Another twist on a familiar classic, here’s my version of a four-cheese ravioli — one which is a food source of healthy fats and actually contains very little cheese! You don’t even have to use the cheese, though it’s only a small quantity, and more about tricking the kids as to how much (or rather, how little) melty cheese is hidden inside these creamy-textured ravioli pillows. To the kids, it’s only the pronunciation that separates four from faux.
30 round dumpling (gow gee) wrappers
1 cup (250 ml) White sauce (page 193)
⅓ cup (35 g) finely grated melty cheese, such as havarti or fontina
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 handful of sage leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
700 ml (24 fl oz) Roasted tomato passata (page 207), or store-bought tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a simmer.
Meanwhile, half-fill a small bowl with water. Working in batches, lay out up to five dumpling wrappers on a clean work surface. Put 3 teaspoons white sauce into the centre of each and top with 1 teaspoon cheese. Lightly brush water around the filling, then place another dumpling wrapper on top. Press the edges together to enclose the filling, pushing out any air bubbles, and pressing firmly around the edges of the wrappers to seal each ravioli.
Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over medium–low heat. Add the sage and pine nuts and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sage leaves turn crisp, dark green and slightly translucent. Transfer the leaves, nuts and any oil to a small bowl. Add the passata to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Keep warm over low heat.
Working in batches, add the ravioli to the pan of simmering water and cook for 3 minutes, or until they rise to the surface, gently stirring the pan to release the ravioli from the bottom. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray, drizzling with extra oil to stop them sticking to one another. Keep warm.
Serve the ravioli immediately, drizzled with the passata and scattered with the pine nuts, crispy sage leaves and any remaining oil, or a little extra oil.
For a vegan or dairy-free dish, omit the cheese.
For a nut-free dish, leave out the pine nuts.
• ½ serve protein per serve
• Great source of dietary fibre
• Sage is a good (and main) source of calcium
• Good source of iron + great source of vitamin C, for better iron absorption
2½ SERVES OF VEG per serve
Only recently I discovered that spaghetti meatballs are actually an American invention, rather than Italian, as I’d long imagined. Such a successful combination, this dish always goes down well. It is also wonderfully versatile, as you can easily cater for different tastes by serving the spaghetti with different types of meatballs or vegie balls. Without losing out on carbs, this version serves up a bit less pasta, adding in zucchini noodles for a healthy veg and ‘pasta’ boost.
250 g (9 oz) wholemeal or gluten-free spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 quantity Beef, lamb, or veal and pork meatballs (page 232), or Vego balls (page 227)
2 large zucchini (courgettes)
400 ml (14 fl oz) Roasted tomato passata (page 207), or store-bought tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving ½ cup (125 ml) of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meatballs or vego balls for 8–10 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove to a bowl.
Slice lengthways around each zucchini, leaving the seeds in the centre, then cut the seedy bits into 1 cm (½ inch) chunks. Cut the edges into zucchini noodles or ‘zoodles’. (Alternatively, use a julienne peeler or spiraliser if you have one.)
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Cook the zucchini chunks for 1 minute, then add the zoodles and pasta and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
Stir in the passata and reserved pasta water, along with the meatballs, and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until heated through.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve scattered with grated parmesan, if desired.
Pulse-based pastas make a great gluten-free alternative to regular durum wheat pasta.
• Almost 3 serves wholegrains per serve
• 1 serve protein per serve
• High in fibre
• Great source of iron + vitamins B12 and C
Makes 8 | Serves 4
There are lots of hidden treasures in these fish cakes. You’ll have no trouble convincing the kids to try them! When Jerusalem artichokes are in season, definitely give them a go here. With their crisp outer layer and soft, potato mash–like centre, they’re a delicious way to add some healthy variety to your family’s diet.
250 g (9 oz) scrubbed potatoes, with skins on
250 g (9 oz) scrubbed Jerusalem artichokes or sweet potatoes, with skins on
grapeseed or rice bran oil, for drizzling and shallow-frying
2 × 150 g (5½ oz) skinless, boneless salmon fillets (see tip)
400 g (14 oz) tin cannellini beans, drained well
2–3 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon or dill
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lemon, zest finely grated, then cut into wedges
1 tablespoon plain flour
baby cos or mixed salad leaves, to serve
Mayo (page 192), to serve (optional)
2–3 cups (120–180 g) fresh breadcrumbs
plain flour, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes into 1.5–2 cm (¾ inch) chunks. Place in a large baking dish, drizzle with oil and season with sea salt. Toss until combined, then roast for 15 minutes.
