Miso soup

Miso soup – 1 serving 80 calories 1.7g fat

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

In this cold and chilly weather what better way to stay warm than having plenty of miso soup, its simple quick and very satisfying.  And if you are watching your weight this is the perfect low calorie lunch option for all you 5:2 fasters


miso soup

the basic miso

2 tsp miso paste (make sure it is suitable for veggies and vegans i.e. no bonito flakes)

1 mug of boiling water

25g soft tofu – cubed

1 spring onion – finely sliced

¼ red pepper, chopped

few flakes of dried chilli


20 (large handful) spinach leaves or 1 Nori leaf, shredded

few fresh coriander leaves

  • Mix the miso paste with the hot water in the serving bowl or mug
  • Add in the cubed tofu, chilli flakes, spinach leaves or nori seaweed and sliced spring onion
  • Stir until the leaves are wilted and soft
  • scatter over some chopped fresh coriander (optional)
miso soup

The full works



IMG_2893Optional extras –  100g cooked sweet potato slices (90 calories), ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds (40 calories), few drops sesame oil (10 calories), 28g/small handful unsalted cashew nuts (150 calories), 2 sliced mushrooms (24 calories), soba noodles (28g will add 90 calories)

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

veg soupWhat better way to keep out those chills than have a bowl of warming and nutritious homemade soup. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and add in whatever is to hand.  But always use the lentils as it adds protein and fibre, therefore making the soup really hearty and filling.


Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

250g parnsips

150g swede

200g potatoes

100g leek

150g dried red lentils

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

½  vegetable stock cube or 1 tsp bouillon powder

½ litre of hot water

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli

1 bay leave (optional)

Salt and pepper

Dash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped fresh herbs

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Wash all the vegetables but only peel the swede.  Both the parsnips and the potatoes can keep their peel (to retain more fibre and nutrients).  Chop in to bite sized pieces

IMG_2099I use a pressure cooker for this soup as it reduces the cooking time,  But if you don’t have one then use a large pan.  Add the oil to the pan and warm before adding the leeks.  Cook on their own for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to stop them colouring too much.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.  After a few minutes add the chilli, spices, bay leaves, garlic, stock cube dissolved in the hot water and tinned tomatoes.

Give the whole lot a big stir and then add in the dried lentils.  With another big stir

If you are using a pressure cooker at this point add the lid and wait for a steady stream of steam to be produced add the weight, turn down the gas to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes.

If you are just using a large pan, cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes (storing regularly), or until all the veg are nice and soft and the lentils have broken down

Have a taste and then season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon and some chopped herbs, such as parsley, mint, coriander

IMG_2100You can leave the soup nice and chunky or use a stick blender to make it smooth.  This will thicken the soup so add some more hot water, until you reached the desired consistency.

It may mean that you then get an extra portion so the recipe will have 5 not 4 servings in which case the calorie per portion will reduce to 200

The soup can be kept covered in the fridge for 3 days.  Any uneaten portions can be frozen and defrosted and reheated before eating

As a chunky soup it can quickly be turned in to a versatile casserole by adding cooked veggie/vegan sausages or Quorn

soupAs a smooth soup it can be used as a protein rich topping for jacket potatoes or a filling for a veggie shepherds pie

Please share if you have other creative ways of using this versatile recipe

Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/


To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.




IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds



Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes add the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water


After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly


In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water


IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix





Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds


Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Quick Cauliflower and chickpea biryani

Quick Cauliflower and chickpea biryani

A biryani that is perfect for meat free Monday

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_4476This is a very quick and easy vegan cauliflower  biryani recipe. It uses some store cupboard standbys, like microwaveable rice and some chutneys

By adding chickpeas you are seriously upping the protein and fibre content. The cauliflower adds more fibre and plenty of immune supporting antioxidants

Adjust the level of spice to suit your taste buds


Serves 2, 480 calories per portion


500g Cauliflower, cut in to florets, include the stalks for extra fibre

1 large onion (150g) – chopped

2 tsp oil

IMG_44741 x 400g tin of chickpeas –

1 garlic clove  and 1 nub of fresh ginger – sliced

or 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste

2 -3 heaped tsp curry powder

1 tsp each of turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes

splash of lemon juice

handful parsley and/or mint leaves – chopped

1 packet express wholegrain rice


nutracheck image

The calories have been calculated using the Nutracheck App


IMG_4472Start by heating the oil on a medium flame in a large frying pan and add the chopped onions and cauliflower. Cook until the onions start to colour. If it starts to stick and burn, resist adding more oil and add a splash of hot water instead.

