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Baked eggs with smoky baked beans

Huevos Rancheros with Smokey Baked Beans and Avocado (vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Huevos Rancheros is a wonderful breakfast of Mexican origin and is a balanced (and delicious) way to start the day.

This baked egg recipe takes all the elements of the traditional rancher’s brunch and simmers them up in one pan – a perfect alternative to a fry-up and only one pan to clean!

The Good Stuff…

Huevos (eggs in Spanish) Rancheros is one of those robust meals that sets you up for a long day. In many respects, it is a perfectly balanced meal:

  1. It contains protein: from the eggs and baked beans
  2. It is high in fibre: from the spinach, tomatoes and beans
  3. It is full of antioxidants: from the red peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spinach
  4. It is great for your liver: the onions, garlic and spinach provide sulphur, which your liver needs to detoxify (so I guess this makes it a perfect hangover dish…)
  5. It is delicious! The smokiness of the paprika muddled with the acidic tomatoes, sweet baked beans and sunny egg yolk is an absolute pleasure. You can make the dish as spicy as you like – the avocado is there to cool down the heat and the lime adds a final zing to the dish.

This recipe also provides a whopping 9 portions of vegetables in total (so 3-4 per person)!

Gluten free, high fibre breakfast

Food as medicine

This meal is a great example of how a combination of relatively simple ingredients can be a nutrition powerhouse.

You could do worse than planning in a meal of Huevos Rancheros a few times a month if any of the following are pertinent to you: blood sugar management, constipation, prostate health, high cholesterol, sugar cravings, hormonal imbalance or one-too-many-the-night-before…

The slow release of carbohydrates from the beans means it is a great option for those with blood sugar problems or if you are trying to lose weight (you’ll be fuller for longer).

The high fibre content is great for your gut – everyone knows beans can get things moving, but high fibre foods also prevent you absorbing too much cholesterol and help regulate your hormones.

The tinned tomatoes and baked beans are excellent sources of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to keep the prostate healthy.

Besides containing a plethora of essential nutrients, eggs are also one of the best food sources of vitamin D during the winter months.

So, do yourself a favour and rustle up a batch of Huevos Rancheros. Sugary breakfast cereals cower in the shadow of this mighty breakfast.

Huevos Rancheros with Smokey Baked Beans and Avocado

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • Knob of organic/grass-fed butter, lard or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced lengthways
  • ½ chilli, finely sliced (optional)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika (or more to taste)
  • 1 tin whole baby tomatoes (large ones are fine if you can’t find baby)
  • 1 cup low sugar baked beans
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Handful chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley (to garnish)
  • Fresh lime

Method:

  1. Melt the oil in a frying pan or skillet, over a medium heat (a wok would also work) – add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, red pepper, smoked paprika and chilli (if using) and cook until soft.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes (do not drain) and the baked beans. Stir to combine and turn up the heat until the mixture is bubbling.
  4. Season to taste – add a bit of salt, ground pepper and more chilli or paprika if you like.
  5. Add the spinach and gently fold in.
  6. Once the spinach is slightly wilted, make four wells in the stew and break an egg into each one.
  7. Cover and simmer until the eggs are cooked to your liking (about 3-4 minutes for a soft egg).
  8. Serve with sliced avocado and top with the fresh coriander or parsley and a squeeze of fresh lime.

 

This recipe is part of my Fresh Start 28-day Cleanse and Health Reset programme. Contact me if you want to make 2015 your year of eating well!

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Butternut soup

Autumn Spiced Butternut Soup

Growing up in South Africa, butternut was (and still is) a regular part of meals. The beautiful orange squash can be used in soups, stews, salads, sides and even baked whole (or stuffed) in an oven or over coals. I was surprised to find that this versatile vegetable wasn’t as common in Europe as I expected (I’ve been asked a couple of times how to cook it – both times lined up in the queue to buy one!). I might be biased, but I think butternut has a far superior taste and texture to other varieties of squash, which can be watery and stringy. The cooked flesh of butternut is wonderfully dense and smooth – it is brilliant just roasted or steamed with a little butter, salt and pepper.  It has a slightly sweeter flavour than most squash – almost bordering on sweet potato. It marries very well with most herbs (especially mint, sage, rosemary and thyme) and spices (coriander, cumin, cinnamon, chilli) and can also be used for sweet baking.

Put away the peeler

For the vast majority of butternut recipes, keep the skin on. Yes, on. Don’t be tempted to peel butternut, it’s not necessary for most recipes. The skin cooks to a soft texture that is easy to eat and digest (if fully cooked). Why waste all that wonderful fibre? This soup recipe is no exception – you’ll be amazed that the skin blends into a wonderfully smooth and velvety soup. It’s a great way to ramp up the fibre in a meal without any hassle or impact on flavour and texture.

The good stuff

Down to business. Not only is butternut tasty, it is full of wonderful nutrients! It is particularly high in vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and has a good omega 3:6 ratio (i.e. is higher in omega 3 than omega 6). Leaving the skin on also means this soup is a good way to boost your daily fibre intake. If you’ve never cooked with this lovely squash, take a look at my post on choosing and preparing butternut.

Autumn Spiced Butternut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or organic butter
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger (about 1 big knob)
  • 1 medium butternut – in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon (I like Marigold)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Water (or stock, omit bouillon)
  • Ground pepper and salt to taste

To serve:

  • 1 dessert spoon pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts) per serving
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Coriander
  • Sprinkling of feta or goat’s cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat in a saucepan and sauté the celery and onion until the onion is translucent
  2. Add the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ginger and bay leaf and sauté until you can smell the aromas being released – be careful not to burn the spices
  3. Add the butternut chunks, stir and allow to sweat with the onion and spices for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add the bouillon and enough water (or stock) to just cover the vegetables, a good grind of black pepper and bring to a simmer
  5. While the soup is cooking, gently toast the pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts) in frying pan, tossing every 30 seconds until you can smell them become ‘nutty’. Watch these like a hawk, burnt seeds are bitter!
  6. The butternut is ready when it is soft and easily gives way under the pressure of a fork. At this point, stir in the crushed garlic and remove the pot from the heat
  7. Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until smooth with a stick blender, or in batches in a liquidiser (allow to cool a little if using a liquidiser)
  8. Return to the heat, adjust seasoning to taste and add more water or stock to reach the consistency you like

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with torn coriander leaves, toasted pumpkin seeds and a little drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. You can also add a crumble of feta for a slightly saltier result. Note: Watery butternut soup is nobody’s friend. I recommend that you start off with just enough water to cover the vegetables and then add more liquid (if desired) once you have blended the soup. Butternut soup with feta This soup can be frozen for a month or so (without garnishes). Cool and freeze in appropriate containers.

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