Four Easy, Highly Nutritious Recipes For Winter

News| 31st May 2022
Four Easy, Highly Nutritious Recipes For Winter
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Dietitian Millie Padula shares four healthy recipes, from a twist on chicken noodle soup to a nutrient-packed Bolognese.

By Millie Padula

As a dietitian, winter is one of my favourite seasons. For me, it means curling up on the couch with a spiced chai and a notepad, ready to create a new collection of wholesome recipes.

When I’m developing new recipes, there are five elements that need to ben considered – flavour profile, nutritional value, seasonality of the produce, degree of simplicity and how it ranks on the comfort scale. With that in mind, I’ve documented four twists on classic winter dishes to try this season.

Supercharged Noodle Soup

With the right elements, a nutritionally balanced soup can make for a substantial and satisfying main meal. I think the notion that soup is an entree or a side is totally outdated.

This chicken soup in particular really is one for the soul; it encompasses everything necessary to soothe and comfort whilst also providing a significant hit of nutrition. In this recipe, I have used an ancient grain called farro which has a nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture. Farro is a wonderful source of protein and fibre and counts as a nutrient-dense alternative to traditional noodles and pastas that you see in most chicken style soups.

The addition of turmeric and garlic aids in supporting our immune system and the seasonal silverbeet provides an iron-rich component to help you feel your best. 

Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Dietary category: dairy free

Ingredients

1 brown onion, finely chopped 

2 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 medium leek, washed and thinly sliced

2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced 

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 inch of grated ginger or 1 tsp of minced ginger 

1 tsp of turmeric 

1 large fennel stalk, chopped

½ cup of farro

2 large chicken breasts

6 cups of salt-reduced chicken stock  

2 cups of water

2 tbsp of lemon juice 

1 bunch of silverbeet, stalk removed and finely sliced – boiling water for 1 minute – freezes well  

½ bunch of parsley, chopped 

Salt and pepper to taste  

Optional: chilli flakes

Method:

1.     Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, saute the onion, garlic, ginger, celery, leek and fennel for five minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

2.     Coat the vegetables in turmeric and fry off until aromatic.

3.     Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a simmer.

4.     Add the farro and the chicken breasts to a simmering pot and allow the chicken to poach for approximately 20 minutes or until the breast is cooked all the way through.

5.     Remove the chicken breasts from the saucepan and place them onto a chopping board. Shred the chicken by using two forks to separate the meat. Place the shredded chicken into the saucepan.

6.     Sample a small portion of the farro to ensure it is cooked – farro is a dense grain so will be more coarse than traditional rice, noodles or pasta.

7.     Lightly submerge the silverbeet in the broth for one-to-two minutes.

8.     Finish with fresh parsley, salt and pepper, fresh lemon juice and chilli flakes if you desire.  

9.     This soup accounts for a nutritionally balanced meal in its entirety, but is beautifully accompanied by a slice of wholegrain sourdough drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Substitutions: 

·       If you wish to make this dish vegan or vegetarian, simply swap the chicken for an alternative protein such as chickpeas, legumes or tofu and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. 

·       You can substitute farro for a grain of your choice if you’d prefer. I also love to experiment with risoni in winter-based soups. 

Tips: 

·       Silverbeet and other leafy greens such as kale and spinach can be submerged in boiling water for one minute, drained and then frozen for up to three months. 

·       Store soup in the fridge for three-to-four days or in the freezer for up to three months 

·       Upon reheating, you may wish to add up to a cup of water and adjust your seasonings accordingly. 

Broccoli, Kale and Lentil Linguine 

Spaghetti bolognese is a household favourite for many, especially as the cooler months approach. In its entirety, a traditional bolognese is rich, robust and spruiks those umami flavours we all know and love.

This broccoli, kale and lentil linguine is no exception; it gives a whole new dimension to the weeknight classic and offers a plant-based twist to the conventional and so well established recipe which dates back to the 18th century. The lentils provide a ‘meaty’ texture and are rich in iron to help with energy production, protein to keep you satisfied, and fibre to feed the beneficial gut bugs in your digestive system.

The sauce alone contains over nine seasonal vegetables, which add a nutritional uniqueness you may have never experienced before. This recipe is about to make its way into your weekly repertoire and will take your spaghetti game to whole new heights. 

Serves:

Prep Time: 20 minutes 

Cook Time: 8 hours

Dietary category: vegan 

Ingredients: 

2 carrots, finely diced 

2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced 

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, crushed or 1 tbsp of minced garlic

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 

6 button mushrooms, chopped 

1 zucchini, finely chopped 

1 head of broccoli, florets only, finely chopped 

1 jar of tomato passata 

1L of salt-reduced vegetable stock

1 can of crushed tomatoes 

2 cups of kale, shredded

1 tbsp of dried oregano

1 tbsp of fennel seeds 

¼ cup of crumbled feta, parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

1 packet of wholegrain (wholewheat) linguine

Method: 

1.      Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and place it over medium heat. 

2.      Once the oil is heated, saute the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini and mushrooms for four-to-five minutes.

3.      Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot, except for the kale and dried pasta.

4.      Simmer for approximately one hour. 15 minutes prior to serving, add the chopped kale and prepare your pasta according to packet directions.

5.      Serve the cooked pasta with the ‘bolognese’ sauce and top with a generous serving of cheese for additional calcium and nutritious fats.

Substitutions: 

·       To make this dish entirely vegan, simply swap the cheese for nutritional yeast; a variety of yeast flakes which offer a ‘cheesy’ flavour alternative and are incredibly high in Vitamin B12.  

