A friend was complaining the other day that her husband was on a keto diet and that every time she bought yummy treats like avocados or berries and put them in the fridge for a meal she had planned, she'd return to find them all gone - he'd wolfed the lot down claiming (virtuously) at her indignance, that this was part of his "healthy diet".
Didn't he know that regardless of whatever "diet" regime you might happen to be on, don't go and eat all the treats. Knowing how to eat healthily seems to have become incredibly complicated. Check out a "healthy eating" influencer on Instagram, read a wellness blog or visit a health food store and you're likely to be bombarded with messages demonising whole categories of everyday foods like wheat, bread, dairy and potatoes.
We've known for some time that 5+ a day fruit and vege is the mantra we should be following for good health, however, eating by colour is another way to look at this and creates the opportunity to maximise our consumption of foods that provide us with protective nutrition.
Eating fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes from different colour groups provides us with different assortments of macro and micro nutrients, each playing a unique role in promoting health and immunity and fighting disease.
The dazzling hues of bright red tomatoes, the deep purple of eggplant, the verdant green of broccoli each give us clues as to what particular phytonutrients and polyphenols each plant contains.
Purple and blue harvests include purple grapes, purple potatoes, prunes, blackberries, purple cabbage, purple asparagus, purple figs and dark plums.
Green harvests include avocados, cucumbers, spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, watercress, rocket, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, green kiwifruit, green capsciums, green tea, feijoas and artichokes.
White and tan harvests include cauliflower, shallots, brown onions, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, pears, ginger, kohlrabi, jerusalem artichokes, white peaches and nectarines, bananas, and brown figs.
Orange and yellow harvests include grapefruit, papaya, pineapples, apricots, yellow plums, peaches, persimmons, corn, pumpkins, carrots, yellow peppers, golden beetroot, golden kiwifruit, turmeric, lemons, oranges, mangoes, yellow apples and quinces.
Red harvests include rhubarb, cranberries, radishes, beetroot, cherries, tamarillo, watermelon, red plums, tomatoes, red pears, raspberries, pomegranates, red peppers and chillies, radicchio and strawberries.
Brown harvests include soybeans, brown rice, chickpeas, pecans, walnuts, flaxseed, sesame seed, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, quinoa, oats, couscous, millet, bulgur wheat, chestnuts, polenta, and macadamia nuts.
The colourful eating philosophy of eating the rainbow each day may require you to modify your shopping trolley and have a good sort-out of your pantry. But building the mainstay of your diet from each of these colour groups will help to keep you healthy; assist with healing and protection; and boost your immune system - to mention but a few of the many benefits of rainbow eating.
You can break out now and then but this is about creating a new long-term habit of eating. Your body will thank you in a heartbeat.
Rainbow hummus 3 ways
1. Classic hummus
Choose canned chickpeas in brine rather than in spring water to get an extra creamy result. You can buy tahini cheaply at supermarkets – give it a good stir before using, as the oil tends to separate.
Ready in 15 mins
Makes about 1 cup
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (brine reserved)
1 small clove garlic, crushed to a paste with ¼ tsp salt
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup brine from chickpeas
2 Tbsp water, or more if needed
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
TO SERVE (optional)
A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
Veges for dipping, such as baby carrots, baby radishes and sugar snap peas
Combine all ingredients except the chickpea brine and water in a food processor and whizz to form a paste. Add brine and water and whizz until smooth and creamy, adding a little more water if needed to reach desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Hummus will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. Serve as is, or topped with extra-virgin olive oil, dukkah, pumpkin seeds and/or sprouts. Accompany with baby vegetables for dipping.
2. Green hummus
To the classic hummus above, add 5 handfuls baby spinach and ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves. Tahini is optional.
3. Beetroot hummus
Swap the chickpeas in the classic hummus above for a 400g can of cannellini or butter beans, drained and rinsed, and add ½ x 400g can beetroot, drained and rinsed. Tahini is optional.
