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After being diagnosed with a rare illness, Ella Mills changed her diet completely. She decided to share her journey through a healthy eating blog that quickly turned her into an internet sensation, getting over 6 million hits in one month. Now she has a health food empire with an app, four cookbooks, three delis, and a line of products. Ella is back with a new cookbook called Natural Feasts, which aims to make healthy eating approachable for everyone. It’s no surprise that a lot of people are intimidated by making the switch and trying new, veggie-laden dishes, but Ella has a few strategies to make the transition an easy one—especially when trying to get your family and friends on board. Focus on familiar food Choose a classic dish that has a healthy spin on it (think quesadillas with cashew sour cream and guacamole). Keep the ingredients a secret People are often more objective if they don’t know there’s a certain ingredient in the dish. (Obviously, make sure they aren’t allergic first.) It’s OK to adapt recipes Don’t be afraid to adapt recipes to make them more accessible for your audience. If adding chicken, fish, cheese or eggs make the people you love more likely to try something new, add them in. Here are some of Ella’s healthy family-friendly recipes from Natural Feast.

Blueberry Pancake Stack

Makes approximately 12 This was one of the first recipes I created for this book, and is still one of my favorites. I started coking these to fuel my running when I was training for a half marathon, and they’ve become a weekend staple ever since. A thick stack of them is my dream breakfast, especially when they’re piled high with Caramelized Banana Bite, some extra maple syrup and a big dollop of homemade Crunchy Cacao & Almond Butter (page 37 and 40). There’s really nothing about these that tastes healthy: they feel totally delicious and indulgent

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, plus more to cook
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup blueberries

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Start by putting the chia seeds into a mug with ¾ cup water. Let this sit for 20 minutes until all the seeds expand and form a gel.
  2. Place all the other ingredients, except the blueberries and the chia mixture, into a food processor with a scant ½ cup water and blend until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the blueberries, then the chia gel.
  4. Oil a nonstick frying pan with a little coconut oil. Place over high heat until it’s really hot.
  5. Now simply add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter to the pan for each pancake, use a spoon to shape into an even round and let it cook for about 2 minutes per side, flipping it over once. Repeat for each pancake, until all the batter has been used, keeping them in a low oven until you’re ready to eat.

Caramelized Banana Bites

Serves 4 I made these to enjoy with my Blueberry Pancake, but loved them so much that I now try to sneak them into my breakfasts all the time. I love how they sizzle in the pan as you fry them, and you can smell the sweet coconut, cinnamon and maple flavours that they’re absorbing- it’s amazing- plus they’re so quick to make. You have to try them with the pancakes, but also experiment by adding these to a simple bowl of oatmeal: they’ll instantly transform it into something really special.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Slice the bananas into generous ¾ inch-thick slices.
  2. Heat a frying pan with the coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon over medium-high heat until it is all really hot and bubbling. Add the banana slices; they should sizzle the moment they hit the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the slices are fully coated and cooking evenly. When they’re done they should be soft, gooey and coated in caramelized deliciousness!

Sweet Potato Noodles with a Creamy Peanut Satay Sauce

Serves 2 These noodles were quite a revelation to me. They’re so much heartier and more filling than zucchini noodles, and this satay sauce really brings them to life. It’s so incredibly creamy, with subtle hints of chile and tangy lime. Together they make for the best pick-me-up dinner, healthy but comforting and bursting with flavor. You will need a spiralizer for this recipe.

WHAT YOU NEED

For the sauce:
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (or almond butter also works)
  • 5 tbsp almond milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • A little olive oil, if needed
For the noodles:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1inch fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 9 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, about 7 ounces each, peeled and spiralized
  • ¾ cups baby spinach

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Make the satay sauce. Simply place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding oil if it helps to process the sauce. Add salt to taste.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, then add the celery, garlic, ginger and salt and sauté over low heat until the celery is softening. Add the mushrooms once the pan has been bubbling for a couple of minutes.
  3. After a minute or so more, add the sweet potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Once the noodles and mushrooms are tender, add the spinach and the satay sauce.  Stir until the spinach has wilted and the sauce is warm. If the sauce feels a little thick, add a splash of water, olive oil or almond milk and stir it in until it reaches your desired consistency.
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Spicy Baked Avocado Fries with a Lime, Cashew and Cilantro Dip

Serves 4 as a side dish These are an absolute revelation, my new favorite way to eat avocados and a nice change from sweet potato fries. I love the contrast of the soft, creamy chunks of avocado in the middle and the crispy, crunchy, chili coating on the outside. They’re delicious dunked into this lime, cashew and cilantro dip too: or, if you want a spicy hit, try the super sweet chile sauce from the plantains, which tastes amazing with these, too.

WHAT YOU NEED

For the fries:
  • 5 tbsp chickpea flour
  • Scant ¼ cup almond milk, or any other plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 avocados, ripe but still firm
For the dip:
  • Generous ½ cup cashews, soaked for 3 hours and drained
  • Juice of 2 ½ limes
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves picked pinch of salt

WHAT YOU DO

  1. Preheat the oven to 425’F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the chickpea flour in a bowl. Mix the almond milk and sesame oil in another bowl. Mix together the ground almonds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, both types of chili, paprika, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a third bowl.
  3. Halve the avocados lengthwise, pit and peel then slice thickly lengthwise, making about 5 slices for each avocado half.
  4. One at a time, dip the avocado slices first in the chickpea flour, making sure it’s covered. Then dip it in the milk bowl, followed by the spiced almond meal mixture. As you work, place the coated avocado slice on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  6. Once the avocados are done, remove from the oven. Let cool for about 20 minutes; this helps them crisp up even more.
  7. Meanwhile, make the dip. Combine the drained cashews, ¼ cup water and the remaining dip ingredients in a blender. Blend until really smooth.
  8. Then dip your avocado fries in the sauce and enjoy!

Chocolate Orange Tart

Serves 10-12 Anything chocolate-orange – forced is always such a winner: it’s a classic combination of flavours that everyone seems to love. This creamy tart is no exception. The almond and orange base has subtle hints of cacao, coconut and maple, which perfectly complement the sweet, creamy middle. The tart is then finished off with a beautiful scattering of orange zest and salt, which heighten the flavours and make it look perfect.

WHAT YOU NEED

For the base:
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 5 ounces medjool dates, pitted finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange, plus juice of ½ orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
For the middle layer
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 heaping tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup date syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed oranges
  • Pinch of salt
To decorate:
  • Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed orange
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt

WHAT YOU DO

  1. Oil an 8-inch springform pan with coconut oil, or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Make the base. Start by blitzing the almonds in a food processor until they form a chunky flour, then add all the other ingredients (not forgetting the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil) and blend until a sticky mixture forms. Use a spatula to firmly press the mixture down into the prepared pan. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set the tart base.
  3. Meanwhile, make the middle layer. Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor. Add the other ingredients and blend until a smooth, creamy, mousse-like mixture forms.
  4. Pour it over the base, then return to the freezer for 1 hour to set. Take it out about 15 minutes before serving.
  5. Grate the orange zest over the top and sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt.
  6. Store any leftovers in the freezer.