Nutrition

Thoughts on Food Choices

I personally don’t purchase any animal based products, but for example if I’m offered a slice of birthday cheesecake, I’m not going to disallow myself from enjoying it with others. I guess that means I am currently vegetarian, and slide in and out of veganism- depending on those around me.

I conducted a few years of ‘strict’ veganism, but this grated on me. Not being able to enjoy foods with loved ones on special occasions, and even worse, on those moments where my veganism naturally slipped, feeling an overwhelming sense of failure and guilt. If everyone were vegan, a plant based based life would be far easier. Remember to celebrate the moments you did chose a more environmentally friendly form of food consumption, and also mindfully ENJOY the moments when you don’t. Don’t pressure yourself.

The only thing consistent in life is change, so remember you don’t have to cling onto one identity.

Being of Punjabi (north Indian) heritage, I have grown up with amazing vegan and vegetarian recipes, which I find genuinely so fulfilling and soul nourishing. It’s so important to actually enjoy your food. If you don’t, I feel like you walk through life feeling a little sorry for yourself and a little more inclined to making less wholesome choices.

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  • Make recipes you truly enjoy with wholesome foods for the majority of the time.
  • Don’t diet restrict- eat everything you like. Don’t give certain foods power they don’t deserve.
  • Generally try to eat when your hungry and stop when you’re full.
  • Keep your mind busy and stay inspired!

Enjoy a handful of my personally created favourite recipes which contribute to my general life nutrition.

There’s breakfast, lunch/ dinner & dessert options that I’d love to share with you!

Breakfast

Morning Chocolate Oats

This recipe is great cold day morning motivation. With seeds, nuts, fortified plant based milk it’s a wholesome breakfast full of protein, omegas, vitamins and calcium.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of whole steel cut oats
  • One scoop of plant based chocolate flavoured protein powder
  • One teaspoon of peanut butter
  • A small handful of ground pistachios
  • One teaspoon of ground FHC meal (flax, hemp and chia seed meal)
  • One whole ripe banana
  • One cup and a half of fortified plant based milk
  • Frozen mixed berries
  • Desiccated coconut

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan (leaving out the frozen berries and coconut), and boil until the oats are cooked through. Make sure to keep stirring to prevent the oats from sticking.  

Bowl up, stick your berries and coconut on the top and enjoy!

Besan pura

I must eat this around 4 times a week. Its full of protein, its wholesome, its healthy, its spicy, its delicious and very easy to make… enjoy it with curries, as a wrap or even just on its own. I like to enjoy it hot off the pan for breakfast on a day off.   

Ingredients

  • One cup of besan or gram flour
  • One quarter cup of fine ground self raising flour
  • One heaped tablespoon of garam masala
  • One heaped tablespoon of turmeric powder
  • One heaped tablespoon of ajwain seeds
  • One heaped tablespoon of dried coriander
  • Half a teaspoon of hing powder
  • Half a teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • One teaspoon of salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups of plant based milk ideally coconut milk
  • Coconut oil for shallow frying

Get a good quality non stick frying pan, and whack it up to high heat.

Whisk all the above ingredients (leaving out the oil) in a bowl to make a pancake batter like consistency- you may need to adjust the milk quantity for this.

When your pan in super hot, stick a blob of coconut oil in to prevent sticking. With a ladle spoon batter straight into the pan, and move it around to make a large pancake. Once one side is cooked, flip it and serve hot!

Morning choc protein pancakes

So this recipe is a treat. I am lucky to have chickens myself and access to farms that produce welfare friendly eggs. The pullets on these farms live out a full life and never go for slaughter. I am happy to consume these eggs!

Ingredients

  • One egg
  • A quarter cup of wholemeal flour
  • One scoop of sweet chocolate flavoured plant based vegan protein
  • One tablespoon FHC meal (flax, hemp, chia)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • One cup of plant based milk of your choice

Take a good quality frying pan, get it at medium heat and grease the surface to prevent sticking.  Whisk all the above ingredients in a bowl, allow to rest for 5 minutes or so, and crack on with making some pancakes!

For toppings, get creative. Being a bit weird, I like frozen mixed berries with a covering of desiccated coconut. I actually like to eat my pancake like a roti… Enjoy this however you like.