Add the garlic and ginger (or the paste) and stir. After about two minutes add all the spices and using a metal spoon (the turmeric will stain a wooden one) coat theIMG_4473 vegetables. Cook until the spices start to smell fragrant. Add the chickpeas and their juice. Turn the heat down and cook until the cauliflower is soft – about 10-15 minutes. You may need to add more water


When your veg is nearly cooked, open the rice and add to the pan, mixing in thoroughly and cook for 2 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add more water if its sticking to the base of the pan. Finish with a splash of lemon juice and the fresh herbs


IMG_4475Divide between two warmed bowls. And add a spoonful of mango chutney and lime pickle, for even more heat!


You can of course make this even quicker by using cooked left over veggies. The cooking time will reduce by 10 minutes. You can also add some lovely protein and omega 3 packed cashew nuts

Souper quick soup

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Souper quick soup

IMG_0452November is world vegan month and It’s also meat free Monday, so why not try this really quick pea and mint soup for one.  You may have some left over mushy peas from your bonfire night and didn’t know what to do with them; well look no further! It is low in fat and calories; only 141 calories and a good source of protein and fibre. So excellent for the 5:2ers and healthy eaters amongst you!

½ 300g tin of mushy peas (I used Batchelors Mushy Chip Shop Style Processed Peas because they are the lowest in calories), 120ml boiling water, ½ tsp marigold vegetable bouillon powder, 6g (large handful) of fresh mint leaves or 1 tsp jarred mint sauce, 2 or 3 drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

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Empty the peas into a small saucepan, add the vegetable powder and water, cook on a low – medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Using a hand blender blend until smooth add in the chopped fresh mint and few drops of lemon juice.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Serve in a warmed bowl


This can be put in a container with a tight lid and taken to work for a delicious and nutritious lunch.  All you need to do is microwave on high for 1 minute.  You may need to add a splash more hot water as it will thicken

And don’t forget you can easily double or quadruple the recipe to make a souper warming meal for the whole family


Beetroot risotto

Beetroot risotto with pearl barley and quinoa

Serves 2, 320 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_4244This risotto has been inspired by Jack Monroe’s risotto recipe in the Royal Marsden cancer cookbook



vegan cookery poster jpeg


And is the perfect recipe for my Vegan cookery class to make this week!

The use of beetroot not only adds colour and a wonderful earthy taste but bags of fibre, antioxidants, potassium and iron. The pearl barley makes a healthy nutritional change to arborio rice: Its high in fibre, calcium and protein, but low in fat and calories. By adding quinoa the protein content really increases, making this a very filling and nutritious vegetarian and vegan dish


IMG_4276250g fresh beetroot, peeled and diced (or use the pre-cooked vacuum packs)

500 ml vegetable stock – either leftover stock from cooking some veggies or hot water and 1 teaspoon veg bouillon powder

2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

1 fat garlic clove – crushed

1 small leek (80g) finely sliced

large pinch dried chilli flakes


Pearl barley

100g pearl barley or buckwheat (which you need to pre soak overnight) and 25g of quinoa

50ml red or white wine (or water)

100g frozen peas (or broad beans)

2 tbls chopped mint and parsley

salt and ground black pepper


IMG_4296flavoured drizzle oil (optional)

zest and juice of half a lemon (equivalent to 2 tsp)

1 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

½ tsp horseradish

If you are not using the oil you can substitute the horseradish for the chilli flakes in the main risotto


To make the drizzle vegan please use either fresh horseradish or a jar without cream

If you are using fresh beetroot put it in a pan and cover with some of the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until tender.

If you are using the vacuum packed variety, miss out this stage and simply open the packet*




*A word of warning! which ever type of beetroot you use, be aware that it stains everything! So your chopping boards, spoons and hands will all be a lovely pink colour by the end of this. You can minimize the pink by wearing rubber gloves to handle the beetroot, cook with a metal spoon (never wooden for beetroot), or use a plastic chopping board


Meantime on a medium flame heat the oil in a large IMG_4281shallow pan and add the leeks and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the leeks are soft.   Add the pearl barley and coat with in the oil. Then tip in the wine and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes.


