Zucchini and ricotta lasagna • Healthy meals #1

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What I love the most about this zucchini and ricotta lasagna is that you can play with this recipe and create super yummy variations.

Sometimes I skip the ricotta and use mozzarella; sometimes I just use tomato sauce (without beef) to make a vegetarian version.
As the saying goes: the sky is the limit. 🙂

Also, this is usually my weekend special dish.
I don’t know why but lasagna always sounds to me as a perfect Sunday lunch option. 😆

And in case you are thinking “but I’ve had zucchini lasagna before, it’s always soggy and full of water!”, stop thinking and read my recipe!
I will show you how to prepare it the right way; soggy zucchini lasagna never again!

Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchinis, sliced
  • 500 grams of minced beef
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, grated
Directions
  1. First, place your zucchini slices in a food container and sprinkle some salt over them making sure all the slices are coated with salt.
  2. Be careful to not salt them too much. Let them rest for 30 minutes. ⏰
    This will make the zucchinis release all their water, resulting in a non-soggy lasagne. 🙂 #nowyouknow
  3. Meanwhile, add minced beef in a frying pan and cook it for 10 minutes. Then add, onions and garlic, and cook for more 5 minutes.
    Next, add the tomato sauce, season with salt and black pepper, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Reserve.
  4. Now, let’s assemble this beauty!
    Start by creating a layer of beef and tomato sauce, then add a layer of zucchini, and finally a layer of ricotta cheese.
  5. Repeat it until you get a final layer of ricotta cheese. Finish with a layer of grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake it for 40 minutes at 180C (356F). ⏰
  7. It’s DONE! 🎉
    Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Did you know? Zucchini (or courgette, for the British) is a well-known green vegetable … but it can also happen to be golden-yellow! A variety produced in the Netherlands has a distinctive colour and it is appropriately called golden zucchini. 🙂

Sesame seed crackers | Low Carb Crackers #1

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I always have some of these Sesame seed crackers in my pantry. 🙂

They are perfect for a quick-and-easy breakfast or snack.
I even know people that like to have them for lunch too.

These crackers taste super neutral and you can spread anything you like over them.
I personally like mine with butter or avocado.

They are also gluten and nut free!
And you can make it dairy free as well, just skip the cheese from the recipe below (texture-wise it won’t make a big difference).

Ingredients
  • 1 and ¼ cups of sesame seeds
  • ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (optional if you want to make a dairy free version)
  • 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 eggs
  • salt to taste
Directions
  1. Mix together all the ingredients: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, parmesan cheese, psyllium husk, water, eggs, and salt.
  2. Line a parchment paper on a baking tray and spread out the resulting mixture over it.
  3. Preheat oven at 170°C (340°F) and bake it for 20 minutes. ⏰
  4. Then, briefly take them out of the oven and carefully cut the crackers in the shape you like.
  5. Lower the heat to 140°C (280°F) and bake it for another 40 minutes. ⏰
  6. It’s DONE! 🎉
    Let them cool before removing from the baking tray.

Did you know? Crackers are so versatile that is incredibly hard to pinpoint their real origin.
Many cuisines around the world have at least a few variations or recipes that pose as crackers.

Coconut bonbons (Brazilian Bombom Prestígio) | Healthy treats #3

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How about a super special treat this weekend?

These Coconut Bonbons aren’t only charming and yummy, they are a perfectly healthy treat, packed with good fats, and no added sugar!

As you can see from the video recipe above, these bonbons look absolutely gorgeous and mouth-watering!

I like to make them for friends coming over for a visit (you know, that’s my way to impress 😜). Or maybe you can also give it away in a beautiful box as a nice homemade gift, or even just to treat yourself with that delicious dark chocolate shell filled with creamy coconut, YUM!

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup of coconut butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 150g of 86% dark chocolate, chopped
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together coconut butter and coconut flakes. Reserve.
  2. Then, in a double boiler, melt ⅔ (100g) of the dark chocolate. Once melted, take it out of the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring constantly until everything is melted.
  3. Get your bonbon mold (you can use ice cubes mold too), and pour around 2 tablespoons of the melted chocolate in each cavity. Then move the mold gently around to cover all sides of the cavity with chocolate. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. ⏰
  4. Take it out of the fridge and add 1 teaspoon of our coconut filling to each bonbon. Next let’s cover with another tablespoon of melted dark chocolate, sealing its surface.
  5. Bring it back to the fridge and refrigerate for more 10 minutes. ⏰
  6. Now twist the mold to release the chocolates, which can also be done by gently turning it upside down and tapping them out of the mold.
  7. It’s DONE! 🎉

I do not know which part of this recipe I like the most … is it the superb presentation? Or is the amazing and delicate combination of chocolate and coconut?

Well, in any case, if you are looking for a healthy dessert to impress that does not take ages to prepare, this is THE recipe! 😁

Super healthy BANANA BREAD 🍌 without sugar | Healthy cakes #3

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Today I am bringing here one of my favourite recipes: Banana Bread without sugar and wheat flour.

The secret to get this banana bread done right is to use overripe bananas, yep those ones you are about to throw away.

They are important because they are super sweet and will give to this cake perfect sweetness, with no need to add any extra sugar.

And if you were not convinced just yet how amazing this bread is let me tell you that it is also gluten, dairy, and nut free!

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup of coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons of psyllium
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
Directions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix coconut flour, psyllium, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  2. Meanwhile in another bowl, mix eggs, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Then add the mashed bananas and mix them well.
  3. As I mentioned above, make sure to use super ripe bananas for this recipe, this is what will make the result nicely sweet.
  4. Now, stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  5. Grease a loaf pan, or use a silicone one if you prefer. Mine here is a 20cm one.
  6. Pour your batter into the loaf pan and bake it for 30 minutes at 160C (320F). ⏰
  7. It’s DONE! 🎉
    Let it cool down before serving.

Yeah, I know this is technically a bread – after all, the name is banana bread – but I consider it an excellent healthy cake option for those with some sort of food intolerance.

Coconut slices (Brazilian Cocada) | Healthy treats #2

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I’ve made these coconut slices thinking about a popular treat found in Brazil called Cocada (more info and pronunciation here).

The original version is basically fresh coconut flakes cooked with sugar (a truckload), but here I am bringing to you a low carb version!

Yep, you read it right, sugar-free and super delicious! One of my favourite healthy treat options, hands down.

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup of coconut butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (or any sweetener you like – optional, depending on your taste)
Directions
  1. In a bowl mix together coconut butter, coconut flakes and honey (remember, honey is optional).
  2. In case your coconut butter is too hard, just microwave it for a few seconds to soften a bit.
  3. Spread the resulting mixture on a baking sheet, creating a rectangular shape that should be roughly 1cm tall.
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes ⏰ and then slice it into small square shapes to serve.
  5. It’s DONE! 🎉

Did you know? The word cocada is basically derived from the word coconut (in Portuguese just “coco”, the fruit), but added a suffix to indicate something made from coconut.
This treat is popular in many other Latin American countries, not only Brazil, such as Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile.

Some traditional recipes might include eggs or even other fruits, to change the final colour of the sweet.
For example, guava can be added to the ingredients to create beautiful red coconut slices.