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Tomato and Red Lentil Soup with Toast Fingers • Anneka Manning’s Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa Salad • Ottolenghi’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Fresh Figs

This simple soup from Anneka Manning’s Low GI Family Cookbook (Hachette Australia) is a great way to get in an extra serve or two of vegetables along with a scoop of nutritional power pack lentils. Dress it up with a dollop of plain yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. If you make the soup a day or two ahead, keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until simmering and heated through. • Freeze leftovers in serving portions in airtight containers for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating• Serves 4

1 brown onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup water
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika (optional)
400g (14oz) can no-added-salt diced tomatoes
1 tbsp no-added-salt tomato paste
½ cup split red lentils
3 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
2 tsp sugar, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toast fingers
4 slices multigrain low GI bread
2 tsp olive or canola oil margarine

Combine the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and water in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the cumin and paprika (if using) and cook, uncovered, for 1–2 minutes or until the water has evaporated. • Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils and stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Meanwhile, to make the toast fingers. • Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Spread both sides of the bread slices with the margarine and cut each into 3 fingers. Place the bread on the lined oven tray. Just as the lentils are becoming tender, bake the bread for 10 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp. Turn off oven and leave it there to keep warm. • Transfer half the soup mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Return the soup to the pan and simmer gently until heated through or reduced to desired consistency. Taste before seasoning with a little sugar and pepper if you wish. Serve with the warm toast fingers for dipping. Yum.

Per serve 
Energy 1215kJ/290 calories; 14g protein; 7.5g fat (includes 1g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.15); 37g available carbs (10g sugars; 27g starch); 9g fibre; 962mg sodium; 719mg potassium; sodium : potassium ratio 1.3.

Anneka Manning – author, food editor, home economist, mother of two and the founder of BakeClub – specialises in teaching the “why” behind the “how” of baking, giving home cooks the know-how, understanding and skill to bake with confidence and success every time. This is one of her favourite salads which she makes year-round, but especially for lunch or dinner in winter served warm. Serves 4 • Preparation time: 25 minutes • Roasting time: 30–40 minutes

3 medium carrots, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
2 small red capsicum, deseeded and cut into 4cm pieces
2 medium zucchini (courgettes), trimmed, halved lengthways and thickly sliced
¼ small Jap pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut into 4cm (1½in) chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup tri-colour quinoa
2 cups water
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander or mint
40g rocket

Preheat the oven to 210°C/400°F (180°C/350°F fan-forced). • Toss the carrots, capsicum, zucchini and pumpkin with 1½ tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer over a large oven tray. Roast in preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, tossing gently after 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown. • Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the water. Bring to a simmer over a high heat. Cover with a lid, reduce the temperature to low and simmer gently for 10–12 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside, covered for 5 minutes. • Transfer the warm quinoa to large bowl and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little more lemon juice if necessary. Add the herbs and roasted vegetables and rocket and toss gently to combine evenly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serve 
Energy: 1205 kJ/290 calories; 9g protein; 12g fat (includes 2g saturated fat; saturated to unsaturated fat ratio 0.2); 33g available carbohydrate (includes 8g sugars and 25g starches); 6g fibre; 30mg sodium; 675mg potassium; sodium to potassium ratio 0.04

This combination of fresh fruit and roasted vegetables is one of the most popular at Ottolenghi’s restaurant. It wholly depends, though, on the figs being sweet, moist and perfectly ripe. Go for plump fruit with an irregular shape and a slightly split bottom. Pressing against the skin should result in some resistance but not much. Try to smell the sweetness. The balsamic reduction is very effective here, both for the look and for rounding up the flavours. To save you from making it you can look out for products such as balsamic cream or glaze. The goat cheese is optional – leave it out to make it vegan. Serves 4.

4 small sweet potatoes (1 kg in total)
5 tbs olive oil
2 tbs (40ml) balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade)
20g (¾oz) caster sugar
12 spring onions, halved lengthways and cut into 4cm (1½in) segments
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
6 fresh and ripe figs (240g/½lb in total), quartered
(optional) 150g (5oz) soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 240oC/ 460oF (Fan-forced 220oC/420oF). • Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthways and then cut each again similarly into 3 long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out on a baking sheet, skin-side down, and cook for about 25 minutes until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down. • To make a balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–4 minutes, or until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle. • Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan and add the spring onions and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the chilli, and then spoon the oil, onions and chilli over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature with the cheese crumbled over, if using.

Per serve (without goat’s cheese)
Energy 1890kJ/451 calories; 11g protein; 24g fat (includes 6g saturated fat; saturated : unsaturated fat ratio 0.33); 47g available carbs (includes 25g sugars and 22g starch); 6.5g fibre

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Random House) – available from good bookshops and online. Recipe reproduced with permission.