Thermomix Minestrone Soup with Pasta

I love making soup in the Thermomix. It is so easy and you don’t have to use multiple pots and pans to get a delicious soup. Vegetable soup is definitely one of my favorites! This particular one is an Italian-style minestrone with tons of fibre (from the beans as well as the vegetables) and multiple servings of colorful vegetables. The pumpkin and carrots provide lots of vitamin A, while the broccoli provides vitamins K and C. You can leave out the pasta or substitute it for gluten-free pasta if you are gluten-sensitive.

Thermomix Minestrone Soup with Pasta (adapted from the Everyday Cookbook by Thermomix Australia)

Ingredients
1. One small handful Italian parsley
2. A few basil leaves
3. 1 onion peeled and halved
4. 4 cloves garlic
5. 30g olive oil
6. 400g diced vegetables of choice (Mushrooms, Carrot, Broccoli, pumpkin, zucchini, Peas) – I used pumpkin, carrot, zucchini and broccoli
7. 400g tin chopped tomatoes
8. 2x 400g tin cannelini beans, lentils, chickpeas drained – I chose lentils and chickpeas
9. 3 tsp chicken or vegetable salt reduced stock powder
10. 650g water
11. 50g Tomato Paste
12. Sea Salt to taste
13. 100g pasta shells

Instructions
Place parsley and basil into thermomix (TM) bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Set aside.
Place onion & garlic into TM bowl and chop for 3 sec/speed 7, add oil and saute 3mins/varoma/speed 1
Add all remaining ingredients  (including herbs) except peas (if using), legumes and pasta shells and cook for 15 minutes at 100ºC on Reverse + speed soft. (speed 1)
Add legumes, pasta (and peas) and cook for a further 10 minutes at 100ºC on Reverse +
speed soft.(speed 1)

Nutrition: High in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K.
Low fat, vegetarian (if you use vegetable stock), high fibre, low calorie

Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta

There is nothing better than coming home after a long day of seeing clients to find your wonderful husband has not only cooked a delicious dinner but has also cleaned the kitchen (this was the happiest part)! This is the recipe for the surprise pasta dish that I found in my kitchen – a Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta.

To make it have a little more fibre and to reduce the carbohydrate load, I’d suggest replacing all (or half) of the spaghetti with zucchini pasta.  Recipe for that is here.  I would also add some chopped mushrooms and broccolini if I were to cook it next time (hey, I have to give him credit for trying!).

What you need for the Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta…

CHICKEN MARINADE

–         4 (about 200g each) chicken breast fillets

–         60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice

–         1 teaspoon sweet paprika

–         1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

–         1 tablespoon olive oil

SAUCE AND PESTO

–         1/2 red onion, finely chopped

–         150g baby spinach leaves

–         2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

–         1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked

–         100g reduced-fat feta

–         45g (1/3 cup) almonds

–         2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

–         60ml (1/4 cup) light and creamy evaporated milk

–         40ml (2 tbspn) olive oil, extra

SPAGHETTI

–         500g dried spaghetti pasta  (see option below)

 

How to make the magic happen…

  1. Slice each chicken breast into 3-4cm pieces.  Combine lemon juice, paprika and oregano in a bowl; add chicken and marinate for approx 30 minutes in fridge.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the spinach just wilts. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor.
  3. Add basil, feta, almonds, and pecorino/parmesan to the spinach mixture. Process until finely chopped. Add evaporated milk and extra oil. Process until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Add the spinach pesto and toss to combine.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill on medium-high. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice the chicken across the grain.
  6. Divide the pasta mixture and chicken among serving plates.

*Option – Replace some or all of the spaghetti and include zucchini pasta instead.

 

In the Thermomix…

CHICKEN MARINADE

  1. Slice each chicken breast into 3cm pieces.  Combine lemon juice, paprika and oregano in a bowl; add chicken and marinate for approx 30 minutes in fridge.
  2. While chicken is marinating move onto making sauce.

SAUCE AND PESTO

  1. Place onion and garlic in TM bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7.  Scrape sides of bowl, add 10g olive oil and cook for 3 minutes at 100C on speed 1.  Add spinach and cook for 1.5 minutes at 100C on speed 1.
  2. Leave spinach mixture in bowl and add basil, feta, almonds and parmesean.  Set dial to  and turbo 2-3 times.  Add evaporated milk and 20g remaining olive oil and mix for 5 seconds on speed 3.  Set aside in Thermoserver.

