If you’re feeling sluggish, slobby and a little bit bloated, chances are like us you’re feeling the post-Christmas slump. After all the ‘treats’ you’ve given yourself it might be time to give your body some love (and recovery!) coming into the new year. And while we tend to steer clear of any radical new year’s resolutions, the opportunity to learn some failsafe new recipes that also happen to be healthy is a habit that will only help as the year picks up.

We’re lucky to be able to call on Carla Oates, the brains behind The Beauty Chef website and recently-launched cookbook. Carla has a knack for pulling together beautiful and nourishing meals, so when we had the opportunity to share some the features from her new book how could we refuse?

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SWEET POTATO AND BEETROOT CHIPS WITH MATCHA, LIME AND CHILLI SALT

These zesty chips are rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for skin cell regeneration and maintaining a healthy skin barrier. (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

1 sweet potato, washed and dried
1 large beetroot, trimmed, washed and dried
1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil, warmed, plus extra for greasing
Matcha, lime and chilli salt
finely grated zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon matcha green tea powder
pinch of chilli flakes

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease two large baking trays with coconut oil.

Using a mandolin, thinly slice the sweet potato into rounds and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with half of the oil and rub to coat. Thinly slice the beetroot in the same manner and place in a separate bowl. Drizzle and coat in the remaining oil.

Arrange the sweet potato and beetroot slices in a single layer onto the prepared trays.

Bake for 20 minutes, checking frequently and turning occasionally, until crisp and lightly coloured. Transfer onto a rack to cool completely.

Bake any remaining sweet potato or beetroot slices.

To prepare the matcha, lime and chilli salt, blend the ingredients together, using a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder to lightly crush the chilli and infuse
the flavours into the salt.

Sprinkle the salt over the chips to serve.

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RAW CAULIFLOWER AND LEMON TABOULI WITH GRILLED HALOUMI

Haloumi is a brined cheese made from a mix of goat’s and sheep’s milk and cooking it unleashes its salty, cheesy deliciousness. It’s high in calcium, which is good for your bones. The versatile cauliflower is a great stand-in for bulgur in recipes – in fact I think it’s superior. (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

1 (600g) cauliflower, trimmed and broken into chunks
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ small red onion, finely diced
4 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 large handfuls mint leaves, chopped
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 unwaxed lemons, zest finely grated and juiced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
180g packet haloumi (sheep and cow milk blend)

METHOD

Place the cauliflower in a food processor and blend to finely chop into couscous-sized grains.

Combine the cauliflower, tomatoes, onion, parsley and mint in a large bowl and toss together.

Place the oil, lemon zest and juice and garlic in a glass jar and fit with a lid. Shake to combine.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the cauliflower mixture and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes, to allow the liquid and flavours to absorb.

Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Slice the haloumi into eight slices. Grill for 1-2 minutes on each side, until browned.

Serve the haloumi warm with the cauliflower tabouli.

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MEDITERRANEAN CAULIFLOWER PIZZA

Can you imagine eating pizza without the gut luggage and lethargy that follows, but still with all the classic toppings of olives, capsicum and cheese? Enter the incredibly versatile cauliflower, in brilliant disguise here, as a delicious, nutritious base for this much-loved favourite dish. (Serves 2 – makes one 23cm pizza)

INGREDIENTS – CAULIFLOWER BASE

1 (600g) head cauliflower
¼ cup (25g) finely grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup (30g) almond meal
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

INGREDIENTS – PIZZA SAUCE

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano or dried basil
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS – TOPPING

½ roasted red capsicum, peeled, seeded and sliced
4 marinated artichoke halves, thickly sliced
150g marinated goat’s cheese, broken into lumps
¼ cup (45g) pitted Kalamata olives
1 large handful rocket leaves
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

METHOD

Place a pizza stone or upturned baking tray in the oven and preheat the oven to 220ÅãC. Lightly grease and line a 26cm pizza tray with baking paper.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Line a colander with muslin cloth or a clean tea towel.

Place the cauliflower in a food processor and blend until finely chopped into tiny grains.

Cook the cauliflower for 1 minute, so it still has a bite to it but is not completely raw. Pour into the prepared colander and set aside to drain and cool slightly.

To prepare the pizza sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook the garlic, until softened. Add the tomatoes and herbs and cook for 15 minutes, or until softened and the liquid has reduced to make a thick sauce. Puree using a stick blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper.

Bundle the cauliflower up in the muslin cloth or tea towel and squeeze out to remove any excess liquid.

To prepare the base, place the cauliflower and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture in the centre of the pizza tray and press out to make an even base.

Place the pizza tray onto the preheated pizza stone or upturned baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and beginning to crisp up.

Spread the prepared sauce over the base. Scatter the roasted capsicum, artichoke, goat’s cheese and olives on top. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the cheese softens and begins to turn golden brown.

Remove from the oven, top with rocket and scatter with pine nuts. Drizzle with oil.

Slice to serve.

* NOTE: Vegans or those avoiding dairy can substitute savoury yeast for the parmesan in the base and cultured nut cheese for the goat’s cheese topping.

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CHOCOLATE, ORANGE AND BUCKWHEAT CRUNCH BALLS

I would feel guilty about eating so many of these crunchy, flavourful, enticing treats if I didn’t know that they were so healthy. Buckwheat is rich in rutin, a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your body and brain from inflammation and collagen degradation. (Makes 18)

INGREDIENTS

6 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup (125ml) boiling water
1 cup (200g) buckwheat groats*
1/3 cup (35g) cacao powder, plus extra for coating
1 cup (100g) desiccated coconut, plus extra
for coating
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder*
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange
pinch of Himalayan salt
1/3 cup (60g) raisins, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs*

Coating
¼ cup (30g) cacao powder
1/3 cup (30g) desiccated coconut
½ cup (70g) pistachios, finely ground

METHOD

Soak the dates in water for 10 minutes, or until softened.

Toast the buckwheat groats in a dry frying pan over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and nutty. Set aside to cool.

Place the dates and any remaining liquid, cacao powder, coconut, almond butter, tahini, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and salt in a high-speed blender. Blend until the mixture begins to bind together.

Transfer into a medium bowl. Add the cooled toasted buckwheat, raisins and cacao nibs and stir to combine.

Divide the mixture into 18 even portions and roll into balls.

Roll six balls in cacao powder, six in desiccated coconut and six in finely ground pistachios to coat.

Place on a tray and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.

Buy ‘The Beauty Chef’ online here

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