Tag Archives: healthy recipes

Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

It’s pancake day! It’s pancake day! It’s p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p pancake day!

Just me? Okay then.

Such are the joys of being on holidays that, despite it being a Tuesday, I could spend a lazy hour making and savouring these delicious pancakes. I was inspired by a post on Esme and the Laneway featuring banana bread covered in lashings of yoghurt and raspberries and topped with crumbled pistachios. It just looked so pretty (the colours!), and I knew it would taste delicious, too. So I thought, since it’s Shrove Tuesday today, I’d do a pancake version instead. And I think I’ve hit upon a new weekend breakfast standard. These things are way too good to just have once a year…

Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

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Makes 2 serves

For the pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup white self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp natvia (or 2 tbsp sugar)
  • 2 tbsp light ricotta
  • Cooking spray

For the topping:

  • 200g strawberries
  • 30g pistachios
  • 80g low-fat vanilla yoghurt
  • 20g honey

Mix the two types of flour together in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and quickly stir until well combined. Lightly spray a pan and add 2-3 pancake-size dollops of batter at a time (depending on your mad pancake skills, and/or how big your pan is), turning when the batter starts to bubble. Hull and slice the strawberries and roughly chop the pistachios. When your pancakes are done, stack and assemble: dollop yoghurt on top, drizzle with honey, add your strawberries and top with pistachios.

So. Good. And these babies come in at only 483 calories per serve. And none of this ‘one pancake is a serve’ business – these are decent stacks! They use ricotta instead of butter (it tastes better, I swear – lighter and fluffier, which is ideal for pancakes!), almond milk instead of milk (again – pancakes that taste slightly nutty is a win in my book) and natvia instead of sugar (I didn’t notice the difference). I also substituted half the flour with wholemeal for longer-lasting energy. If I’d made these the ‘normal’ way, they’d be 737 calories per serve. Big difference! That’s the best thing about learning to make healthy substitutions – you can still eat the food you want, you just find ways to make it lighter and better for you. Having said that, I still wanted pistachios on top of these, and I wasn’t about to substitute them for no thing, no how! It’s all about striking a balance. Here’s a list of easy swaps you can make for day-to-day things:

  • Almond milk instead of milk (about half the calories, higher in protein – lower in calcium though, so make sure you’re getting your calcium elsewhere!)
  • Low-fat vanilla yoghurt in place of cream/ice cream with desserts (surprisingly awesome!)
  • Multigrain bread instead of white (Lawson’s seed and grain bread is the bomb)
  • Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese (I used to eat carrot sticks and Philly on a regular basis but cottage is much lower in calories!)
  • Cooking spray instead of oil (it’s the same thing but you use less and get better coverage)
  • Rice crackers instead of potato chips (rice crackers can still be a pretty high-calorie snack as they’re so moreish – check the nutrition label)
  • Brown rice instead of white (takes longer to cook but keeps you fuller longer, so you don’t need as much as you would white rice)
  • Light wholemeal pita bread instead of pizza bases
  • White corn tortillas in place of wheat ones
  • Homemade sweet potato chips instead of frozen chips/wedges (just chop, season and roast – easy as)
  • Multigrain/wholemeal anything instead of white (wholemeal will usually give you longer-lasting energy)

And some cheeky halves I enjoy:

  • Use half beans and half mince instead of all mince when making anything Mexican (lower in calories and cheaper!)
  • Substitute wholemeal flour for half the white flour when baking (see above!)
  • Half wholemeal pasta and half white (wholemeal can take a bit longer to cook – check the packet to be sure)

Substitutions I’ve tried or heard good things about, but have yet to cook myself:

  • Chocolate mousse made with avocado and cocoa instead of eggs (delicious, creamy, vegan, and doesn’t taste like avocados, I swear!)
  • Banana icecream, made out of nothing but bananas (also vegan!)
  • Nutritional yeast instead of cheese (again… vegan)
  • Quinoa instead of rice (higher in protein!)

Do you know of any good healthy substitutions? Or amazing pancake-spiration for Shrove Tuesday?

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Veguary day 6: Veggie soft tacos

I’ve already spoken about my obsession with soft tacos. I never understood how great they were until I left home and started cooking for myself. There’s no need for a side dish or any planning whatsoever – just chuck things into a tortilla and devour. My non-Veguary standard easy dinner is composed of: 2 soft tacos, 100g prawns (both of which can be kept in the freezer), enchilada sauce, spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, garlic and chilli (all of which I always have on hand in the fridge). The vegetarian version takes a little more forethought, but not much! It’s inspired (read: stolen) from Mad Mex, one of those Mexican ‘nouveau takeaway’ chains where you pick your burrito style, pick a protein, add one of a variety of salsas, and they make it for you on the spot. Kind of like a Mexican Subway, but… well, nicer, and somewhat less processed.

Roast veggie soft tacos!

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  • 2 white corn tortillas
  • 1 portabella mushroom
  • 1/4 eggplant
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • Handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 lebanese cucumber
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 125g can 4 bean mix (use black beans if you can find them!)
  • Old El Paso enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 20g light tasty cheese
  • Olive oil and pepper

Pop the mushroom, capsicum, eggplant and zucchini in a baking dish, add a splash of olive oil, pepper and any herbs you have on hand, and roast on 180C for 30-50 minutes, depending on how hungry you are. When you’re 5 minutes away from hunger implosion, brown the onion and garlic in a small saucepan, then add beans and enough sauce to cover. In a dry (not oiled) frying pan, toast the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side. Layer each tortilla up with the roasted veggies and bean mix, with a few slices of avocado and a sprinkling of cheese on each one. Pop the tacos back into the oven to melt the cheese while you cut the cherry tomatoes in half, chop the cucumber into slices, and take the spinach out of its bag and put it onto a plate (salad: done!). Add the now-melty-and-delicious tacos to your plate. Arriba!

Total calories: 367.

PS: this is a very easy dish to make twice the amount of for the next evening. Just make double the roast veg and use the whole tin of beans (plus two cloves of garlic and half an onion instead of a quarter) and keep the roast veggies and bean mix in containers in the fridge, ready to reheat – you can toast the tortillas and assemble it all in no time the next day!

I really do implore anyone committed to the ideal of being healthy while maintaining absolute laziness to keep a selection of roast-able veggies in the crisper, ready to go. There’s nothing worse than getting home from a massive day and knowing that, before you can even EAT, you have to think of something to cook, go to the shops, and then cook the damn thing. Any meal involving roast veg generally tastes like it’s taken a bunch of effort, despite being very much a ‘set and forget’ kind of situation.

Also, I discovered the wonders of white corn tortillas at my local Coles while comparing labels. I was tossing up between the ‘light’ and ‘multigrain’ options when I noticed these little fellas on the bottom shelf. They’re super low in calories (90 calories for two – even the 96% fat free tortillas are 130 calories for one) as they’re made from corn instead of wheat. You do have to toast them lightly in a pan before you use them or they’ll taste a bit gluey. But at 45 calories apiece, you can afford to go all out with your fillings, which is a much more satisfying way to eat anyway!

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