Three Healthy Wrap Filling Ideas

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know my food philosophy revolves around abundance, simplicity and balance. I promote abundance, hand in hand with balance, to combat myths perpetuating restrictive eating habits and the belief that fitness has to be a miserable endeavour. While salad is less boring than often assumed, and we can all benefit from eating more plantbased meals (at the same time as helping a greater ethical cause), you’ll never see me forego an opportunity involving chocolate or the blessing that is salted caramel.

Healthy eating has to be neither boring and restrictive, nor overly difficult, demanding ingredients sourced from Neptune and five hours of preparation time. This is where the principle of simplicity comes in. Whenever my schedule allows, I like to recreate a childhood favourite or bake a decadent treat, but on a typical day a lunch thrown together from fridge essentials is my go-to option. Sometimes, the result is a deconstructed bowl of ingredients, and on others – a wrap or a sandwich.

Given the popularity of wraps and sandwiches as a lunchtime option, I borrowed from the above principles to create recipes which are delicious and convenient without without the downsides of store-brought alternatives. From a health perspective, of course, an occasional store brought lunch is not going to do any harm. On many days, we do not have the luxury of cooking at home, opting for a quick bite on the go, and obsessively avoiding the need to buy ready made food is just as inadvisable as being a foreigner in your own kitchen. We should search for an equilibrium. Moreover, chain coffee shops, supermarkets, restaurants are increasingly mindful of their ingredients and various dietary requirements. But cooking your food (almost) from scratch triumphs as the most satisfying endeavour and gives you the final vote on flavour, portion size, seasoning. Plus, homemade has the propensity to taste better and as aforementioned, need not disrupt your schedule, in particular when prepared in advance.

These wraps are all distinctive in their flavours to aid anyone looking to switch up their lunch, and easy to store in the fridge overnight: either eat them cold, or heat up in a microwave before consumption. They carry all the benefits associated with eating an abundance of plantbased ingredients, pack a generous serving of protein and can be made gluten free. Let me know in the comments whether you end up giving these a go, or if you are more of a sandwich person (although, feel free to squish the filling in between two slices of bread if the latter is the case).

Also, I would like to take a moment to thank you all for 1,000 followers: I appreciate every person who has visited or supported this blog in any way. The ability to help others out there always means a lot to me and I am infinitely grateful for each one of you who has chosen to give me a follow! So yeah, I would just like to say thank you once again – this is not just a number, but a community of people who have displayed an interest in my content and that, to me, is an incredible feeling. You are all wonderful people and I hope you are having the best start to 2018!

Curried chickpea wrap with red pepper hummus and a tahini drizzle

Vegan chickpea wrap recipe

This recipe combines the earthy, savoury flavour of chickpeas with an aromatic blend of spices, the prominent tang of a lemony tahini dressing, leafy greens and everyone’s favourite condiment – hummus, but with a red pepper twist. This combination of ingredients is due to become a long-term favourite of mine. If you wish, you could emit the wrap and opt for a burrito bowl instead. After all, I feel like this creation, whatever you choose to call it, is tiptoeing the fine line between wrap and burrito.

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Rice Noodle Soup With Vegetables and Roasted Chickpeas

I admire anyone who can get through the winter without having soup at least once. I am dismayed by abrupt days, the onset of darkness at 4 o’clock and trying to find a compromise between dressing like a burrito and sacrificing my comfort for the sake of fashion. Some of my family members may like to swim in frozen ponds, but I certainly won’t be joining them any time soon (read: in my entire existence).

Vegan rice noodle soup with roasted chickpeas

Winter, overall, is a time of contrasts. In December, Christmas lights spark an internal fire to shield you against sub zero temperatures. January is a serene month characterised by reflection and adjustment to the rhythm of the new year, while February allows us to embrace the last remnants of winter while knowing that spring is right around the corner. Bleakness and joy interlace everywhere. You may have to brace yourself against the cold each time you step through a door leading to the external world, or if you are like me – accept that your organisational skills need sharpening when you misplace your umbrella four times in a country which is stereotyped by rainy winters. In response, a drive to create more ‘hygge’ in our lives appears throughout society. View Full Post

Potato and Aubergine Winter Salad With Tofu

In between complaining about the cold and longing for summer salads, I sometimes remember that winter is one of the best times to get creative with your meals, and that ‘winter’ and ‘salads’ are not mutually exclusive. In fact, winter salads have become one of my recent go-to dishes. They take full advantage of unique seasonal produce and flavours, delivering a hearty meal that combines the health benefits of eating an abundance of fruits and veggies with the warmth we expect from winter cuisine.

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Salads like this one display how healthy eating has to be neither difficult, nor boring and insubstantial even for an appetite as grand as my own (lol), provided you do your research and look beyond how salads are portrayed in popular culture. The key to making them filling usually involves adding a starchy base, such as potatoes in this recipe, and/or a protein. Tofu has to be one of my favourite protein sources for salads because not only can you cook it in such a wide variety of ways, but it also adds a chewier texture to accompany the overall ‘crunch’ of the dish. And if you aren’t a fan of tofu? No problem. Simply emit it or replace with a protein of your choice, such as black beans, lentils, tempeh… The possibilities are really quite endless.

