Recipes

Chickpea, spinach & potato curry

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Sam Stern’s ‘Student Cookbook’. What I love about it, apart from the gorgeous flavour, is that it’s a complete one-pot meal, it has protein, carbs, vegetables, loads of fibre and healthy oils in a good balance. Quick and economical too, it has everything!

 

 

 

 

(serves 4)

1 large potato

1 large sweet potato

2 tbsps oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsps korma curry paste

1 can chickpeas

100ml water or veg stock

Juice 1 lemon

200ml coconut milk

1 tbsp mango chutney

1 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp chopped coriander (optional)

1 can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsps ground almonds

4 large handfuls spinach (or 2 of defrosted frozen spinach)

  1. Peel potato and sweet potato. Cut into bite sized chunks.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish. Add onion, garlic, pinch of salt. Cook until transparent over a medium heat.
  3. Stir in curry paste. Cook for a minute. Add potato, sweet potato, chickpeas. Stir to coat everything with the curry paste.
  4. Add water/stock, lemon juice, coconut milk, mango chutney, tomato puree, tomatoes and almonds.
  5. Increase heat, cover and simmer gently for 20-35mins. Check and stir so it doesn’t dry and stick to the pan, add more water if needed. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with a green salad.

Low Carb Beef and Vegetable Casserole

This is a slow-cooked, tasty stew, very easy to prepare and good for cooking in bulk and freezing. You can add some sliced peppers about ten minutes from the end of cooking time for colour. Serve with broccoli or cabbage.

500g diced stewing beef, trimmed of fat

1tbsp olive oil

1 large leek

2 cloves garlic

½ beef stock cube in 250ml water

2-3 sticks celery

½ large turnip

200g mushrooms

1 tin chopped tomatoes

½-1 tbsp paprika

1 red, yellow or green pepper, sliced (optional)

  1. Prepare leeks by removing the tough outer leaves from the top, slicing the leek lengthwise and washing thoroughly, then slicing into half rounds.
  2. Peel and chop the garlic finely, adding a little salt and mashing to release the juices.
  3. Wash the celery, de-string using a small sharp knife and cut into 2cm chunks
  4. Peel and cube the turnip
  5. Wash the mushrooms, trim the stalk and leave them whole
  6. Heat oven to 150oC (fan oven). Heat the oil in a large oven-proof casserole and add the leeks. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until they have reduced in bulk then add the paprika and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, then add the meat, stirring until all is well mixed
  7. Add stock, tin of tomatoes, celery, turnip and mushrooms and allow to come to a gentle simmer. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning if you like.
  8. Make sure the pot is well covered – if you don’t have a well-fitting lid tuck some greaseproof paper around directly on top of the stew then a double layer of foil (or a well-fitting lid). Cook in oven for 2 to 3 hours until meat and vegetables are tender. Add sliced peppers about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time if you wish.

 

Chopped Salads

Chopped salads are a great fast food trend with outlets like ‘Chopped’ and ‘The Green Kitchen’ but why not do your own – very handy to eat with just a fork and loads of room for creativity… choose from the following and fill your lunchbox!

Vegetables (300g total, approx. 100kcal)

For example:

  • Baby leaf spinach
  • Salad leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Grated carrot,
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Radish
  • Asparagus
  • Fennell
  • Roast / grilled veg like courgettes etc…

Protein (portion size is for cooked weight)

(approx. 150kcal)

  • 120g chicken or turkey
  • 150g prawns
  • 150g tuna (in water)
  • 100g tuna (in oil)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 150g chick peas, beans or lentils
  • 50g houmous
  • 40g Cheddar cheese
  • 50g Brie or goat’s cheese
  • 60g Feta cheese

 Healthy fats (approx. 100kcal)

  • 2 teaspoons balsamic dressing and 2 teaspoons seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Caesar dressing
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Light mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons seeds
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil and 2tsp Parmesan cheese

Choose your 300g vegetables and your protein choice, chop finely on a big board, place in a large bowl and mix with healthy fat choice – that’s it! If you’ve followed the indicated portion sizes you will have a balanced meal of about 350kcal 😊

