VEGETARIAN PENNE BOLOGNESE

You may have heard of the Meat-Free Monday movement by now – an initiative to encourage everyone to eat less meat and eat more plant-based meals throughout the week. There are many benefits to a plant-rich diet, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved gut health.

Recently, some studies showed that reducing red meat intake in particular reduced risk of heart disease compared to other types of meat.

Whether you’ve been doing Meat-Free Monday’s already, or you’re already fully vegetarian or vegan, or you’re still eating meat but just want some ideas to have more plant-based meals, this recipe is simple, tasty and nutritious!

This bolognese uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) as a substitute for regular minced meat. TVP is essentially soybean meal – it’s packed with almost as much protein as regular meat, but with little to no saturated fat!

Ingredients:

  • 250g wholemeal penne pasta
  • 1 can (425g) lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP), rehydrated in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 4 small carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook until al Dante (Note: wholemeal pasta may take a bit longer to cook).
  2. Heat oil in saucepan, sautée garlic and onions until brown.
  3. Add carrots, textured vegetable protein and diced tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until carrots are cooked through.
  4. Add cooked pasta and mix through.
  5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes (for vegan option) to serve.

ROASTED KALE, PUMPKIN & WALNUT SALAD

Whoever says that salads are boring simply isn’t doing it right… (Confession: I used to be one of those people!) This salad ticks all the boxes with crunchy textures, satiating grains and high fibre seeds!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 small Kent pumpkin, chopped into large chunks
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley flakes
  • 1 cup walnuts, roasted
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Add kale to lined baking tray. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle chopped garlic cloves over the top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes or until slightly crispy. (Note: kale burns very easily, so be sure to check regularly!)
  2. In separate baking tray, add pumpkin chunks, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle parsley flakes over the top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. In separate pot, cook quinoa according to packet instructions (typically boiled in approximately 1 cup water).
  4. Once kale, pumpkin and quinoa are cooked, mix together in salad bowl. Stir in walnuts and sprinkle hemp seeds to serve.

This salad is high in protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, omega-3, omega-6 and dietary fibre, and can be served on the side or as its own meal. To make it a main dish, simply add an extra source of protein like tuna, chicken breast or tofu!

很多人不喜歡吃沙拉是因為覺得好像吃草一樣,坦白說我以前也是! 但其實如果配搭得好,沙拉也可以很好吃的!譬如這個烤南瓜核桃沙拉,不僅營養價值高 (含有蛋白質、維生素A、維生素C、奧米加3、奧米加6、纖維素等等),還很有口感和飽肚感,不妨試試!

LEMON & SEED CAKE

I have a history of making terrible baked goods, especially when I try to make recipes healthier or put a ‘creative spin’ on them… Apparently dietitians have a higher tolerance of mediocre-tasting but ‘healthy’ food, which is why I always test things on my family (haha!).

It’s gotten to the point now where my family always look at new creations with trepidation and low expectations…

This lemon cake I made a couple weeks back was met by this same dubiousness, but… the verdict was that it was good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small lemons, skin washed and left on
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 4 flaxseed eggs (4 tablespoons flaxseeds + 2 tablespoons water, let sit for 5 minutes until set into gel)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds/almond flakes
  • 3 tablespoons pepita seeds
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. In a pot, boil lemons in a bit of water for 1 hour or until soft (be sure to check there’s adequate water in the pot and the lemon skin doesn’t burn).
  2. In a separate bowl, add all other ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Once lemons are soft, puree in blender or food processor.
  4. Add pureed lemons to mixing bowl with other ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Add mixture to lined baking tray. Bake for 40 – 60 minutes or until cooked through.

This cake does take a bit of time to make (approximately 1 hour prep and 1 hour cook time). The end product though is a moist and dense loaf that’s super high fibre and high in vitamin C! The seeds give a crunchy texture and are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre for gut health! Best served with vanilla ice cream or plain yoghurt to balance the acidity of the lemons.

Be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram (@rikkyso) if you try it!

AVOCADO & CHICKPEA DIP

Lately I’ve been experimenting with sneaking in chickpeas into my cooking to increase my family’s and my own intake of legumes and fibre. So far there’s been chickpea cookies, roasted chickpea snacks, chickpeas on rice, and chickpeas in salad… Last week I tried chickpeas in dip and you could barely tell they were there.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 small avocados
  • 1 can (420g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Blend chickpeas with a bit of water until smooth. Add all other ingredients and blend or mix by hand.

This recipe makes a large enough batch for a few days – use it as a dip or spread in sandwich or as a creamy salad sauce! If the creamy texture and high fibre content isn’t enough to convince you, this dip is also high in protein due to the yoghurt and chickpeas.


