Inspirational ideas for everyday ingredients

October 11 2016

Sure, we all know that kale, chickpeas and fresh berries are great ingredients for a healthy meal, but it’s often hard to think up new ways to prepare and serve them. Offering a bit mealtime inspiration, Clean Eating Alice shares with us some exciting new ways to cook up a few of our most-consumed superfoods:

Kale

Rich in micronutrients, vitamin K, C, A, and a great source of fibre, my favourite way to cook kale is to sauté it. Simply cook it in butter or coconut oil, and then add a sprinkling of sea salt flakes and spices like sumac (which can be bought in nearly any supermarket). Kale is bitter, so pairing it with salt and spices takes that away.

Alternatively, you can roast it and make kale chips – this is also a favourite of mine. It's super easy: With your hands, massage a little bit of melted coconut oil onto the kale. Heat oven to 180 degrees, place it on a tray and then bake it for 10 minutes. The result is a really nice snack, a perfect alternative to crisps. On top, add a few sea salt flakes too.

Broccoli

My favourite thing to do with broccoli is to make rice from it. Throw chopped broccoli into a blender, blitz it, and then sauté it in garlic, cumin, sea salt flakes, black pepper and lemon juice. Finally stir through some pumpkins seeds for a bit of healthy fat. For sweetness, add cranberries or pomegranate seeds – that's also really nice!

I also like to roast broccoli, which other people don't tend to do. I baste the broccoli olive oil with a brush, sprinkle it with sea salt flakes and put it into a hot oven for 20 minutes, not too long. This then gives the broccoli a crispy texture, which is very, very tasty. Alternatively, you can just steam it or sauté it in coconut oil. Don't boil it, however – that's when you lose the goodness.

Chickpeas

My favourite thing to do with chickpeas is to roast them. You can do that with all sorts of spices but I like the mixture of turmeric, ground cumin and all spice. Cover the chickpeas in olive oil, toss them in the spices and a few sea salt flakes, and then roast them for 20-30 minutes. They then go crispy and they're so delicious. They're such a great snack, full of protein and they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Chickpeas are also a really good source of dietary fibre, which will help regulate your bowels and keep you guy healthy. They’re such a healthy alternative to other processed snacks, plus they're so cheap and easy to make!

Beetroot

I have a recipe for beetroot porridge, which doesn't necessarily sound that nice, but it is! Beetroot's quite an earthy flavour so I always mix it with strawberries or raspberries, which have a natural sweetness. For the porridge, I use beetroot juice mixed with crushed berries and almond milk, and then I mix that through hot cooked oats.

Like many other veg, I also like to roast it – I think it brings out the best flavour. Roast the beetroot in a little bit of olive oil and then have it with rocket and goats cheese for a good combination of fat and protein.

Aubergine

One of my favourite veggies at the moment is aubergine. I's full of vita-nutrients and vita-chemicals that are really good for you, and it's full of antioxidants too.

Cooking-wise, I recommend brushing it with olive oil, sprinkling it with a few sea salt flakes, cutting it into long wedges and then roasting it in the oven for 30 minutes – it's delicious! The reason I use sea salt flakes quite a lot is because it takes the moisture out of it and it doesn't go as soggy. Obviously don't use loads, but the salt does help to draw some of the moisture out of it.

Another idea is to cut the aubergine in half, drizzle in olive oil and sea salt flakes, roast it and then top the halves with some Greek yoghurt, crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds. Yum.

Banana

My favourite thing to make with a banana is a banana omelette. Everyone thinks of omelettes as being savoury, but mash a banana, mix it with two whole eggs, a little bit of almond milk, a pinch of cinnamon, and voila! It's life changing! Add some berries to that too, like strawberries or raspberries or blackberries, and it's delicious.

Blackberries

Blackberries are lovely winter berries. As a really good breakfast or a carbohydrate kick I suggest heating them in the microwave, mixing them through, and then stirring them through Greek yoghurt. Adding a bit of cinnamon and some seeds on top is a great way to finish this off.

For more of delicious and healthy recipes, see our Clean Eating Alice hub page or pick up some of her recipe cards at your local Fitness First gym.