Mini Dhoklas.

I absolutely love this recipe! Or frankly any Indian dishes containing gram flour (or besan if you’re feeling particularly Punjabi). To make this wholesome dish, you’ll need the following ingredients: a steamer, a bowl and whisk, a frying pan and some muffin cups.

Sponge ingredients:

  • Two cups of gram flour
  • One cup of plant based yoghurt
  • One table spoon of turmeric powder
  • One table spoon of cumin powder
  • One table spoon of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of red chilli
  • One table spoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of lemon juice
  • One teaspoon of bicarbonate soda

Garnish ingredients

  • One table spoon of chopped green chilli
  • One table spoon of black mustard seeds
  • One whole red onion thinly spliced into rings
  • A small handful of curry leaves
  • A small handful of coriander leaves

Firstly get a steamer set and all ready to go. Mix the sponge ingredients (leaving out the lemon juice) and let this just sit. Pan fry all the garnish ingredients, starting with the onions. When the onions are light brown – add the rest of the ingredients. This way everything cooks fully at the right time without burning. You want to just hear the mustard seeds pop, then take them off the heat as they burn quickly creating this strong (pretty overwhelming) flavor. Whisk the sponge mixture for another minute and add the lemon juice. Immediate transfer this mixture to half fill as many muffin cups as it fills and place into the steamer. When cooked (it normally takes 10 minutes)- remove and add the garnishing to the tops of each muffin cup.

I love to enjoy this with a cup of black Assam tea!

Lunch & Dinner

Homemade flatbread/ Pizza.

I must make this every month… This makes a wholesome alternative to a take out pizza or any fast food, and is an impressive crowd pleaser. Really pizza toppings can be anything that takes your fancy; but to me, the tomato base and bread are the most important bits! I’ll provide my recipes for these two important bits.

Ingredients to make 2 large pizzas as shown above:

  • 500 grams of self raising whole flour
  • two teaspoons of dried yeast with one teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 4 table spoons on FHC ground meal (flax, hemp, chia seeds ground into a powder)
  • A handful of a seed mix (ideally brown lin seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
  • One cup of tomato pure
  • Two tablespoons of Italian mixed herbs
  • Thee garlic cloves crushed
  • One sprig of dried or fresh rosemary
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil

Add the yeast and sugar to 200ml of warm water. Knead the flour, seeds and FHC meal into a soft dough, adding more water as required slowly. Once fully kneaded, sit aside to rest somewhere warm to prove. You know you’ve done a good job if no bits of flour are stuck to the bowl you’ve been kneading it in! Generally I’m not pedantic enough to want to achieve this every time.

Add the oil, herbs, tomato pure and garlic to a frying pan and cook everything through. I often add water along the way to help avoid everything sticking to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and leave it on a side to rest.

Once the bread has doubled in size from the yeast, split it into two even sized dough balls and roll each ball out into whatever shape you vibe. Bake these bases in the over at 180 degrees Celsius until very lightly crisped on the outside.

Add the tomato base, and any toppings you like! I like red onion rings, pepper and mushroom. Be creative! Then stick your pizzas in the over again until fully done!

The addition of seeds and FHC meal to the bread just helps boost the vitamin and omega content of this meal. Great for a vegan meal!

Butternut squash daal. 75 minutes prep time.

This wholesome recipe was created in Australia, and inspired by the abundance of cheap and delicious winter squashes . It makes a wholesome dish to be enjoyed by the whole clan at once, or can be frozen and stored for later. If you have a small army to feed, this is a great dish to whip out.

I like to enjoy this with some rice, roti, naan or even noodles!

Ingredients

  • Whole butternut squash
  • 500 grams of 50:50 red lentil and channa daal mix.
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 red onion diced.
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic/ ginger paste
  • 2 red chillies
  • A handful of fresh chopped coriander
  • 8 curry leaves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of hing/ asafoetida powder (this can be found at a local Asian store)
  • 5 heaped tablespoons of whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of black mustard seeds

Firstly preheat the over to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop your butternut squash in half, cover them in aluminium foil, and roast both halves until the flesh is soft. While the butternut squash is cooking, add the lentils to a large pan. Give them a wash then and begin cooking them in water. I usually add around 4 times as much water to lentils. At this point I add the turmeric powder, cumin seeds and asafoetida.

