Three Healthy Wrap Filling Ideas

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know my food philosophy revolves around abundance, simplicity and balance. I promote abundance, hand in hand with balance, to combat myths perpetuating restrictive eating habits and the belief that fitness has to be a miserable endeavour. While salad is less boring than often assumed, and we can all benefit from eating more plantbased meals (at the same time as helping a greater ethical cause), you’ll never see me forego an opportunity involving chocolate or the blessing that is salted caramel.

Healthy eating has to be neither boring and restrictive, nor overly difficult, demanding ingredients sourced from Neptune and five hours of preparation time. This is where the principle of simplicity comes in. Whenever my schedule allows, I like to recreate a childhood favourite or bake a decadent treat, but on a typical day a lunch thrown together from fridge essentials is my go-to option. Sometimes, the result is a deconstructed bowl of ingredients, and on others – a wrap or a sandwich.

Given the popularity of wraps and sandwiches as a lunchtime option, I borrowed from the above principles to create recipes which are delicious and convenient without without the downsides of store-brought alternatives. From a health perspective, of course, an occasional store brought lunch is not going to do any harm. On many days, we do not have the luxury of cooking at home, opting for a quick bite on the go, and obsessively avoiding the need to buy ready made food is just as inadvisable as being a foreigner in your own kitchen. We should search for an equilibrium. Moreover, chain coffee shops, supermarkets, restaurants are increasingly mindful of their ingredients and various dietary requirements. But cooking your food (almost) from scratch triumphs as the most satisfying endeavour and gives you the final vote on flavour, portion size, seasoning. Plus, homemade has the propensity to taste better and as aforementioned, need not disrupt your schedule, in particular when prepared in advance.

These wraps are all distinctive in their flavours to aid anyone looking to switch up their lunch, and easy to store in the fridge overnight: either eat them cold, or heat up in a microwave before consumption. They carry all the benefits associated with eating an abundance of plantbased ingredients, pack a generous serving of protein and can be made gluten free. Let me know in the comments whether you end up giving these a go, or if you are more of a sandwich person (although, feel free to squish the filling in between two slices of bread if the latter is the case).

Also, I would like to take a moment to thank you all for 1,000 followers: I appreciate every person who has visited or supported this blog in any way. The ability to help others out there always means a lot to me and I am infinitely grateful for each one of you who has chosen to give me a follow! So yeah, I would just like to say thank you once again – this is not just a number, but a community of people who have displayed an interest in my content and that, to me, is an incredible feeling. You are all wonderful people and I hope you are having the best start to 2018!

Curried chickpea wrap with red pepper hummus and a tahini drizzle

Vegan chickpea wrap recipe

This recipe combines the earthy, savoury flavour of chickpeas with an aromatic blend of spices, the prominent tang of a lemony tahini dressing, leafy greens and everyone’s favourite condiment – hummus, but with a red pepper twist. This combination of ingredients is due to become a long-term favourite of mine. If you wish, you could emit the wrap and opt for a burrito bowl instead. After all, I feel like this creation, whatever you choose to call it, is tiptoeing the fine line between wrap and burrito.

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Continue reading “Three Healthy Wrap Filling Ideas”

Potato and Aubergine Winter Salad With Tofu

In between complaining about the cold and longing for summer salads, I sometimes remember that winter is one of the best times to get creative with your meals, and that ‘winter’ and ‘salads’ are not mutually exclusive. In fact, winter salads have become one of my recent go-to dishes. They take full advantage of unique seasonal produce and flavours, delivering a hearty meal that combines the health benefits of eating an abundance of fruits and veggies with the warmth we expect from winter cuisine.

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Salads like this one display how healthy eating has to be neither difficult, nor boring and insubstantial even for an appetite as grand as my own (lol), provided you do your research and look beyond how salads are portrayed in popular culture. The key to making them filling usually involves adding a starchy base, such as potatoes in this recipe, and/or a protein. Tofu has to be one of my favourite protein sources for salads because not only can you cook it in such a wide variety of ways, but it also adds a chewier texture to accompany the overall ‘crunch’ of the dish. And if you aren’t a fan of tofu? No problem. Simply emit it or replace with a protein of your choice, such as black beans, lentils, tempeh… The possibilities are really quite endless.

Vegan potato salad recipe

The recipe whatismaria.com brings to you today (since when have I started talking in third person?!) is luxurious as both a main dish and a side. The subtly sweet, velvety flavour of the aubergines harmonises with the ‘crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside’ potatoes which in turn decorate your home in an aroma you will wish to retain for as long as possible (provided you don’t burn them, that is). Serve this straight away, or if meal prep is your cup of tea – store in the fridge for a quick, nourishing pacelunch.

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Potato salad with roasted aubergines

Recently, a week or so of sub-zero temperatures and even a few snowflakes that melted before their collision with the ground gave way to milder temperatures, rendering anything that is not a steaming bowl of oatmeal or soup somewhat socially acceptable. Hence, I will be eating plenty of winter salads over the upcoming weeks. Let me know in the comments if you give this one a go, and whether you like to eat salads in winter too or prefer to keep them reserved for the summer!

Potato salad with roasted aubergines

Potato and Aubergine Winter Salad With Tofu

  • Servings: 2 as a main, 4 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Luxurious and full of seasonal flavours, this salad is ideal as a comforting main course or a side. Serve straight away or keep refrigerated.

