3 Game-Changing Healthy Dinner Ideas

They might even be easier than popcorn or cereal. Kinda.

By: Noah Lehava

We get it, scrambling to put together a somewhat edible dinner after a longer than 9-to-5 day is challenging in itself. Not to mention, whipping up something that packs in whole and nutritious ingredients rather than, you know, microwavable pre-packaged and likely processed meals. We mean, we did all hear the latest breaking food news that bacon is, gasp, up there in toxic levels as asbestos and cigarettes... And because we’re always striving to be our healthiest and best-ever selves, it’s people like Donna Hay and her new upcoming cookbook, The New Easy, that make actually cooking delicious and healthy meals, well, easy. As in, it’s almost easier than making popcorn. Almost…

 


 

Quinoa, Kale and Preserved Lemon Fritters

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

4 cups (760g) cooked white quinoa*
4 eggs
1¼ cups (250g) fresh ricotta
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon rind*
6 stalks kale, stems removed and shredded
½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for frying
200g store-bought tzatziki
small flat-leaf parsley leaves, sumac* and lemon wedges, to serve

 

ONE >> Place the quinoa, eggs and ricotta in a bowl and mix well to combine.

TWO >> Add the preserved lemon, kale, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well to combine.

THREE >> Heat a little of the oil in large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

FOUR >> Shape ¼ cups of mixture into patties and cook, in batches, for 3–4 minutes each side or until the fritters are golden and crisp.

FIVE >> Set aside and keep warm.

SIX >> Divide the fritters between plates and serve with the tzatziki, parsley, sumac and lemon wedges.

 


 

Moroccan Cauliflower Salad

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

1 x 1kg head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into thick slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup small dill sprigs
sea salt and cracked black pepper
150g wild rocket (arugula) leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup (85g) pomegranate seeds

 

tahini dressing

½ cup (140g) plain (natural) yoghurt
2 tablespoons tahini paste*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
⅓ cup (80ml) water

 

ONE >> Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

TWO >> To make the tahini dressing, combine the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and water and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

THREE >> Combine the cauliflower, oil, dill, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Place on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and roast for 20–25 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden.

FOUR >> Arrange the cauliflower, rocket and parsley on a serving platter and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Serve with the tahini dressing.

 


 

Recipes and photos from The New Easy by Donna Hay © Donna Hay Pty Ltd 2014. Photographs © Willam Meppem 2014. Published by Harpercollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Fig, Goat Cheese and Honey Tarts

Serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

1 sheet (200g) store-bought sweet shortcrust pastry*
100g soft goat cheese
100g fresh ricotta
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
4 fresh figs, sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves

 

ONE >> Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

TWO >> Cut the pastry into 4 x 12 cm rounds.

THREE >> Combine the goat cheese, ricotta, sugar and lemon rind and mix until smooth. Spread the mixture over the pastry leaving a 1cm border.

FOUR >> Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden.

FIVE >> Top with the figs, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with the thyme to serve.

 

Tip: see glossary to make your own sweet shortcrust pastry.

 

 


 From the Glossary 


 

QUINOA

Although quinoa looks like a grain, it’s actually a seed originating from South America. Packed with protein, it has a chewy texture and nutty flavor and is fluffy when cooked. The most common variety is white, which is mild in taste, while the red variety has a stronger flavour and crunch. You can use it as you would couscous or rice.

 

PRESERVED LEMON

Preserved lemons are lemons rubbed with salt, packed in jars, covered with lemon juice and left for about four weeks. They’re often flavoured with cloves, cinnamon or chilli. Discard the flesh, rinse and chop the rind for use in cooking. They are popular in Moroccan cuisine, where they are added to tagines, and they also make a zesty salad dressing. Available from delicatessens and speciality food stores.

 

SUMAC

Dried berries of a flowering plant are ground to produce an acidic reddish-purple powder popular in the Middle East. Sumac has a slight lemony flavour and is great sprinkled in salads or on dips.

 

TAHINI PASTE

A thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. Used in Middle Eastern cooking, it is available in jars and cans from supermarkets and health food shops. It is used to make the popular dip hummus.

 

PASTRY
shortcrust
A savoury or sweet pastry that is available ready-made in blocks and frozen sheets. If you can't find store-bought sweet shortcrust in your region, simply sprinkle plain shortcrust liberally with sugar, or make your own.

 

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon iced water

 

ONE >> Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and water. Process until the dough just comes together.

TWO >> Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring together to form a ball. Using your hands, flatten dough into a disc.

THREE >> Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

FOUR >> When ready to use, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick.

FIVE >> To make sweet shortcrust pastry, add ½ cup (80g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar.

Recipes and photos from The New Easy by Donna Hay © Donna Hay Pty Ltd 2014. Photographs © Willam Meppem 2014. Published by Harpercollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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