Warming winter boost

What better time than now to nourish yourself with warming, rich flavours and immunity-boosting goodness.

Knowing how to look after yourself and those around you with good food is such an empowering act of self-care. Our hope for these recipes is to show you that it doesn’t have to take much time or effort to make something tasty and sustaining. With this in mind, we are sharing two cozy recipes with warming flavours from the Mediterranean and Levant.

First, we have a fantastic Greek orzo dish with tomatoes and feta. This is one of those fab one-pot dinners that you can pop in the oven and forget about while you unwind from the day. The lovely, rich, caramelised flavour from a roasted tomato sauce pairs so well with yummy orzo, creamy feta, and a little crunch from the pangrattato (garlic breadcrumbs). Pure perfection. If you haven’t used orzo before; it’s a rice-shaped pasta that’s wonderfully toothsome, also sometimes known as risoni.

Garlic breadcrumbs are such a useful trick to have up your sleeve — we love keeping a jar in the pantry to whip out whenever something needs a little extra crunch. They are particularly good on top of pastas and salads.

Our second recipe for you is a riff off Lebanese adas bi hamoud which translates to "lentils in lemon". This tangy lentil soup is so fragrant and hearty — the lentils and potatoes make it very satisfying, and the herbs and the lemon keep the flavour clean and fresh. In our adaptation, we’ve taken a traditional pairing — leeks and potatoes, and added lentils and greens for extra protein and nutrition. Zingy, herbaceous, and perfect for a pick-me-up. Plus, the vitamin C in the lemons and greens helps your body absorb the iron from the lentils.

Don’t be intimidated by the lemon peels — they cook down beautifully and are wonderfully fragrant. (Just make sure you use spray-free lemons.) We’ve opted to use spinach here, but you can also use silverbeet if you like — separate the stems from the leaves and add them in with the potatoes to ensure they are tender, then add the leaves in with the herbs at the end.

Dried mint features in both of these recipes. It is widely used in Mediterranean cooking and has quite a different flavour profile to fresh mint, being slightly earthier and less "minty".

We hope these recipes provide you with nourishment and joy in the coming weeks — with warming, fresh flavours for your winter tables.

Happy cooking everyone.

Zingy lentil soup

A fragrant and deeply satisfying lentil soup packed with protein and greens. Zingy, herbaceous and perfect for a winter pick-me-up. 

Serves 4

Ready in 45min

Suitable for DF GF RSF V VE

Ready in 45min


1 cup brown or green lentils

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 leeks (white and a quarter of the green), base and ends trimmed, cleaned, halved lengthways, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 spray-free lemons, peeled with a potato peeler

½ tsp dried mint

¼ tsp salt, or more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 4cm pieces

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

4 large handfuls spinach, chopped

¼ cup chopped soft herbs such as dill, parsley, coriander, or mint, plus extra to garnish

3 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to taste


Place lentils in a pot with water to cover and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to the lowest possible, and simmer until lentils are nearly cooked but still have a bit of bite (20 minutes). Drain and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in a large heavy pot that has a lid over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, crushed garlic, lemon peels, dried mint, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook until very soft and starting to caramelise, stirring now and then (about 15 minutes).

Add the chopped potatoes, cooked lentils, and stock. Check seasoning and adjust to taste. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).

Turn off the heat, and stir in chopped spinach, herbs, and lemon juice. Allow to sit for a minute or two while the spinach wilts. Divide into serving bowls and garnish with additional herbs.


• You can substitute 2 onions in place of the leeks if preferred. We love serving this with some toasted bread and butter.

Greek orzo with tomatoes and feta

A fabulously simple one-pot meal that you can pop in the oven and forget about while you unwind from the day. Minimal effort for maximum flavour, this hearty dish is sure to win over your household.

Serves 4

Ready in 45 min

Suitable for DF GF RSF V VE


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp dried mint

1½ cups (300g) dried orzo or rizoni, or gluten-free equivalent

1 x 400g can cherry tomatoes in juice

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 Tbsp capers, drained

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

100g feta cheese

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

¼ cup Garlicky Breadcrumbs, to garnish (optional, see notes)


Preheat your oven to 200ºC fanbake.

Heat oil in a large heavy-based oven-proof pan or pot over a medium heat. Add diced onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened (8 minutes). Add crushed garlic and cook until softened (1 minute).

Mix in tomato paste and dried mint and cook another minute or two, stirring over heat to caramelise the flavours. Add in orzo, canned cherry tomatoes, stock and capers. Season with pepper and adjust to taste with salt (the amount of salt needed will depend on how salty your stock is). Bring to a simmer, stirring to prevent orzo sticking, then cover with a lid (or tightly with tinfoil).

Transfer the dish to your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take the dish out and crumble the feta over the top, then bake, uncovered, for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until the feta is starting to brown and all visible liquid from the pasta has evaporated. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the chopped parsley and Garlicky Breadcrumbs (see note) if using. Serve family-style from the pot.


• If you are cooking for one or two, it’s possible to halve this recipe, just keep the ratios the same. Leftovers keep well in a sealed container in the fridge for 4–5 days, reheat before serving.

• You could add in a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas if you want to add extra protein (add them in when you add the stock). It’s also great with some diced chorizo added in with the onions, or with boneless chicken thighs — brown them and then pop on top of the orzo to bake when the dish goes into the oven. To make this vegan, leave the feta out and use vegetable stock.

• Garlicky Breadcrumbs:

We love this dish with pangrattato (Garlicky Breadcrumbs) on top for added crunch.

To make Garlicky Breadcrumbs, heat ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-low heat. Add 4 cloves finely grated garlic, finely grated zest of 2 lemons, and ½ tsp flaky sea salt. Gently fry in the oil until aromatic, being careful not to burn the garlic (1–2 minutes). Add 2 cups of breadcrumbs, stirring to coat the crumbs in the oil mixture, and toast, stirring often until deep golden brown (5 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to cool before storing. Breadcrumbs will keep in a sealed container in the pantry for a couple of weeks. Make sure you keep them cool so they don’t become rancid.


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