Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint –  serves 2




My simple summer dish has appeared in the latest addition of Aspect  Nottinghamshire, a local magazine showcasing “all of what’s good in Nottinghamshire”





If you can’t get hold of a copy then the full recipe is below


At this time of year both broad beans and courgettes are at their best and this recipe makes great use of them.  Out of season you can use frozen broad beans, soya beans, peas or broccoli.  Now you seem to be able to get courgettes all year round but if you fancy a change why not use leeks when they are in season, which is November through to April.   And if you tire of quinoa (pronounced keen-wha) try using giant couscous or experiment with freekeh (green wheat)

But before you go off piste give this recipe a go and like me, I’m sure you’ll love it!

quinoa and broad bean

90g uncooked quinoa

300 ml of hot stock (made with ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder like Marigold)

quinoa and broad bean100g of fresh podded broad beans or frozen –  its worth making the effort to remove the outer greyish skin; the result is a much more vibrant green bean

1½ large courgettes (250g) cut into thick slices

1 tsp oil

large pinch of dried chilli flakes or ½ a fresh chilli finely chopped

handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

large pinch black pepper small pinch sea salt


Put the quinoa in a pan and add the hot stock and cook for 15 minutes on a low heat. Then add the fresh or frozen broad beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the beans and quinoa are soft

In the meantime brush the courgettes with oil and a few chilli flakes and fry in a pan or griddle for about 10 minutes

Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and add the cooked courgettes, chopped mint, parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and divide in to two bowls

quinoa and broad bean


Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Winter vegetable and lentil soup

Makes 4 x 300g servings = which can be frozen

230 calories per portion

IMG_2129It’s getting colder so what 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.

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 sausages, Quorn (or for the meat eaters; roasted chicken or left over Sunday roast meat)

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

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

Are vegetarians less likely to get diabetes?

Is there a link with vegetarianism and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes?

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

We are coming to the end of Diabetes week, so I thought we should end on a potential high note.

“How becoming a vegetarian can CURE type 2 diabetes: Plant-based diets improve blood sugar levels” scientists claim


IMG_0848Now as a life long vegetarian and strong believer in the benefits of a plant based diet I would love this headline to be true.  So is it?

Well, to a degree; according to the NHS; in their recent article  they state being veggie could have ‘slight benefits in diabetes’.  The study, on which the headline was based found a vegetarian diet led to a quite modest fall in only one measure of blood glucose called HbA1C.

Diabetes UK also believe there is merit in going veggie.  They say “These foods are higher in fibre, antioxidants, folate and phytochemicals, which are all good for our general health”


gym and foodBeing vegetarian or a part time veggie, if you follow the ‘meat free Monday’ campaign has long been associated with better health, including

  • living longer
  • a reduced risk of heart disease and bowl cancer – due to the lack of red meat
  • a reduced risk of obesity  – because vegetarians tend to weigh less than meat eaters.  And as over half the UK adult population is overweight or obese this is something we should all take seriously.
  • And now we can add a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes


If you decide to try being veggie, how do you start?




Obviously it means cutting out meat and fish, but protein is a valuable part of a healthy balanced diet and should therefore be included.  Here are some tasty protein rich alternatives



IMG_6235Tinned beans and lentils – from a simple hummus to a shepherds pie made with lentils

Quinoa – use in place of cous cous for a protein rich salad

Eggs –  in a simple frittata , or cracked into spiced up peppers and tomatoes

Cheese – use small amounts (28g) grated over roasted veg or a baked sweet potato

IMG_6263Quorn – a quick veggie sausage casserole using tinned beans and tomatoes and as much spice as you can handle, or a Quorn mince spag bol using courgetti

IMG_1826Nuts and seeds – great in muesli, for slow releasing energy, or in a pesto dish

Tofu – a natural low cholesterol ingredient that is a perfect match for a stir fry with cashew nuts

Peas – these are bursting with protein, so enjoy a pea and mint soup, pea risotto or have a plateful with your main meal


Click here for more of my simple but delicious recipes

I would love to hear about your favourite veggie recipe

Homemade baked beans

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

Homemade baked beans

Did you know that a tin of baked beans can have as much as 24g of sugar which is 6 teaspoons.  A reduced sugar tin can still have 4 teaspoons.  The current recommendation is that your daily amount of added sugar should not exceed 11 teaspoons, 44g or 10% of your overall IMG_2514daily calorie intake.  The World Health organisation (WHO) and ‘Action on sugar’ would like to see this reduced to 5%

My healthier version of one of the nations favourites has no added sugar and an amazing 11g of fibre, which will have you feeling nice and full and aid your digestive health




Homemade baked beans

Serves 2


1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 small onion – finely chopped

IMG_2503½ x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1 clove of garlic – finely chopped or grated

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

large pinch dried chilli flakes

1 x 400g can of haricot, borlotti or cannellini beans – drained and rinsed

Pinch of salt and pepper

splash of lemon juice




Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry (with the lid on) the onions until they start to colour and soften – about 5 minutes


IMG_2506 IMG_2505Add the remaining ingredients, turn down the heat to a simmer (again with the lid on) and cook for about 20 -25 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary



My vegan cookery class guests made this and served it with tofu scramble.  They each used different type of beans to see what they liked the best.  The winner, on this occasion was the borlotti bean



Serve with :-

a medium jacket potato – 150 calories

a medium sweet potato – 140 calories

one slice of sourdough toast – 80 calories

one slice of wholemeal toast – 80 calories