What On Earth Is Spirulina?
Do you ever look at the ingredients for a recipe you want to try and suddenly realise that you haven’t even heard of half of the ingredients, never mind have them sitting in your cupboards. Not only that, but the instructions call for tools as foreign as the ingredients!
Despite a lot of recipes these days being riddled with ingredients that would cost a small fortune at Whole Foods, and instructions that require the kitchen of a professional chef, I think its becoming more and more important to reiterate that you can cook healthy, nutritious and delicious meals without breaking the bank and scouring multiple specialist food shops.
The Food Shop Bottom Line
The in vogue ‘superfoods’ can be interesting to try, and can certainly be added to some of our foods to enhance flavour and nutritional content, but it’s important to stress that superfoods are not vital to creating a healthy and delicious meal! There’s no need to panic if your green smoothies don’t feature Spirulina, and your porridge isn’t topped with bee pollen — there are plenty of ways to create wholesome meals to nourish your body without a shopping list as long as your arm!
If an ingredient is fresh, packed with nutrients, and plays a necessary part in creating a balanced meal, I think it’s fair to grant it status as a superfood.
8 Ingredients, 3 Meals
Some of my favourite meals are cooked with a small list of high-quality ingredients that can be whipped up super quickly. So I challenged myself to make three wholesome meals out of eight simple ingredients (which I would argue can all qualify as superfoods!) that can serve as a family dinners, post-workout nutrition, or just a delicious lunch! To stay on budget, try purchasing your vegetables whole rather then pre-chopped.
The 8-Ingredient Shopping List
- Chicken thighs
- Free range eggs
- Sweet potatoes
- Red onions, quartered
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fresh basil
Store cupboard: Olive oil, garlic, lemons, salt and pepper.
Family Dinner: Chicken tray bake
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and place your chicken skin-side down for a couple of minutes to brown your chicken thighs (2/3 per person). Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Slice up red onions (1/2 per person), sweet potatoes (1/2 per person) and cherry tomatoes and place them in a pan. Throw in a couple of cloves of garlic (leave the skin on), and if you have any lemon around, slice some up and put them in. Drizzle in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the browned chicken on top of the vegetables and roast for around 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through
- Serve with a fresh spinach salad.
Notes: It’s important to note that recipes like this can use a whole range of potential ingredients, switch up your vegetables and roast carrots, peppers and courgettes if you like. You can also experiment by adding any herbs and spices that you have in the house — I’d recommend paprika or some fresh rosemary.
Post-Workout: Poached egg bubble and squeak
- Cube the sweet potatoes (1 per person) and cook until tender, before draining and mashing with butter. Feel free to use any leftover sweet potatoes, or other root veg you have here, potatoes, carrots and parsnips work perfectly in the mix!
- In a large frying pan, add a glug of olive oil and some crushed garlic (1 clove per person), before adding slices of red onion. Lower the heat and cook until softened.
- Add the oil, garlic and red onion to the mashed sweet potato and mix well.
- Stir in a large handful of spinach.
- Return your non-stick frying pan to the heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Allow it to melt before adding a large spoon of the bubble and squeak mix. Flatten slightly and allow to brown before flipping. Place each cooked bubble and squeak round on a plate in a warmed oven to keep them warm as you cook the eggs.
- Poach or fry one egg per person and serve the bubble and squeak with the egg on top.
Notes: Serve with fresh salad and some Greek yogurt if you have any, and add some slices of red chili when softening the onions if you’d like an extra kick. If you don’t fancy spinach that particular day cooked spring cabbage can work just as well!
Lunchtime: Cherry tomato linguine
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, and add your linguine — cook to instructions.
- In a large non stick frying pan add a large glug of olive oil and toss in some crush garlic (1 clove per person), try not to let the garlic overcook.
- Drain the pasta once it’s cooked, reserving a tablespoon of the cooking water. Quickly add the cooked pasta and the cooking water to the olive oil and garlic mix before stirring in a large handful of halved cherry tomatoes.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the pasta and season with fresh basil, salt and pepper.
- Serve warm. Option to top with parmesan if you have any!
Notes: Add spinach, kale or broccoli, tossing them in the garlic-infused oil before adding the pasta if you fancy it. I also like to add chilli to the olive oil and garlic at the start for an extra kick!
So there you have it: three meals using the amount of ingredients most recipes call for just one! Do you see any other meals you can make from my 8-ingredient list, or have you found your favourite versions of some of these recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!