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Penne with Butter Bean & Avocado

Penne with Butter Bean & Avocado

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Penne with Butter Bean & Avocado








Remember my recent post on Butter Bean & Avocado Spread? Well, I had some leftover so decided to use it as a stir-in sauce for pasta.

the creamy butter beans and avocado merge with warm penne beautifully for a sublime pasta experience

Like my previous pasta recipe, this time too, I used wholewheat (as opposed to white) penne and didn’t feel like I was eating something “boring healthy”.

And like my previous Maggi recipe, this is also a one-step cooking method (if you leave aside the pasta boiling step).


3-4 Tablespoons Butter Bean & Avocado Spread (or to taste)

1/2 Cup uncooked chunky pasta of your choice

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Large Onion

2 Ripe tomato

200 Grams mushroom

A handful of basil leaves

2-3 Bird’s eye chilli

Head of garlic

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon mixed herbs or Italian seasoning

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1-2 Tablespoons pine nuts

Grated Parmesan to serve

Salt to taste


  1. Firstly, we need to marinade the vegetables for a few hours.
  2. Wash/wipe and halve or quarter the mushrooms (depending on their size).
  3. Wash, de-core, de-seed and chop the yellow pepper.
  4. Peel, wash and slice the onion.
  5. Wash and dice the tomato.
  6. Wash and slice the chilli.
  7. Peel and slice the garlic along its length.
  8. Combine the mushrooms, pepper, onion, tomato, chilli and garlic in a bowl.
  9. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and salt to taste.
  10. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.
  11. When you are ready to prepare the dish, cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside.
  12. Dry roast the pine nuts till they tun a shade darker. Set aside.
  13. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Set aside.
  14. Heat a frying pan and add all the vegetables along with the marinade.
  15. Mix well, lower the heat, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  16. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the boiled pasta, pine nuts, basil and butter bean & avocado mixture.
  17. Mix thoroughly and transfer to a pasta bowl.
  18. Sprinkle some parmesan and enjoy.


  1. This recipe can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.


Butter Bean & Avocado Spread

Butter Bean & Avocado Spread

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Butter Bean & Avocado Spread








The genesis of today’s recipe: the heat is on; I favour one-pot meals; I am trying to incorporate more beans and legumes into my diet.

The result: a creamy, good-for-you, cooling, versatile spread.

Also known as lima beans, butter beans are packed with the goodness of dietary fiber, molybdenum, copper, manganese and folate. They are also high in vitamins B1, B6 and iron.

combine them with nourishing avocado and you get one amazingly simple and delicious spread with endless possibilities

You can enjoy this with some crusty rolls, use as a sandwich filler, spread on a tortilla, mix with some warm pasta or serve with crudités.

I used dried butter beans which were soaked for 8 hours and boiled in a pressure cooker. You can use canned beans if you prefer, they are just as good.


1 Cup cooked butter beans

1 Ripe avocado

1 Head of garlic

1 Large onion

2 Tomato

1-2 Fresh bird’s eye chilli (optional)*

1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Juice of one large lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste


  1. If you are using chilli, wash and finely slice it.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic.
  3. Peel, wash and finely dice the onion.
  4. Wash and finely chop the tomato.
  5. Peel and chop the avocado.
  6. In a food processor, blend the butter bean and avocado till you get a paste (a bit lumpy is also fine).
  7. Combine the chilli (if using), crushed garlic, diced onion, chopped tomato and butter bean-avocado mixture in a bowl.
  8. Add salt to taste, Worcestershire sauce, lime/lemon juice and olive oil.
  9. Mix thoroughly, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.


  1. Chilli is optional but gives the spread a nice kick. If you prefer something milder, you can add a couple of drops of Tobasco.

Avocado & Chickpea Spread

Avocado & Chickpea Spread

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Avocado & Chickpea Spread








a union of of guacamole and hummus

This is a really easy, quick and delicious recipe which can be used as a sandwich filler, in a wrap, on crackers or toast.

Bread is an occasional indulgence for me. For last night’s dinner, I had spread this on some crusty roll which I also filled with shredded iceberg and sliced onion doused in Tabasco Chipotle. Heavenly!