Potato salad with roasted aubergines


Credit: whatismaria.com

Ingredients

  • 750g new potatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1 small aubergine, chopped into thin circles
  • 1/2 block firm tofu (around 200g)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • soy yoghurt, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 20 degrees C / 392 F. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces and toss together in a bowl with the ketchup, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp soy sauce and the lemon juice. Leave to stand aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes and wash with cold water. Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the potatoes, sprinkling with the turmeric, the dried rosemary, the remaining paprika and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, until crispy on the outside.
  4. Cover a separate baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the aubergine slices. Drizzle with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat some cooking spray in a non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry for around 10 minutes, stirring at frequent intervals, until firm and slightly crispy.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, the tofu, the cabbage, the spinach leaves, the cucumber, the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve with the roasted aubergine slices and a few tablespoons of soy yoghurt.

Vegan winter salad recipe

Lots of love, Maria ♡

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3 Autumn-inspired Vegan Jar Recipes

I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been an autumn/winter person. I am easily dismayed by the onset of darker evenings, constant rain and waking up to a room as cold as the arctic circle. While cosy evenings and scented candles help my seasonal blues to an extent, I feel much more at ease in the summer, when the days are long, the weather is decent even in England and I can go outside without having to brace myself. Many people find this surprising as I lived in Russia for the first nine years of my life (hello -40 degree weather) and while I’ve retained many ‘Russian’ characteristics, my ability to withstand the cold has faded alongside the stereotypical accent.

However, the one thing I adore about autumn is the food. I’m talking everything pumpkin, cinnamon and roasted vegetables. You know that scene in Miranda when she lists all the things she loved about Christmas? Yep, that’s me when it comes to autumn. I had a lot of fun constructing these jars because their simplicity does not compromise that hint of seasonal flavour. As usual, the recipes are vegan friendly, healthy and packed with micronutrients. And of course, eating food from a jar does the trick of making your life that much more Pinterest-worthy. Well, in my case, I cannot make any other aspect of my life suitable for Pinterest except for food: I’ve been frantically reading style blogs to try and bring some coordination into my wardrobe, and the only plant I kept in my room withered away from neglect before I managed to miraculously revive it #almostRIP.

Anyway, while I created a ‘base’ for these jars (e.g. the curry and the tofu), feel free to switch up any of the vegetables and/or dressings, eating them either straight away or storing in the fridge overnight. Many of the ‘components’ can be cooked in bulk for meal-prepping purposes. I am a big fan of spices myself (and thoroughly believe Autumn is all about spices, whether that’s in candles or in edible things – unfortunately, those are mutually exclusive) but you can adjust the amounts in accordance with your own preferences. Before I can ramble on for 365 more words, let’s leap straight into the recipes:

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Curry in a Jar

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Hearty, warm and packed full of spices, this recipe just sings Autumn. Perfect for cold evenings and as a satisfying lunch. Served over a bed of rice and with leafy greens for an extra crunch.

Vegan Mason Jar curry

Autumn Inspired Curry Recipe


Credit: whatismaria.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (228g) butternut squash, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 cup (228g) pumpkin of choice, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 can (200ml) light coconut milk
  • 1/2 can (227ml) canned tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups (355ml) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup (50g) green lentils
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • two large handfuls of kale
  • 1/2 cup (85g) dry sushi rice, to serve
  • Raw zuccini and spinach, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat either cooking spray or a dash of oil of your choice in a large pot. Add in the pepper, onion, butternut squash and pumpkin, stirring for 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Add in the vegetable stock, coconut milk, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, lentils, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutritional yeast and tomato paste. Bring to the boil, before lowering the heat and simmering for 30-35 minutes until the butternut squash and pumpkin are cooked through. Add more water/vegetable stock and salt to taste if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the sushi rice according to instructions in a separate pot.
  3. Add the kale into the curry and stir until wilted.
  4. Assemble the jars: distribute the rice evenly between the jars, before topping with the curry, the raw zuccini and the spinach.

Continue reading “3 Autumn-inspired Vegan Jar Recipes”

Vegan Tacos Two Ways ft. Mango Sauce

Hello dears! I hope your week has been treating you well so far. Mine has been all over the place. For one, I had to start a new Instagram account (@earthofmariaa) because after experiencing a hack on my last one, nothing was working: my images were being deleted, I wasn’t able to like any photos, etc. After around ten days of trying to fix it, I decided to create a new account, which is upsetting because I worked so hard on my old one but sometimes a fresh start can be a good thing! Let’s hope Instagram won’t let me down this time.

Low fat

Anyway, I am back with a taco recipe, featuring two different fillings to satisfy every tastebud ever. First we have marinated tempeh, with a spinach bedding and jalapenos for some extra spice (jalapeno has to be one of my favourite words of all time). Next, we have a delicious chickpea and broccoli stir-fry that goes to show you can make tacos work with everything. Drizzle these over with a delicious mango sauce, and you have a Tupperware-friendly lunch or a satisfying family dinner.

Tempeh Recipe (high protein)

(Currently, I am trying to think of tacos to distract myself from thoughts of the humongous spider I found in my room this morning. Is anyone else experiencing a spider epidemic in the UK?! I think it’s time to move planets.)

When I was ill with my eating disorder, tacos were a big ‘fear food’ I had to overcome because the carby wraps scared me. Now I look back and shake my head because carbs are amazing. Especially in taco form. These, in a way, were a celebration of how far I’ve come in terms of not giving two hecks about carbs and calories anymore, simply eating what I want whenever I want to. Continue reading “Vegan Tacos Two Ways ft. Mango Sauce”