipe is a fun way of involving the children in the kitchen and inspiring them to try new vegetables along the way - My children would not eat beetroots on their own... but disguised in a chocolate brownie they were a big hit. Gluten free (no flour in this recipe at all!) chocolate brownies that allow you to sneak in a little veggie goodness at the same time. The result.... super gooey fudgy chocolate brownies. I have tried this recipe with black beans, courgettes, avocado, pumpkin and sweet potato - it all works - just choose your favourite vegetable!
As I am a doctor and always thinking about the nutritional aspect of food... beetroots are low in fat, full of fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals so I’m keen for them to be a part of our family diet. Beetroots are a great source of iron, folic acid, fibre, manganese & potassium. Don’t throw the leaves which are rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins A & C. Beetroot has been shown to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes in the body and is also one of the richest sources of glutamine essential for intestinal health.
Recipe: Makes 20 squares. Time 20 mins
- 125gms raw beetroot - peeled, roughly chopped
- 4 large organic eggs
- 7 tablespoons cacao powder
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 180gms Medjool dates
- 100gms 85% dark chocolate
Blend all the ingredients except the chocolate in a food processor to make a smooth batter.
Break the chocolate into small chunks, fold half into the mix. Pour this mix into a pre-greased baking tray ( I used a 20 x 20cm tray) and top with the rest of the chocolate chunks. You could also add nuts to top - I've tried this with pecan & cashew.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200’ for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!
PURPLE Sweet Potato & Leek Soup!
If, like me, you love soups over the cold winter months, you are going to love this little twist on traditional leek & potato soup. I’ve simply substituted regular potato for purple sweet potato. Such a beautiful colour - what’s not to love?
Add some fresh crusty bread to dip and you have a hearty winter meal for the whole family!
Not only do Sweet potatoes taste great they are a rich source of fibre important for intestinal health. Sweet potatoes are high in an antioxidant called beta-carotene which is essential for healthy skin, eye health & immune system They also contain a good line up of vitamins and minerals including calcium,B vitamins and vitamin C.
Purple foods in particular contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Research still continues regarding anthocyanins but they are thought to offer a wealth of health benefits - watch this space!
Recipe: serves 4. Time 30 mins
- 400gms purple sweet potato
- 250gms baby leeks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1 pint vegetable stock
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme and a handful of fresh parsley (or use 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs)
- Salt, pepper & chilli to taste
Method: You can definitely whizz this up in under 30 minutes.
First thinly slice one of the small sweet potatoes and lay on baking tray with the garlic cloves still in their skins. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle on a little salt. Roast in the oven at 180' for about 20 minutes until the sweet potato is crisp & the garlic soft. Be careful not to burn it. That’s your ‘crouton’ topping made!
Whilst that is baking, sauté the leeks in a little olive oil. When soft, add the chopped purple sweet potato and cover with 1 pint of vegetable stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes and then add the herbs and a few of the roasted garlic cloves (peeled) & blitz with your blender. Sprinkle on the purple crisps & serve with some crusty bread. Enjoy!
GREEN: Edamame fettuccini with edamame pesto
Who has grown up hearing the words ‘eat your greens?’ I love adding different vegetables to pesto sauces to make all sorts of colourful pasta but green pesto is always a favourite. This is a wholesome nutritious family friendly meal that can be made in under 15 minutes. My kids love this fun green pasta!
Did I mention for those doing #veganuary - this meal packs in 30gms protein per portion? Who says a plant based diet can’t be high in protein?
I have used edamame fettuccini here as a gluten free high protein alternative but you could also use wholewheat pasta.
Why edamame? Edamame are young green soya beans. They are a fantastic vegan source of protein as they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs. They are also low GI, low fat and high in fibre. Edamame are a good source of vitamin C, B, E & folate as well as containing calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc & copper.
Recipe: serves 4. Time 15-20mins
- 200gms edamame fettuccini
- Handful cashew or pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3cm chunk parmesan (omit if vegan) plus extra to sprinkle on top to serve
- 30gms/1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 300gms edamame (100gms for pesto, rest for topping)
- 6 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Chilli to taste & sprinkle on top
Add all the pesto ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add a bit more olive oil if needed.
Cook the fettuccini, edamame pasta cooks very quickly. It only needs 1-2 minutes in boiling water.
Once cooked, stir in the pesto.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan, the rest of the edamame beans and chopped chilli.