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  • Writer's pictureKym at pip nutrition

Autumn afternoon

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

The Sunlight Sets are back! Simple set menus with airy textures, probiotic ingredients and stimulating flavours.

It's late autumn in Australia, but you’re not ready for a blanket of stodge. Fire up your tastebuds, immunity and digestion. Get your favourite bowls out. Invite a friend over for a walk in the park. Then cook together in the afternoon sunlight. The Sunlight Sets are back: simple set menus with airy textures, probiotic ingredients and stimulating flavours. So, what's on the menu?

Spiced lentil soup shots

Creamy orzo chickpeas with tahini sauce

Cranberry oat bites

Spiced lentil soup shots

The ingredients for this healthy soup might sound bland, but the chilli flakes and cumin seeds bring flavour, fragrance and texture. Try it, and be surprised! Soup is a great way to get your extra vegetables in while also keeping full; have a cup of soup before your dinner or take a flask to work. Lentils are a source of resistant starch, a type of prebiotic fibre which feeds your good gut bacteria but is less likely to cause bloating. Serves 4 for a meal or 12 for a party.

Ingredients: 2 carrots, grated • 120g dried red lentils, rinsed • 900ml vegetable stock • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes • 2 tsp cumin seeds

Method: Dry fry cumin seeds and chilli flakes in a pan for just a minute until fragrant and toasted, then set aside. Add the carrots, lentils and stock to a large pan, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, add the chilli flakes and 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, then simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Blend soup until smooth and serve, with the reserved cumin seeds sprinkled on top.

Creamy orzo chickpeas with tahini sauce

The orzo is super creamy and comforting, even without dairy. A zing of lemon lifts it up. Serves 4

Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil • 4 cups broccoli florets • sea salt and ground black pepper • 1 small onion, diced • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped • zest of 1 lemon • pinch of chili flakes, optional • 220g orzo pasta • 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed • 2 cups vegetable stock, plus extra • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice • big handful parsley, chopped

Tahini sauce: 1 tsp tahini • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt

Method: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the broccoli florets in a flat layer. Press broccoli down with a spatula and let brown slightly underneath, about four minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the saucepan to the heat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, lemon zest and chili flakes (if using) and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the orzo and stir through, gently toasting it for about 1 minute. Then stir in the chickpeas and stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 8 minutes until the orzo is soft, stirring often so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan (just add another splash or two of stock if it does). In the meantime, mix the tahini with the yoghurt to make the sauce.

Once the orzo is soft, add the broccoli florets back to the saucepan and squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve in your best bowls, sprinkling with chopped parsley and drizzling with the sauce.

Cranberry oat bites

Ingredients: 1½ cup porridge oats • 1 cup dried cranberries • ¼ cup flaxseed • ¼ cup honey • 3 tbsp rice malt syrup • 1 tsp cinnamon • ½ cup almond or seed butter • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Method: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, flaxseed, honey, rice malt syrup and cinnamon. Use a wooden spoon for a chunky texture, or a food processor to blitz. Heat the almond or seed butter on the stovetop or in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt and soften, about 30-60 seconds. Stir the almond butter into the oat mixture, coating it all. Wet your hands and roll a teaspoon of mix into a ball. Repeat, until you have 15-20 bites. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge. You can also freeze them.

Make it work for you

If you are FODMAP-sensitive, rinse the lentils and chickpeas well and use less if you like – leave out the garlic and onion completely. If you are swapping out the orzo for gluten-free pasta, reduce the stock volume by about half a cup. The oat bites contain almonds and honey, but in small amounts.

The ritual

Get your gumboots on and head outdoors to collect leaves and pinecones. Arrange on your window ledge or in a decorative dish.

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