Blitz the beetroot in a blender (a nutribullet does a great IMG_4287job), add the stock and chilli (or horseradish) and add a ladleful at a time to the grains. Keep adding a ladleful as soon as it is absorbed. This should take about 30-40 minutes


After 15 minutes add the quinoa (this takes less time to cook) and mix in. once the pearl barley and quinoa are soft and fluffy stir in the peas and 1 tablespoon of the chopped herbs. Taste and season with salt and lots of pepper


Serve into 2 warmed bowls


Lemon horseradish oil

Mix all the ingredients together and drizzle over the risotto





Finally scatter over the remaining tablespoon of chopped herbs






And here’s how the finish dish looks when its made by my vegan cookery guests







BCAMThis is a great recipe to support breast cancer awareness month.  So why not make a larger amount (its easy to double or triple the ingredients) and invite your friends over.  They can make a donation to your favourite cancer charity like Maggie’s (the cancer support centre inside the grounds of the Nottingham City hospital)


Sweet potato curry

Sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry – serves 2.  270 calories per serving


veg curry

Why not try this 5:2 fast diet curry,  the additions at the bottom of the page mean you can make it more substantial and also eat it on your non fast days

It works equally well with sweet potato, butternut squash or those Halloween pumpkins!


1 small sweet potato (100g) – chopped into bite sized pieces – you could also use pumpkin or butternut squash

1 small onion (50g) – chopped

1 medium chopped courgette or frozen peas (145g)

½ tsp vegetable oil

80g of spinach – fresh, frozen or tinned (and drained)

½ of a 400g tin of chickpeas – drained , reserve the liquid

½ garlic clove – chopped

Pinch chilli flakes

½ tsp curry powder

½ tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp tomato puree

1 tsp balti/curry paste

25 g per person of uncooked brown basmati rice (makes 80g of cooked rice)

Coriander leaves (optional)


Frozen spinach

Frozen spinach


Fry the onion in the oil add the curry powder, tomato puree and curry paste and fry for 2 minutes.  Add the sweet potato (butternut squash or pumpkin) and cook for another 5 with a lid on.


Add the courgettes (or peas), spinach, tomatoes, garlic, chilli, chickpeas.  If the sauce is too thick add some chickpea water.  Turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft (20-25 mins).  Taste and adjust seasoning, add more water if necessary


At the same time cook brown rice (according to instructions on the packet) for about 20-25 minutes

veg curry

Sever the rice and curry.  Scatter over a few coriander leaves

Non-fast day additions

rotiMore rice 80g cooked – 90 calories

28g cashew nuts – 164 calories

small tandoori roti bread – 160 calories

Vegan stir-fry

Vegan stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light vegan lunch for three or a more substantial  stir-fry for two.  I think its worth the effort to bake and add in the tofu, but if you really are in a rush then stick with the peanuts/cashews and sesame seeds.  All three ingredients add protein and some useful minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The spiralised sweet potato is a lighter alternative than rice or noodles.


1 sweet potato – spiralised into noodles (or ready bought if you haven’t got a gadget!)½  (100g) large onion – sliced2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks1 x (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens, spinach or mange tout

20g fresh ginger, grated or 1 tsp ‘lazy’ ginger or 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ jar of Sharwods black bean and pepper sauce – this has the lowest sugar content of all of the jarred sauces400g of sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)30g unsalted peanuts or cashews1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the baked tofu : ½ block extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed in a clean tea towel),, small drizzle of olive oil, 3 tsp light soy sauce, 1 – 1½ tsp gochugaru or sriracha spice

  • Preheat oven to 220C/ gas 7/425F.
  • Cut the tofu into into slices. Place it in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, chilli sauce/paste and soy sauce. You may need to add a splash of water if it’s too thick. Gently mix to combine.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove your baking sheet from the oven and flip each piece of tofu. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the tofu and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the tofu is crispy on the outside, remove from the oven. Let it cool before you cut it in to strips


  • In the meantime spiralises the sweet potato in to ‘noodles’ and blanche in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from the water


