Healthy & Happy-Making Recipes To Try Now!

by | July 8, 2021, 10:29 IST

Enjoy these easy recipes for quick and healthy snacks from Chef Natasha Celmi, author of Fast, Fresh, Flavourful

Healthy, Happy Recipe: Quick Hummus with  Caramelised Onions


Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes 

1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup ice-cold water
¼ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
Freshly-ground pepper, to taste
Chilli flakes, to taste

For the caramelised onions:
1 tsp oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

To serve:
Extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
Pita chips, crackers and veggie sticks

1. To prepare the hummus, blend together the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, water, cumin powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. If the consistency is too thick, add another tablespoon or two of cold water until you have a smooth, creamy texture. Taste, and adjust the salt, pepper, chilli and lemon juice.

2. To caramelise the onions, heat a small pan on a medium flame, and add the oil. Add the onions, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook, stirring every now and then to avoid burning, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and brown, with a slight crunch. Taste, and adjust the flavours. Cook for two more minutes if the onions are too crunchy.

3. To serve, transfer the hummus to a shallow serving bowl. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over. Top with a thin layer of caramelised onions and pumpkin seeds. Serve with warm pita chips, crackers and raw veggie sticks.

Tip: When blending the hummus, ensure the water is ice cold for a creamy, smooth consistency.

Healthy, Happy Recipe: Crunchy Asian Lettuce Wraps with Chilli Jam



Serves: 4 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

1 iceberg lettuce
3 tsp sriracha sauce
½ cup sliced purple cabbage

For the mushroom tofu filling:
1 tbsp sesame or vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, cut in strips
2 cups finely- chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp dark soy sauce (divided usage)
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
½ cup finely-chopped tofu
½ tsp lime zest
½ cup peanuts, toasted
¼ cup roughly-torn mint leaves
¼ cup roughly-torn basil

1. Carefully remove the whole leaves of the iceberg lettuce. Wash, drain, and chill in the fridge.

2. To prepare the mushroom tofu filling, heat the oil in a pan over a medium-high flame, and cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the lemongrass and lime leaves. Add the mushrooms with one tablespoon soy sauce, and cook for a few minutes. Add the second tablespoon of soy sauce, honey, salt, pepper and lime juice. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes until the water evaporates. Add the tofu and lime zest. Remove from the flame, and adjust the seasoning as per taste. Mix in the toasted peanuts, mint and basil.

3. To assemble, fill each lettuce cup with a small amount of the filling, top with purple cabbage for colour, and add half teaspoon sriracha sauce. Serve immediately.

Tip: Replace the mushrooms with water chestnuts when in season.

Healthy, Happy Recipe: Red Pepper & Zoodles Crostini


Serves: 8

Prep time: 20 minutes 

Cooking time: 40 minutes

1 small baguette
½ cup feta or grated Parmesan (optional)

For the red pepper spread:
3 red peppers, halved and seeded
2 tsp olive oil (divided usage)
2 tbsp finely-chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup walnuts
½ tsp salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
¼ tsp chilli flakes
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

For the zoodles:
2 green zucchinis
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Freshly-ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200° C.

2. Rub the pepper halves with one teaspoon olive oil, and roast them on a baking tray for 30 minutes. If you prefer stove top cooking, roast the oil-rubbed whole peppers on an open flame with tongs until they are charred outside and soft inside. Allow the peppers to cool, and peel and discard the skin.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan, and cook the onions and garlic for about a minute. Remove to a blender, and blend with the peeled peppers, walnuts, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes to a smooth orange mix. Taste, and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over, and set aside.

4. To prepare the zoodles (zucchini noodles), create thin zucchini strips with a vegetable peeler. Start with the skin and work on all sides until you reach the core (reserve to use in a soup). Heat a frying pan, and add the olive oil. Add the zucchini strips; season well with salt and pepper, and toss for a minute until slightly soft yet crunchy (al dente). Remove from the flame, and set aside.

5. Slice the baguette into thin slices, and toast them in a preheated oven at 200° C until brown. You can also grill the baguette slices on a griddle pan or in a toaster.

6. To assemble, spread a thick layer of the red pepper spread on a baguette slice, and place a small bunch of zoodles on top. Top with feta or grated Parmesan, if using. Serve immediately.

Tip: Make a double batch of the red pepper spread, and toss with pasta the next day.

Photographs courtesy Fast, Fresh, Flavourful by Chef Natasha Celmi

Also see: Classic snacks made healthy

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