10 super healthy summer recipes from Ireland's leading chefs and influencers
Recipes and tips to keep you on track this summer
Most of us aspire to get a little fitter and more svelte come the summer months and many of you reading this will have taken a big first step by completing Monday’s Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.
We all know that, along with exercise, food has a big part to play in getting fit; indeed, it can be 80pc of the battle when it comes to losing weight. After almost a year of reviewing cookbooks for this paper, I’ve gathered together some of my very favourite recipes — the ones that I have cooked again and again. They are from a range of different writers — chefs, nutritionists, home cooks, scientists and even models, athletes and actors — who are all passionate about good food.
What the recipes all have in common is that they are fairly easy to make, use healthy ingredients and are low in calories — and most important of all, they taste great. Today we bring you the first 15 recipes as part of a two-day series and there’s even an odd sweet treat recipe thrown in for good measure, because a little of what you like is an essential part of living.
Crispy Spinach and Feta Filo Pastry
"This is a very tasty vegetarian option that makes a lovely lunch served with a little rocket salad"
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
300g baby spinach
225g feta cheese
2 large eggs
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
6 sheets of filo pastry, thawed if frozen
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cherry tomato, red onion and basil salad, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until softened but not browned. Stir in the spring onions and cook for another minute. Add the spinach a handful at a time until it has all wilted down. Tip into a colander and press out any excess liquid, then cool.
3. Crumble the feta cheese into a large bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Mix in the cooled spinach mixture, eggs, Parmesan, mint and nutmeg. Season to taste.
4. Unroll the filo pastry and brush a 20cm clip-sided or loose-based tin with a little of the oil. Lightly brush each sheet with a little of the oil and place in the tin, oiled side down, leaving the excess hanging over the edge. Rotate the tin a quarter turn after putting in each sheet.
5. Tip the filling into the tin and fold the excess pastry over the top, one sheet at a time, to give a ruffled effect. Brush any remaining oil on top.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 5 minutes. Take the spinach and feta pie out of the tin and cut into slices. Arrange on plates with the cherry tomato, red onion and basil salad to serve.
‘The Nation’s Favourite Healthy Food’, by Neven Maguire, is published
by Gill Books, €22.99
Courgetti with Vegan Garlic Cream Sauce
"I just got a spiralizer so I am always looking for dishes to try with it. This one's really tasty"
1 medium head of cauliflower
3 cloves of garlic
Coarse salt and pepper
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
175ml of unsweetened almond milk
300g of spiralized courgette
Handful of pine nuts
1. To start, chop your cauliflower and lay it out on a baking sheet with 3 cloves of garlic, with their skin on.
2. Drizzle some melted coconut oil over it all and give it a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Toss well and roast it at 200°C for about 35 mins. When it’s done, it should be tender and starting to crisp.
3. When the cauliflower is done, add it to your blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and add them in too with the mustard and almond milk. Blend on high until smooth. Add in
a good pinch of coarse salt and pepper and blend to combine.
4. Toast the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat until golden, then set them aside.
5. Add the sauce to the pan on medium heat with the spiralized courgette. Cook until it’s all heated through and the courgette is tender but still with a bit of bite — about 2 minutes.
Indy Power is a columnist with Weekend magazine, every Saturday in the Irish Independent
Lemon Parsley and Avocado Quinoa
"Quinoa is having a moment and this is such a hassle-free way to eat it"
170g (1 cup) dry quinoa, rinsed under cold water
500mls (2 cups) water, to cook
The juice and zest of 1 fresh lemon
1 tbsp tamari
Pinch of sea salt and
fresh black pepper, to
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 large handful fresh
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
½ a ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts, raw or lightly toasted
1. Place the rinsed quinoa into a medium saucepan and pour on the water. Cover the saucepan partly with the lid and bring it to the boil.
3. Bring the heat down and allow it to simmer for 10-12 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated and the quinoa seeds have opened out.
4. Remove it from the heat and leave it aside to absorb the remaining water.
5. Use a fork to fluff up the quinoa, then add the lemon juice and tamari and season with sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast, if using.
6. Stir in the rocket and parsley, allowing them to gently wilt.
7. Divide into serving bowls, top with avocado, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest and a small pinch of smoked paprika.
‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’, by Rosanna Davison is published by Gill & Macmillan, €24.99
Turkey Burgers with Celeriac Chips
Dr Eva Orsmond
"Healthy burger and chips, sure why now? The burger tastes great and the celeriac chips get a fantastic colour from the turmeric."
For the celeriac chips
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into medium chips
For the turkey burgers
4 x 120g turkey breasts, flattened with meat tenderiser
Coarse sea salt
4 mini burger buns
100g lettuce, shredded
1 cucumber, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
2. For the chips, mix the oil and turmeric in a large
3. Toss in the celeriac chips and mix well with your hands to give the chips an even coating of oil.
4. Spread the chips on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes.
5. About 10 minutes before the chips are ready, prepare the turkey burgers. Lightly spray a wide non-stick pan with cooking spray and place it over a medium heat.
6. Sprinkle a little sea salt on both sides of each turkey breast. Fry the breasts for 2–3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
7. Layer the turkey, lettuce, cucumber and tomato on the burger buns and serve with the celeriac chips.
Dr Eva Orsmond’s 10lb Diet’ is published by Gill Books, €19.99
Asian Lamb Stirfry
"This tasty little treat is so fast to make and has a dressing with a kick"
2 Portobello mushrooms, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped (60g)
Few basil leaves, torn
400g lamb steak, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the dressing
25g sesame seeds
Knob of ginger, peeled, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
Splash of water
1. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. Set aside.
