Pumpkin, Ginger & Parsnip Soup


Soup is our go to make in advance meal in our house, I generally pick the busiest night of the week (usually when we have swimming) to ensure a batch is sitting in the fridge waiting to be heated and served in under 5 minutes. Pumpkin soup is my go to for cramming a ton of veggies into it, because if it’s orange and slightly tastes like pumpkin my kids will actually eat it!

This soup was created after I realised that no one in the house except me was going to eat parsnip, one day I chucked some in with a batch of soup and the end result was this delightfully creamy soup without a dash of dairy added to it. Personally, I love the carrot-y (they’re actually related to carrots and parsley!), nutty flavour and love adding them to vegetable mash or eating them roasted with olive oil and spices. Nutritionally, they contain a plethora of important minerals (calcium, iron, zinc and potassium), vitamins (vitamin C & K, folate, B6 and B5) and are rich in antioxidants and fibre (both insoluble and soluble).

This soup also contains broccoli stalk, which is also super nutritious but tends to get chucked out once the florets have been eaten. You won’t even notice it’s there will get extra nutrition as a result AND you’ll be reducing food waste at the same time, win win!

This soup will last 4-5 days once made, and freezes well. Enjoy! -Renee x


Serves 4
Prep time: 
10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes


  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 1/2 inch fresh turmeric, finely chopped or 1/2 heaped tsp ground turmeric

  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced

  • 1 large parsnip, cut into 2 cm pieces (approx. 300-400 grams)

  • 1/2 medium butternut pumpkin; skin off, seeds removed and cut into 2 cm pieces (approx. 500 grams) (you can also use Jap pumpkin too)

  • 1 1/2 tbs stock paste or powdered stock

  • 3/4 cup split red lentils, rinsed and washed thoroughly

  • 4 cups water (tap or filtered, not hot) or bone broth (just omit the stock paste)

  • 2 tbs olive oil


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, ginger and turmeric and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent.

  2. Add remaining veggies and sauté for another 2 minutes.

  3. Chuck in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Drop the a medium heat, pop the lid on and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Once cooked, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Puree the soup with either a stick mixer or by processing in a blender/food processor/thermomix. Add extra water 1/2 cup at a time to reach desired consistency.

  5. Top with our sumac seeded dukkah or cashew pesto. Serve as is or with a slice of toasted mountain bread, sourdough or gluten free bread.






Plant Based Gut Healing Broth

I think its easy to say that we've all heard the drill about how good bone broth is for digestive health and assisting with gut healing. At Westside Wellness, we regularly recommend consuming bone broth to our clients and have our own bone broth recipe here. If you're vegan or vegetarian or don't really want to cook with bones, you might be wondering if there's something you can have that covers so of the many food as medicine bases that bone broth does, and the answer is yes you can!


Part of why we love bone broth so much is that it's a natural source of collagen. Our bodies contain significant amounts of collagen (around 1/3 of our body is collagen), and we need it for making and maintaining connective tissue. One reason collagen is useful for improving digestion is that it improves the production of gastric acid. The other reason, is that it contains the amino acids glutamine, proline and glycine, which are required for repair and rebuilding the gut lining. While collagen is only found in animal foods, there are many plant based foods that contain those amino acids found in collagen, required for gut healing. There are also many plant based foods that contain other important nutrients for gut health and boosting immune function so that your body can heal itself.

Here's a little about all the nutrients that you'll find in this broth and what they can do for digestion and gut healing. 


Acts as a natural fuel for the intestines, assists with the regulation of cells and their growth, and therefore repair of cells in our gut, and reduces inflammation. Glutamine is found in plant based foods such as legumes (lentils, beans, peas) and veggies like spinach, parsley, cabbage and beetroot.


Assists with formation of collagen, wound healing, formation of connective tissue and regeneration of cartilage. Plant based sources of proline include cabbage, legumes (especially beans and chickpeas), buckwheat, alfalfa, peanuts and asparagus.


As with the above, glycine is an important component of collagen. It also assist with improving digestion via its role in the production of bile, which is needed for fat breakdown. Plant based sources of glycine include legumes, spinach, kale, cauliflower, banana and kiwi fruit.


Vitamin C is required for the production and storage of collagen. It also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, both of which are critical with damage or inflammation in the gut. Vitamin C is abundant in plant based foods and particularly good sources include citrus, berries, capsicum, parsley, kale and broccoli. 


