Simply delicious

Ella Mills is on a mission to make living a healthy lifestyle easier. In Healthy Made Simple, she shows you how you can have a nutritious, delicious plant-based recipe ready in 30 minutes or less.

Healthy Made Simple is filled with vibrant, flavour-packed, plant-based recipes using no more than 10 easy-to-find ingredients … all easy to make and crammed with goodness. Think prep-ahead porridge three ways, and energising smoothies, on-the-go lunches, salads and sandwiches, sensational bowls and soups – the pea, broccoli and walnut soup with herby croutons will be made on repeat this year, as will the garlicky barley and green bean salad with herby almonds. Curries, traybakes, muffins and sweet treats. Yellow Kite, Hodder & Stoughton, R620 from Exclusive Books

Ella’s go-to green pasta

This is the kind of meal I cook both for myself and my kids on repeat. The whole family loves it, it’s especially quick to make and it’s still loaded with veg. Using edamame, peas and cashews really ups the plant protein too, so you’ve got almost 20g per serving. I’ve popped it in the lunch chapter, as it’s a great hot, filling option when you’re at home, but it works brilliantly as a midweek supper too. Serves 2. Time: 15 minutes

You’ll need: 2 servings of pasta (about 75g per person), I use whole wheat; 100g frozen peas; 100g frozen edamame; large handful of baby spinach (about 50g), roughly chopped; sea salt and black pepper

For the herby green sauce: 50g cashews; 75ml oat milk; 1 Tbsp olive oil ½ tsp Dijon or wholegrain mustard; grated zest and juice of 1 lemon; ½ bunch of coriander (about 10–15g), finely chopped, plus extra to serve; ½ bunch of dill, basil or parsley (about 10–15g), finely chopped, plus extra to serve; small handful (about 25g) of baby spinach; sea salt and black pepper

To make: Cook the pasta in boiling water with a pinch of salt, according to the instructions on the pack. Add the frozen peas, edamame and spinach for the last minute or two, so that the veg is tender and the spinach has wilted. Drain and leave to cool for a minute or two, then put everything back into the pan.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Simply put all the ingredients into a high-speed blender with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. Add an extra splash of milk or olive oil if needed to get it to a consistency you like and check the seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the pan of pasta and mix until it’s coated. This can be served warm or cold, depending on the time of year and your preference. Season to taste and serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil and the extra herbs.

To make it nut free, simply swap the cashews for sunflower seeds – it’s just as delicious.

Lemony pea and broccoli pasta

I make a variation of this for my kids a lot, using whatever greens I have in the fridge – green beans, asparagus, spinach etc. It’s exceptionally simple yet super satisfying. Serves 2. Time 15 minutes

You’ll need: 2 servings of pasta – I like orecchiette in this dish (about 75g per person); 1 small head broccoli (about 300g) cut into small florets; 100g frozen peas; large handful of cashews (about 50g, see note below); 1 vegetable stock cube; 1 tsp Dijon mustard; 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast; grated zest and juice of 2 lemons; 1 × 400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed; sea salt and black pepper

To make: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the instructions on the pack, adding the broccoli and frozen peas for the last 3 minutes of the cooking time. Cook until the pasta is al dente, the broccoli is tender, and the peas are defrosted, then drain and return to the pan.

Meanwhile, put the cashews and stock cube into a bowl with 100ml boiling water, let the stock cube dissolve and the cashews soak for 5 minutes.

Put the mustard, nutritional yeast, the juice of both lemons and half the zest, and half the tin of butter beans into a high-speed blender along with the cashews and their soaking liquid. Blend until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and veg, adding the last half of the butter beans.

Stir to combine and top with a little extra lemon zest.

Note: To make this nut-free, swap the cashews for sunflower seeds.

Creamy leek, spinach & butter bean bowls

I’m always thinking about different ways to get more veggies into my meals and this recipe is such a great way of upping your greens, with spinach in both the sauce and the broth. It’s delicious as a light supper and feels like a mix between a soup, broth and a stew; equally serve it with brown rice or another grain, a toasted piece of sourdough, a jacket potato, roasted veggies or pan-fried greens. Serves 4. 20 minutes

You’ll need: 1 Tbsp olive oil; 2 shallots, thinly sliced; 2 leeks, cut into 1cm slices; 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 1 vegetable stock cube; 2 × 400g tins of butter beans; 4 large handfuls of spinach (about 200g) roughly chopped; grated zest and juice of 1 lemon; sea salt and black pepper

For the sauce: 100ml oat milk; ½ tsp brown rice miso paste; 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast; large handful of baby spinach (about 50g)

To make: Set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the shallots, leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, until it’s golden and fragrant.

Next, add the stock cube and butter beans, along with the liquid from each of the tins. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened.
While the beans are cooking, make the sauce. Simply put the oat milk, miso, nutritional yeast and the baby spinach into a high-speed blender and blitz until perfectly smooth.

Once the beans are ready, pour in the sauce and add the spinach, stirring until it’s wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter over the lemon zest before serving.