Nutrient-dense smoothie bowls

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Kiwi and Kale Smoothie Bowl with dragon fruit stars and chia seeds

Smoothie bowls are a big craze that started on Instagram with photos of the prettiest recipes that can possibly be created. They are eaten with a spoon to replace a light meal and provide a healthy food source that is quick to prepare.

As there is some chewing involved, this triggers the digestion process to release enzymes which assist to digest our food. Drinking smoothies does not set off the chain of digestion.

To make a smoothie bowl with the right consistency, it is necessary to add frozen fruit and reduce the liquid content. Freeze ripe fruit in zip lock bags and store in the freezer to use in smoothie bowls. Select fruit that is ripe to add natural sweetness. You can also freeze a plant-based milk in an ice cube tray and blend the frozen milk cubes with your other ingredients.

Choose a deep bowl and chill it overnight. Enhance the colours by adding purple carrots and beetroot for a purple smoothie bowl and kale and baby spinach to make a more vibrant green result. Pureed pumpkin and butternut squash can be blended with mango and pineapple and garnished with a choice of colourful toppings that are nutrient dense such as nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, dried fruit, no-added sugar granola and toasted oats.

Prepare all the ingredients and topping before you start the blending process.

Black Forest Smoothie Bowl

Photos: CJ Baldacchino

You will need:
½ purple raw carrot
½ cooked beetroot
4 dates
2 kale leaves
¼ peeled apple
2 frozen bananas
2 cups mixed frozen cherries and cranberries
1 tsp agave
2 tbsp aronia concentrate
2 cups cashew milk
3 tbsp oats

For the topping: 100g fresh cherries, 50g dry roasted flaked almonds and 50g melted dark sugar free chocolate, baby chard.

Chill clean smoothie bowls in the fridge overnight. Add all the ingredients to the blender and combine until it is a smooth consistency. While you are doing this melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie.

Pour into a bowl. Arrange the fresh cherries on top of the smoothie mix. Add some dry roasted flaked almonds.

Pour melted chocolate on the surface of the smoothie mix. It will solidify to form a delicious chocolate topping. Garnish with baby chard.

This is a gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan recipe.

Kiwi and Kale Smoothie Bowl

You will need:
1 ripe frozen banana
½ avocado
3 kale leaves
3 ripe kiwi fruits
½ cucumber, peeled
½ tsp spirulina
½ tsp chia seed
1 tbsp oats
½ cup frozen cashew milk

For the topping: 1 dragon fruit cut into star shapes, a mix of raspberries and blackberries, ½ tbsp chia seeds.

Place two bowls in the fridge overnight. Peel the fruit and vegetables. Roughly chop them together with the frozen banana. Add all the other ingredients. Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Pour the thick puree into chilled bowls and garnish with a mix of berries. Peel a dragon fruit and slice it. Use a cutter to cut out star shapes. Sprinkle some more chia seeds and serve immediately.

This  is a gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan recipe.

Passion and Pomegranate Smoothie Bowl

You will need:
1 ripe frozen banana
½ cup cooked pumpkin
1 cooked carrot
50g cooked sweet potato
½ cup frozen cashew milk
⅛ tsp fresh turmeric
¼ tsp maca powder
Vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon

For the topping: Seeds from one passion fruit, 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds, ¼ tsp linseed, 1 physalis.

Place two empty bowls in the fridge overnight. Peel the fruit and vegetables. Roughly chop the frozen banana and the vegetables and place together with the other ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Remove the bowls from the freezer and pour the smoothie mixture into them. Top with passion fruit, pomegranate seeds, linseed and physalis and serve immediately.

This is a gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan recipe.

Chocolate Berry Smoothie Bowl

You will need:
½ cup oats
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup frozen cashew milk
1 ripe frozen banana
1 tbsp agave or stevia
150g dark sugar-free chocolate
75g frozen cranberries

For the topping: 75g mixed blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, fresh mint leaves.

