• The Healthy Life

    Food & Wine |
  • A healthy lifestyle is something many strive to achieve, but with so much information out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.

    Jessica Sepel’s ‘The Healthy Life’ is packed full of advice from the Sydney-based nutritionist, as she advocates tuning into your body and what it needs to find out what foods make you feel great.


    Initially focusing on Jessica’s ten Powerful Principles to find health and healing, Jess outlines her ‘nutrition 101’ before presenting a smorgasbord of wholefood recipes.

    Featuring everything from nourishing breakfasts and main meals to healthy snacks and sweet treats, most are gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo and vegan friendly. But most importantly, they taste great and are very simple to make!


    ZUCCHINI HUMMUS

    Makes about 2 cups. Prep time: 15 minutes

    "There is absolutely nothing wrong with chickpeas. They are incredibly nutritious. But some people really struggle to digest legumes, so this is an alternative to chickpea-based hummus.

    Try it – it’s a total crowd-pleaser and great as a dip, pasta sauce or spread for toast."

    Ingredients

    2 zucchinis, chopped

    ½ cup tahini

    Juice of 1 lemon

    2 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin

    Olive oil + extra to drizzle

    2 tbsp filtered water

    1 clove garlic, crushed

    ½ tsp ground cumin

    ½ tsp turmeric

    Himalayan salt and ground pepper

     

    Method

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil or some water.

    2. Drizzle with extra olive oil to serve, if desired.


    EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI DRESSING AND POMEGRANATE

    Serves 4 Prep time: 55 minutes, including cooking.

    Ingredients

    2 large, long eggplants

    ¹⁄³ cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil + extra (to serve)

    1 tbsp lemon thyme + extra

    Whole sprigs to garnish

    Himalayan salt and ground pepper

    1 pomegranate

    1 tbsp zaatar

     

    TAHINI DRESSING

    4 tbsp tahini

    ½ cup Greek-style yoghurt

    Juice of 1 lemon

    2 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

    1 small clove garlic, crushed

    A pinch of salt

     

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

    2. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways. Use a small sharp knife to make 4–5 parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin. Repeat at a 90-degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.

    3. Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the eggplant with the olive oil until all of the oil is absorbed. Sprinkle with the lemon thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35–40 minutes, until the flesh is tender and golden.

    4. Meanwhile cut the pomegranate in half. Hold one half over a bowl, with the cut side against your palm, and use the back of a wooden spoon or a rolling pin to gently knock on the pomegranate shell. Continue beating until the seeds start falling between your fingers into the bowl. Sift through them to remove any bits of membrane.

    5. To make the tahini dressing, whisk together all the ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.

    6. To serve, drizzle the eggplant with the dressing. Sprinkle the zaatar and pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with lemon thyme. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. 


    "A creamy Tahini dressing enhances the eggplant’s smoky flavour, and the pop of pomegranate is out of this world. A recipe inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi."


    LEMON AND CREAM BARS

    Makes 12. Prep time: 2 hours 15 minutes, including freezing.

    Ingredients

    1 cup cashews

    1 cup almond meal

    2 tbsp psyllium husk

    2 heaped tbsp almond butter

    ¹⁄³ cup desiccated coconut

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    2 tbsp rice malt syrup

    4 drops of vanilla stevia liquid

    Juice and zest of 1 lemon

    ¼ cup filtered water

    Shredded coconut and extra

    Lemon zest (to decorate)

    Method

    1. Line a lightly greased 20 cm square baking tin with baking paper.

    2. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until combined. Using a spoon, press the mixture evenly into the tin. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and shredded coconut, lightly pressing them into the top of the mixture.

    3. Freeze for about 2 hours, or until firm, cut into bars and serve.


    QUINOA SUSHI

    Serves 4. Prep time: 50 minutes, including cooking.

    Ingredients

    1 cup quinoa (red, white or mixed)

    Nori (seaweed) sheets

    2 tbsp hummus or Dijon mustard

    1 avocado, sliced

    2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced

    ¼ red or white cabbage, shredded

    Cos lettuce, shredded

    2 carrots, thinly sliced

    150 g tuna, chicken breast, lean meat or egg (optional)

    DRESSING

    1 tbsp tahini

    1 tbsp rice vinegar or apple

    Cider vinegar

    1 tsp maple syrup

    Juice of ½ lemon

    SIDES

    Pickled ginger

    Tamari

    Wasabi

    Sweet Chilli Sauce

     

    Method

    1. Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.

    2. In a small bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients and stir through the quinoa.

    3. Place a sushi mat on a chopping board (it’s okay if you don’t have a mat – do this manually with cling wrap). Top with a sheet of seaweed, shiny-side down, and spread the hummus onto the seaweed.

    4. Dip your hands in water and spread some quinoa evenly over the nori, leaving a 1 cm border along the edge furthest from you.

    5. Arrange the vegetables in a row across the nori. Be careful not to overfill to avoid the rolls bursting. Add a protein, if desired.

    6. Holding the edge of the mat with your thumb, lift it along with the filling and roll away from you. Hold the filling as you roll and gently pull the mat as you continue rolling. Once you have a neat roll, fold your hands over the mat to tighten the roll. Moisten the edge of the nori with water to seal.

    7. Slide the roll off the mat and use a very sharp knife to cut it into individual pieces.

    8. Serve with your choice of sides such as pickled ginger, tamari, wasabi and sweet chilli sauce.


    Recipes extracted from The Healthy Life by Jessica Sepel. Available now, Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99.