Warm Mexican Bean & Rice Salad

With the vibrant colours, interesting textures and obvious nourishing ingredients, this recipe speaks for itself. Please don't be alarmed by the long ingredients list, this dish is so quick and easy to prepare.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2/3 cup of uncooked brown, black or wild rice

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large red capsicum, diced

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of paprika

2 teaspoons of cumin

1 large zucchini, diced into small pieced

Kernels from one cob of corn (you can use a small tin for convenience if needed)

1 large (400g can) of black beans or kidney beans

1 fresh chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced 

1/2 bunch of coriander, leaves picked and stems chopped 

Juice from 2 limes

To top

1 tomato or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (when in season), diced

1 avocado, mashed

1/4 cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) 

Cracked pepper to season


Start cooking rice (remember brown rice takes double the amount of time to cook than white rice).

Meanwhile, heat pepitas with a big pinch of cumin over a low-medium heat in a dry pan. When the pepitas start to become fragrant remove them from the heat - they are easy to burn! 

When there is about 5 minutes left for rice to cook, heat olive oil in a frying pan or heavy saucepan over a medium heat.

Add onion and capsicum and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add garlic, zucchini and corn and cook over a high heat for 1-2 minutes, or until zucchini starts to become tender.

Stir through spices, chilli, beans and half of the lime juice and cook for a further minute. 

Remove from heat and stir through coriander and rice.

Serve in bowls, and top with avocado, pepitas, tomato and an extra squeeze of lime juice. 

Serve this dish hot, cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serve Energy 2370kJ (564cal), protein 20g, fat 28g, saturated fat 5g, carbohydrate 50g, sugars 6g, fibre 17g, sodium 21mg


This dish is great for lunch or dinner and don't forget to save some for leftovers!

Have a smaller serving size and match with some fried egg, grilled chicken tenderloins or a small lean steak. 


This recipe was inspired by Heidi Swanson's baked oats.

As soon as I saw the original recipe I just had to try it Heidi's way and my own way.

Eating oats baked is a more indulgent way to enjoy this old-time favourite, yet you still reap the many health benefits. 

Eating oats this way provides about the same amount of carbohydrate (~40g), a little more protein from the nut and seed topping (~12g) and a little more fat compared to oats cooked in milk and topped with fruit, but overall a nutrient dense and filling way to start the day.

I have been enjoying baked oats on the weekend when I am looking for a carbohydrate rich, higher protein breakfast following a long run. I just enjoy this with a cup of milk for adequate protein for muscle recovery and enough carbohydrate to refuel my muscle glycogen stores. 

I believe the whole family would just love this recipe for a heart-warming breakfast on a cold weekend morning. 

Ingredients (makes 6 serves)

2 cups of oats

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

 1 teaspoon of baking powder

 100g of a nut and seed mix (I used almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)

 A pinch of salt

 1 egg

 2 cups of milk

 60g unsalted butter or margarine, melted

 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

 1 teaspoons of vanilla essence

 2 cups of frozen mixed berries

 1 large ripe banana (or two small bananas), sliced


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients - oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and 50g of the nut and seed mix.

In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients - whisk the egg then add the milk, melted butter (or margarine), maple syrup and vanilla essence.

Line the base of a 20cm x 20cm oven proof dish (grease if required) with the banana and 1 ½ cup of the berries.

Scatter the dry ingredients on top of the banana and berries.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture, then give the dish a good thump on the bench/chopping board (without breaking) to make sure the wet ingredients mix through.

Scatter the other 50g of the nut and seed mix and ½ cup of berries over the top.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until brown on top.

Remember to use recipes for inspiration and mix up the ingredients to your own liking. You could also use tinned apples instead of the banana and walnuts instead of the nut and seed mix.


Vegetarian Barley Pilaf with Halloumi

When I say barley many of you likely think of beer… RIGHT? Well this little ancient grain serves more purposes than it's role in beer production. Although it is one of our oldest cultivated crops, it is starting to become a modern culinary delight.

Some people however are still yet to discover what barley has to offer in the way of versatility and nutrition.

The barley that we commonly consume today is pearl barley, which has had the tough hulls removed. The end product is a highly nutritious, nutty textured grain that can be used in soups and stews and as an alternative for risotto or pilafs.

Not only is it packed with the goodness of minerals such as selenium, magnesium and phosphorus, it has a low glycemic index (GI). This means the carbohydrate breaks down to glucose at a slow and steady rate, leaving you with more sustain energy levels and keeping you fuller for longer. Barley also contains beta glucans that can help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

So have I sold you yet?

Why not start your barley discovery with this very simple barley pilaf recipe. The recipe calls for certain fresh vegetables (pretty much what I had in the fridge when I set out to develop this recipe), however you can use whatever vegetables you desire. You may even like to use frozen mixed vegetables when the fresh produce is almost at an end.

Let me know what you think, especially if this is your first experience with barley.

Bon Appetit


Barley Pilaf (serves 3-4)

1 cup of pearled barley

250g of halloumi, thickly sliced

1 bay leaf

2 ½ cups of salt reduced vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 zucchini, diced

1 red capsicum, diced

1 carrot, diced

½ cup of frozen peas, thawed

½ cup chopped parsley (or herb of your choice)

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Juice from half a lemon


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion and season with pepper and cook until tender.

Add barley and cook for approximately 3 minutes.

Add stock and bay leaf, bring to the boil then simmer covered until barley tender (stirring occasionally), this will take approximately 25 minutes.

Once the barley is tender add vegetables (except for the peas) and some extra stock if required, cook for approximately 5 minutes (or until vegetables start to cook through).

Remove from heat, stir through peas, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

While to pilaf is standing, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over a medium to high heat, cook the halloumi for approximately 1 minute on each side. 

Then, remove the bay leaf from the pilaf, season with pepper and stir through the the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Divide between bowels and top with halloumi.