Rainbow Couscous Bowl

rainbow-couscous-bowl-straightupbananasThis here is a recipe that’s been featured on WKND Magazine and Khaleej Times. It’s a little something I came up with when I had absolutely no clue what to make for dinner.

I just started laying on the flavors and it all kind of worked out.

You can eat this rainbow couscous bowl fresh or as leftovers the next day and it’s absolutely perfect. This recipe is not set in stone, so do play with it.

rainbow couscous salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup of fine couscous
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • Coriander
  • A pinch of seasalt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of red chili flakes

For the toppings:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • More coriander
  • Mint leaves
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken breasts (seasoned with sea salt, cinnamon, chili flakes, sumac and zaatar)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese

For the sauce:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Coriander
  • The juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini

 

How to prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, place the couscous along with all the couscous ingredients and fill with 2 cups of boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  2. After the couscous has set, remove the plate or plastic wrap and with a fork lightly fluff the couscous.
  3. In a large flat plate, place the warm couscous and layer on the toppings. To ensure that each bite is tasty, mix half of the topping ingredients together with the couscous and leave the rest for the top.
  4. Pour yourself a few spoonfuls and layer on the yogurt sauce.
  5. ENJOY!

 

Easy and quick soba noodle tuna salad

tuna-soba-noodle-salad

‘Tis the middle of the week and I neither have the desire, nor the stamina to drive all the way to the grocery store and buy provisions to keep me from dying of the hunger. A little rummage here, a chop there, a can opener in the middle and I’ve got this lovely soba noodle tuna salad. I’m slurping. I’m happy. I’m no longer withering away from hunger. Life is grand.

It’s so ridiculously easy to put together and you can add or remove any ingredient that you’d like basically. It’s one of my go-to recipes when I’m completely out of food inspo!

Ingredients:

Noodles:

  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 cans of tuna (canned in water is best)
  • A handful of broccoli florets (frozen works perfectly)
  • Chopped coriander
  • ¼ cup of sesame seeds
  • A handful of crunchy mixed greens

 

Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 grated clove of garlic
  • The juice of 1 orange (or lemon)
  • Ginger powder
  •  

Cooking Instructions:

  • In the large bowl, put together all the dressing ingredients, mix well and leave in bowl.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Usually 7 minutes is enough. (Do not overcook the noodles)
  • Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
  • Throw the cooled noodles and broccoli into the bowl with the dressing.
  • Grate in the carrot and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Mix noodles into dressing and enjoy!

Since you’re here, why not head off to my wee little Instagram page–I’d love to have ya!

The easiest soba noodle salad in just 15 minutes!

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So I’m frantically packing for my last-minute trip to Jordan courtesy of Movenpick Dead Sea and Petra, but I need to fuel my body..I need to have lunch or else I won’t remember all the important things I need to pack, right?

With an almost empty fridge, I was left to rummage the cupboard to see what I could make to nourish my body and here’s what I came up with, an easy, quick and healthy soba noodle salad that I could even save in the fridge for lunch the next day!

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Ingredients:

Noodles:

  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Chopped coriander
  • 1 cup of toasted cashews (in a pan with no oil)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 red chilis (depending on how hot you like it)
  • Almost 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you have), cooked in a pan with no oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic cooked in sesame oil till nice and golden and crispy

Dressing:

  • 1 large tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Rice vinegar to taste
  • About 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • About 1/2 cup of warm water from the soba noodles (adding a little bit at a time)

 

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, you need to toast the cashews, sesame seeds, garlic and garlic in pans individually (do not put them together in one pan because you’re lazy, they can and will burn)
  2. Then boil a pan of water and when the water comes to a boil, cook the soba noodles for 5 minutes (or read pack) and then drain and wash with cold water
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients. Add some of the hot water from the noodles a little bit at a time and keep mixing till the dressing is nice and creamy
  4. Add all the ingredients into the bowl and toss till the noodles are mixed with the dressing
  5. ENJOY!

 

Please give this recipe a shot, it’s even easier than it sounds, I promise. Plus it’s perfect for lunch the next day!