Add the salmon fillets to the baking dish and bake for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
In a large bowl, lightly mash the roasted vegetables and cannellini beans. Add the spring onion, herbs, capers, egg, lemon zest and flour. Flake the salmon over, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture into eight portions and shape into patties. Chill the patties in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up.
Reheat the oven to 120°C (235°F). Set up a crumbing station: beat the eggs in a wide shallow bowl, and place the breadcrumbs and flour in separate bowls.
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to come 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) up the side. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.
Dust each fish patty in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg until well coated, then coat well in the breadcrumbs. Working in batches, fry the fish cakes for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden. Keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining fish cakes.
Serve hot, with lemon wedges, salad leaves and mayo, if desired.
The fish cakes taste better fried, but you can also bake them in a preheated 220°C (425°F) oven for 15 minutes, until golden.
It’s often cheaper to buy salmon with the skin on. It slips off easily once baked. (I like to grill the skin into crispy ‘chips’ — my daughter loves them.)
If you have a gluten allergy, use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
To make half the cakes vegetarian, use 2 × 400 g (14 oz) tins of beans and 1 salmon fillet. Mash one tin of beans with the patty ingredients and divide between two bowls. Add the salmon to one and the extra beans to the other.
• 11/4 serves legumes + 2 serves protein per serve
• 80% RDI vitamin B12 per serve
• Great source of vitamin C
• No added sugars
Using fresh fish, shape and crumb the patties, but don’t cook them. Place between sheets of baking paper, ensuring they don’t touch each other, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.
It’s hard to go past a freshly baked sausage roll, with its luscious layers of buttery crisp puff pastry. But here’s a much healthier version you can indulge in more often — and even I was surprised at how tasty these are! A commercially made sausage roll typically has more than six times the saturated fat, double the calories, and more than double the carbohydrates as these ones… so tuck in.
Almost 1 Serve Veg per serve
1 red onion, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
400 g (14 oz) tin butterbeans or borlotti beans, drained well
2 small or 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
2 small or 1 large zucchini (courgette), coarsely grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
1½ teaspoons ground fennel or toasted fennel seeds
1 cup (105 g) instant oats
300 g (10½ oz) minced pork
1 egg, beaten, plus 1 egg yolk
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
15 sheets filo pastry (from a 375 g/13 oz packet)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
poppy seeds or Sesame salt (page 200), for sprinkling
Chunky tomato ketchup (page 226), to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Place the onion, garlic and butterbeans in a large bowl. Using a stick blender or masher, work the mixture into a coarse paste.
Using your hands, squeeze out and discard as much excess liquid as possible from the grated carrot and zucchini, then add them to the butterbean mixture with the sage, fennel, oats, pork, beaten egg and salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix with your hands for about 1 minute, working the mixture until very well combined.
Remove the filo pastry from the packet and keep covered with a damp tea towel. Stack five sheets of pastry on top of each other on a clean work surface, spraying well or lightly brushing with oil in between each layer. Divide the filling mixture into thirds. Starting at the longest side closest to you, shape one portion of the filling along all the way out to the two shorter edges. Roll up to enclose the filling, then carefully cut into four sausage rolls. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the 2 tablespoons oil. Lightly and evenly brush the mixture all over the sausage rolls. Lightly sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame salt along the centre of each.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Enjoy warm, with ketchup.
You can shape the filling into a meatloaf and bake it in a 4 cup (1 litre) loaf tin at 180°C (350°F), for about 40 minutes, until cooked through; I like to serve the meatloaf with a potato and parsnip mash.
Instead of pork and sage in the filling or meatloaf, try beef and oregano, or lamb and rosemary.
Filo pastry doesn’t freeze well once cooked, but you can refrigerate the cooked rolls in an airtight container for 3 days; gently reheat in the oven. A raw batch of filling can be frozen for up to 3 months, well wrapped and protected from freezer burn.
low saturated fat