2. Blanch the mangetout really briefly, then refresh. Mix with the mushrooms, spring onions, basil and a tablespoon or two of the dressing, then lay out on a platter.
3. Stir-fry the lamb in a hot pan with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Cook to your liking and then plate up, drizzle some more dressing on top and serve.
‘The Ketogenic Kitchen’, by Domini Kemp & Patricia Daly, is published by Gill Books, €29.99
Low Carb Turkey Lasange
"This is easy to make and is a guilt free delicious dish"
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Coconut or rapeseed oil, for frying
1 large onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
20g fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
1½ tbsp dried oregano
1kg minced turkey breast
250g Greek yoghurt
75g freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Slice the courgettes lengthways as thinly as you can (a mandolin is good for this), sprinkle them with some salt and set aside.
2. Heat a little oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then blend into a smooth sauce.
3. In a separate pan, heat a little more oil over a medium heat and add the minced turkey, using a spatula to break the mince into smaller pieces. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until browned. Transfer the cooked turkey mince to the tomato sauce with a slotted spoon and stir to combine. Pour the tomato sauce into a medium-sized rectangular baking dish.
4. Prepare the cheese sauce by mixing the yoghurt and 50g of the grated Parmesan together in a small bowl.
5. To assemble the lasagne, put a layer of sliced courgettes on top of the tomato sauce in the base of the dish, then cover this layer with some of the cheese sauce.
6. Keep layering until all the courgettes and all of the cheese sauce have been used up, finishing with a layer of courgettes and a light, even layer of cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 25g of Parmesan on top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the lasagne is bubbling and the cheese on top is melted and golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let the lasagne stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
‘Natural Born Feeder’, by Rozanna Purcell, is published by Gill, €27.99
"Eggs can be an athlete's best friend but they are so nutritious and super-versatile"
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as basil, coriander and parsley
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp Cheddar, grated
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small leek, finely chopped
1 small pepper, finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Preheat the grill to a high heat.
2. Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the herbs, cream cheese and Cheddar and season to taste.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat. 4. Cook the leek and pepper for about 10 minutes.
5. Reduce to a low heat and pour the eggs into the pan. Do not stir the eggs: use a wooden spoon to move the ingredients around and allow the eggs to leak into any available gaps. Cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, place the tomato halves in an ovenproof dish under the preheated grill. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are warmed and softened.
6. When the frittata is softly set and golden underneath, remove the pan from the heat. Arrange the grilled tomatoes on top of the frittata in the pan.
7. Place the pan under the grill for a few minutes and cook until the top of the frittata is set and golden.
8. Cut the frittata into slices and serve on warmed plates.
‘Food for the Fast Lane’, by Derval O’Rourke, is published by Gill Books, €19.99
"This is for eating outside on sunny days"
2 packets (about 400g) best quality feta cheese
2 tbsp dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
500g cherry tomatoes
6 spring onions
1 small red onion
12-18 Kalamata olives, pitted
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Sugar to taste
1. Chop the feta into cubes and place in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
2. Slice the tomatoes in half. Chop the cucumber into large cubes leaving the skin on. Chop the spring onion coarsely, and dice the red onion very finely. Put these into a bowl with the olives.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and add salt, pepper and the sugar to taste. Add in the feta cheese, toss gently and garnish with some sprigs of flat-leaf parsley. Serve immediately.
‘Entertaining with Andrew Rudd’, by Andrew Rudd, is published by Montmolin Press, €24.99
Chicken, Quinoa and Mango Salad
"This is super light and perfect for hot summer days"
1 tsp coconut oil
1 medium chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized chunks
½ ripe mango, cubed
½ red pepper, chopped
½ red onion
Chopped handful of mixed salad leaves
Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
15g cashew nuts, chopped
1 tbsp Udo’s Choice ultimate oil blend
1. Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions and drain well.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked through.
3. Combine the cooked quinoa, mango, red pepper, red onion, salad leaves and chopped mint in a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice and Udo’s oil over them.
4. Mix in the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped cashew nuts.
‘David Gillick’s Kitchen’, by David Gillick, is published by Mercier Press, €22.99
Lamb Rogan Josh
Dr Eva Orsmond
Yummy spicy aromatic Indian food that that’s low in calories and high in vegetable fibre
For the spice mix
6cm cinnamon stick
6–10 black peppercorns
2 black cardamom pods
4 green cardamom pods
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
600g lamb, cut into 3cm pieces (ideally leg of lamb)
2 onions, finely sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
400g baby spinach
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp soured cream or natural yoghurt, to serve
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3.
2. For the spice mix, grind the cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, fennel and salt with a pestle and mortar. Set aside.
3. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large casserole over a medium heat and fry the lamb until browned on all sides (you may need to do this in batches). Remove with a slotted spoon and set side.
4. Add the onions and fry for 3–5 minutes, until softened.
5. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the lamb.
6. Add the spice mix to the pan and stir well. Then add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until the spices have a rich aromatic flavour.
7. Return the lamb and onions to the pan and mix well to coat everything with the spices.
8. Add the celeriac, spinach, peppers, tomatoes and ginger garlic paste and stir well. Cover the casserole and place in the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and cook uncovered for a further 45 mins (90 mins in total).
9. Ladle the rogan josh into warmed serving bowls and top each one with some soured cream and fresh coriander.
Approximately 548kcal, 8.9g fibre and 32.6g protein per serving.
‘Dr Eva Orsmond’s 10lb Diet’, by Dr Eva Orsmond, is published by Gill Books, €19.99