The chickpea were soaked and boiled but use canned if available for an instant, wholesome spread.


1 Medium, ripe, avocado

1/2 Cup boiled chickpea

1 Head of garlic

Juice of half a lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon tahini

Salt to taste


  1. Coarsely mash the chickpea with the back of a large spoon. Don’t worry if all of them don’t break down, you can leave a few whole for texture.
  2. Peel and grate the garlic.
  3. In a bowl, add the mashed chickpea, grated garlic, juice of lime or lemon and tahini. Mix well.
  4. Now wash and peel the avocado.
  5. Finely cut the avocado and add it to the chickpea mixture.
  6. Break the chopped avocado with the back of the spoon while combining it with chickpea and other ingredients. Once again, if a few pieces remain whole, not a big deal.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Have immediately or if you plan to eat it later, keep refrigerated.


  1. I have posted a recipe for homemade tahini here.

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom & Avocado








Haven’t had pasta for quite a while and fancied a comforting bowl of creamy macaroni with mushrooms.

The earlier me would have made it with the classic béchamel sauce but the kooky me of today will not consider that option.

So I was wondering how to make a creamy sauce without butter, milk and flour and hit upon two healthy alternatives to get the velvety texture: instant oats and avocado.

Non-dairy Creamy Pasta with Oats, Mushroom and AvocadoTo bump up the nutritional value, I threw in a yellow pepper and some cherry tomato.

even for those on a low carb diet, pasta with oats, mushroom, avocado, pepper and tomato is a nourishing dish

One cup of béchamel sauce has approximately 280 calories. Ouch!

Creamy oats and avocado help make the sauce luscious and rich without the calories of a conventional white sauce. Sure, avocado is calorific but it has good calories and is very low in saturated fat (the same can’t be said about béchamel sauce which is high in saturated fat).

I cooked this pasta using the absorption method to avoid unnecessary washing-up. Absorption method involves cooking the pasta along with sauce rather than boiling it separately and adding it at the end. The other advantage of cooking this way is that it makes the sauce quite creamy.

The best part is that when you are eating this, you don’t even realise that it has oats in it. So this one’s for keeps.


1/2 Cup dried pasta (short variety like macaroni or penne or farfale)

2-3 Tablespoons instant/quick cooking oats

1 Small, ripe avocado

200 Grams button mushroom

1 Yellow Pepper

10-12 Cherry tomato

1 Onion

1 Pod garlic

1 Stock cube (vegetable or chicken)

1-2 Tablespoons hot sauce (optional)

1-2 Teaspoons olive oil

Salt to taste

Grated parmesan to serve


  1. Wash and chop the yellow pepper.
  2. Wash/wipe and halve the mushroom.
  3. Wash the cherry tomato.
  4. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  5. Peel and chop the garlic.
  6. Heat the oil in a pan.
  7. Lower the heat and add the onion, garlic and salt to taste.
  8. Stir, cover and let this cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Uncover and throw in the pepper and cherry tomato.
  10. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the dry pasta. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  12. Next, add the mushroom, oats, hot sauce (if using) and stock cube.
  13. Add 2.5 cups of water, mix thoroughly and turn the heat to high.
  14. Once it starts boiling, lover the heat, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  15. While it is cooking, peel and finely dice the avocado.
  16. After 12 minutes (or once the pasta is cooked), add the diced avocado, stir, cover and cook for 1 minute.
  17. Take the pan off the heat and let it sit for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  18. Transfer to a pasta bowl and sprinkle the grated parmesan.
  19. Enjoy hot.


  1. Hot sauce is optional but it gives the dish a nice lift. I used my homemade one but you can use bottled sauce.

Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea

Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Couscous with Avocado & Chickpea








I feel that the beauty of couscous lies in its sheer versatility. It can be used in lieu of rice as a base for stews, it can go in stuffing vegetables, it can be turned into a pilaf  or used in a salad.

