Snack food, unjunked: easy, gluten-free, bite-size recipes from Luke Hines

Snacking often gets a bad rap because people associate snacks with processed and refined convenience foods that can have a negative effect on your health.

But when you snack smart, it can actually support your health, improve your wellbeing and keep you on track.

These snacks are all about proving you can have your cake and eat it too. And by that, I mean you can still snack your little heart out without throwing any health goals or dietary restrictions out the window.

Garlic pita bread with lemony tahini dip

Tahini: the versatile gift that keeps on giving.
Tahini: the versatile gift that keeps on giving.

Tahini is wonderfully versatile – it makes the perfect nut-free substitute for ingredients like peanut or almond butter, plus it suits both sweet and savoury dishes. When incorporated with fresh herbs, as I’ve done here, it’s a winning combo.

Serves 4–6

For the lemony tahini dip
30g coriander leaves, torn
20g flat-leaf parsley leaves
, torn
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
135g hulled tahini
125ml lemon juice
, freshly squeezed
3 garlic cloves
, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt

For the pita bread
260g arrowroot or tapioca flour, plus extra if needed
50g blanched almond meal
2 eggs
250ml canned coconut milk
, plus extra if needed
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
2 tablespoons butter, olive oil or coconut butter
, for frying

To make the lemony tahini dip, place the herbs in a food processor and pulse three or four times to chop into smaller pieces. Add the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and blitz until well combined, smooth and creamy. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

To get started on the pita bread, combine the arrowroot or tapioca flour, almond meal, eggs, coconut milk, salt and garlic and onion powders, and whisk well to form a smooth, thick but slightly runny batter. If your batter is too thick, add more coconut milk; if it’s too thin, add a dash more arrowroot or tapioca flour.

Melt your preferred cooking fat in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a 125ml measuring cup, measure out the batter, pour into the hot pan and cook – flipping halfway through – for five to six minutes, or until the pita is lightly golden brown on each side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with the remaining batter to get six pita breads.

Spoon the dip into a small serving bowl, place the still-warm pita breads on a platter and serve. Store leftover pita breads in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days or freeze for up to one month.

Pumpkin hash browns

Pumpkin hash browns: an easy way to sneak more veggies into your day.
Pumpkin hash browns: an easy way to sneak more veggies into your day.

I’m obsessed with fritters, rostis and hash browns. I think they’re the best way to get more veggies into your day and I simply can’t resist the golden-brown crunch that comes along with them.

Serves 2

250g butternut pumpkin, grated
3 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca flour
1 egg
, whisked
1 tsp chilli flakes
, plus extra to serve if you like it spicy
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves
, roughly chopped

For the chunky lime avo
1 avocado
, roughly diced
2 limes
(zest and juice)
½ tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 120C.

Place the pumpkin, arrowroot or tapioca flour, egg, chilli flakes, paprika and salt in a large bowl and mix well to make a thick and chunky batter.

Melt some of the butter or coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add one heaped tablespoon of mixture per hash brown to the pan and press down gently with the back of your spoon to flatten.

Cook for four to five minutes, or until lightly golden brown and firm enough to flip. Use a spatula to flip carefully, then press down lightly and continue to cook for four to five minutes, or until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until you have eight to 10 hash browns.

To make the chunky lime avo, place the ingredients in a bowl and use the back of a fork to mash together until just combined. You want the avocado to be a little rough and chunky.

To serve, place your pumpkin hash browns on a share platter or serving plates, top with the chunky lime avo, chopped parsley and a sprinkle of extra chilli flakes, if desired.

Cherry delight

A simple, healthy take on the iconic Cherry Ripe.
A simple, healthy take on the iconic Cherry Ripe.

This is my healthy take on a Cherry Ripe chocolate bar. I love how simple it is – just two elements and no baking required. If cherries aren’t your thing, feel free to swap them for blueberries or raspberries: both work really well.

Makes 6-8

400g cherries, fresh pitted or frozen and thawed
180g desiccated coconut
250ml maple syrup, coconut nectar, or monk fruit syrup for low-carb diets
3 tbsp coconut oil
, warm and melted
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder
220g cacao butter
125g cacao powder

Line a 20cm square cake tin and a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the cherries, desiccated coconut and half the sweetener in a food processor and blitz to form a thick, chunky paste. Add the warm coconut oil and one teaspoon of vanilla and pulse to combine well.

Press the cherry mixture into the prepared cake tin and flatten and spread all the way to the edges with your hands. Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.

Meanwhile, melt the cacao butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the cacao powder, the remaining sweetener and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to thicken.

Slice the cherry layer into six to eight bars, then dunk into the melted chocolate to coat completely. Place the coated bars on the prepared baking tray and return to the freezer for five to 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set completely. Enjoy straight away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze for up to one month.

Mini lemon and passionfruit cheesecakes

Grab it and go: mini citrusy cheesecakes.
Grab it and go: mini citrusy cheesecakes.

If you can tolerate dairy but are eating low-carb, you can’t go past these mini cheesecakes. They’re basically tiny bite-size versions of a baked cheesecake, meaning you can grab one and eat it on the go.

Makes 12

For the crust
200g blanched almond meal
70g coconut sugar or granulated monk fruit sweetener for low carb
85g butter
, melted

For the lemon filling
250g cream cheese
125g sour cream
, at room temperature
2 eggs
, at room temperature
70g coconut sugar, or granulated monk fruit sweetener for low carb
2 lemons
(zest and juice)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or powder

For the topping
125g passionfruit pulp
, fresh or frozen and thawed

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases (or use a silicone muffin tray).

For the crust, place the almond meal, sweetener and butter in a bowl and mix well to combine.

Spoon the crust evenly into the prepared muffin tin, then use the back of the spoon to press the mixture into the base so it is packed firm. Set aside.

For the lemon filling, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth and creamy.

Guilt-Free Snacks by Luke Hines

Spoon the lemon filling over the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheesecakes are lightly golden brown on top and cooked through.

Allow the cheesecakes to cool slightly, then transfer to the fridge to chill for three to four hours, or until set.

To serve, top each cheesecake with some passionfruit pulp and enjoy.


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