Zinc is also required for the production of collagen, but also assists with reducing inflammation, boosting immune function and also acts an an antioxidant. Zinc is found in many plant based foods, including sunflower and pumpkin seeds, spinach, whole-grains, legumes and mushrooms.


As you can see from the above, there are many plant based foods that contain the nutrients required for gut healing, and many of these foods are in this broth, or can be added to meals that contain the broth to enhance its gut healing properties. I've also included a couple of other food as medicine goodies that add more power to this gut healing broth:


Shiitake mushrooms are a potent source of amino acids (particularly lysine and leucine), polyunsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc. Shiitake, and other medicinal mushrooms, have been traditionally used for their immune-modulating/enhancing and their ability to enhance immune function and destroy cancer cells has been well documented and researched. 


Onions and garlic are a rich source of flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and assist with reducing inflammation. They are also loaded with a special type of dietary fibre (inulin) that acts as a prebiotic, helping to feed our gut bacteria. Both onions and garlic naturally antibacterial/microbial which is beneficial in improving gut health/healing where pathogenic bacteria or parasites might be involved. Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory food and also improves digestion by increasing the production of gastric acid and soothing and calming inflamed or irritated guts.


Miso is a salty paste made from fermented soy beans, rice or barley, or a combination of these. Due to the fermentation process, it is a great source of beneficial bacteria and a great addition to a gut loving diet. It is also a particularly good source of nutrients, including B vitamins, manganese, copper, zinc and protein. 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 2-6 hours

Serves: 4-8 (depending on how you use it)

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  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1.5 tbs miso (any variety will do)
  • 8 dried or fresh shiitake mushroom *
  • 1/4 green cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 large broccoli stalks, cut into large chunks (I keep these in the freezer until I need them)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cups filtered water (preferable, but you can also use regular tap water)
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil

*if you're lucky enough to have access to fresh shiitake mushrooms go for it! You won't need to soak them either.


  1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 1 litre of warm water for 20-30 minutes. Keep the liquid, but take the mushrooms out and finely slice.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot, and add the onion, celery, ginger and garlic.
  3. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except the miso, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 2-6 hours.
  5. Remove the parsley, celery sticks and broccoli chunks. Drain the broth keeping the mushroom, cabbage and onion etc to use in other dishes (like soups, stews or stir-fry).
  6. Allow to cool until warm and then add the miso (too much heat will damage the bacteria). Ensure you allow to the broth to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. You can eat this broth with the veggies in it, adding legumes or tofu/tempe for protein, or you can use it as a base for other soups/stews/curries. Keep small amounts in the freezer to have on hand when sick, to be sipped to keep hydration up. The possibilities are truly endless!

Veggie-Loaded Lasagne


We are gluten and dairy-free at our house due to our youngest child having food intolerances. Fortunately there are many wonderful recipes out there that can mean you can still enjoy foods like pasta and lasagne even when you can't eat gluten. 

I've adapted this recipe from The Healthy Chef and tweaked it for our household's dietary needs. I recommend making the basic recipe below and then once you've got the hang of this go ahead and adapt it to your own palate preferences.


  • 1.5L x tomato passata
  • 1/3 cup of red wine
  • 1 x brown onion, diced
  • 2 x cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 x tin of brown lentils, strained (or 3/4 cup of rinsed red lentils)
  • 1/2 bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 x bunch of greens (kale, Swiss chard or spinach greens), washed and chopped
  • 2 x tbs Extra virgin olive oil + extra for roasting pumpkin
  • 1 x small butternut pumpkin, seeded and sliced thinly widthways 
  • 1 x tsp of ground cinnamon 
  • 1 /2 x tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 2 x cups of raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 x cup of water
  • Sprigs of rosemary or thyme for roasting (optional)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. Soak raw cashews in water (or speed up the process by soaking in freshly boiled water while you start the cooking process).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced.
  3. Place sliced pumpkin on a baking tray and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and prigs of rosemary/thyme if using. Drizzle with 1 x tbs of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until golden and pumpkin is cooked (roast for longer if needed).
  4. Heat remaining 1 x tbs of olive oil in a small heavy based saucepan while the pumpkin is cooking. Once the oil is heated add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until translucent and slightly caramelised. Add garlic, lentils and salt and pepper. Stir to coat.
  5. Add tomato passata and red wine. Stir together and reduce heat to simmer on low for 20 minutes to allow flavours to develop. Throw in chopped basil leaves at the end of cooking the tomato sauce. 
  6. Sauté greens in a small amount of oil or water until bright green.
  7. Strain cashews and blend on high with water, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper until combined into a smooth paste. 
  8. Assemble the lasagne in an oven-proof ceramic dish starting with pumpkin, then greens, followed by tomato sauce. Repeat and then top with the cashew paste.
  9. Bake lasagne in the oven for 30 minutes until cashew layer becomes a crust on top.

