Yakitori with quick pickled salad. Photo / Ben Dearnley
With Leah Itsines’ cookbook Good Food Made Simple dinner time is no chore – easy-to-follow recipes that are full of good-for-you ingredients mean mealtimes are a treat for both taste buds and the body
Green pasta with pangrattato
You have to try this – it’s simple but so flavoursome. You could easily make it vegan by using vegan feta cheese. For a gluten-free meal, use gluten-free pasta and breadcrumbs.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
3 cups chopped kale
¾ cup frozen baby peas
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup vegetable stock
500g pasta shells
1 avocado, halved
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 bunch basil, leaves picked
200g Danish feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for a couple of minutes, then add the kale and cook for a few more minutes. Add the peas and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta well, reserving a ¼ cup of the water, and return to the pan.
4. Meanwhile, to make the pangrattato, heat the garlic oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and lemon zest and cook, stirring regularly, for a few minutes or until crisp and golden. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Pour the vegetable mixture into a blender and add the pasta water, avocado flesh, lemon juice and basil, reserving a few leaves for garnishing. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
6. Stir the sauce through the pasta. Serve topped with the feta, pangrattato and reserved basil leaves.
Crispy fish tacos with sweet chilli avocado salsa
Use gluten-free tortillas for a gluten-free version. You can replace the fish with firm tofu for a vegetarian meal.
600g firm white skinless fish fillets, such as snapper
½ cup rice flour
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp onion powder
Ground white pepper, to taste
Peanut oil, for frying
2 egg whites
8-10 butter lettuce leaves
8-10 mini tortillas
Sweet chilli avocado salsa
1½ Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1–2 avocados, diced
1 Lebanese cucumber, quartered lengthways, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 handful coriander, chopped
1. To make the salsa: Stir the sweet chilli sauce and lime juice together in a bowl. Add the avocado, cucumber, spring onion and coriander and toss to coat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside while you prepare the fish.
2. Cut the fish into thick strips.
3. Combine the rice flour, turmeric, onion powder, white pepper and a little salt in a large bowl.
4. Pour enough peanut oil into a large frying pan to come about 1cm up the side of the pan and place the pan over medium-high heat.
5. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Add half of the fish and toss to coat, then dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour mixture. Cook the fish for a few minutes until crisp and cooked through. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with the remaining fish pieces.
6. Lay a lettuce leaf on each tortilla and top with the crispy fish and the salsa. Serve immediately.
Yakitori with quick pickled salad
Pairing a deliciously marinated meat with a salty, sweet pickled salad is magical. If you’re in a hurry, you can cook the thigh fillets whole instead of skewering them – this will save you loads of time.
½ cup mirin
½ cup sake
½ cup tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely grated ginger
750g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Quick pickled salad
¾ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp salt
1 carrot, peeled
300g daikon, peeled
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 bunch (about 250g) radishes
2 spring onions
1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in cold water to stop them from burning while cooking.
2. For the salad, whisk ¾ cup of water with the vinegar, honey and salt until the honey has dissolved.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrot and daikon into ribbons. Slice the cucumbers, radishes and spring onions. Add the vegetables and pickling liquid to a large resealable plastic bag. Expel the air, seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the mirin, sake, tamari, honey, garlic and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Set aside half of the sauce in a small bowl to use as a dipping sauce.
5. Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan over medium-high heat.
6. Cut the chicken thighs into 2.5cm-wide strips and thread them back and forth on to the soaked skewers. Grill the chicken for 1-2 minutes, then turn and baste the cooked side with the remaining sauce. Repeat the turning and basting until the chicken is almost cooked through, then turn and cook one final time without basting.
7. Serve the yakitori with the reserved dipping sauce and the drained pickled salad.
Edited extract from Good Food Made Simple by Leah Itsines, photography by Ben Dearnley, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $42.99. Cover photograph: Frame Creative