As the days grow shorter, The Healthy Chef shares a perfect 10-minute immunity-boosting meal and the comfort of a deliciously healthy banana bread.
Spelt and honey banana bread
Here is one of my favourite banana breads of all time! It’s the recipe I developed when I first started my Healthy Chef Cafe in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, many years ago. I absolutely love this bread’s wonderful texture and depth of flavour. This makes a nice change from typical store bought and café-style banana breads that are generally high in refined white flour, sugar and saturated fats. It’s important to bake this in a slow oven for around 1 hour, and a little more if needed. This bread will keep really well in the fridge for up to a week.
What’s great about it?
Bananas are a terrific energy food and a great source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. They add moisture and sweetness to baked goods, which means you can reduce the amount of sweetener and oil considerably. I love using olive oil and macadamia oil when baking, they are both delicious sources of monounsaturated fats that can help support good health and wellbeing. Wholemeal spelt has a higher amino acid profile than regular wheat flours, and is also high in fibre with a low GI for sustained energy.
Makes 1 loaf
450g smashed ripe banana
100g olive oil or macadamia nut oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
175g coconut, desiccated
180g spelt flour, wholemeal
Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced). Combine smashed banana, eggs, honey, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and oil into a large mixing bowl. Add coconut and spelt flour. Mix through until combined. Spoon bread mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper (a tin roughly 10cm by 26cm works well). Decorate the top of the bread by adding halved banana and brush the tops with a little olive oil and melted honey. Bake for 1 hour or until the bread has cooked through. Cool completely in the tin before removing. Serve at room temperature or lightly toasted and enjoy.
Serve toasted with nut butter or ricotta and honey
Perfect for school lunch boxes.
Warm kale, quinoa and feta salad
This delicious meal is rich in super food goodness. High in antioxidants and restorative minerals to boost energy and vitality, it’s quick to make for a weekday dinner and any leftovers can be taken to work the next day for lunch. I love to vary the superfood greens that I use, based on what’s in season or what I have lying around in the fridge. Kale, leek and spinach marry perfectly in this meal, and I also love using other greens such as asparagus or broccoli.
What’s great about it?
Kale is part of the cabbage family and this wonderful vegetable is a good source of all three antioxidants: beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. It is also rich in naturally occurring glucosinolates, which help in the fight against cancer. Leeks are part of the veggie family called allium vegetables, the same as garlic and onions. They contain the flavonoid kaempferol that can help protect the body from oxidative stress. Quinoa is high in protein and contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Including quality protein sources into your meals every day supports fat loss and a healthy metabolism. Remember, for fat loss it is recommended you get around 120g of protein per day to aid satiety and support lean muscle.
1 cup quinoa
1½ cups water
1 medium sized leek (trimmed, halved, washed and sliced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch flat leaf kale (cavolo nero) washed, trimmed and finely sliced
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
¼ cup parsley chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
100g Persian feta, goats cheese or labna
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Wash quinoa under running water and drain. Combine in a pot with water, cover and bring to the boil, then cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest for a further 10 minutes. Sauté leek in a large pan with the olive oil until softened. Add shredded kale and cook until softened. Add cooked quinoa and the juice from the lemon, then fold through. Add baby spinach, parsley, spring onion and a little salt and pepper. Serve in the pan topped with feta and enjoy.
If you prefer, use avocado in place of feta
To reduce cooking time on a weeknight, cook the quinoa beforehand and store in the fridge.
Teresa Cutter, aka The Healthy Chef, is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking and the author of the Purely Delicious recipe book. A chef, nutritionist and fitness professional, she combines her knowledge of food, diet and exercise to develop delicious recipes that maximise health and wellbeing. thehealthychef.com