Creamy spinach soup with goat cheese. Picture: Supplied
Creamy spinach soup with goat cheese. Picture: Supplied

RECIPES: Cheap meals that support going green

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Green food should be healthy, cheap, delicious, fresh, and accessible.

In past generations, eating locally, storing up food, cooking at home, gardening, and composting were all done as a matter of course.

Today, we call it “going green” but ultimately it is just managing food and basic needs using affordable methods. Below are cheap and easy meals you can make on your lazy days.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a cheap vegetable and it provides almost every nutrient that you need. It’s particularly rich in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and may boost your immune system.

Hearty beef & broccoli stir fry

Ingredients

15ml coriander seeds

500g sirloin steak (sliced)

60ml olive oil

1 red, yellow, and orange pepper (sliced into rings)

2 red onions (sliced into wedges)

5ml chopped fresh garlic

5ml grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli (chopped)

200g broccoli (cut into florets and soaked in boiling water for 2 minutes)

60ml soy sauce

125ml sweet chilli sauce

5ml sesame oil

2ml salt

125ml chopped fresh coriander

Noodles (to serve)

Method

Pound the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and place in a bowl with the sliced steak and half the olive oil.

Rub into the meat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Heat the rest of the oil in a wok or large frying pan until hot and brown the meat in batches on both sides.

Remove and set aside.

Heat more oil if necessary and fry the peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, and chilli until fragrant.

Drain the broccoli and add to vegetables.

Stir fry for 2 minutes.

Return the steak.

Mix the soy, sweet chilli, sesame oil, and salt and pour over the meat and vegetables.

Stir fry for 2 minutes, stir in the coriander, and serve with noodles.

Spinach

Bagged spinach is quite healthy and almost always reasonably priced. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Creamy spinach soup with goat cheese

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 small russet potato (170g) peeled and diced

3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

½ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

16 cups (230g) fresh baby spinach

1 cup low-fat milk (1%), or more as needed; can substitute 1 cup additional broth

85g soft goat cheese (chevre)

2 tbsp plain yoghurt (low-fat or full fat)

Method

In a medium pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the potato, broth, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potato is tender about 10 minutes. Add the spinach, return the soup to a boil and cook until the spinach is completely wilted but still a vibrant green, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, let the soup cool for 15 minutes, then purée in batches in a stand blender.)

Return the puréed soup to medium heat; add the milk and cook until warm but not boiling. Add the goat cheese to the pot and whisk until melted.

In a small bowl, stir the yoghurt with just enough water or milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it is the consistency of pancake batter.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and, using a fork, drizzle the yoghurt on top as a garnish and serve.

Green smoothie with yoghurt, pear, and ginger

This smoothie is cool, creamy, and gently tangy with a base of plain yoghurt (providing calcium, protein, and probiotics) softly sweetened with whole fruit - a very ripe pear and few dates (adding fibre, vitamin C and minerals) - and with a refreshing zing of ginger root.

Ingredients

¾ cup ice

1 cup lightly packed spinach leaves

⅔ cup plain yoghurt

½ cup sliced almonds

1 very ripe medium pear (any variety), peeled, cored, and cut into chunks

3 pitted dates, coarsely chopped

1 and ½ tsp chopped fresh ginger

Honey, to taste (optional)

Method

Place the ice into a blender and process to crush it. Add the spinach, yoghurt, almonds, pear, dates, and ginger and blend until smooth and frothy, with a little texture remaining from the almonds and dates. Taste, and then blend in a little honey to taste, if desired.

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