Vegan potato salad recipe

The recipe whatismaria.com brings to you today (since when have I started talking in third person?!) is luxurious as both a main dish and a side. The subtly sweet, velvety flavour of the aubergines harmonises with the ‘crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside’ potatoes which in turn decorate your home in an aroma you will wish to retain for as long as possible (provided you don’t burn them, that is). Serve this straight away, or if meal prep is your cup of tea – store in the fridge for a quick, nourishing pacelunch.

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Potato salad with roasted aubergines

Recently, a week or so of sub-zero temperatures and even a few snowflakes that melted before their collision with the ground gave way to milder temperatures, rendering anything that is not a steaming bowl of oatmeal or soup somewhat socially acceptable. Hence, I will be eating plenty of winter salads over the upcoming weeks. Let me know in the comments if you give this one a go, and whether you like to eat salads in winter too or prefer to keep them reserved for the summer!

Potato salad with roasted aubergines

Potato and Aubergine Winter Salad With Tofu

  • Servings: 2 as a main, 4 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Luxurious and full of seasonal flavours, this salad is ideal as a comforting main course or a side. Serve straight away or keep refrigerated.

Potato salad with roasted aubergines

Credit: whatismaria.com

Ingredients

  • 750g new potatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1 small aubergine, chopped into thin circles
  • 1/2 block firm tofu (around 200g)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • soy yoghurt, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 20 degrees C / 392 F. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces and toss together in a bowl with the ketchup, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp soy sauce and the lemon juice. Leave to stand aside.
  3. Drain the potatoes and wash with cold water. Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the potatoes, sprinkling with the turmeric, the dried rosemary, the remaining paprika and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, until crispy on the outside.
  4. Cover a separate baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, and lay out the aubergine slices. Drizzle with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat some cooking spray in a non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry for around 10 minutes, stirring at frequent intervals, until firm and slightly crispy.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, the tofu, the cabbage, the spinach leaves, the cucumber, the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Serve with the roasted aubergine slices and a few tablespoons of soy yoghurt.

Vegan winter salad recipe

Lots of love, Maria ♡

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How To Make a Perfect Oatmeal Bowl

Do you ever come across those ridiculously photogenic oatmeal bowls topped with exotic fruit sourced from the soils of Narnia on Instagram and sigh with jealousy? After all, given the popularity of oatmeal/porridge as a breakfast option, what percentage of the general population actually has the time to create a Louvre-worthy masterpiece before jumping into their daily routine?

How to make oatmeal

Well, first of all, let us quickly address the question of Instagram vs. reality (something that will doubtlessly necessitate a blog post of its own in the future). For many people, myself included, food styling is a creative outlet, and those pretty bowls are tailored entirely towards their respective Instagram feed as opposed to being a realistic representation of what their creators eat 90% of the time. Sometimes, I will make a bowl of oatmeal whenever my schedule allows (mostly in the late afternoon), photograph it for Instagram and store it in the fridge to be eaten the next morning. In other words, if I have to make porridge right before my six a.m. shift, only a very large sum of money could induce me to post the un-photogenic but nonetheless delicious outcome on social media.

Moreover, spicing up your oatmeal does not have to require enormous amounts of effort and culinary/artistic talent. You can make it as pretty or as ugly as you like, and adjust it in accordance with your individual preferences (this may be something that oatmeal and bullet journals have in common?!). After receiving positive feedback on my step-by-step Buddha bowl guide, I decided to build a guide to oatmeal on the same principle for anyone who wants to go beyond microwave oats in terms of both taste and nutritional value. As always, feel free to skip any of the steps I outline below and/or add anything else – after all, it is your life, your oatmeal, and no one can tell you what to do!

Vegan oatmeal recipe

1. Pick a milk  View Full Post

Russian Pirozhki With Two Potato Fillings (Vegan)

Before we jump into my obligatory ramble about the recipe, I would first of all like to wish you all an outstanding 2018. May you achieve everything you wish to achieve, finally live up to your New Year’s resolutions. May all of your dreams and intentions come true. And if they don’t? Well, any experience whether successful or unsuccessful, is worth learning from. You still have your entire life ahead of you. My 2017 was a year characterised by uncertainty and interminable ups and downs: I experienced some brilliant moments, many lows and had to make a few life-changing decisions. I learnt a lot not only about myself, but also the world around me and how I fit into it. Regardless of what it may be, I cannot wait for anything 2018 shall bring forth.

Vegan Pirozhki recipe

Vegan Pirozhki

Anyway, as I am writing up this blog post I am totally dreaming of the celebratory meal we had last night. As you may or may not know, I grew up in Russia, and while Russian people do not celebrate Christmas, they have a strong New Year’s Eve tradition and much like Christmas it is a time for spending time with family, giving gifts, eating copious amounts of food (I am talking to the extent that at times, there isn’t enough room on the table for people to actually set down their plates). There is even a Russian Santa (‘Ded Moroz’), but he wears blue as opposed to red. And in general, food happens to be an enormous part of Russian culture: for example, if someone visits your home and you hadn’t prepared a three course meal for their arrival and brewed several cups worth of tea, you become the definition of impertinent. View Full Post