The celebrated foodie, bestselling cookbook author and successful magazine founder is renowned for creating recipes that turn simple food into something special. Her new recipe collection promises fresh and speedy balanced meals that are nourishing, energising — and utterly delicious 

Photography by Con Poulos

Midweek suppers are notoriously hard to master. It’s tricky enough to cook a tasty dish that’s also good for you when you have hours, but when you’re tight on time, it can seem impossible. Step forward Donna Hay, leading Australian food editor and pioneering food stylist. As a businesswoman and mother, Hay is familiar with days when it feels like there’s barely time to eat dinner, let alone prepare it. 

Luckily, she loves creating “smarter, faster, better-for-you super-yum meals using everyday ingredients and making them shine”. Her latest book delivers easy-to-follow quick one-pan suppers, fast freezer-ready dishes and tantalisingly almost-healthy sweet treats, made with fresh ingredients you’ll find it easy to source. Tuck in.

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Green minestrone soup

Minestrone just got a freshen up with all my  favourite greens and zesty lemon and herbs. A perfect soup to have on stand-by in the freezer.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 110g freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 2 small courgettes, grated
  • 250g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 150g green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • 140g frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 6g flat-leaf
  • Parsley leaves
  • 4g mint leaves
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Method

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and leek and cook for 5 minutes. Add stock and freekeh and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. 

2. Add courgettes, broccoli, green beans and edamame and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

3. Stir through lemon rind, parsley, mint and salt and pepper. Serve scattered with Parmesan.

4. To freeze, allow to cool, divide between airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. 

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Super green baked risotto

I love this no-fuss, no-stir risotto. It’s the perfect base to get creative with — try swapping out the kale for finely chopped broccoli or go super simple by scattering in some frozen peas. The choice is yours!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 300g arborio rice
  • 1.25 litres vegetable or chicken stock
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 120g shredded
  • Kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5g roughly chopped basil leaves
  • 40g finely grated Parmesan

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat a large deep ovenproof frying pan or flameproof roasting pan over medium heat. Add the oil, leek, lemon thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until leek is golden and soft. 

2. Add the rice and stock and stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or sheets of aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to stand covered for 5 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and stir the spinach, kale, lemon rind and juice into the risotto. Continue stirring until risotto is creamy and the greens  are tender. Stir through the basil and parmesan and serve. 

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Chewy chocolate almond bars

There’s nothing like having a supply of better-for-you snack bars on hand for when the mood strikes. This amazingly simple, super-delicious raw slice never fails to satisfy those sweet cravings.

Makes 18 bars

Ingredients

  • 250g almond butter
  • 125ml pure maple syrup
  • 60g coconut flour
  • 45g rolled oats
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Choc-almond topping
  • 180g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, chopped
  • 125g almond butter

Method

1. Line a 20cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper, allowing paper to overhang on all sides.

2. Place the almond butter, maple syrup, flour, oats and vanilla in a bowl and mix to combine. Using the back of a spoon, press mixture into the prepared tin. 

3. To make the choc-almond topping, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Add the almond butter and stir until combined. 4. Pour the chocolate over the base and spread evenly. 

5. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Cut into bars. 

6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

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Everyday Fresh: Meals in Minutes, by Donna Hay, published by Fourth Estate is out now, £20

donnahay.com.au