扁嘴豆是一個既便宜又營養價值高的食品,含有豐富纖維素和蛋白質。最近在嘗試不同方法把扁嘴豆無聲無色地加到食物裡,目前試過曲奇餅、烤扁嘴豆、還有加到沙拉和米飯裡. 上個禮拜還成功地融入了牛油果醬裡,配上紅蘿蔔和小黃瓜,是一個很健康的零食!

EASTER EGG MUFFIN COOKIES

If you like the soft but slightly firm texture on the top of muffins, you’re going to like this recipe! I made these a couple weeks ago purely because I was craving choc chip cookies. They turned out well so I thought I’d share the recipe just in time for your Easter weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used brown)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil OR 4 tbs olive oil spread (melted)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 8-10 Easter eggs OR 1/2 cup other chocolate (roughly melted)

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together, place into a muffin top baking tin OR roll into regular/large balls and press gently with spoon.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees or until cooked through. 

No matter what Easter means to you and your family, hope you spend this weekend safe and sound! 💕

CHICKPEA & CHIA COOKIES

Adapted from The Authentic Spoon’s recipe, these chickpea cookies are a great high fibre savoury snack option 🍪 

Containing only 4 main ingredients I topped them with hemp seeds, chia seeds and sesame seeds for an extra nutty flavour and even more fibre!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (420g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Dash of almond milk
  • Hemp, chia and sesame seeds to taste

Method:

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until golden and cooked through.

Would you try this recipe? Let me know your thoughts!

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (420g) black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used a 200g Lindt chocolate bunny 😛 )

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients except eggs and chocolate into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth
  2. Add 2 large eggs and mix again until smooth
  3. Stir in 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  4. Add mixture into greased or lined baking tray
  5. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips onto top of mixture
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or until cooked through
  7. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe is:

  • High in fibre
  • A great source of plant protein

OVERNIGHT OAT & CHIA CUPS

If you’re not a morning person like me, you probably try to delay getting out of bed for every minute possible… An extra 5 minutes in bed beats getting up and making a hot breakfast (or is that just me?).

These Overnight Oat & Chia Cups are my new favourite breakfast. They’re quick, easy, convenient AND healthy – perfect for lazy but health-conscious people like myself!

Method:

  1. Add 3 tablespoons rolled oats + 1 tablespoon chia seeds to a cup
  2. Add your milk of choice (I used soy) until the oats and chia seeds are completely covered and soaked
  3. Refrigerate overnight
  4. In the morning, top up with more milk
  5. Add your favourite toppings!

I added banana, sultanas, peanut butter, sunflower seeds and more chia seeds!

This recipe is:

  • High in fibre and a great source of protein
  • Super quick and easy to make
  • Perfect for on-the-go (try making it in a Keep Cup or takeaway container!)
  • Suitable for breakfast or as a snack

Be sure to tag me or let me know if you try this!

APPLE & CHIA CRUMBLE

You know a recipe is good when your family demolishes it in one sitting… The perfect dessert on a chilly winter’s night – this Apple & Chia Crumble only has 6 ingredients and is the perfect healthy alternative to a traditional apple crumble!

Ingredients:

  • 6 small apples, diced
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas

Method:

  1. Add the diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon + 100mL water to a pan and simmer until soft
  2. Remove apples from heat and place into a baking dish
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the rolled oats, chia seeds and sultanas together, then sprinkle over apples
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
  5. Serve with yoghurt or ice cream and enjoy!

This recipe is:

  • High in fibre
  • Low in saturated fat
  • Lower in sugar

BANANA, CINNAMON, NUT & SEED LOAF

It’s definitely been a while since my last food post… But some things never change (like my cooking skills), so we’re still keeping it simple with this banana, cinnamon, nut & seed loaf.

Using Rachel from The Naked Truth Australia’s version as a base, I modified according to taste and the ingredients I had at home. Coincidentally, we didn’t have normal flour but actually had almond meal, so this version is also gluten free!

Wet Ingredients
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbs rice bran oil (or whatever oil you have)
  • 2 – 3 tbs honey
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond meal or plain flour
  • 1 tbs bicarb soda
  • 2-3 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup lightly chopped walnuts
Method
  • Add 2 and 1/2 of the banana and all other wet ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix
  • In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir through
  • Pour mixture into lined dish and decorate with remaining banana and some whole walnuts
  • Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-30min or until cooked through
  • Cool, serve and enjoy 😋

We served ours with some yoghurt and chocolate ice cream for dessert 😋

This banana loaf is:
  • Gluten free
  • Source of fibre and polyunsaturated fats
  • Suitable as breakfast (toasted or served with peanut butter) or dessert (ice cream)!