Category Archives: Detox

Gluten-free & Dairy-Free Chia Seed Super Salad

Chia seed salad

The sun is streaming into the kitchen and it feels great to be making hot-weather food. Step forward salads – with zingy, fresh ingredients and clean, clear tastes. Making food in this heat becomes as simple as putting some ingredients in a bowl. And when it’s this simple, it’s supereasy to make healthy, nutrient-packed meals.

This salad is full of antioxidant-rich veggies. But the stars of the bowl are the chia seeds. They are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals and the highest amount of omega-3 in any fruit or vegetable. You can use chia seeds to thicken stews, soups, juices and smoothies, to bind flour mixtures together as a substitute for eggs when baking, but also very simply to sprinkle into stir-frys and salads. Ahhh, sunshine and superfoods – a wonderful combination!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g/5½oz mixed salad leaves
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • ½ red, orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced
  • 1 small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Dressing:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small jug.
  2. Using a teaspoon, deseed the cucumber by running the spoon down the centre of the cucumber. Discard the seeds and cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Put the cucumber and the remaining vegetables into a serving bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the dressing and the herbs and mix in gently. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kale Salad with Toasted Seeds

Nourish Kale

In my role at the publishers DBP, I have been working on a book that has just come out – Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook. Written by the team at Penny Brohn Cancer Centre and nutritionist Christine Bailey, it shows you how to create delicious meals, snacks and drinks that are packed with nutrients to support your body if you have cancer.

The introduction to the book explains the role of nutrition in protecting against cancer, helping to alleviate some of the symptoms, and forming a crucial part of any cancer treatment programme. And then there are recipes for shakes, juices, smoothies and breakfasts, soups and light meals, main meals, desserts and baked treats. There are also recipes that are designed specifically to help with the common side effects of treatment. The recipes are easy and quick to prepare, and highly nutritious.

We tried this simple kale salad. I wanted to try it because I’m always looking for ways to make kale taste good. I find it unappetising and bitter, but I know that it’s supergood for you! (Kale is packed with flavonoids – antioxidants that help lower inflammation and protect against cell damage. This cruciferous super-food is also rich in glucosinolates, which can play a primary role in protection against many forms of cancer.) The combination of the tamari-toasted seeds with the avocado/lemon dressing sounded good. And it really was! I served this with steamed fish and it was a great success.  (And by the way, it’s worth making up a batch of the toasted seeds and keeping them for a snack.)

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250g/9oz kale, large stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 200g/7oz/1⅓ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 handful of alfalfa sprouts

Toasted seeds and nuts:

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 6 tbsp mixed seeds, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  1. To make the toasted seeds and nuts, put them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and lightly toast for 1 minute, stirring. As they begin to colour, pour over the tamari and stir to combine. Stir for 1–2 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool.
  2. Put the kale into a large bowl and sprinkle over the garlic salt and yeast flakes, if using. Massage with your hands to allow the kale to soften. Put the avocado, lemon juice, cumin, oil and tamari into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Mix into the kale so that it is thoroughly coated. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle over the alfalfa sprouts and toasted seeds and nuts, then serve. (Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.)

Nutritional Information per serving
Protein 9.8g, Carbohydrates 7.8g of which sugars 4.8g, Fat 24.3g of which saturates 3.1g, Kcals 289

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kale Salad with Toasted Seeds

Nourish Kale

In my role at the publishers DBP, I have been working on a book that has just come out – Nourish: The Cancer Care Cookbook. Written by the team at Penny Brohn Cancer Centre and nutritionist Christine Bailey, it shows you how to create delicious meals, snacks and drinks that are packed with nutrients to support your body if you have cancer.

The introduction to the book explains the role of nutrition in protecting against cancer, helping to alleviate some of the symptoms, and forming a crucial part of any cancer treatment programme. And then there are recipes for shakes, juices, smoothies and breakfasts, soups and light meals, main meals, desserts and baked treats. There are also recipes that are designed specifically to help with the common side effects of treatment. The recipes are easy and quick to prepare, and highly nutritious.

We tried this simple kale salad. I wanted to try it because I’m always looking for ways to make kale taste good. I find it unappetising and bitter, but I know that it’s supergood for you! (Kale is packed with flavonoids – antioxidants that help lower inflammation and protect against cell damage. This cruciferous super-food is also rich in glucosinolates, which can play a primary role in protection against many forms of cancer.) The combination of the tamari-toasted seeds with the avocado/lemon dressing sounded good. And it really was! I served this with steamed fish and it was a great success.  (And by the way, it’s worth making up a batch of the toasted seeds and keeping them for a snack.)

