Nowadays it seems as if there is always a new superfood people are talking about which promises to improve your life. However as much as you want to test these products, they are often hard to get hold of, and sometimes once you have got your hands on them, you have no idea what to do with them. Like seriously, what are you supposed to do with bee pollen? Is it good on toast? So I’m here to show you how you can inject a bit of superfood goodness into your meals, at a student friendly price, with easy recipes which even the most inexperienced chef could follow.
Starting with kale, green kale is one of the most popular superfoods at the moment, and I think this is because it is so easy to use. It works well in many pasta dishes, such as red pepper, kale and feta cheese. You can stir it in with any pasta dish that you are making for an instant boost of vitamins A, C and K. Creamy chicken, mushroom and kale pasta works really well.
100g of pasta of your choice
1 chicken breast (diced)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
50g of mushrooms
75 ml of double cream
1tsp of whole grain mustard
1 handful of kale
- Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until the onion goes transparent
- Add the pieces of chicken and cook until browned
- Once the chicken is browned remove it from the pan and replace with the chopped mushrooms.
- Cook the mushrooms until soft
- Boil the pasta
- Add the double cream and the mustard to the pan with the onion, garlic and mushrooms
- Gently bring to the boil and return the chicken back to the pan
- Leave to simmer for 5 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked.
- Stir in the kale (it doesn’t take long to cook!)
- Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese if you want.
A further really easy way to get your kale fix is with kale chips. They might not be quite as tasty as McCoys, but they are healthy, filling and really easy to make and are great following those late night study sessions in the library. They could not be more simple. Just remove the stems and tear the kale into large pieces, lay them flat out, evenly spaced on a baking tray, and cover with about ½ a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and then bake for a further 15, on 150°C heat. Leave to cool and then cover with salt. I told you it was easy!
The next magical superfood I’m going to be using is hemp seeds. You can pick up a 250-gram bag of these from Holland & Barrett for £2.99. Hemp seeds are famed for being the most nutritious seed in the world, they can help with a whole range of things such as increased energy (all students need this!) weight loss, as well as reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure- just to name a few. A really good thing to do with hemp seeds is to incorporate them into the student diet staple: PESTO. You can obviously just add a few seeds to some shop brought pesto if you want, but if you feel like you want to take a crack at making some from scratch here is a really easy recipe:
150g of hemp seeds
2 handfuls of fresh basil
½ tsp of salt
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 garlic clove (unless you’re particularly fond of garlic – then add more!)
160 ml of water
2 tbsp of olive oil
- Grind the seeds until powdery, you can do this in a food processor, or by hand.
- Add the basil into the food processor and mix, or chop small and mix.
- Add the salt, a dash of black pepper, the lemon and garlic
- Slowly add the water to the mixture until it makes a paste, if you think the mixture is getting to watery, then don’t add any more.
- Finally add the olive oil.
It’s so simple and keeps for ages, perfect for quick and easy lunches or dinners. Just add to pasta and its delicious!
Finally, everyone likes to finish with something sweet; here is a way to have a sweet treat, that’s good for you too (yeah, I thought it was impossible as well.) A way to make your choccy snacks more healthy is to use cocoa and cacao. We all know that cocoa is the stuff that your Nan likes to drink before bed, but have you heard of cacao? It’s a raw form of cocoa that boasts amazing antioxidant properties, so it might just help to counteract the last night you spent in Jesters.
You can find cacao nibs that I will be using in this next recipe in Sainsbury’s – £3 for 100g. These are cacao brownies, which taste just as good as regular chocolate brownies, like the kale chips they are ideal for taking to the library, or in between lectures, or just make a batch and share them with your house mates!
170g of unsalted butter (melted)
350g of granulated sugar
40g of brown sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
125g of plain flour
90g of cocoa powder
½ tsp of salt
120g of cacao nibs
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease your 9”x9” baking tray
- Mix the melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl
- One at a time beat in the eggs
- In a separate bowl sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt before adding this into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Fold the cacao nibs into the mixture.
- Pour into the baking tray and bake for approximately 40 mins
A good way to check if it is cooked, is by putting a toothpick into the brownie – if the toothpick comes out clean then it is cooked! You can also buy cacao powder, which is great to use to make milkshakes, or add to protein shakes after hitting the gym!