Serves 8.

Enjoy! Lucy x


Quick & Easy Baked Eggs

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In a lot of ways, I can't believe I didn't create this recipe sooner! It contains pretty much most of my favourite ingredients, and I bloody well love a hearty savoury breakfast!

Although it seems indulgent and time consuming, I reckon that baked eggs is something you can enjoy any day of the week, as it only takes a few minutes to prepare and is then baked in the oven for 20 minutes. Prep it, wack it in the oven, get ready for work or your day then enjoy!

There's so many variations for this too, you could add chopped leafy greens or mix in our 'Hidden Veggies Baked Beans'. If you eat dairy, a little feta or goats cheese would be absolute perfection as well. I hope you enjoy my baked eggs as much as I do x

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Serves 2

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  • 4 eggs (organic and free range is always best)

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into 1 cm thick disks

  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Optional toppers: sliced chilli, chopped fresh chives and parsley, feta, goats cheese


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a deep baking dish with a little olive oil and set aside.

  2. Place the sliced sweet potato into the baking dish, close together without overlapping.

  3. Crack the eggs on top of the sweet potato, fairly close together.

  4. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes, drizzle on some balsamic vinegar, add a few cracks of salt and pepper and place baking tray in the oven.

  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until whites are cooked and a glaze is over the whole egg.

  6. Add any of the additional toppers on top when serving.

Meat-free Monday Bolognese Sauce

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My family and I love pasta and eat some form of bolognese pretty much every week. I love making it because its a great way to clear out the fridge of any scrappy or limp looking veggies, and I can cram a ton of vegetables in there that my kids wouldn't normally eat.

This is one of my favourite versions for two reasons:

1. It has split red lentils in it, and I absolutely LOVE these bad boys. Split red lentils are an excellent source of fibre, protein and magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. They also break down really well so can be easily hidden in meals for fussy eaters (i.e my 5 year old!)

2. It has eggplant in it. I don't know about anyone else, but I always buy eggplant and never get to use it because my kids won't eat where it has obviously been added. In this dish, it is completely broken down and hidden, but adds fantastic flavour. Eggplant are also a great source of fibre, copper and B1, as well as a good source of manganese, B6, B3, potassium and vitamin K.

This makes enough for 6-8 serves, when I make it I immediately freeze half for a quick meal later down the track. If you don't want to freeze it, just half the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this meat-free Monday meal!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves 6-8

Freezes well

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  • 1 small eggplant, skin removed and cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/2 carrot, grated

  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 largish handful fresh oregano, marjoram and parsley (use 1 tsp of each dried)

  • 3/4 cup split red lentils, well rinsed

  • 500 g crushed tomatoes, salt reduced

  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar

  • pepper to taste

  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp salt 

  • 2 large handfuls leafy greens, finely chopped

  • 1 tbs olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Fill the empty tin or jar of crushed tomatoes 3/4 full of water, shake it to loosen all the tomato-ey goodness inside and tip that in as well.

  3. Bring to the boil, then drop to a medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the chopped leafy greens and cook for another 5 minutes.

  5. To make this a completely hidden veggies meal, take to the pot with a stick mixer or potato masher and process until the texture is to your liking.

  6. Serve with pasta, rice, buckwheat, quinoa or zoodles. This is also a great base for lasagne, Sheppard's pie or can be used as a base for our 'Veggie Loaded Mexi Beans'

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Hidden Veggies Baked Beans

When I was a poor vegan student, baked beans were an absolute staple for me (realistically, they were always a staple, I love baked bean jaffles as a kid!), and luckily for me they are a great source of protein because at the time I was uneducated about nutrition and ate very little protein.

Fast forward a few years and I realised how much sugar and thickeners were in baked beans and instead of giving them up I decided to work on my own recipe that tasted just as good as store bought baked beans. Over the years I've tweaked this recipe to get to the one that follows, which I can safely say is one of my favourite recipes and is loved by my whole family. And I love how much they love it because I know they're eating veggies they normally wouldn't eat and are getting a great hit of protein, magnesium, iron, zinc and complex carbohydrates.