It’s healthy, quick and easy! Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot. Also, please follow me on Instagram by clicking this link 🙂

 

 

Rainbow coucous salad

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There’s something about cooking up a storm in Ramadan that I find oddly satisfying and I can’t quite pinpoint why–is the anticipation of having something delicious for iftar? Is it the sense of mystery whether or not the food is going to be taste..good? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I love that feeling of spending time cooking a dish and unveiling the flavors only at that first call of “Allahu Akbar”.

Two days ago, I decided that I wanted to cook some chicken and couscous, but was left uninspired on how I wanted to go about it. I pranced into the kitchen and started to ransack the cupboard, looking for anything that I thought might fit the Moroccan flavors I was looking for. Many ingredients and spices later, and I came up with this salad and it was a smashing success 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup of fine couscous
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • Coriander
  • A pinch of seasalt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of red chili flakes

For the toppings:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • More coriander
  • Mint leaves
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken breasts (seasoned with sea salt, cinnamon, chili flakes, sumac and zaatar)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Baby spinach
  • Grilled sweet potatoes

For the sauce:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Coriander
  • The juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini

 

How to prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, place the couscous along with all the couscous ingredients and fill with 2 cups of boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  2. After the couscous has set, remove the  plate or plastic wrap and with a fork lightly fluff the couscous.
  3. In a large flat plate, place the warm couscous and layer on the toppings. To ensure that each bite is tasty, mix half of the topping ingredients together with the couscous and leave the rest for the top.
  4. Pour yourself a few spoonfuls and layer on the yogurt sauce.
  5. ENJOY!

 

I know it feels like it may be a lot of ingredients, but I can’t tell you how delicious this dish is. You could eat it warm on the spot, or enjoy leftovers the next day–it’s absolutely delicious!

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And since you’re here, why not follow me on Instagram and SnapChat (ahlam.al1)?

 

Roasted sweet potato fries

Healthy sweet potato fries

I love fries as much as the next person. Fries are my kryptonite. I’ve recently fell head over heels in love with sweet potato fries (I can’t believe I ever hated them when I was a kid) and they’re just the perfect healthy, easy and quick alternative.

After roasting the sweet potatoes, I sprinkled on some sea salt and spring onions and served them with leftover avocado and yogurt mousse from last night’s dinner. You can find the recipe for that here.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of flour or corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • sea salt

The method behind my madness:

  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fries
  • Soak the fries in water for a few hours (preferably overnight to get extra crunchy fries)
  • Preheat the oven to 150C degrees
  • Drain the sweet potatoes and dry them on a paper towel
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
  • In a bowl, put the sweet potatoes, corn starch, garlic and olive oil and mix well
  • Line the baking tray with the potatoes and put in the oven
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the fries and bake for another 3-5 minutes
  • Take out of the oven and taste to see if you need more sea salt
  • Top with spring onions

 

Voila!  These crunchy roasted sweet potato fries are the easiest, healthiest simplest are a wonderful alternative to regular deep fried French fries, and they’re absolutely loaded with flavor!

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a shot–you will not regret it, promise!

Oh, and since you’re here, follow me on Instagram please!

 

Tropical-fruit mango and turmeric vegan cheesecake

Vegan turmeric mango cheesecake

Yes, it’s yet another raw vegan cashew cheesecake, folks. And you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t like them just as much as I do, now would you?

This cheesecake is processed sugar free, colorant free and full of healthy goodness like the mega antioxidant turmeric and mangos.

Once you get the flow of these raw vegan cheesecake recipes, it’s so easy to pimp it up as much as you want. I love it, it’s like the perfect base for so many things!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
  • A sprinkle of sea salt

For the filling:

  • 4 tablespoons of turmeric
  • 1 can of fullfat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
  • the juice of one lime
  • 250g (a whole pack) of cashews soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 2 mangos
  • fresh fruit for topping
  • a pinch of sea salt

How to get it done:

First things first, you’ll need one of those cake or tart tins with a removable bottom.

Place all the crust ingredients into a food processor and blitz till nice and crumbly.

Put the crust mixture into the tin and press it down firmly.

Then, in a blender place all the filling ingredients EXCEPT for the turmeric, mango, and fruit for topping.

On a high speed, blend the ingredients together till creamy and no longer lumpy.

Pour half of the mixture into the cake tin and then add the mango and turmeric to the remaining mixture and blitz again till mango and turmeric are combined. (You should get a yellow shade of cashew cream)

Pour the yellow cashew cream on top of the white, and swirl around as much as you’d like to get the marbled effect.

