Kelly Gibney’s favourite healthy recipes

Hospitality dynamo Kelly Gibney has turned her talents to creating delightful dishes that also happen to be healthy. Here, she shares her inspiration and a few favourite recipes.

Kelly Gibney

After giving birth to her daughter Bonnie three years ago, Kelly Gibney was determined to continue using her knowledge gleaned from 15-plus years in the hospitality industry career. The result is her other baby – Bonnie Delicious, a popular blog where Kelly shares her inventive, nourishing and delicious recipes and foodie insights. “I’m pretty social, I love food and my high- energy nature means I’m not suited to a quiet office job,” explains Kelly, who has run restaurants and tended bars internationally, including Melbourne and New York and several in Auckland. “A few years ago I was approached by Stephen Marr to help open and run Golden Dawn in Ponsonby, Auckland. This wonderful experience served as the perfect last hurrah to my frontline hospitality work and gave me the courage to pursue my creative food, writing and photography dreams. It was such a hotbed of creative bravery,” says Kelly, of the popular bar.

“When Bonnie was about three months old I started organising feast events at Golden Dawn and generally getting motivated to inspire people to eat well. I was cooking non-stop and photographing it, I started a little site and
it snowballed from there. I was really obsessed with blogging when I first started and it hasn’t waned at all! It’s lead to magazine work, TV appearances, writing opportunities and I’ve met lots of wonderful souls.” While Kelly’s aim is to inspire people to enjoy good, healthy food, there’s nothing preachy in her approach. “I’m a passionate food lover who also cares deeply about nourishing my body. I don’t think those two things need to be mutually exclusive. It is absolutely possible to eat incredible, delicious food that will also support your energy levels, immunity, glowing skin and good moods. “I’m absolutely anti diets and hate when food gets tied up in guilt for women. I’ve learnt that eating mindfully and truly noticing what works for my body is the best guiding principle. It allows you to find a way that is long term and outside of the fads or conflicting advice that’s around. Food should be pleasurable!”


Lemony Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Pistachios & Mint
Serves 4

Lemony Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Pistachios & Mint

Forget all your misgivings about Brussels sprouts and get acquainted with your new favourite salad. This often-maligned green is utterly transformed when sliced wafer thin and enjoyed raw – you’ll love it! Punchy pistachios and dates are the perfect partners and a rich dressing tops it all off. Excellent alone or alongside meat or fish.

3-4 cups Brussels sprouts, sliced on a mandoline, or very thinly
¼ cup dates, chopped thinly
⅓ cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish (optional)
Large handful mint, roughly chopped
Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Zest of one lemon

80ml olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of one juicy lemon
1 teaspoon honey, brown sugar or maple syrup
Salt & cracked pepper, to taste

1. Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss well.
2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Pour dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Set salad aside for 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with extra nuts, if desired.

Gluten-free Earl Grey Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free Earl Grey Chocolate Cake

This decadent but healthy cake epitomises my approach to cooking – keep it simple and healthy but wow them with flavour. Elegant Earl Grey tea provides a lovely scent to a rich chocolate cake base. I’ve given options for both a dairy and non-dairy topping.

½ cup coconut cream (or dairy cream)
3 Earl Grey teabags, or equivalent
in loose leaf
2 cups dates, soaked in hot water for
10 minutes, then drained
1 tsp quality vanilla extract
2½ cups almond meal
⅓ cup quality dark cocoa
1 heaped teaspoon gluten-free
baking powder
6 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
2. Gently heat coconut cream in a small pot and remove from heat as soon as it starts to boil. Add tea bags and steep for 10 minutes. Squeeze teabags, discard, and leave coconut cream to cool completely.
3. Place dates, coconut cream and vanilla extract in a food processor and blitz until dates are roughly puréed. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Try not to over mix.
4. Pour batter into a lined or greased 21cm cake tin. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool on a cake rack before topping (refrigerate for 30 minutes to accelerate this process if you need to).

Mascarpone topping
300g mascarpone cheese
1½ Tbsp maple syrup, rice malt syrup or raw honey
1 Tbsp quality dark cocoa
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth and completely combined.
Pile mixture on top of the cake, using a wide knife or spatula to spread evenly. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings, raw cacao nibs or orange zest, if desired.

Non-dairy topping (make 8 hours prior)
2 x 400ml cans full-fat coconut cream (Trade Aid coconut milk works well for this)
1½ tablespoons maple syrup, rice malt syrup or raw honey
1 Tbsp quality dark cocoa
½ tsp vanilla essence

1. Refrigerate the cans of coconut cream for at least 8 hours or overnight so the liquid and fat separate. Open cans and spoon off the solid top, about half the can (use the leftover liquid in smoothies).
2. Place in a large bowl with the other ingredients and whip until fluffy. Pile on top of the cake and use a wide knife or spatula to spread evenly across the surface of the cake. Once topped, your cake will need to be stored in the fridge.

Banana, Avocado & Walnut Breakfast Smoothie
Serves 2

Banana, Avocado & Walnut Breakfast Smoothie

The soaked walnuts make an incredibly rich nut-milk base. The consistency is almost mousse-like or similar to soft serve if you add a handful of ice. Bliss!

½ cup walnuts (soaked overnight then rinsed)
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
½ avocado
2 cups water
2 tsp maple syrup or rice malt syrup (optional)
1 handful ice (optional)
Generous pinch cinnamon, plus extra
Pinch turmeric (optional)

Blitz all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into two tall glass, sprinkle additional cinnamon on top and serve.