Although I haven’t explored another option, I am sure that couscous would play a relevant role in some puddings.

here’s another couscous salad-y recipe from my repertoire which can be had either warm or cold

Couscous with Chickpea & AvocadoI had two heavyweights by way of chickpea and avocado and wanted to pair them with an ingredient which would compliment them, complete the meal while being light. This is where couscous came into the picture.

The recipe is dead easy, specially if you are using canned chickpeas.

If you plan to soak and boil chickpea to make this, don’t throw away the water in which you boil them. You can use that water to cook couscous with (this is what I did).


1 Cup dry couscous

1/2 Cup cooked chickpea

1 Avocado, ripe

2 Onions

1 Head of garlice

10-12 Cherry tomato

1 Red Pepper

1 Tablespoon raisins

3-4 Dry birds eye chilli

2 Tablespoons pumpkin/sunflower seeds

1 Teaspoon paprika

1 Tablespoon mixed herbs or seasoning of your choice*

10-12 Basil leaves

3-4 Spring onion, white part only

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic.
  3. Wash the cherry tomato.
  4. Wash, de-core, de-seed and chop the pepper.
  5. Wash and chop the basil leaves.
  6. Slice the spring onion.
  7. Dry roast the seeds till they turn a couple of shades dark.
  8. Heat oil in a frying pan.
  9. Add the dry birds eye chilli and raisins.
  10. Stir for about 30 seconds on low heat till the raisins plump up.
  11. Throw in the chopped onion, garlic and red pepper along with whole cherry tomato, paprika and salt to taste.
  12. Add the mixed herbs.
  13. Stir well, cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  14. Uncover, add the chickpea and basil, cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  15. When the vegetables are cooked, take the pan off the heat.
  16. Prepare couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  17. Tip the cooked vegetables into the couscous and mix well.
  18. Transfer to a serving plate.
  19. Scatter with chopped spring onion and toasted seeds.
  20. Peel and chop the avocado.
  21. Place it on top of the spring onion and serve.


  1. In terms of seasoning, I used Laura Santini Umami Paste No. 5, the Mediterranean variant. You can use mixed herbs or any seasoning of your choice.
  2. You can use either smoked or plain paprika. I used the smoked one which gave the dish a nice aroma and a touch of sweetness.

Creamy Grits with Sweetcorn, Avocado and Spring Onion

Creamy Corn Grits

As the evenings are getting colder, I have been going through my pantry to see what I can use to make warm, hearty dinners.

pearl barley and grits were both competing to see who gets to me first

Grits won because I had an avocado which needed to be used. So, I thought of teaming the two with some tomatoes and spring onions.

Corn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This recipe becomes rich and comforting thanks to the creamy avocado and a bit of cheese (both good healthy fats).

Also, it is fuss-free, doesn’t require too many ingredients and can be made in under 30 minutes.


1 cup grits (corn dalia)

3 cups water

1 bunch spring onion (scallion)

100 grams sweetcorn kernels

1 small ripe avocado

2 tomatoes

Chicken or vegetable stock cube (optional)

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon grated cheese (I used Cheddar)

Salt to taste


  1. First, prepare the vegetables. Wash and chop the spring onion, keeping the white and the green parts separate.
  2. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  3. Wash the sweetcorn kernels (if using canned, drain and keep aside).
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and when it heats up, add the spring onion (reserving some white part for garnish).
  5. Turn down the heat, add tomatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sweet corn and salt, mix, cover and cook for further 2 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat to high, add water, stock cube is using (I used chicken for this recipe) and let it come to boil.
  8. Once it start boiling, add the grits, mix well, turn down the heat to minimum, cover and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Make sure to check in-between in case it is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  10. While the grits are cooking, peel and finely chop the avocado.
  11. Once the grits are cooked, open and add the avocado and cheese. Give it a good stir, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.
  12. Turn off the gas and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a pasta bowl and garnish with the reserved spring onion.
  14. Serve with some chilli sauce. I like mine with the hot Tabasco.

Courgette/Zucchini Steak with Bean Salad & Avocado dressing on a bed of spinach

Courgette Steak

For dinner last night, I fancied only vegetables. At the same time, I wanted to make something warm since the weather’s getting cold.