·       We have opted for a wholegrain linguine to pair with our lentil and broccoli bolognese, however you may wish to serve yours with brown rice, tortilla chips, barley, quinoa or an alternative variety of pasta. We also love adding a few slices of fresh avocado on top for an extra boost of heart-healthy fats. 

Tips: 

·       This dish can also be made using a slow cooker. Simply replace canned lentils with dried lentils and cook for up to eight hours on a low heat. We also suggest using 1L of stock as opposed to one cup.

·       Leave the skin on the vegetables (i.e carrots, zucchini and mushrooms) to retain as much of the dietary fibre as possible. 

One-Tray Salmon With Honey-Roasted Veggies And Yoghurt Flatbread 

Our solution to the ‘what on earth do I cook for dinner tonight?’ end-of-the-day question is always a ‘one-tray bake. Our salmon and vegetable bake is abundant in protein, omega 3 fats, iron and immune-supporting vitamins and minerals, and gives you all the flavour with none of the fuss. This hearty winter main is perfectly accompanied by a simple flatbread to soak up that sweet and smokey sauce from the honey, olive oil and paprika, which coats the main elements of the dish. The yoghurt from the flatbread also contains gut-supporting probiotics that add to the nutritional value of this meal. Better yet, it takes just 15 minutes to cook and requires minimal washing up. This one ticks all of our boxes! 

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Dietary category: meat free 

Ingredients: 

4 atlantic salmon fillets, skin on 

1 medium-sized eggplant, diced 

1 bunch of broccolini, remove 1-2cm off the end of each stem 

8 russels sprouts, discard dry/woody stems, remove the outer layer and chop into quarters

½ head of cauliflower, chopped

1 can of chickpeas, liquid drained 

½ red capsicum, core and seeds removed, sliced

¼ bunch of coriander, chopped 

3 tbsp of honey (or liquid sweetener of your choice, such as maple syrup) 

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil 

1 tbsp of smokey paprika 

1 cup of Greek-style yoghurt, unflavoured 

1 cup of wholemeal flour 

Method: 

1.     Preheat your oven to 180o C

2.     Prepare the flatbread by combining the yoghurt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Leave the dough to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

3.     Place the salmon, chopped vegetables and chickpeas onto a lined baking tray.

4.     Prepare the vegetable dressing by combining the paprika, honey and olive oil in a small dish. Whisk until combined and drizzle over the vegetables.

5.     Season the salmon with salt, pepper and any additional dressing from the prior step. 

6.     Place the tray into the oven for 10-15 minutes. If the salmon appears cooked to your liking yet the vegetables aren’t ready, simply remove the salmon from the tray and allow it to rest whilst the vegetables cook a little longer.

7.     In the meantime, cut the flatbread dough into eight even pieces. Roll each piece out to the size of a traditional side plate.

8.     Heat a small frypan with a little olive oil (about 1 tsp) and cook each flatbread for approximately 20 seconds on each side or until colour starts to appear.

9.     Independently serve the salmon, vegetables and flatbread on a large plate or alternatively add small pieces of the salmon and vegetables into the flatbread.

Substitutions: 

·       In this recipe, salmon can be swapped for any fish of your choice. We do, however, recommend an oil-based fish such as salmon, tuna or ocean trout because it boasts an incredible omega 3 essential fatty acid profile, beneficial for the health of our heart, brain and skin. 

Tips: 

·       Salmon contains low levels of mercury, therefore this dish is appropriate for pregnant individuals. If you are unsure about your dietary requirements, please consult a doctor and dietitian who can provide you with personalised dietary advice. 

Mini Cottage Pies With Sliced Veggies

What’s a winter recipe collection without a nourishing pie? If you are itching to take the traditional pie recipe up a notch, look no further than our mini cottage pies topped with sliced sweet potatoes and parsnip. As comforting and cosy as you remember, these cottage pies are flavoursome, nutritious and super simple to throw together. The edamame beans and cabbage add a punch of prebiotics to help optimise the health of your gut. Given that 70 per cent of our immune cells are located in our gut, it makes sense to nourish our stomachs. You can freeze extra filling and serve with rice or mashed potatoes. 

Serves:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Dietary category: dairy free

Ingredients: 

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed 

1 carrot, diced 

¾ cup of green peas or edamame beans for a unique twist

1 cup of cabbage, outer leaves removed and finely chopped

500g of lean beef mince 

1 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

1 medium sized parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds

2 tbsp of flour

2 tbsp of tomato paste 

1 sprig of rosemary 

2 cups of salt-reduced beef stock

Salt and pepper to taste 

Method: 

1.     Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2.     Add the olive oil to a deep frying pan or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cabbage and carrots and saute with the fresh rosemary for five minutes or until softened.

3.     Place the mince (or alternative) into the frypan and cook until brown. Stir through the flour, tomato paste and beef stock. Simmer until the mixture starts to thicken. Add additional flour and tomato paste if the liquid appears too runny.

4.     Lastly, mix through the peas (or edamame beans) and cook for a two-to-three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.     Place the mixture into four mini ramekins and top with the sliced sweet potato and parsnip rounds.

6.     Bake for 20 minutes or until the potato and parsnip are nice and crispy.

Substitutions: 

·       Beef mince can be substituted for an alternative style of mince, otherwise you can replace it with lentils, mushrooms or a plant-based mince for a vegetarian or vegan option. 

·       You can use white potatoes, parsnip and/or pumpkin to replace the sweet potatoes and/or parsnip if you prefer.

Tips: 

·       Frozen peas and carrots are just as nutritious (if not more) than their fresh counterparts. Frozen vegetables are snap frozen upon harvesting and therefore maintain the optimal amount of nutrients available. 

Stock up on fresh seasonal ingredients at Coles, Aldi and Sacca’s Fine Foods here at Altona Gate.

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