  • Heat the wok until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes at the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water
  • After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger /garlic and chili flakes and ¼ of a jar of sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg softens slightly. Again add some water if it sticks


  • Add the softened sweet potato ‘noodles’ to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts or tofu, soy sauce, sweetcorn and spring onion and again stir to mix. Cook for a final minute


Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal. And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds


Pearl barley summer salad

Pearl barley summer salad Servings 2, 165 calories per serving

For more health and wellbeing advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_3173Pearl barley is high in fibre, calcium and protein, but low in fat and calories. It has a nutty flavour and chewy texture, and in this salad it makes a pleasant change from quinoa or couscous.  So don’t confine that packet of pearl barley in the back of the cupboard to only winter stews, casseroles and soups.  It is an all year round marvel.  If you don’t have the time to cook the barley, then a quick cheat is to use a microwavable pre-cooked packet

And don’t forget it makes an ideal dish for all you 5:2 fast dieters out there.  At only 165 calories,  that leaves you with 335 calories for the rest of the day.

50 g raw or 160 g cooked Pearl Barley – or 1 packet pre cooked microwavable barley

1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder

250ml boiling water

¼ tsp crushed red chilli flakes – or ½ – 1 small fresh chill finely sliced

IMG_318380 g cucumber, chopped

80 g carrot, grated

80 g (1 medium) tomato, chopped

80 g (½)  yellow pepper, chopped

5 g (10 leaves), mint chopped

5 g (small handful) parsley, chopped

For the dressing

2 tsp, olive oil

1 tsp balsamic Vinegar , apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

½ tsp Wholegrain Mustard

large pinch of ground black pepper and small pinch of salt

If you don’t want to calorie count you don’t have to be so exact with the veggies.  But stick to the weight for the pearl barley


Place a medium sized saucepan on to the heat and add the pearl barley. Toast for 2 minutes, until it starts to smell malty. Add the vegetable powder to the water and stir. Then quickly add to the toasted grains

Be careful as the pan will be very hot and will bubble furiously

Add the chilli flakes, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes.  Ignore this step if you are using already cooked pearl barley

Meanwhile chop all the veg and herbs.


Prepare the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, pepper, salt and mustard. Taste and adjust the flavours as necessary




When the barley is cooked (it should still have a bite) let it cool before adding in the vegetables, herbs and dressing

Mix well and serve in two bowls





Non fast day additions

½ a tin of chickpeas – 135 calories

½ a ripe avocado – 150 calories

28g of unsalted cashew nuts – 164 calories

2 quorn fillets – 110 calories


Skyr smoothie

Skyr smoothie

Serves one, 270 calories

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/


To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, why not take part in #MeatFreeMonday and make a smoothie?!  This is a really tasty and filling recipe, thanks in part to the chia seeds, the heart healthy fibre, protein rich oats and the protein and probiotic packed Icelandic yoghurt called *Skyr.  Making this an ideal breakfast smoothy that will leave you feeling full and healthy until lunchtime.  The smoothie will be nice and thick making it perfect to eat with a spoon: slowing down your eating and allowing you to properly digest and absorb all the nutrients

If you haven’t heard of Skyr (pronounced Skeer), then check out your local supermarket.  It has a creamy, thick, velvety texture and a tangy taste.  Being naturally low in fat, high in protein and probiotics, it is great for your gut health.  Although I’ve called it a yoghurt it is technically a soft cheese made from skimmed cows milk

I will continue to experiment with this new ingredient so expect to see more recipes.  But for the time being get out your blender and blitz.



* if you are vegan then substitute the Skyr for Alpro’s ‘Go on’ protein plus yoghurt




The Skyrs the limit!!! (sorry) :0)

IMG_313425g (1/4 cup) porridge oats

120ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk drink

125g (½ cup) of Skyr yoghurt or Alpro’s ‘Go on’ protein plus yoghurt for a vegan smoothie

100g ripe banana

1 tsp chia seeds

½ tsp toasted sesame seeds

sprinkling of raw cacao powder


Simply put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour out into a glass or bowl, sprinkle with the cacao powder and serve with a spoon.




You can serve these as a nutritious snack by pouring 50ml (the recipe makes 300ml) in to a shot glass. It adds up to a very pleasing 45 calories