COOKING CHICKEN AND SPAGHETTI

  1. Place 1 litre warm water into TM bowl.
  2. Place marinated chicken into the varoma dish and set into position.  Cook for 20-25 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2, turning once during cooking.
  3. While chicken is cooking, cook spaghetti on stove so it is all ready at some time.
  4. Place chicken and spaghetti into thermoserver with sauce and toss to combine.  Let it stand for 5 minutes, the sauce will thicken and coat the spaghetti.
  5. Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese.

Bean & Beetroot Brownies

  These densely succulent morsels of beaniness (yep, that’s a new word!) come after many requests for ideas for healthy, chocolately sweet treats. You all said it couldn’t be done – but here it is – a healthy brownie! And trust me, even my doubter of a husband who loves proper brownies with all their fatty goodness, said they were delish.  You get all that yumminess, plus it is high in fibre and allergy friendly too! This also comes at a great time as the school year is almost ready to start again (wow, where did the school holidays go…bet the parents out there don’t quite agree with me there). Great for a low sugar treat for everybody but see the hint down the bottom if you want a little more sweetness to start with. ENJOY!

These brownie are DAIRY FREE, EGG FREE, VEGAN, LOW GI, SUGAR FREE & HIGH FIBRE.  Could be GLUTEN FREE if the flour is substituted for a good quality gluten free flour like White Wing’s plain flour.  Could be NUT FREE if nuts are left out.

brownies

What you need…

  • 2 cup/250 g dates
  • 1 small beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup/180 g unsweetened applesauce (IXL brand has no added sugar) … OR make your own in your Thermomix by blitzing cored apples with a few tablespoons of water for 10 seconds at speed 8, then cooking at 90º for 8 minutes at speed 4 with the measuring cup off, then blitzing on speed 8 for another 10 seconds)
  • 2 tablespoons/15 g ground flaxseed/linseed (grind prior in Thermomix or food processor)
  • 400 g cooked or canned beans (equiv to 2 x 400g cans, drained) – any variety is fine but I used 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of red kidney beans)
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup/30 g cacao powder
  • 3/4 cup/100 g flour (could use gluten free flour)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup/110 g walnuts or macadamias (optional)

 

How the magic happens…

Doing it the traditional way:

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C
  2. In a food processor, roughly chop nuts, then set aside.beetroot and date
  3. Chop the dates into small pieces (either by hand or in food processor).
  4. Combine black beans, beetroot, dates and applesauce in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Add cacao, ground flaxseed and vanilla. Blend again.
  6. Fold through the flour and bicarb soda. If mixture is too dry, add another few tablespoons of apple sauce.
  7. Gently stir through nuts (leave some aside to put on top)
  8. Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin.  Top with extra nuts if desired.
  9. Bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.

 

Thermomix magic…

  1. Roughly chop the nuts for 3 seconds at speed 4, then set aside.puree
  2. Blend dates with peeled, halved beetroot for 30 seconds at speed 10.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and lid, then add applesauce, flaxseed, beans, vanilla and cacao. Blend for 30 seconds at speed 8, using the spatula to scrape the bowl while processing. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then blend for another 20 seconds at speed 8. Mixture should be thoroughly homogenised.
  4. Add the flour and baking soda, and mix on Reverse at speed 3 for 20 seconds, using the spatula to push the mixture down into the blades. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then mix for another 10 seconds at speed 3. Repeat as necessary until all the flour is mixed in.
  5. Add the chopped nuts and mix for 10 seconds on Reverse at speed 3.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin and bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.

Hint:   If you’re weaning your children (or yourself) off sweet foodS, you may want to substitute 1 cup of a relatively unprocessed sweetener such as coconut sugar or rapadura for 1 cup of the dates.

 

Quirky Quinoa Salad

We have posted about how much we love the super grain Quinoa before (check it out here) so I thought we should post another recipe for you all to try!  I made this for a family Summer BBQ we had last weekend.  I knew my sisters would love it however I was less certain about the boys in my family.  Our boys love salad – but they are very quick to tell you how much they hate the way we add ‘all that other junk’ (i.e chickpeas, fruit, noodles) to them – they just want normal green salads ‘like mum makes it’.  Time to think outside the box guys!

The result? My husband was at first cautious about this strange looking salad but I think it was proof that he loved it when he scoffed all of the salad leftovers before any of the others the following day!  SUCCESS!

If you’d like to make this more substantial (i,e as a complete meal), add some chicken or boiled eggs. Perfect for lunches as it can be pre-made just leave the dressing in a separate container until ready to eat.