In a frying pan (using the coconut oil), shallow fry the rest of the spices, onion and chilli in the following order: onion and chilli (wait until they brown), and then the salt, pepper and garam masala. Keep this on a side.

When the lentils are fully cooked add the contents of the frying pan, along with the can of coconut milk. Take the cooked butternut squash out of the oven (allow time to cool) and spoon the soft flesh straight into the cooked lentil mix.

At this point you can either hand blend or mash the whole soup to combine all the ingredients, and the choice is yours really! I like a chunkier soup with a bite, so prefer to mash.

Lastly, add the chopped fresh coriander and curry leaves and serve hot. If you’re feeling decadent, garnish with peanuts, coriander sprigs, curry leaves what ever you fancy.

Nutritious tandoori roti.

Being of Punjabi origin, tandoori roti feels like such a restaurant novelty. Usually at home we have roti (flat breads) with our Indian curries, so I like to mix it up every now and again.

This is a modernised version of the traditional tandoori roti with some flavour and nutrition twists. I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of Indian roti flour (chakki is a great brand!)
  • 300ml of luke warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of FHC meal (flax, hemp, chia seed meal)
  • 2 tablespoons of ajwain seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower, pumpkin seed, linseed and sesame seed mix
  • 10ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of bread yeast

Instructions

In the water mix the yeast, sugar, salt, black pepper, ajwain, seed mix and FHC meal, allow it to sit of a minute then combine with the flour to make a soft dough. During the kneading process remember to add the oil. Sometimes I forget which isn’t is disaster, you just get a drier roti.

Leave to dough covered with a damp tea towel in a warm (ideally 30 degrees Celsius) location for an hour or so to rise. Once risen, give the flour another 5 minutes of kneading then split the flour into tennis ball sized pieces.

At this point I like to get a frying pan nice and hot. Take a dough ball and roll it out into a large disc around 4mm thick. Use extra flour to dust to prevent any sticking in the process.

With a soft brush- make around 5 to 8 brush marks with water over the uncooked roti, then with a bit of skill and luck, sling the roti onto the hot frying pan. The wet side must cook first. Once this side has cooked (this normally takes a minute or so depending on your cooker), give the roti a flip and using a clean tea cloth, firm press it all over to ensure its fully cooked.

Serve hot and fresh!!!

I love this recipe. Not only is it more nutritionally wholesome containing omega fatty acids, protein and magnesium from the seed mixes; its also impressive to have on the plate. They freeze beautifully so can also be batch made for a special occasion.

Maybe I’m getting ungrateful for roti… but this is definitely my go too alternative!

Desserts

Frozen coconut blueberries. A light healthy vegan dessert

If you are ever craving something sweet, but are so full after a huge meal (story of my life), this simple 2 second recipe hits the spot.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of frozen blueberries
  • Quarter cup of coconut yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon of raw coconut sugar

Sometimes I like to have this prepared in the freezer ready for me if I fancy it after dinner, but it can be enjoyed immediately after being mixed.

Combine all the ingredients above in a bowl and enjoy! The blueberries freeze the coconut yoghurt around them and make refreshing layered fruity balls and the sugar just gives them that sweet kick. Give it a go, its wholesome, great for hot weather.

Parshad

For me this is an ultimate dessert and comfort food. This recipe is served to us at the temple after prayers and is made at pretty much all Sikh religious occasions to sweeten the mouth.

Normally it is made with ghee (cows butter) but I have a great vegan alternative

I think this is best enjoyed fresh- straight off the pan. And can even be enjoyed with ice-cream and fruit.

Ingredients

– Half a cup of whole wheat flour

– One quarter cup of semolina

– 2 tablespoons of gram (besan) flour

– Half a cup of margarine

– Half a cup of raw coconut sugar dissolved in half a cup of warm water

Firstly combine all the flour types and dry roast them very slowly (medium heat) on a non stick pan until light brown and cooked through. Make sure to keep the flour moving as you want to prevent burning.

Next, add the melted margarine (while still on medium heat) further cooking the flour for another 5minutes.

Lastly add the sugared water. Mix mix mix! Parshad traditionally has a beautiful silky smooth texture, so you may need to add more water at this point. Once it is done, serve hot!