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250g/9oz kale, large stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 200g/7oz/1⅓ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 handful of alfalfa sprouts

Toasted seeds and nuts:

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 6 tbsp mixed seeds, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  1. To make the toasted seeds and nuts, put them in a dry frying pan over medium heat and lightly toast for 1 minute, stirring. As they begin to colour, pour over the tamari and stir to combine. Stir for 1–2 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool.
  2. Put the kale into a large bowl and sprinkle over the garlic salt and yeast flakes, if using. Massage with your hands to allow the kale to soften. Put the avocado, lemon juice, cumin, oil and tamari into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Mix into the kale so that it is thoroughly coated. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle over the alfalfa sprouts and toasted seeds and nuts, then serve. (Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.)

Nutritional Information per serving
Protein 9.8g, Carbohydrates 7.8g of which sugars 4.8g, Fat 24.3g of which saturates 3.1g, Kcals 289

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cannellini Bean, Beetroot & Carrot Soup

Beetroot soup

This soup came about because of a pile of root veggies sitting in my veggie box. When I have beetroot, I usually bake it and make a salad with avocado, nuts, seeds, that sort of thing. Or steam it and serve it as a veggie. But I wanted to do something different, and this was the result.

This is a really delicious soup – and fantastically good for you, too. A combination of sweet, earthy beetroot and carrot, with the creamy cannellini beans and herby parsley make a great flavour combination. What’s more, this soup is great for cleansing and boosting your immune system. Beetroot has powerful detoxing qualities (mainly from the antioxidant betacyanin) as well as being rich in iron and folic acid (which help prevent anaemia and fatigue). The humble carrot is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene which helps fight infection and colds, as well as enhancing vision, skin and digestive function. Carrots and beetroots are also fantastic sources of fibre – as cannellini beans are, too. And this is a great example of how you don’t need to spend tons of money on ingredients to eat nutrient-dense food. Excellent!

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes, plus soaking the beans     Cooking time 1½ hours

Ingredients:

  • 200g/7oz/1 cup dried cannellini beans
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 4 beetroots, peeled and diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1.25l/44fl oz/5 cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable Stock, boiling, plus extra if needed
  • 1 handful parsley leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • dairy-free yogurt, to serve (optional)
  • coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
  1. Put the cannellini beans in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, cover with warm water and leave to soak, covered, for 12 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans and put in a large saucepan. Cover with 1.2l/40fl oz/4¾ cups water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface, then turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 1 hour, until the beans are tender. Drain and leave to one side.
  3. When the beans are nearly cooked, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the onion and fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to turn golden, then stir in the garlic. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes, then add the carrots and beetroot. Pour in the stock and season lightly with salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15–20 minutes until the carrots and beetroot are soft.
  4. Add the cooked beans and parsley, then blend the soup until smooth and add more salt, to taste, and pepper. Serve hot with a spoonful of yogurt drizzled over and some coriander leaves sprinkled on top, if you like.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Tiger Prawns with Cauliflower Couscous

prawns and cauliflower couscous

If, like me, you’re keen to clean up your diet a bit, following on from a cake-filled Christmas holiday (!), you might like The S Factor Diet, by Lowri Turner. You probably know Lowri from TV but she’s also a nutritionist who writes for, among others Grazia, Now Diet and Mother & Baby. According to Lowri, this is “a diet that can put a smile on your face!”. Apparently certain hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, leptin and adrenals, can increase your appetite, send cravings sky-high, make you feel depressed and demotivated, and cause your body’s natural fat-burning process to dwindle. You can rebalance those hormones in your body easily with certain foods like chicken, avocados, bananas, fish, nuts and seeds, and dark green and brightly coloured veggies. And Lowri’s book shows you how to work out which hormones are out of kilter, and which foods you need to eat to rebalance them – and gives you lovely recipes, too.

I tried this recipe yesterday for lunch. And, although Zoë insisted on a version without chopped herbs (“yuk, green bits”), it was really good. I have been wanting to try cauliflower ‘couscous’ for a while and it was great. Super-easy to make (you just whizz cauliflower florets in a food processor) and, with the lemon juice, sweet paprika and herbs, it had a lovely taste. And the prawns were gorgeous – really tender, with loads of garlic.

Prawns are a good source of lean protein, which is great for all your S Factor hormones, especially dopamine. And, by swapping normal wheat couscous for cauliflower ‘couscous’ you immediately reduce the starch and calorie content, which helps rebalance all of these hormones – and, of course, it’s gluten-free!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 3 hours marinating     Cooking time 6 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g/14oz raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

For the marinade:

  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the couscous:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 handful of finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. To make the marinade, put all of the ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the prawns to the marinade and toss well, making sure the prawns are covered in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the “couscous”. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles couscous grains. Transfer to a bowl, stir in all of the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the prawns from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread about 6 prawns onto each of 4 skewers. Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat and cook the prawns, brushing with the reserved marinade, for about 2–3 minutes on each side until they are pink and cooked through. Remove the skewers and divide the prawns and “couscous” into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, if you like.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 148kcal  Protein 21.3g  Carbohydrates 4.3g  Fat 5.6g