Since deciding to adopt a plant-based diet, Niomi Smart’s love of food has taken an entirely new direction. With a humble blog and the odd You Tube video, the law graduate found herself bombarded with social media recipe requests after posting snaps of her food. “It was around this time that I discovered the importance of eating well,” she says in her new book Eat Smart. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge just yet, these recipe’s are sure to change your mind…
AVOCADO + STRAWBERRY ON RYE
Avocado on toast is one of my favourite weekend breakfast choices when I eat out. It seems to be one of those things that everyone loves. I’ve livened up my version by adding sweet strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
2 slices of rye bread
8 strawberries, hulled
8-10 mint leaves
1 ripe avocado, stoned
A handful of rocket leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Toast the rye bread.
2. Slice the strawberries and roughly chop the mint leaves.
3. Slice or mash the avocado and place on top of the toasted rye bread with the sliced strawberries. Sprinkle over the chopped mint and season with black pepper.
4. Add a handful of rocket leaves, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and dig in.
ROASTED FENNEL, LENTIL + FIG SALAD
These flavour combinations are some of my favourites. The distinctive anise taste of fennel and aromatic dill combined with fresh lemon and sweet figs and the delicate crunch of their seeds creates a wonderful, well-rounded salad. The lentils add a real substance to keep you feeling fuller for longer
100g (½ cup) dried green lentils, rinsed
1 large fennel bulb
3 fresh figs, quartered
A small handful of
fresh dill, chopped
Pink Himalayan salt
or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
2. Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and place over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for
20 minutes or until cooked through, adding more water if needed. Drain, tip back into the pan and leave to cool.
3. Remove any tatty outer leaves from the fennel, cut into 1cm wedges and place in a roasting tray with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper.
4. Roast in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway to make sure all the wedges are evenly cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. To make the dressing, zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Mix together the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and cumin in a small bowl.
6. Mix the lentils and fennel together with the dressing and serve with the fig quarters, scattering over the chopped dill and a little lemon zest.
ROASTED PEPPER + ONION PESTO TART
This is a great one to make ahead. When I’m busy I often find it hard to make lunch from scratch, so I sometimes make it the night before so I know I will have something wholesome, filling and tasty ready and won’t end up buying something less nutritious o
2 red onions, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges
3 red or yellow peppers, de-seeded and sliced
Sweet potato tart base
1 small sweet potato (200g), peeled
150g (1 cup) spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
150g (1 cup) wholewheat flour
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
Pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
Brazil nut pesto
2 garlic cloves, peeled
225g (1½ cups)unsalted raw Brazil nuts
3 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
3 large handfuls of spinach
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
100ml (cup) extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a 20 x 25cm shallow baking tin with olive oil.
2. Place the onion wedges and pepper slices in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the hot oven for 40 minutes until cooked through and browned, tossing occasionally.
3. To make the base, chop the sweet potato into chunks and steam for 15 minutes and allow to cool.
4. Mix together the flours and a pinch of salt, then stir in the olive oil and 60ml (¼ cup) water. Mash the sweet potato and use your hands to fully combine into the mixture.
5. Flour a surface and roll out the dough to cover the base of the tin. Roll it over the tin and gently press the outer edges and corners. Use a knife to scrape away the excess from the edges. Add greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes.
6. Make the pesto by adding all the pesto ingredients except 25g of the Brazil nuts to a food processor and blending for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
7. Remove the paper and baking beans after 15 minutes, then return the tart case to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and generously spread the pesto on top of the base. Add the roasted veg, chop and sprinkle over the reserved Brazil nuts and bake for a further 5-7 minutes until golden and cooked through. Serve hot or cold with a lovely green salad.
Eat Smart, What to Eat in a Day – Every Day by Niomi Smart, £20 harpercollins.co.uk