While we are not going to ask you, dear readers, to go vegetarian, there has been plenty of research by medical professionals that show reducing the amount of meat in your diet -- even if it is only for one day, such as Meatless Monday -- can have excellent benefits for your overall health. We are also not going to get into ethics or environmental impacts but what we will do is put out this little tidbit: these recipes are healthy, easy to make, and delicious. Give them a try if you are in a pinch, want to mix up your diet, or have a guest coming over with dietary restrictions. Enjoy!
Green Soup with Yogurt and Nuts
Think of this soup as an alternative to a salad in summer, as it contains pretty much the same ingredients. It is low-fat but high in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and folate. Plus, it's pretty yummy!
2 tsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 cubed medium potato
600ml vegetable stock
120g of mixed salad greens, watercress, rocket, and spinach work best
150g natural yogurt
20g toasted pine nuts
Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan, add the onion and soften slowly but do not brown, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the stock and potato chunks and continue to simmer for up to 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft enough to blend.
Add the greens and let them wilt in the water for 1 minute.
Time to blend! Use a machine or stick blender to whizz up the ingredients, until it becomes a smooth, creamy consistency.
Serve in bowls with a dollop of natural yogurt on each and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
Roast Carrot, Lentil, and Rocket Salad
Rich in fiber, rich in calcium, rich in flavor, this is not your average salad.
300g peeled and sliced (lengthways) carrots
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 lemon, zest, and juice
½ tsp honey
½ tsp wholegrain mustard
250g cooked lentils
¼ chopped cucumber
1 sliced avocado
50 g crumbled feta
Heat your oven to 200c. Toss your cut carrots in 1 tbsp of oil and the cumin seeds, Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread the carrots out on a baking tray and roast for around 35 minutes, or until slightly charred
In a small jar, whisk together the rest of the oil, lemon zest, and juice, honey, and mustard.
Add together the remaining salad ingredients and once carrots are cooked and slightly cooled, toss together. Add the dressing and serve
There are so many great things about lentil. High in protein and fiber they are low in calories and have practically no fat! Use fresh herbs to get that extra flavor kick.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
2 tsp salt
1 pound dried lentils
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts vegetable broth
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
Over medium heat, add olive oil to a large 6-quart dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, carrot and sweat them for around 6 minutes or until the onions have become translucent.
Add lentils, tomatoes, and the broth. Then add all the herbs and stir.
Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are cooked and tender. About 40 minutes.
Blend about half the contents with a stick blender, so you still have some whole lentils and some lovely soupy goodness as well. Serve
Roast lemon vegetables, with yogurt tahini dressing
If you are not afraid of a bit of yogurt, you will love this dressing over a fabulous roast vegetable dish. It's got everything. It's high in vitamin C, fiber, folate, calcium and all-important omega 3.
1 seeded and chopped red pepper.
1 diced aubergine
1 thinly sliced red onion
¼ finely chopped lemon (unwaxed) the rest juiced.
1tbsp rapeseed oil
400g can drained chickpeas
1 garlic clove
3tbsp natural yogurt
Seeds from half a pomegranate
A handful of chopped parsley or coriander
Heat oven to 240C. Place all the cut vegetables and the chopped lemon (yes skin and all) on a roasting tin and drizzle with 1tbsp of the oil. Stir in the vegetables, so they are coated well.
Place tin on the stove and fry the vegetables for 5 minutes or until they start to slightly char.
Add two handfuls of the chickpeas and put the tin in the oven to roast.
The rest of the chickpeas go into a bowl with the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, yogurt and 3 tbsp water. Blend in a blender until thick.
Spoon the yogurt mix on the plates first and place the roasted vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley (or corriander0 and pomegranate seeds. Season to taste.
Wild rice and apricot salad
Super easy, super healthy wild rice with splashes of super flavor. Great as a side dish or a light lunch.
400g mixed rice (wild rice, long grain rice, red rice)
150g roughly chopped mixed nuts
75g diced dried apricots
½ chopped bunch fresh basil
½ chopped bunch fresh mint
Extra virgin olive oil
Cook the rice according to the cooking times on the packet. Drain and cool completely.
Combine the chopped nuts, apricot and basil and mint leaves in a bowl.
Add cooled rice and toss to combine. Season to taste drizzle with oil and serve.
Just as filling as a burger, but way less fat, falafel is the only way to go.
400g can of rinsed chickpeas
1 chopped garlic clove
Handful flat leaf parsley
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chili powder
2tbsp plain flour
2tbsp sunflower oil
Toasted pita bread
200g tomato salsa
1 small chopped red onion
A bunch of chopped lettuce leaves.
Pat the rinsed and drained chickpeas dry with paper towel. Add to a food processor
To the food processor add the garlic, onion, parsley, spices, and flour, plus a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and shape into neat patties with your hands.
In a non-stick fry pan, heat oil. Add the falafel burger patties and fry for around 3 minutes each side, or until golden. Serve in toasted pitas with tomato salsa, red onion, and green salad
Buying your chargrilled vegetables from the deli counter make this low-calorie meal super quick.
Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the packet. Drain and then out back into the pan with a small amount of the water you used to cook it with.
Combine the chargrilled vegetables, red pesto, basil leaves, mix and add to the gnocchi pot. Serve with Parmesan.
Black bean and kale burritos
Whole-wheat tortillas are a great healthy alternative to white tortillas or even bread! It's light, filling and the ingredients, divine.
2 roughly chopped (stems removed) leaves of kale
1 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
½ tsp seeded finely chopped jalapeño
Squeeze of lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of cumin powder
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of chili powder
½ cup rinsed canned black beans
1 minced garlic clove
1 small whole wheat tortilla
½ sliced avocado
1tsp chopped red onion
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Combine kale, cilantro, jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, cumin, sea salt and chili powder in a bowl and mix well
Sauté the garlic in some olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat, Add the beans and a little water. Mash the beans a little to break half of them up.
Warm the tortilla in the microwave or a skillet for a few seconds
Top flat tortilla with the bean mix, sliced avocado and kale, feta and red onion.
Fold over the bottom, roll it up, slice in half if desired and serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt on the side.
Asian watermelon salad
So light and fresh, this summer salad with Asian flavors and only 4.5g fat, will make your mouth sing, and your body smile.
20g toasted sesame seeds
½ small diced watermelon.
1 bunch of radishes
½ bunch sliced fresh mint leaves
1 segmented lime
½ grated garlic glove
5cm grated fresh ginger
1-2 seeded and grated fresh chili's
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp low salt soy sauce
1tbsp sesame oil
Serves 6-8 as a side
Make the dressing by adding the grated garlic, ginger, and chiles into a small bowl or jar, along with the lime juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix or shake to combine
Once your watermelon flesh is in 1cm chunks, add the sliced radishes and mint leaves.
Pour over the dressing and sprinkle with freshly toasted sesame seeds, a few whole baby mint leaves, and lime wedges to squeeze over if desired.
Easy mushroom and potato curry
Spicy, tasty, quick and healthy, a perfect winter's meal.
1tbsp olive oil
1 roughly chopped onion
1 large diced potato
1 large diced aubergine
250g sliced button mushrooms
204 tbsp curry paste
150ml vegetable stock
400ml can low fat coconut milk
Handful chopped coriander
In a large saucepan heat the oil and add the onion and the potato. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes then add the aubergine and mushrooms, cook for another few minutes.
Sir in the curry paste, mix well.
Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Stir through the fresh coriander and serve.
Summer squash and cherry tomato pasta
Pasta doesn't have to be heavy, try this lighter roasted vegetable version. You'll love it.
½ pound whole grain, gluten-free or spelt penne or fusilli
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 medium sliced yellow squash
1 medium sliced zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pounce crumbles goat cheese
1 diced garlic clove
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
Heat oven to 200C/400F. Mix the tomatoes, zucchini and squash pieces in a bowl with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Lay on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning the vegetables once halfway through.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water for later.
Drain pasta; return to pot and add the lemon juice. Garlic, red pepper flakes butter and goat cheese. Add ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water to help combine the ingredients. Toss gently to mix, add more water if you think it is too dry.
Add the cooked vegetables, along with any juices, to the pasta pot and gently mix to combine. Season to taste and sprinkle over chopped basil. Serve.
Broccoli is the perfect healthy side for many meals, or at times, an excellent main. Amp them up with these lemon breadcrumbs and make your taste buds go zing!
2 large bunches of broccoli, cut into florets
2 sliced of whole wheat bread
2 tbsp butter
1 zest and juiced lemon
To make the breadcrumbs, mix the bread in a food processor.
Melt the butter in a small pan and add the breadcrumbs, heat until toasted. Add the half of the lemon juice to the pan, the lemon zest and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook until ingredients are dry.
Cook the broccoli by adding to boiling water for around 4 minutes, drain and put in a serving dish.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and serve.
Quinoa and Kale
Quinoa is packets with protein and contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains, add a bevy of beautiful veg to it, and it's the perfect meal.
1 cup quinoa
2 tbsp olive oil
10 ounces quartered button mushrooms
2 small cubed sweet potatoes
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
1 bunch torn kale leaves
3/5 cup dry white wine
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Cook the quinoa according to the direction on the packet.
In a large pot over medium and heat the oil and then add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Cook until golden, around 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Add the kale, wine ¾ tsp of each salt and pepper, cook, tossing often.
Spoon the cooked quinoa onto a plate; lay the vegetables on top and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Noodles in a green vegetable broth
2 handful of halved snap sugar peas
2 handful of halved button mushrooms
2 finely sliced garlic cloves
4cm peeled and grated ginger
2 sachet of vegetable stock or stock cube
2 small handfuls of broccoli florets
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
200g rice noodles
Fresh coriander to garnish
Dilute the packet of vegetable stock or stock cube according to the directions on the packet. Bring to a simmer and add the peas, mushrooms, and broccoli, cook until broccoli has slightly softened.
Add the spinach, ginger, and garlic. Add noodles and simmer until they are soft. Sprinkle coriander leaves on top and serve.
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