FOOD

Trying To Eat Healthy? Here Are 7 Recipes You'll Actually Want To Eat

Yes, really.

07/10/2016 7:59 AM AEDT | Updated 09/10/2016 8:01 AM AEDT
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Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia)
You won't find boring salads here.

Being (and staying) on the healthy eating train is hard, especially when you think the only way to do so is by eating dry, plain salads with chicken breast.

So. Boring.

But eating nutritious meals is so much more than that -- you just need some culinary inspiration.

Instead of seeing healthy meals as food devoid of flavour, let's see it as an opportunity to play around with different spices, herbs, grains and flavourful veggies, and bring them together in a way that actually excites you.

Enter these seven healthy recipes you'll actually want to eat. Seriously.

From easy risotto-style quinoa and san choy bow with a twist, to Portuguese chicken wings and mango and pomegranate salad, all of these recipes are packed full of flavour, texture and variety, so you won't feel like you're missing out.

Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia), Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books)

1. Risotto-style quinoa with olives, tomatoes and haloumi

Recipe and image from Quinoa, Flakes, Flour and Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia).

Serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 60g sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 200g quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 125g kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 tablespoons flat leaf
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, extra
  • 90g haloumi cheese, coarsely grated
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

METHOD

1. Add oil and butter to a large saucepan on medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Stir in the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano and cook for about one minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, quinoa and stock. Season with pepper to taste -- no need to season with salt as there are ingredients in this dish that are quite salty, including the olives and cheese.

3. Stir well. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until all the stock is almost absorbed. If you think of it -- and only if you think of it -- give the pot a stir once or twice.

4. Stir in the olives and cook for another five minutes, then stir in the parsley, a good drizzle of olive oil, haloumi and Parmesan cheese.

5. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for about five minutes until the quinoa is soft and creamy.

6. Serve with parsley and a little more Parmesan sprinkled over.

Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia)
Unlike traditional risotto, this dish is quick and doesn't require constant stirring.

2. San choy bow on a plate

Recipe and image from Quinoa, Flakes, Flour and Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia).

Serves six.

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 625ml water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g pork mince
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 long red chilies, sliced
  • 150g water chestnuts (canned), drained and sliced
  • 150g fresh beans, sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped, extra to serve
  • 150g bean sprouts, extra to serve
  • Juice of 1–2 limes
  • 1 red chilli, sliced, to serve

METHOD

1. Add quinoa to a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10–15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Allow to stand for 10–15 minutes then cool completely. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok or a large frying pan. Add mince and sauté until it is sealed all over, breaking up any lumps as it cooks.

3. Add spring onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Stir constantly and cook for about one minute until fragrant.

4. Add the water chestnuts, beans, capsicum and carrot and stir well. Stir in the sugar, fish and soy sauces, sesame oil and water. Cook for about 3–5 minutes until all the vegetables are just tender.

5. When cooked, stir through the quinoa, coriander, bean sprouts and as much lime juice as you like.

6. Serve with extra bean sprouts, coriander and slices of chilli.

Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia)
Traditionally served in lettuce cups, this version is extra filling thanks to the protein-packed quinoa.

3. Stuffed eggplants

Recipe and image from Quinoa, Flakes, Flour and Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia).

Serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 330ml water
  • 2 x 500g eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Extra chives, cut into long pieces, to serve

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 375g lean minced beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½–1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 250ml water
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Topping sauce:

  • 150g unsweetened Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

1. Add quinoa to a medium saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10–15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

3. Cut eggplants in half lengthways and scoop out some of the flesh leaving a solid shell. Brush the inside of the eggplant shells with extra virgin olive oil. Place onto the prepared tray and bake for 25 minutes.

4. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying and chop the pulp into small pieces. Sauté the eggplant pieces in the oil until golden and soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.

5. To make the filling, heat the oil and sauté the onion until golden. Add the mince and brown all over. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

6. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 30 or so seconds then add the eggplant pulp pieces, cinnamon, tomatoes and water. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the quinoa.

8. Reduce oven temperature to 190ºC (375ºF). Wipe away any liquid that may have accumulated in the eggplant shells, then pile in the filling.

9. Spoon some of the topping sauce over and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

10. Garnish with chives and serve with a salad.

Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia)
This beautiful eggplant dish is reminiscent of Greek Moussaka.