Place in freezer for about 4 hours.

Before slicing and serving, take out of the freezer and let the cheesecake thaw out at least 20 minutes (no one wants to bite into ice. Oh and please don’t forget it out or it will collapse).

When ready to serve, add your choice of fresh fruit on top.

There you go! Easy Peasy! You’re going to love this cake. And no one needs to know that: A) It’s good for you. B) It’s not a real cheesecake. C) It’s got turmeric in it, ’cause that’ll just turn people off from the idea of having dessert for some reason.

Try this easy, quick and healthy raw vegan mango and turmeric cheesecake now! All the ingredients can be found in any regular supermarket in Dubai, it doesn’t necessarily call for a trip to the Organic Shop or whatever.

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this a try.

Oh and my Instagram account awaits a new follower in the form of you! Click this here link, matey. Aaargh.

 

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

We all have that one friend or sister that is absolutely obsessed with chocolate. If you don’t know that person, then it’s probably you. This recipe is so delicious AND you can have it done in less than 15 minutes! It’s quick, simple, and healthy. And I promise you, no one will be able to tell the difference.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1- 1 avocado

2- 1 banana

3- 4 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder

4- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey

5- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

6- A pinch of sea salt

HOW TO GET IT DONE, SON:

This is dead simple. Are you ready?

Just grab all your ingredients, throw them in a blender and blitz. Tada! You’re done! No really, you’re done.

I’d recommend refrigerating it for at least an hour before eating. This recipe is so versatile you can top it with whatever you’ve got on hand. I topped them with raspberries, coconut flakes, and more sea salt because I love the contrast!

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! You won’t regret it, I promise!

And, while you’re here, follow me on Instagram please:)

Easy & healthy spiced chocolate chia seed pudding

There’s just something about going to bed knowing that when you wake up a delicious, healthy and easy breakfast will be sitting there just waiting to greet you. It puts a little spring in my step in the morning when my alarm goes off (and by my alarm, I mean my husband’s).

Last night I whipped out one of my trusty mason jars and a few ingredients I had in my pantry and put together this oh-so-delicious and good for you spiced-chocolate chia seed pudding. It’s so ridiculously simple and good I see no reason why I can’t have it every morning!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 2/3 a cup of organic chia seeds
  2. 2 cups of almond, soy or coconut milk
  3. 1 vanilla pod or organic vanilla bean paste
  4. date syrup or honey to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  6. 2 cloves
  7. 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

How to get it done, son:

  • Grab yourself a mason jar or an air-tight container.
  • Dump all aforementioned ingredients in said container.
  • Mix well.
  • Shut container and throw into the fridge.
  • Leave in fridge overnight.
  • In the morning, take out of fridge, plop into bowl and add whatever the heck you feel like adding.
  • Voila! You’re good to go!

You’re going to love this recipe. I promise.

I mean:

  • Chocolate. Check.
  • Cinnamon. Check.
  • Easy recipe. Check.
  • Healthy. Check.
  • Quick. Check.

What more could you possibly want?

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this easy raw, vegan breakfast bowl of goodness a try and let me know how it goes.

Oh, and add me on Instagram!

 

 

Simple, chunky vegan Mexican tomato soup

Here’s my rendition of a very easy, very quick and healthy Mexican tomato soup that J.O. did in one of his episodes of ’30 Minute Meals’. This recipe is my go-to recipe when I’m craving a soup that is easy to make, yet super hearty. You throw a few ingredients in a pot, boil them for a few minutes and puree them and you’re good to go!

I know this has been said way too many times in the history of food, but without Jamie Oliver and my abuelita, I honestly do not think I would’ve ever grown to love cooking as much as I do. I’ve got distinct memories of being 11 years old and having my eyes glued to the screen of what was then called ‘The Naked Chef’. It goes without saying that till this day, 15 years later, I am still constantly inspired in the kitchen by the both of them.

The thing I love most about this recipe is that it’s super versatile. You could use it as a base for pretty much anything. Make the soup a bit chunkier and you’ve got a killer salsa for your tortilla chips, substitute cilantro for basil and voila it’s an Italian version of the soup–you really cannot go wrong with this recipe in your repertoire.

