With Easter on the horizon, thoughts turn to all things chocolate… The Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter, is no exception – but her smoothie recipe will make for the healthiest choccy-inspired treat you enjoy all season.
Re-energise and revitalise with this delicious and nutritious ‘heaven in a cup’ smoothie. Hydrating and refreshing, it’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long day’s work or study. The combination of cacao, coconut water and berries gives you a nutritious energy kick – and it’s also ideal in the afternoon when you are craving something sweet and chocolatey!
This super smoothie really packs a powerful punch! Firstly, coconut water is a natural isotonic drink – it’s one of the best hydrators and fluid replacers in the world. The coconut flesh and liquid are loaded with health benefits and using it in your smoothie will give you a burst of energy and clarity of mind! You can buy young coconuts in most fruit shops and supermarkets.
Secondly, cacao is a super bean, loaded with antioxidants and essential micronutrients for health and vitality. It’s a great source of magnesium, which aids calcium absorption, metabolism and protein synthesis. It also contains iron, copper, calcium and potassium, and has been scientifically proven to reduce risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Next up, berries – from blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to mulberries and cranberries – are not only delicious juicy jewels, but also packed with nutritional goodness. High in fibre, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, fresh, frozen, dried or powdered berries give your smoothie an antioxidant-rich, low-calorie boost.
The next ingredient, native whey protein isolate, such as Healthy Chef Pure Native WPI, is an amazing lactose-free super-protein that aids muscle recovery, tissue growth and repair, and supports immune function and healthy metabolism. Rich in BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine), studies show that BCAA’s can reduce fatigue and improve exercise performance, reduce muscle breakdown and facilitate healing.
Finally, Healthy Chef Organic Super-food is an awesome antioxidant and vitality booster. High in nitrite-rich vegetables, including beetroot, carrot and spinach, it can enhance sports performance and training. Its anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as maqui berry and acai berry, promote recovery and assist in energy metabolism.
Time it takes: 5 minutes
1 fresh young coconut (water and flesh)
1 tablespoon cacao
1 banana (frozen is good)
1 tablespoon Healthy Chef Pure Native WPI
1 tablespoon Healthy Chef Organic Superfood
½ cup frozen berries
Once opened (carefully using a meat cleaver or similar – search online ‘How to Open a Young Coconut’), you can scrape the soft flesh of the coconut out with a spoon. Combine all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
QUINOA PANCAKES WITH ORANGE BLOSSOM HONEY
These gluten-free quinoa pancakes are perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast, drizzled with the seductive flavours of orange and vanilla – and are even more indulgent when scattered with some lightly roasted hazelnuts or other toppings (see notes). It’s important to use the whole seeds when making these pancakes as they produce the best results and a delicious pancake. Don’t use quinoa flour, as this will give it a bitter flavour.
Technically quinoa is not a grain but a relative of green leafy vegetables like spinach. Gluten-free and with a low GI (up to 53), it’s also a ‘complete protein’ which means that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs for tissue growth and repair, such as lysine – making it a perfect post-workout meal. Your body needs protein for repair and quality carbs to replenish glycogen, and quinoa is a good source of both. The eggs will also boost the protein, and the ground flaxseed adds a boost of omega 3 for brain health.
Serves 3 (makes 10 pancakes)
Time it takes: Prep: 10 minutes; soaking: 1 hour or overnight; cooking: 10 minutes
200g quinoa (whole raw grain)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (linseed) or chia
375ml (1½ cups) your choice of milk (soy, almond, dairy, seed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 free range/organic eggs
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2 bananas (smashed)
Orange blossom honey (optional)
2 whole oranges
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
Combine whole quinoa, flaxseed and milk and soak for at least one hour, but preferably overnight. Place in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, along with vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and baking soda.
Blend until smooth and creamy. Remove and fold in the smashed banana by hand, but don’t blend. Cook in a pan over low-medium heat until golden. Serve with orange blossom honey or your preferred topping.
To make the orange blossom honey, combine the zest of 1 orange and the juice of 2 oranges in a pan with the honey and vanilla. Add the blossom water only if you have it – it will add another layer of flavour. Reduce the liquid until thickened, then spoon over the pancakes.
Nutrition per serve (1 pancake without sauce)
Total fat: 2.4g
Notes: Feel free to use other toppings such as berries, roasted hazelnuts, roasted rhubarb, caramelised apple, thick natural yoghurt or a light drizzle of honey and LSA.
Grated apple can be used in place of banana, and millet can be used in place of quinoa.
It’s important to use a good high speed blender for making these pancakes. The final pancake mix should look creamy and smooth before cooking.
Teresa is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking and the founder of The Healthy Chef, a company dedicated to improving health and wellbeing. A qualified chef with over 20 years’ experience, as well as a nutritionist and fitness professional, she has combined her knowledge of food, diet and exercise to develop healthy recipes for people who love food but want to maximise their health and wellbeing. For more information visit www.thehealthychef.com