The food we eat affects us on every single level. I see it as the one aspect of our healthcare that we can have direct control of; it’s a great way in which we can actively engage with our own health. I think food is a powerful and valid part of the healthcare picture, something we can use safely no matter what type of treatment we are receiving.
Pasta with peas, fennel, mint & parsley
Pasta, the ultimate quickfix dinner, doesn’t have to be a no-no if you choose wholemeal and have it with nutrient-packed ingredients. This gorgeous dish is flavoursome and functional, and the compounds that deliver much of the aromatic flavour are the keys to its beneficial effects.
SERVES: 1 • olive oil, for cooking • 1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced • 2 tablespoons frozen peas • 75g wholemeal spaghetti • 6–7 fresh mint leaves, chopped • 1 sprig fresh parsley, chopped • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese • sea salt and black pepper
1. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the sliced fennel and cook for 4–5 minutes, until softened. Add the peas and cook for another 1–2 minutes. 2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 8–9 minutes, or until al dente (check the instructions on the packet). 3. Drain well, add to the fennel and peas and stir thoroughly. Tear in the mint and parsley leaves and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and stir thoroughly again. Serve topped with the remaining Parmesan.
STAR INGREDIENT Fennel is an unsung hero, but it contains several essential oils that ease bloating by relaxing the gut wall and dispersing gas. It also contains a potent essential oil called anethol, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
heart-healthy red bean smoosh with crunchy crudités
This is very popular lunchtime fare at my house. We often end up chasing each other around the smoosh bowl with a carrot stick, trying to scrape up the last remnants. It’s perfect for taking to work in a lunchbox, or as a starter or snack.
SERVES: 1–2 • 1 x 400g tin aduki beans, drained • 2 cloves garlic, crushed • juice of 1/2 lemon • 4 tablespoons olive oil • a selection of fresh vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers or radishes • sea salt and black pepper
1. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a blender or food processor, season with salt and pepper and blitz into a gorgeous, houmous-like purée. 2. Cut the vegetables into thin sticks or batons. 3. Pack the dip and crudités separately and chill until ready to eat. To serve as a starter, fill a bowl with the bean purée and place in the middle of a large serving plate. Surround with the crudités and devour.
STAR INGREDIENT Garlic contains allicin, which helps to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. It also contains ajoene, which reduces clotting factors, making this an awesome dish for high cholesterol.
immuno-falafels with quinoa & tahini
These are a healthier version of the usual deep-fried falafel. The problem with deepfrying is that oils kept at high temperatures for a long time will develop what are known as trans fats, which are toxic and much worse for you than any fat on its own could be.
SERVES 4 • 200g quinoa • 4 teaspoons bouillon powder • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 2 tablespoons raisins • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds • 25g fresh parsley, chopped • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas • 4 cloves garlic, crushed • 2 teaspoons ground cumin • 1 teaspoon ground coriander • 1 red onion, finely chopped • 2 eggs, lightly beaten • 2 tablespoons wholemeal flour • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for frying • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini • juice of ½ lemon • sea salt and black pepper
1. Put the quinoa in a pan, cover with boiling water, add the bouillon powder and simmer for 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and stir in the cinnamon, raisins, almonds and half the parsley. 2. Place the chickpeas, half the garlic, the remaining parsley, cumin and coriander in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add the onion, eggs and flour, season with salt and pepper and mix well to form a stiff mixture. 3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Shape into small patties and fry in a little olive oil for 2–3 minutes on each side, until starting to turn crispy. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the tahini, olive oil, remaining garlic and lemon juice, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the falafels with the quinoa and tahini dressing.
STAR INGREDIENTS The double whammy of antiviral garlic and zincpacked chickpeas makes this great for immune health.
tofu berry layer
I know, I know. Putting tofu in a dessert sounds about as appealing as reading the phonebook in the rain. But have a little faith in me here! Silken tofu basically just creates a creamy carrier for whatever flavours you want to add.
SERVES 4 • 300g fresh raspberries • 300g fresh blueberries • 1 block silken tofu (usually around 350g) • 1 tablespoon stevia (see right) • 1 tablespoon runny honey, for drizzling
1. Place the tofu, half the blueberries, half the raspberries and the stevia in a blender and blitz into a deep purplecoloured creamy mixture. 2. Next, start layering the dish. Take a tall glass or bowl and place a layer of blueberries and raspberries in the bottom. Put a layer of the creamy berry tofu mixture on top, then repeat until the glass has filled. Chill in the fridge before serving.
STAR INGREDIENTS If you eat tofu as it comes, it tastes like wet pencil rubber. But it allows us to create textures are usually only achievable with slightly naughtier ingredients – it offers creaminess with no trans fats or sugar. It’s a reasonable protein source and contains loads of calcium, too. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that’s truly benign. Many so-called healthy sweeteners claim to be wholesome and in no way damaging to our body, but they send blood-sugar levels sky high as rapidly as sucrose, so I see zero benefit there. But stevia has no influence on blood sugar at all, which means we can finally give foods sweetness without compromising our health. It’s available in health food shops and some supermarkets. The sweetness of different brands varies, so you might need to adjust the quantity accordingly.
READ Healthy Every Day with Dale Pinnock’s favourite everyday Medicinal Chef recipes inside
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