Curly Kale and Salpico Salad

Curly kale and salpico salad

This nice autumny salad is a bit of a variation on the traditional Waldorf salad and it somehow suits this time of the year perfectly. It’s packed full of stuff that’s good for you – kale, apples and celery, with a dash of extra flavour in the form of salpico, nuts and raisins.

You can’t really go wrong with any green, leafy veg but kale is a kind of superfood in its own class. It’s full of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and it even contains some protein and healthy fats. It helps to lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of cancer and supports the body’s detox processes. All that in a delicious salad, and if you can get your hands on organic kale, even better! And yes, you can cook it but it’s used raw here.

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Nasturtium Pesto

Nasturtium pesto

Nasturtium pesto might sound a bit strange, but if you like the slightly bitter taste of nasturtium leaves (or rocket/arugula, if you’ve never tasted nasturtium leaves), you’ll love it. In fact the basic recipe is very similar to that of traditional basil pesto, only we’re varying the leaves.

Traditional pesto can be pricey though, which is not surprising given some of its original ingredients – parmesan cheese and pine nuts, neither of which is particularly cheap. Luckily, you can create something that tastes quite similar using more reasonably-priced ingredients, in this case, cheddar cheese (leave this out if you want a vegan or pure paleo version) and toasted sunflower seeds.

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Olives Two Ways – Part 1: Brined

Who doesn’t love olives? Actually I know some people who don’t but I can’t understand that at all. When I was growing up, we used to count them out on to everyone’s plate when serving up salad with dinner, to make sure no-one got more than their fair share. A sad but true story.

A happier story is that not only are olives delicious, but they’re also really good for you, being high in healthy fats as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals, not to mention anti-oxidants. For more on their health benefits, see here, here and here, just for starters.

The thing with olives though is that they’re very more-ish and a bottle really doesn’t last very long, plus they’re expensive (here in South Africa anyway). So years ago when a friend told me she could get fresh olives direct from an olive farm, I jumped at the chance to make my own and ordered 5kg.

Since then, I’ve made a batch every year I’ve been able to get my hands on some, which sadly hasn’t been every year but certainly many of them. Those years I enjoy eating them till they’re coming out my ears and they also make great gifts to give away.

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Baked Chicken, Tomato and Yoghurt Casserole with Broccoli Rice

Chicken, tomato and yoghurt bake with broccoli rice

This is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes to make when you only have a few minutes to spend on preparing dinner. It’s fresh, tasty and healthy, and only takes 5 minutes to put together. Then it cooks for about 45 minutes, while you go off and do other things, before needing another 5 minutes at the end to finish up and serve.

It’s also versatile in that you can serve it with many different options of “starch”. If you’re going low-carb, it works really well with cauliflower or broccoli rice, as I’ve served it here, or cauliflower or broccoli mash. You can also go more traditional and serve it with mashed potato or sweet potato, or rice of any description and/or lightly steamed green beans.

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Preserved Cucumbers

Naturally preserved cucumbers

I’ve got a bit of a thing for preserves at the moment – salted lemons, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and even limoncello (hint: look out for these coming attractions right here on Inspired Nourishment). Today I thought I’d share a very simple recipe for naturally preserved cucumbers, which are my latest ‘have with everything’ condiment.

I first came across the recipe some time ago on Mark’s Daily Apple  while doing research for a paleo article I was writing for someone else. What grabbed my attention was the very interesting fact that when you preserve vegetables this way, not only are they crunchy and delicious, but they’re also packed with probiotics and therefore great for the digestive system, especially if you’ve recently been on a course of antibiotics (something I try to avoid at all costs). And in case you’re wondering, they’re different from store-bought gherkins as they don’t use vinegar (which kills those helpful probiotics) and they taste salty rather than tangy. As my attention was elsewhere at the time, I saved the recipe on one of my Pinterest boards for later use.

The most difficult part of this process is actually finding the baby cucumbers, which are often called Israeli cucumbers here in South Africa. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can apparently use just about any kind of fairly hardy vegetable, like carrots, cabbage, radishes or broccoli. I haven’t yet tried any of those so can’t personally vouch for them, although I’ve seen them in various health shops and there are plenty of recipes online. Continue reading

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Healthy chocolate mousse

This is a really easy and healthy recipe that tastes very decadent, and if nobody told you, you would never guess the ingredients!

I first had a version of it on a raw food course I did several years ago, and it’s something I make often when avocados are in season (they’re just coming back here in South Africa now).

It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare but some pre-planning is needed as it’s best to use ripe bananas and avocados. It also takes a couple of hours to set so you need to allow for that too, although you can try to speed the process by putting it in the freezer for a while.

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Lemon, Almond and Ricotta Tartlets

Lemon, almond and ricotta tartlets

I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a long time, after first tasting an Italian Ricotta cake made by Hmmm a few years ago. I found a few recipes which helped, especially this one by Cakelets and Doilies, which it seems she adapted from a Donna Hay recipe.

So basically this concept has been around the block a few times, and when you taste it, you’ll know why it’s so popular. It’s light and almondy, moist and crumbly, with a lemon flavour that can be subtle or quite strong, depending on how you like it. As a bonus, it’s gluten-free and if you wanted to make it sugar-free/paleo too, I imagine it would work very well if you used honey or something like xylitol instead.

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