I generally double this recipe and keep half for breakfasts for the week and the other half for more hectic weeks when I don't have time to cook.

I hope you enjoy my hidden veggies baked beans. x Renee

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  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbs reduced salt tomato paste
  • 1 tin diced tomato, no added salt
  • 2 tins navy beans, drained and rinsed well
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or marjoram 
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbs ACV (apple cider vinegar)
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ zucchini grated
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach or other leafy green, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbs olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil over a low flame, add onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, tinned tomato, thyme/marjoram, oregano, ACV, pepper and zucchini, combine well and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the leafy greens, then allow to cool for a minute. Puree the mixture using a stick mixer, or by adding to a food processor. Place back in the pan, add the navy beans and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Will be good for in the coldest part of your fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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Slow Cooker Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

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We love slow cooker curry in our house and easily eat one every week. I love being able to chuck something on first thing in the morning and know that all I need to do for dinner that night is cook some rice (I often do that in advance and freeze it too, saving even more time!).

This slow cooker chickpea and pumpkin curry is slightly sweet, creamy and very mild and a huge hit with my kids, especially my 2.5 year old who will ask for curry for days after we've had this one. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of fibre and magnesium, two nutrients most of us need extra of! The spices are great for settling tummies and reducing inflammation and the veggies are generally the cheapest you can get, making this a very cheap (and nutritious!) family meal.

It freezes well (minus the potatoes) and tastes even better when kept in the fridge for a few days before eating. I hope you enjoy my favourite slow cooker curry! x

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Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 mins in a hurry; 6 hours slow cooked


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (OPTIONAL but delicious)
  • 1 medium potato, washed and cubed
  • roughly two cups butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 tin diced tomato (salt reduced)
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or 300 g pre-soaked and cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • few cracks of pepper to taste
  • 1 ½-2 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp stock paste
  • couple handfuls of chopped greens like kale or silverbeet
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  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sauté on a medium heat until the onion is translucent (approx. 5 minutes). This step intensifies the flavour, but can be totally skipped if your in a hurry.
  2. Set up your slow cooker*. Chuck in the cooked onion mix, and the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.
  3. Cook for 6 hours on low heat (stir occasionally to prevent the sides drying out). Chuck in the chopped greens in the last 10 minutes or so and mix through. Serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. A dollop of natural yogurt goes very well with this too!

*If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can easily be slowed cooked in the oven at 180 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours, just chuck it in a casserole dish or dutch oven (you will need to stir occasionally). It can also make a pretty quick meal by cooking on the stove top in a large pot. Follow step one, then add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. It’ll be tasty but the flavours won’t be as rich.

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Chana Dal - Yellow Split Pea Curry


At Westside Wellness we could live on curry forever!! Chana dal is a nutrient dense, fast, easy and budget-savvy meal. I cook it at least once a fortnight. The kids love it and it has mild and simple favours as far as curry goes. You can always swap the frozen peas for a handful of fresh spinach leaves to brighten the meal up. 

Chana dal is made with split yellow peas - these legumes are packed full of fibre, carbohydrate, protein (including tryptophan, the precursor to our happy hormone - serotonin) and other minerals and vitamins. Yellow split peas contain both soluble and insoluble fibre which helps to keep your bowels regular, balance your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And best of all - they are really filling! A cup of organic yellow split peas costs only $3 - so it's also an easy way to fill the family up when you are shopping on a budget!


  • 1 tbs extra virgin coconut oil
  • 500gm desiree or nicola potato, washed and chopped into large bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup of yellow split peas, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger, grated (about the size of your thumb)
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 x 400g can of tinned tomato (or 4 medium sized diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbs stock paste (or stock powder)
  • 400mL water (or swap the stock past and water for bone broth).
  • 1 x 400mL can of full fat coconut cream (alternatively you can make your own)
  • 1 x cup of frozen peas 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Half a bunch of coriander, chopped


  1. Wash the yellow split peas and leave to soak for as long as you can (up to 12 hours)
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat until shimmering, then add the onion.
  3. Once the onions start to soften (about 4 minutes) add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek and cumin powder. 
  4. Allow the spices to coat to the onions and the garlic and ginger to cook gently.
  5. Strain the yellow split peas and add them along with the potatoes to the onion mixture.
  6. Once the potatoes and peas are all coated in the spices then add the tomato paste, chopped/tinned tomatoes, stock paste/powder and water.
  7. After bringing the pot to the boil, add the coconut cream and quickly turn to the lowest heat.
  8. Simmer for 35 minutes, stirring the pot regularly to prevent the peas and potatoes from sticking to the pot.
  9. Add the peas and cook for another 8 minutes.
  10. Serve with chopped coriander and fresh lime juice. You can serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice to stretch the meal further.