Vegan Mexican tomato soup

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 2 cans of organic crushed tomatoes
  2. 2 cubes of organic bouillon stock
  3. 4 roasted bell peppers
  4. 4 sprigs of diced spring onions
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  7. 1 liter of hot water
  8. A handful of rice (even leftover pre-cooked rice works out fine)
  9. Chopped cilantro stalks
  10. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  11. The juice of a lime for taste
  12. Optional toppings: cilantro leaves, sliced jalapenos, cultured yogurt, cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, smashed avocado, guacamole (to name a few)

Here’s how to make it:

  • First, in a pot add all the ingredients except for the salt, pepper and lime juice (and the ingredients for the topping…duh)
  • Cover in pot and allow to simmer on medium-high heat for about 10-14 minutes (until rice is fully cooked)
  • Grab your handheld blender (or pour into a regular blender) and blitz until it’s reached the consistency you like. We like ours silky smooth, but it’s up to you.
  • Taste the soup and add lime, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve in a bowl and top with whatever the heck you’ve got on hand.
  • Enjoy the crap out of this one, because it’s a bonafide winner!

I cannot stress how much I love this recipe! I make it almost once a week and I’m yet to hear a complaint about the frequency of the dish.

It’s delicious, easy and super quick to put on the table. Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a shot.

Oh, and since you’re here…why not follow me on Instagram by clicking this little link right here?

 

 

 

Tortilla Baskets Filled with a Mango and Avocado Salad

Ever had one of those lazy Sunday mornings where all you want to do is lounge around in your PJs in your soft bed with the most extravagantly beautiful, but also ridiculously-simple-to-put-together breakfast ever? Around here in the Straight-up Bananas HQ that happens a little more than I’d care to admit. Last Sunday I decided to have these super clean, super easy and super quick baked tortilla baskets with a mango and avocado salad topped with some smoked tuna for breakfast and I couldn’t care less that I was having some pimped up leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Oh, and remember that day when it rained gatos y perros in Dubai? Ooooof course you do, because it’s 1 week later and we’re still constantly hearing about it, non?

Anyhoo, that was the day I decided to make a Caribbean feast so grand that the gloominess outside could never get to me! And boy, did it go well! I made a Caribbean dinner fit for a king with the husband and had the leftovers for breakfast the next day and I ain’t even made.  I made my own rendition of Lorraine Pascal’s Caribbean 3 course meal with baked tortilla baskets as the starters, the sweet potato and fish coconut curry with homemade rye roti as the main and a killer spiced chocolate cake for dessert. Oh. Dear. Lawd.

Take a look at these hot mamas! Breakfast in bed never looked this sexy!

Tortilla Baskets

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 4 corn tortillas
  2. 1 can of kidney beans
  3. 1 diced ripe mango
  4. 1 diced ripe avocado
  5. The juice of 1 lime
  6. A handful of chopped cilantro
  7. 1 diced crunchy bell pepper (I used an orange one)
  8. A pinch of sea salt and pepper to taste
  9. A glug of extra virgin olive oil
  10. Chopped spring onions

 

Here’s how it’s done, son:

  • First, preheat your oven on medium heat.
  • Then, cut your tortillas into quarters.
  • Then, lightly coat the tortillas with some oil so that they get nice and crispy in the oven.
  • In a muffin tray, stuff two of the tortilla quarters in and put to bake for 10 minutes or until tortillas are golden and crunchy.
  • While the tortillas are baking, you can make the salad by combining all the ingredients above.
  • Once the tortillas are nice and golden brown remove them carefully from the muffin and let cool.
  • Once the tortilla baskets are cooled down and you’re ready to serve, scoop in some of your salad.

If you’re not thinking of eating the baskets immediately, do not put the salad in or else it’ll get super soggy. For this breakfast in bed, the tortilla baskets were already made the night before and the mango and avocado salad was already in a mason jar so I just assembled them and tried to make them a bit more breakfasty by serving them with some smoked tuna and a soft-boiled egg on the side.

You will knock your guest’s socks off with this one. They look so damn pretty that one would think they’d take hours of slaving over a hot stove and a rediculous amount of culinary prowess to get done, but they couldn’t be more wrong. You’ll have these easy, quick and clean babies in and around your mouth within 15 minutes!

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a shot.

Oh, and since you’re here…why not follow me on Instagram by clicking this little link right here?