A ripe avocado (given by the same friend who had given me the hass one) was urging me

use me

There is no recipe as such but the following is how I put together a healthy, cosy but what looks like a sumptuous meal.

Courgette Steaks

Courgette jaune
Courgette jaune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washed and cut in half (along its length) a yellow courgette. Then, I marinated it in some umami paste along with lemon juice and olive oil. Just before cooking, I put everything in a hot pan. Cooked courgette for 10 minutes each on both sides. The end result was a lovely steak like vegetable. The reason I used yellow courgette was because they tend to have thicker skin which works well for such cooking method.

Bean Salad

Washed, soaked and boiled a cup of kidney beans with a pinch of salt. Rinsed them in cold water and doused them with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and salt. Added two very finely chopped onions and let the salad sit for some 8 hours for the flavours to blend. Before eating, added some steamed sweetcorn kernels.

Avocado Dressing

Whipped 3 tablespoons plain, mild yoghurt with Coleman’s mustard and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Added diced avocados. Left this outside for a couple of hours so that I could have it at room temperature.


Washed a bunch of spinach and put it in a saucepan with a lid. Cooked it with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

Bringing it all together

The spinach was sat on a plate on which came the courgette steaks along with the bean salad and avocado dressing.

A delicious, healthy, low-fat dinner.

Layered Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Avocado Salad


Last night, I had one of the best meals I have ever cooked even if I say so myself!

without further ado

Let’s get on with this yummy salad which came about as a result of my very good friend Meher who got me a haas avocado

this one is dead simple and the best part is that you can adapt the basic premise of this salad to suit your taste

Layer One (bottom layer)


  • A handful of amaranth leaves is what I used but you can use any salad leaves you fancy such as iceberg lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress or even a mixture of leaves and fresh herbs.


  1. Wash the leaves (and herbs, if using).
  2. Pat dry with kitchen towel or put in a salad spinner. The idea is to get all the moisture out.
  3. Do this a couple of hours beforehand so that the leaves are water free when you transfer them to your dinner plate.

Layer Two (sitting above the leaves)


  • 1-2 sweet potatoes (depending on size and appetite)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Seasoning of your choice (I used garlic pepper seasoning from my pantry)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and clean the sweet potatoes.
  2. Slice them in half vertically and either leave them intact or cut them in two depending on their size.
  3. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and salt in a non-reactive bowl.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, mix them well with the marinade, cover and leave till the time you are ready to eat.

Layer three (sits above the sweet potatoes)


  • 250 gms your choice of mushrooms (I used the plain white variety)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (any type of wine or sherry vinegar will also work well)


  1. Wash or wipe the mushrooms.
  2. If small, you can leave them whole or split them in half or quarter depending on their size.

Layer four (the top of the salad)


  • One ripe avocado
  • A spoonful of prepared mustard 9I used Colemans)
  • 3-4 tablespoons mild yoghurt (Greek yoghurt works well here)
  • one grated cucumber (optional)


  1. Whisk the yoghurt.
  2. Add cucumber (if using) and mustard.

Cooking and Assembling

  1. Heat a frying pan. When hot, add the sweet potatoes and all the marinade.
  2. Make sure they sit in a single layer, cut side down.
  3. Cover, turn down the heat to minimum and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, uncover and flip over the potatoes.
  5. Once again, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, place them on top of the leaves and herbs which form the base on your plate.
  7. Add the vinegar to the pan to deglaze it along with a couple of spoonfuls of water and the mushrooms.
  8. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. While the mushrooms are cooking, peel and chop the avocado and immediately add it to the yoghurt mixture.
  10. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on top of the sweet potatoes.
  11. Add any liquid from the pan to the yoghurt avocado mixture, give it a good stir and pour this over the mushrooms.
  12. Voila – your layered salad is ready!

substitute, improvise, replace!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can use whatever you fancy. Chicken or boiled eggs instead of avocados. Broccoli instead of mushrooms. Salad leaves of your choice. Use whatever is available, seasonal, cheap and fresh.

Just follow these steps for layering:

leaves followed by carbs followed by vegetables followed by protein

If you try this out, let me know how you get on and which ingredients you substitute!