This salad is GLUTEN FREE, LOW GI HIGH FIBRE.  Leave out the white part of the spring onions and the chickpeas to make it LOW FODMAPS.

quinoa salad

What you need…

  • 170g (1 cup) mixed coloured quinoa as desired, soaked in enough water to cover for minimum 30 minutes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tin (425g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ sweet potato or pumpkin (approx. 250g), sliced approx. 1 cm thick pieces
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 4 spring onion/shallots, sliced on the angle
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced thinly
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 100 g reduced fat feta, cubed
  • 100g (approx) mixed toasted nuts and seeds, (I used walnut, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pepitas lightly roasted in the oven on a baking tray)
  • ½ bag mixed salad greens or baby spinach
  • Few Italian parsley leaves (optional)

 

Dressing:

  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 30g (1-2 tbspn) tamari or soy sauce
  • 40g fresh lemon juice (or juice of approx. 2 small lemons)
  • 30g (1-2 tbspn) extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

 

How the magic happens…

Doing it the traditional way:

  1. Combine water and quinoa in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat chargrill or oven grill on med-high. Spray lightly with oil. Cook the sweet potato/pumpkin for 8-10 minutes or until slightly tender. Break up roughly into large pieces.
  3. Add the all other ingredients to the quinoa.
  4. Blend together the lemon juice, garlic, oil and soy sauce until well combined.  Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture.
  5. Toss salad gently.  Top with extra seeds and serve!

 

Thermomix magic:

  1. Drain quinoa and place into simmering basket. Fill Thermomix bowl to 1L mark with water and set basket into bowl.
  2. Place the lid on the bowl, with Varoma on top, and pumpkin/sweet potato spread evenly in Varoma dish. Ensure it is spread apart enough that steam can get through.
  3. Steam quinoa 18 min/Varoma temp/speed 2. Remove basket from bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the salad by combining all remaining salad ingredients.
  5. Make dressing by placing all ingredients into Thermomix bowl and blending 20 sec/speed 8.
  6. Pour over prepared salad and add quinoa. Toss gently.
  7. Garnish with additional seeds, nuts, spring onions etc.

 

Recipe inspired by Quirky Cooking and Tenina

 

Zucchini, Carrot and Sweet Potato Slice

I love eggs! And I love zucchini slice even more!  To be honest, my Mum makes the best zucchini slice in the world (doesn’t everybody’s mum?)…pretty surprising considering my Mum absolutely hates egg. 

I think the reason I love zucchini slice so much is that it is such an easy food to eat at any time of the day – meal or snack.  It also freezes beautifully for those (many) times when you just haven’t had enough time to prepare lunch/dinner – all you need is some salad to put with it.  As well as all this, it is a great source of protein and fibre and an easy way to hide vegetables for the big and little kids. 

So here we go, my take on zucchini slice…and trust me, it is VERY easy…and VERY tasty…in fact, my husband told me it tasted better than my Mum’s (but don’t tell her that because she may not feed him any more).

 

zucchini slice

 

Ingredients

6 eggs (could use 3 eggs + 3-4 egg whites)

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour (or gluten free flour), sifted

350g (approx 3) zucchini, grated, excess moisture squeezed

250g (approx 2) carrots, grated

1 small sweet potato, grated

1 large onion, finely diced

150g salt reduced ham, chopped

1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, cubed if thermomix, grated if normal recipe

60ml (1/4 cup) olive or rice bran oil

1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs

1 tbspn parsley, finely chopped (optional)

1 tbspn fresh basil, finely chopped (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

 

How the magic happens…

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a lasagne dish.
  2. To grate/dice vegetables, add vegetables to food processor and chop until finely diced.  If no food processor, grate or chop as described above.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until combined.
  4. Add the flour and beat until smooth
  5. Add zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, onion, ham, cheese, oil, herbs and spices and stir to combine.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Thermomix Version…

  1. Grease a ceramic or glass lasagne dish.
  2. Cube cheddar cheese, place in the TM bowl and grate on 5 secs / speed 6.  Set aside.
  3. Place onion and bacon in the TM bowl and chop on speed 5 for 2-3 seconds.  Set aside with cheese.
  4. Place zucchini, carrot, sweet potato in the TM bowl and chop on speed 5 for 3-4 seconds
  5. Add SR flour, oil, eggs and salt/pepper to the TM bowl and mix on speed 4 for 20 seconds.
  6. Return cheese, zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, onion and bacon to the TM bowl and combine all ingredients on speed 3 for 30-40 seconds on reverse (or until combined).
  7. Pour mixture into the prepared dish and bake in a pre-heated moderate oven for approximately 40 minutes or until browned.  
  8. Serve warm (or cold!) with salad.

 

ENJOY!