Chicken with sweet potatoes

A simple, quick and tasty dinner. Sweet potatoes are a ‘low GI’ carbohydrate, meaning they release their energy more slowly than our traditional Irish potatoes and they’re loaded with potassium! Serve with a steamed green vegetable such as green beans or broccoli to complete the meal

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion (red or white), peeled and chopped into small dice

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 350g) peeled & cut into bite sized chunks (about 1cm)

450g chicken breast fillets (or mini fillets) cut into bite sized chunks (about 2cm)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

½tsp chilli powder (optional)

1tsp each of balsamic vinegar, honey and Worcester (Lea & Perrin’s) sauce (OR 3 tsp ready-made barbecue sauce)

½ chicken stock cube dissolved in 125ml boiling water

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 scallions, finely sliced (or chopped chives)

Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

 

  1. Prepare all the vegetables ready for cooking and cut up the chicken
  2. Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan or wok
  3. Add onions, chicken, sweet potato, garlic and chilli powder, stirring until all is well mixed and chicken changes colour.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, honey and Worcester (Lea & Perrin’s) sauce (OR 3 tsp ready-made barbecue sauce), stock and tomato puree.
  5. Cook for about 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently – add a little water if necessary.
  6. When the liquid has evaporated and you have checked the chicken is cooked and sweet potato tender, season and serve with a sprinkle of scallions and green vegetables.

Cauliflower ‘rice’ 

Cauliflower is probably the low-carb dieter’s best vegetable friend and this is a quick, easy and versatile way to add to your dinner plate!

Serves 4-8

1 Fresh Cauliflower

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional extras: finely chopped scallions, fresh parsley, garlic or ginger puree, spices such as ground cumin, coriander, fresh or dried chilli….

First prepare the cauliflower by removing the outer leaves, cutting it into quarters and removing most of the thick stalk, then cut each quarter into two or three large florets. Blitz in a food processor for about 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower looks like rice. Alternatively you can grate the raw cauliflower on the coarse side of the grater.

To microwave: Place the amount of ‘rice’ you want to cook in a bowl, covered with a lid or cling-film, and microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes (4 if cooking from frozen). Season to taste.

To ‘pan-roast’: Preheat a heavy-based pan without adding any oil. Add ‘rice’ along with seasoning (I liked it with a pinch of ground cumin and 2 pinches ground coriander just for one person but you can use your own creative skills and optional extras as above)

To oven roast:  Place the rice with a little drizzle of olive oil in a roasting tin with added seasoning if desired (see suggestions above). Spread it out to a thin, even layer. Roast at 200C for 12 minutes, mixing it in the tray halfway through cooking.

Any leftover prepared cauliflower ‘rice’ can be frozen raw and cooked from frozen. It can also be cooked in a steamer.

Ratatouille

This goes well with plain grilled or roast meat or fish, or it can be eaten instead of soup for lunch with some low carb bread or crackers and cheese. It freezes well and keeps in the fridge for 3 days

Serves 6-8

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1 aubergine, cut into bite sized chunks

250g mushrooms, quartered

2 courgettes, sliced

2 leeks, sliced

2 celery sticks, sliced

1 green or yellow pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 300ml boiling water

Black pepper

1-1½ tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs

  1. Prepare all the vegetables ready for cooking
  2. Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan or wok
  3. Add aubergines and leeks and stir fry for a couple of minutes
  4. Add rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Serves 4

15ml/ 1 tbsp olive oil

5-15ml/ 1tsp-1tbsp red, green or yellow curry paste (optional)

15-30ml/ 1-2 tbsp soya sauce

150g/ 1 leek sliced

500g/ 1 cabbage, finely shredded

150g/ 1 courgette sliced

100g/ 2 celery sticks sliced

100g/ 1 red pepper chopped

250g broccoli chopped into florets

1 vegetable stock cube or 15ml/ 1tbsp marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon

dissolved in 150ml boiling water from kettle

  1. Wash and chop all the vegetables.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok or non-stick pan. Add curry paste (if using).
  3. Add cabbage and stir fry for a minute. Add stock. Cover and cook for 8 minutes.
  4. Then add the remaining vegetables and soya sauce.
  5. Stir frequently and cook about 5-7 minutes (depends on size of vegetable pieces) until tender but still slightly crunchy.