Roasted vegetable platter
This is a colourful accompaniment for winter stews and roasts. Try to chop the vegetables into the roughly the same size chunks for uniform cooking.
Ready in 1½ hours + cooling
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 small red onions, quartered
2 large beetroot, peeled and cut into eighths
800g pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunky rounds
2 parsnips or 4-5 jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into chunky pieces
5-6 handfuls baby spinach or rocket leaves
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with ½ tsp salt
½ cup natural yoghurt, thinned with a little water if desired
A little dukkah, to garnish
Preheat oven to 180C fan bake. Line 2 large roasting dishes with baking paper for easy clean-up.
In a large bowl combine oil, smoked paprika, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the vegetables to the bowl and toss to coat evenly.
Divide vegetables between roasting dishes. Spread out in a single layer and roast until tender and lightly caramelised (45-50 minutes).
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, then add spinach or rocket and toss gently. Stir garlic paste into yoghurt. Pile veges on to a serving platter, drizzle with yoghurt dressing and sprinkle with dukkah.
Cranberry porridge with macerated tamarillos
At this time of year I like to serve this with macerated tamarillos and my superfood sprinkle. Slices of green and gold kiwifruit are also delicious as a topping.
Ready in 15 mins
2 cups water
1 cup jumbo wholegrain rolled oats
1 cup coconut cream, almond milk or milk
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
½ tsp salt
TO GARNISH (optional)
Honey-macerated tamarillos (see below)
A little natural or Greek-style yoghurt
¼-½ cup superfood sprinkle (see below)
Combine all the porridge ingredients in a pot, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring now and then, until thick and creamy (10-12 minutes).
Serve hot, topped with macerated tamarillos, yoghurt and superfood sprinkle, if desired.
Prick 4 tamarillos with a knife in a few places and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water, allow to stand for 5 minutes then drain. Peel and discard skins. Slice flesh thinly into a non-corrosive bowl and drizzle over 4 Tbsp runny honey. Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes, stirring now and then until a rich, dark juice has formed. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Mix a cup each of walnut pieces, sunflower seeds and wheatgerm with ½ cup sesame seeds and ground linseeds. Spread out on a shallow roasting tray and bake at 160C, stirring frequently until aromatic and golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Add 1 tsp cinnamon and, if desired, 1 cup goji berries. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge, using 1-2 Tbsp per serve as needed. Keeps for weeks.
Match these with ...
by Yvonne Lorkin
Good Herb Soda Unwind Terpene Soda 250ml (12pk $60)
Try as I have, many times, to match something alcoholic with porridge of any description, that particular combo has proved elusive. It does nae werk, Captain! BUT this electric little natural terpene-based soda is the absolute business. Comprising blueberry, mango and juniper alongside plant-derived terpenes myrcene, beta pinene and D-limonene, it's designed to help you unwind, clear the mind and kick back in flavoursome fashion. The crisp, clean, berry-edged flavours work sensationally well with the tamarillo tang and creamy oats.
St Huberts The Stag Victoria Rosé 2021 ($18)
When I'm of an inclination to launch headfirst into some hummus, I like to fortify myself with a crunchy-crisp, clean-as-a-whistle rosé like this one. Like a pink diamond in your glass, it's dry-yet-richly structured in a Provencal style, with lifted aromas of redcurrant, pink peppercorn and watermelon which all then osmose across the palate. It's zesty fresh and the perfect thing to complement anything chickpea-based. And let's face it. Chickpeas need all the compliments they can get.
Available at supermarkets all over the show.
(Roasted vegetable platter)
Butterworth Layline Martinborough Pinot Gris 2021 ($26)
There's nothing nicer, when faced with paprika-dusted roasted parsnips and pumpkin, than a large, swirlable goblet of good pinot gris. This new release from Butterworth in Martinborough is just the knees of the bees in that its spiced nashi and quince-crammed richness works incredibly well with the caramelised sweetness and smokiness of the veges and the creamy, garlicky dressing. It's a fresh, frisky wine that'll definitely bring the grins.