4. Festive mango and pomegranate salad

Recipe and image from Quinoa, Flakes, Flour and Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia).

Serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 320ml water
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into chunks
  • ½ red capsicum, cut into small chunks
  • ½ yellow capsicum, cut into small chunks
  • ½ orange capsicum, cut into small chunks
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • Basil leaves, for garnish

Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish cream
  • 2–3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

1. Add quinoa to a small saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Cool completely.

2. Combine quinoa in a bowl with the mangoes, cucumbers, capsicums, shallots and basil leaves.

3. Cut the pomegranate in half and, with back of a wooden spoon, bash most of the fruit and any juices straight out of both halves into the bowl with other ingredients. Reserve some of the fruit to use as garnish.

4. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Toss well and garnish with extra basil leaves and reserved pomegranate seeds.

Quinoa, Flakes, Flour & Seeds by Rena Patten (New Holland Publishers Australia)
Add even more bulk to this salad by topping with seafood or tofu.

5. Portuguese chicken wings

Recipe and image from Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books).

Serves 4-6.

INGREDIENTS

  • 14–16 plump chicken wings
  • 12 fresh bay leaves, whole

Marinade:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 handful oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

METHOD

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

2. Cut the tip off each chicken wing and discard (or freeze them to make stock later).

3. Coat the chicken wings in the marinade and place in the fridge for at least one hour.

4. Skewer the wings and thread the bay leaves between the chicken pieces. Depending on the length of skewers, you might fit 3–4 wings on each.

5. Cook over a barbecue or in a chargrill pan over medium–low heat for 30–40 minutes, rotating for even cooking and basting with any remaining marinade.

6. Serve with a gorgeous salad.

Note: If you have a lid on your barbecue, close it: keeping the heat in will speed up the cooking time.

Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books)
Tip: soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before using to prevent burning.

6. Zucchini noodles with herby cherry tomatoes, lemon and feta

Recipe and image from Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books).

Serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 zucchini, about 750g
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4–5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 700g medley cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 handful of Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful of dill, chopped
  • 1 handful of sweet marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 20g (1 small bunch) chives, finely chopped
  • 120g Greek feta cheese, crumbled

METHOD

1. Cut the zucchini into manageable pieces for a spiral vegetable cutter. Make noodles according to the manufacturer's instructions.

2. Bring a large saucepan half-full of water to the boil.

3. Set a large colander over the top of the boiling water, put in the zucchini noodles, cover with a well-fitting lid and steam for 5–7 minutes until al dente. Don't overcook the noodles or they will lose their shape and break.

4. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Gently fry the garlic for one minute, or until soft.

5. Toss in the tomatoes, increase the heat to high and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.

6. Add the lemon zest and juice, the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further three minutes, or until the tomatoes blister and are heated through.

7. Strain the zucchini noodles, as they retain water.

8. Serve the herby tomatoes over the zucchini noodles, topped with the crumbled feta.

Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books)
If pasta makes you feel bloated, zucchini noodles are a great alternative.

7. Goat's cheese brûlée salad

Recipe and image from Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books).

Serves two (to share).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 baby beetroot, red and yellow
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet raspberry vinegar
  • 150g round of goat's cheese with soft rind (such as Saint-Secret Fromage de Chevre)
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 large handful of watercress
  • 1–2 tablespoons walnuts, broken
  • 1 small spring onion, white part only, julienned
  • Baby rocket (optional)

METHOD

1. Steam the baby beetroot whole in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water with the lid on for 20 minutes, or until they are just cooked through: they are ready when you can pierce them easily with a fork.

2. Refresh under cold running water and use your fingers to rub off the skins.

3. Cut the beetroot into small wedges or cubes and dress with the olive oil, sherry vinegar and raspberry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat the grill to high heat. Line a baking tray with baking paper and put the whole round of goat's cheese on it.

5. Sprinkle the top of the cheese evenly with sugar. Grill for 8–10 minutes until golden and the sugar has caramelised.

5. Place the goat's cheese in the centre of a plate, surrounded by the beetroot (reserving dressing and juice).

6. Arrange the watercress, walnuts, spring onion and baby rocket (if using) around the plate, and drizzle over the reserved dressing.

Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books)
This cheesy dish would be perfect as an entree.

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