Marlien Wright is one of those people who inspires us all to live our best life. This yogi extraordinaire is smart, wise, creative, accomplished, astonishingly beautiful, and as humble as they come. Killer sense of humour, too. As a busy mother, nutrition coach and food writer, health and well-being is Marlien’s passion. And she makes it all look so easy!
I was hugely excited to learn about her latest cookbook, The Mandala Kitchen, just published by Jacana Media. It contains 100 irresistible recipes to help heal and restore your gut health. And no, it’s not exclusively vegan, in fact there are meaty treats galore that will have you rushing into the kitchen to get cooking. Nothing drastic or freaky about it either: just sound, sensible recipes and gentle guidelines. Like the author itself, Mandala Kitchen is a no-nonsense affair that everyone can relate to.
I was sent some recipes by the publishers to share with readers, and here they are:
Egg Salad Paleo Lunch Box
Apple & Nut butter: Simply spread a tablespoon of nut butter on some sliced apple, sprinkling over some ground cinnamon if desired. (Drizzle the apple slices lightly with a spritz of lemon juice to prevent the browning from oxidization).
Avo & Kale chips: 1 small avocado, peeled and halved, drizzled with a little lemon juice and sprinkled with kale chips. Buy some, make some…the recipe for making kale chips is in Marlien’s first cookbook The Yoga Kitchen, available from Yuppiechef online.
Egg Salad: 2 boiled eggs, sliced or chopped, served with some crunchy leaves and thinly sliced red onion, simply dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Gutsy Frittata, dried mango and sweet potato medallions with sunflowerseed spread
2 Gutsy Frittatas (recipe below)
3–4 pieces dried mango, or any other sulphur-free dried fruit
2 heaped tbsp (40ml) sunflowerseed spread
oven-roasted sweet potato medallions (recipe below)
- Simply wash and scrub a few jewel (orange-fleshed) sweet potatoes and then slice them in approximately 1.5 cm thick medallions. Place on a baking tray that’s rubbed lightly with coconut oil and roast for 30 minutes at 180°C in the oven. Allow to cool completely before storing medallions in the fridge in an airtight container until required.
Recipe for Gutsy Frittatas:
2/3 cup (180ml) frozen baby peas
ghee or coconut oil for frying
4-6 spring onions, thinly sliced
4-6 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125ml) live yoghurt
1/2 cup (125ml) grated white cheddar
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Put frozen baby peas into a medium-sized bowl and blanch briefly by pouring over boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes and drain.
- Cook the spring onions in a little ghee or coconut oil until just softened. Scoop out with slotted spoon and set aside till needed.
- Whisk the eggs, yoghurt and cheese together. Add drained peas and spring onion to the egg mixture, season with salt and pepper and stir well.
- Pour the egg mixture into a fairly deep oven-proof dish, pan or baking tin and bake at 180 C for 15 minutes until just set. Let cool before slicing and serving. You can also bake your frittatas in muffin tins , just make sure each hollow is well-oiled with ghee or coconut oil. The frittatas keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Wellness Café Coconut Chicken Salad
This delicious, fibre- and nutrient-rich salad comes from the wonderful Wellness Warehouse Café. As with most recipes in this chapter, it’s simple to prep and put together, and will work exceptionally well in a lunchbox too.
2 raw chicken breasts, sliced into chunks
50ml (45ml + 5 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp (30ml) live yoghurt
1 tsp (5ml) olive oil
1 large carrot, grated coarsely or finely julienned
1 small deseeded Mediterranean cucumber or 1 large courgette, coarsely grated
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1/3 cup (180ml) mixed sprouts
2 heaped tbsp (about 40ml) kimchi
1/2 cup (125ml) lightly toasted coconut curls or sunflower seeds
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp (45ml) cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside till needed.
- Whisk together marinade ingredients, pour over the chicken pieces, and leave in a cool place for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, no longer.
- Remove chicken pieces from marinade and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper, season with salt and pepper and cook in a little ghee or coconut oil over medium heat in a large frying pan until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Scoop out onto a plate with a slotted spoon and let stand to cool completely.
- Toss all the vegetables together in a large bowl or on a serving platter, scatter over chicken pieces, sprinkle over the sprouts, toasted seeds and coconut. Pour over the dressing, mix to combine and serve!
Makes 6 portions
My kids and I love granola, and we love chocolate, so for me this is a match made in heaven. I use 90% cocoa solids chocolate which translates into an abundance of antioxidants and very little sugar.
2 cups (500ml) whole rolled oats
1 heaped tbsp (20ml) coconut oil
1 tsp (5ml) finely ground pink salt
1 cup (250ml) sunflower seeds
3 tbsp (45ml) peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain hydrogenated oil), or you can replace the peanut butter with macadamia or cashew butter
1 cup (250ml) coarsely grated desiccated coconut
50g 90% dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Any higher temperature will cause your granola to scorch.
- Use a fairly deep, wide baking tray. Chuck in the oats, coconut oil and salt, mix well, then place in the oven for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove tray from the oven and give the granola a good old stir to ensure that the coconut oil is evenly distributed throughout. Return granola to the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven after 15 minutes, give it a another good stir, then the sunflower seeds and peanut butter. Stir well and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, add coconut and chocolate and pop back in the oven for 2 minutes until the chocolate has just melted. Remove from oven, stir well to make sure all the ingredients are covered in chocolate and return tray to the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Finally, remove tray from the oven and set aside to allow the granola to cool completely before storing in an airtight glass container. Enjoy with some tahini or full-fat live yoghurt, honey or real maple syrup.
Finally, some photos of the marvellous Marlien, doing yoga. Now, if eating this food makes me this limber, I’m all for it.