Serves 6


Red Lentil & Veggie Curry

Another favourite of Renee's, this red lentil curry is flavoursome without being too 'spicy' for little ones but also tasty for grown ups. The cooking time helps to break down the veggies (hello hidden veggies!), meaning suspicious kids won't know any better and you will feel good knowing the whole family has eaten a veggie loaded meal.

This curry is great made a couple of days in advance, which allows the flavours to grow, and it freezes and defrosts well. A great one to prep on the weekends for a quick reheat through the week!

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Serves 4-6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2 tbs toasted sesame oil (you can use olive or coconut oil too)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 inch piece each of fresh ginger and turmeric, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 2 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 cup split red lentils

  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds

  • 3 tsp ground coriander

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt + pepper to taste

  • 4 cups water (tap or filtered, just not hot)

  • 2 handfuls of finely chopped leafy greens (spinach, silverbeet, kale etc)

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  1. Slice the eggplant, sprinkle salt on each slice and leave aside for 5-10 minutes (this helps to remove any bitterness). Then chop into 1 cm cubes.
  2. In a large pot, add the sesame oil and heat over a medium flame. Add the onion and mustard seeds and sauté until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, turmeric and ginger and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add all the veggies and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to combine everything well.
  5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, water and add all of the spices, lentils and salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Drop to a medium flame, place a lid on the pot (3/4 on to allow some air to escape) and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the chopped leafy greens and stir through. Serve with cooked rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or toasted flat bread.


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Sweet Garlicky Asparagus

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We love veggie laden side dishes, they're quick to make and an easy way to bulk out main meals and get more veggies into you!

With asparagus season in full swing, why not have a try of this sweet, garlicky dish? Asparagus are a great source of vitamin C and the fibre they contain acts as a prebiotic, which means that it helps to feed the good bacteria in our gut!

Serves 4


  • 12-16 asparagus spears (I aim for 3-4 spears per person)
  • 2-6 cloves of garlic (depends on how much you like garlic)
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup
  • Lemon slices


  1. Chop the woody ends of the asparagus off (usually around an inch). Finely chop the garlic.
  2. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Over a medium/low heat, add the garlic and asparagus and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice malt syrup, a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes or so (cook depending on how soft or crunchy you like your asparagus, I like mine a little crunchy so I cook it for 4-5 minutes tops).
  4. Serve with a few slices of lemon.

Caramelised Dutch Carrots

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This is another simple, yet tasty side dish that will fill your house with the wonderful smell of caramelised onion and oregano. It's sweet, salty and fragrant, and really takes no time to prepare at all. This serves 4 as part of multiple side dishes, or serves 2 as a side dish on its own. It can be prepared in advance, will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, and can be gently re-heated before serving.


  • 1 bunch dutch carrots*

  • 1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano

  • salt and pepper

  • balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil


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  1. Prepare your steamer to cook the carrots; fill the bottom pot with 1/4 water and bring to the boil. While the water is boiling, gently clean the carrots, taking care to remove all dirt. Once the water is boiled, place the carrots in the steamer on the top and steam for 7 or so minutes, until the carrots are cooked with slight firmness. Set aside.
  2. While the carrots are steaming, add the olive oil to a pan and bring to a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for a further 5 minutes. The garlic and onions should look translucent and golden, with a touch of crispness.
  3. Add salt (around 1/4 tsp) and pepper to taste and a couple of dashes of balsmic vinegar and stir through.
  4. Add the carrots, gently mix the onion mix through and serve.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Chickpeas, Zucchini and Greens

Serves 2-4 (2 on it's own, 4 bulked out with rice, quinoa or soft polenta)


  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, grated
  • 3 large handfuls of baby spinach, or 6 kale leaves finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
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  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Pierce each tomato with a knife, removing any stalks and place in a small baking tray. Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of salt and pepper over all the tomatoes and give a shake to cover them completely. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes until almost caramelised. Add the zucchini, chickpeas, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon zest and juice, leafy greens, pine nuts, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute until the greens have wilted. Stir through the roasted tomatoes, making sure you get all the juices from the baking dish as well. 
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or soft polenta.
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