 

Chicken Korma

A very mild curry with grated courgette to add healthy fibre. Add some chilli sauce if some like it hotter! Serve with ‘Slim Rice’ or make ‘cauliflower rice’ by grating and steaming your cauliflower.

serves 2

300g chicken mini fillets

1tbsp rapeseed, sunflower, coconut or olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red pepper

1cm cube ginger, finely chopped or grated

1 medium courgette, grated

2 tbsp Patak’s korma spice paste

2 tbsp water

½tsp sweetener (eg Xylitol, Splenda, Stevia) or sugar

1 level tbsp. ground almonds or desiccated coconut

100ml coconut milk (you can freeze the reminder of the tin)

Sea salt / ground black pepper / chilli sauce to taste

  1. Fry onion in oil over a medium heat until golden.
  2. Add ginger and chicken and continue to cook over a medium heat until chicken turns white (not too hot otherwise the outside of the chicken will toughen).
  3. Add spice paste and water, stir until well mixed and the sauce starts to bubble then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add red pepper and courgette, stir to combine and then cover and leave to cook again for 5 minutes. Add a little extra water if it seems too dry.
  5. Add coconut milk, ground almonds or desiccated coconut and sweetener or sugar.
  6. Cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Check seasoning, add a little salt, black pepper and/or chilli sauce to your liking

Courgetti Cannellini Bolognese

‘Courgetti’ is a great substitute for pasta, quick and easy to make with a spiralizer. The basic tomato sauce recipe can be made in bulk and frozen and adapted for different meals using different vegetable / herb / spice combinations.

Serves 2

1 small-medium onion, chopped

1½ tbsp. olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pushed through a garlic press

1tsp dried oregano

1tbsp tomato puree

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Pinch xylitol sweetener

1 large or 2 small courgettes

1 (400g) tin Cannellini beans, rinsed with cold water and drained

1-2 peppers (red, green or yellow), cut into small dice

1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 200ml water

  1. Fry onion in 1tbsp olive oil over gentle heat for about 3 minutes. Add peppers and cook for a couple of minutes then add garlic and oregano, cook for a further minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato puree and xylitol, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce is now ready to use. If you want a smooth sauce, ensure vegetables are really soft and push through a wire sieve or liquidize in a goblet liquidizer.
  3. Add stock and cannellini beans, simmer gently for 10 minutes
  4. Spiralise courgettes using a spiralizer or spiral slicer (a potato peeler can be used to make ‘ribbon noodles’ by ‘peeling’ slices lengthwise along the courgette if you don’t have a spiralizer)
  5. Heat the remaining ½ tbsp. olive oil and sauté the ‘courgetti’ for a couple of minutes until well heated. Serve the bean & tomato sauce on a bed of courgetti noodles – filling and healthy!

Oat Bran Pancakes

These can be served with rhubarb and sugar free jelly for added fibre and sweetness (recipe below) , or just with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little 0% fat natural yoghurt with a sprinkle of seeds for a tasty breakfast. Make in advance and freeze and you can reheat in a toaster for convenience

 Serves 1

3 tbsp (30g) oat bran

2 tbsp 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt, soy yoghurt or 0% fat fromage frais

1 medium egg

1 tsp olive, rapeseed or coconut oil or spray oil for cooking

  1. Whisk the ingredients (except the oil) together with a pinch of salt
  2. Heat pan on a medium heat and add oil, brush around the pan and discard any excess
  3. Place 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes
  4. Turn the pancakes and cook a further 3 minutes or so until golden brown.

 Rhubarb in Sugar-Free Jelly

Serves 2-4

4 stalks rhubarb chopped

1 sachet Hartley’s sugar-free jelly

Boiling water from the kettle

  1. wash and chop rhubarb.
  2. Place in a saucepan with a tablespoon of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until tender.
  3. Strain rhubarb and reserve cooking liquid in a measuring jug. Make up to 1/2 pint with boiling water and add one sachet of jelly. Add cold water or ice and stir until dissolved and then pour over the cooked rhubarb. Cool down and refrigerate or eat lukewarm.