Place a smoothie bowl in the fridge overnight. Place the oats, raw cacao powder, cashew milk and grated zucchini in the blender with the frozen cashew milk, frozen banana and cranberries, agave and sugar-free dark chocolate. Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Serve in individual bowls and top with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

This is a gluten-free, vegan and diabetic-friendly recipe.

Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Trade Enquiries:

Seeds and nuts by Good Earth Distributors

Fruit and vegetables come from Big Fresh in Mosta, Oscar’s Fruit and Vegetables in Paola and Barbuto for Organic.  

What to eat in February

nettle-soup-escape

Nettle Soup fortified with spirulina and served with fresh burrata in today’s Sunday Times. Photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

 

February is the time when winter starts to become spring. These recipes feature in-season ingre­dients and some carnival treats. Nettle leaves are young and tender this month, and as we approach the summer the leaves toughen up, so now is the time to make use of them. Use gloves and scissors to…

Source Sunday Times: What to eat in February

I use fresh vegetables by Big Fresh, spirulina by Good Earth and olive oil by Costa d’Oro at J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Eating in: Easy TexMex

escape-tex-mex-eating-in

Easy TexMex in today’s Sunday Times  Photo taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show

We associate Mexican diner food with restaurant food, but creating these dishes at home could not be easier as most of the food can be prepared the day before, making it excellent for entertaining a crowd. It is quick and inexpensive, and an ideal choice for non-confident or starter cooks and for…

Source Sunday Times: A taste of Mexico

Mushroom Almond Pilaf Pie

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Mushroom Almond Pilaf Pie, photo by CJ during a live tv show

‘The mushroom and pilaf pie I made on tv this morning really appeals to me.  The organic leaves of cavolo vecchio encase an aromatic mushroom and almond pilaf fortified with fresh turmeric and with those spices that bring back memories of the Middle East – cardamon, cloves and cinnamon.  The leaves crisp up and the rice remains so moist’

You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
200g mushrooms, sliced
100g beetroot stems
100g swede [nevew in maltese], peeled and chopped
100g toasted flaked almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh turmeric, grated
1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs
200g brown rice
1 all natural stock cube
1 tablespoon grated citrus zest
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cardamon pods
salt and pepper to season

To make the pie:  10 large steamed leaves [kale or nettle or cavolo vecchio or chard]
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons hard grated goats cheese
springform cake tin of 18cm

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan, then fry the onion over low heat until it softens and becomes translucent. Add the spices and grated fresh turmeric. Then add the rice and stock cube and enough water according to the instructions of the pack you are using. Add the chopped swede. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until all the water is absorbed. In the meantime add the chopped beetroot stems and fresh herbs. Cook for 10 mins, then add the grated citrus zest, salt and pepper. Add the toasted almonds. Give it a good stir and remove from heat.

The rice can be served as it is and you can go on to make the pie.

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Aromatic mushroom almond pilaf with fresh turmeric, photo by CJ during a live tv show

Preheat the oven to 200C. Brush a springform tin with olive oil. Line it with the steamed leaves. Fill the cavity with the rice pilaf. Press down and fill it to the top. Cover the top with a layer of leaves and tuck the ends in. Bake for 25 minutes in a hot oven. Remove from the oven and allow to rest of 20 minutes before serving. This dish can also be served cold.

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Baked mushroom almond pilaf baked in cavolo vecchio leaves, photo by CJ during a live tv show

This recipe is gluten free.

My vegetables come from Big Fresh and Barbuto [organic], Brown Rice by Flora and spices by Schwartz at PJ Sutters, natural stock cubes by Kallo and flaked almonds by Good Earth, olive oil by Costa d’Oro  Kitchenware by Tescoma, Tableware by Loft

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is available via Midsea Books</p

Cooking with Amaranth

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Purple Carrot Soup with Crispy Kale thickened with Amaranth.  Photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Amaranth is an ancient, gluten-free superfood associated with the Aztec empire. When raw, it appears to be similar to quinoa but changes completely in texture when it is cooked. Amaranth seeds are nutrient-dense and high in protein and amino acids, calcium and iron. It is comparable to a…

Source The Sunday Times: Superfoods: cooking with Amaranth