Soups and salads

Soups are a one of the best things you can eat when you are trying to lose weight. Research has shown that while fluids generally have lower satiety value than solid foods, soups break the rule: they are brilliantly satiating, leading to what scientists call ‘reductions of hunger and increases of fullness’ in other words help you feel fuller for longer.

Salads are another weapon when fighting the weight battle, all the extra veggies displace more calorific carb foods and the bigger portions of protein increase satiety – again helping you to feel fuller for longer.

Chicken, spinach and pea soup

Makes 2 portions

  1. 1 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  3. 2 carrots, washed and chopped
  4. 2 celery sticks, chopped
  5. 100g chicken breast, diced
  6. 200g spinach leaves
  7. 100g frozen peas
  8. 1 litre of veg stock

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the chicken to seal and then remove. Add the onion, carrots and celery and stir until softened. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Add the chicken, spinach and peas and simmer for a further 10 mins.

Moroccan chicken soup

Serves 2

  1. 1 tsp oil
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 1 carrot, diced
  4. 1 red pepper, diced
  5. 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  6. 1 litre of chicken stock
  7. 200g chicken breast, diced
  8. 50g dried apricots
  9. Pinch of chilli flakes
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  11. 1 tsp cinnamon
  12. 1 tsp ginger
  13. Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat, add the onion and the spices, most of the coriander (including stalks) and cook for 5 mins until soft. Add the chicken pieces and cook until sealed. Add the carrot and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Add the coriander leaves when serving.

Pea and mint soup

Makes 4 portions

  1. 1 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  3. 2 carrots, washed and chopped
  4. 2 celery sticks, chopped
  5. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  6. ½ tsp. Chilli powder
  7. Handful of fresh mint
  8. 900g frozen peas
  9. 1.51 litre stock
  10. juice 1 lemon, to taste
  11. Freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the onion, carrots and celery and stir, then add the cumin and chilli and stir for a minute or so to release their aroma. Chop the stems off the mint (reserving the leaves) and add them to the pan. Add a splash of water, stir and cover. Let the vegetables sweat over a low heat for about 20 minutes, adding a splash of water and stirring every so often to prevent the ingredients from catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the peas, stock and mint leaves to the pan, season with black pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes then allow the soup to cool. Once cool, purée and add lemon juice to taste.

Butternut squash soup

Serves 4

  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  3. 1 small chilli, finely chopped
  4. 1 onions, chopped
  5. 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  6. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  7. 2 stcks of celery, chopped
  8. 1 tsp cumin powder
  9. ½ tsp chilli powder
  10. 1.2 litres veg or chicken stock

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add garlic, chilli, cumin powder and heat for 30seconds (do not colour, you only want to release the flavours). Add all the remaining ingredients apart from the stock. Saute the vegetables for 2 minutes until they are fully coated in the spices. Add the stock, turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 45 mins. Allow the soup to cool and then blend with a hand whisk, until free of lumps. If the soup is too thick add a little more stock until you have the desired consistency.

Gazpacho

Serves 4

  1. 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
  2. ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
  3. 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  4. 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  7. Handful of fresh basil, leaves only
  8. 12 ice cubes

Tip the contents of the tins into a blender and add the cucumber, garlic, red pepper, olive oil, vinegar and most of the basil. Whiz together until smooth, then pour into bowls. Shred the remaining basil leaves. Add a few ice cubes, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of basil leaves to each bowl.

Pea and ginger soup

Serves 6

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  3. 125g potato, washed and chopped
  4. ½ tsp. ground cumin
  5. 1 tsp. ground ginger
  6. 80g pack fresh coriander
  7. 900g fresh or frozen peas
  8. 1 litre chicken stock
  9. juice 1 lemon, to taste
  10. Freshly ground pepper

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan. Add the onion and potato and stir, then add the cumin and ginger and stir for a minute or so to release their aroma. Chop the stems off the coriander (reserving the leaves) and add them to the pan. Add a splash of water, stir and cover. Let the vegetables sweat over a low heat for about 20 minutes, adding a splash of water and stirring every so often to prevent the ingredients from catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the peas, stock and coriander leaves to the pan, season with black pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes then allow the soup to cool. Once cool, purée and add lemon juice to taste. When ready to eat reheat the soup and serve with crusty rolls.

Cabbage and lentil soup

Serves 4

  1. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 2 leeks, trimmed, halved and sliced
  3. 2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced
  4. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  5. 1 litre chicken stock
  6. 410g can lentils, drained and rinsed
  7. ½ Savoy cabbage, finely sliced
  8. Parmesan, to serve

Method:
In a large pan, heat the oil then add the leeks, carrots and rosemary sprigs cook for 5 minutes so the vegetables start to soften. Pour in the stock then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the carrots are tender. Stir in the lentils and cabbage and cook for a couple of minutes until the cabbage is tender. Season, remove the rosemary sprigs, then ladle into warm bowls. Grate over some Parmesan and serve with warmed crusty brown rolls.

Ham and broad bean soup

Serves 4

  1. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. Few sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves, only
  4. 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 600g uncooked ham, diced
  7. 1.5 litre vegetable stock
  8. 1kg frozen baby broad beans
  9. Lemon zest
  10. Freshly ground pepper

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the stock and ham to the pan and bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the beans to the pan and return to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ham and a few tablespoons of the beans and set aside. Blitz the contents of the pan with a handheld blender until smooth. Season with the black pepper. Remove the outer skins of the reserved broad beans and cut the ham into thin strips. Mix together with the lemon zest. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and pile some of the ham and bean mixture into the middle of each bowl. Serve with crusty bread.

Tomato, celery and apple soup

Serves 4

  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  3. 3 sticks celery, chopped
  4. 2 Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  5. 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  6. 1 litre vegetable stock

Method:
Place the onion, garlic, celery and apples in a large saucepan, allow to sweat over a medium heat in their own juices for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the ingredients to brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Liquidise until smooth, check the seasoning, adding a little salt and freshly-ground black pepper if necessary. Serve topped with a swirl of natural low-fat yogurt.

Carrot and ginger soup

Serves two

  1. 1 tsp sunflower oil
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 1 star anise
  4. ½ cinnamon stick
  5. 1 tsp grated ginger
  6. 100g carrots, grated
  7. 600ml vegetable stock
  8. Cumin seeds and coriander to serve

Sweat onions a pan with oil, star anise and ginger. Add carrots, cinnamon stick and stock, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove star anise and cinnamon, blend and serve with a scatter of cumin seeds and fresh coriander leaves.

Beetroot and apple soup

Serves 2

  1. 300g raw beetroot
  2. 1 medium onions, roughly chopped
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 Bramley apples, peeled, quartered and cored with a squeeze of lemon to prevent discolouration
  5. 600 ml stock, light chicken or vegetable
  6. 1 star anise
  7. 1 tsp caraway or cumin seeds
  8. Snipped chives
  9. Pinch of salt and black pepper
  10. 1 tsp horseradish sauce
  11. 1 tbsp natural low-fat yoghurt

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the beetroot on a baking tray with 1cm-deep water. Cook for an hour, or until a knife meets with little resistance, then take them out and run under cold water for a couple of minutes until cool enough to peel. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and add the spice seeds.
Add onions and sweat over a medium heat with the lid on and without colouring. Add apple quarters. Roughly chop the peeled beetroots and add to the pan. Pour on the stock, add star anise and seasoning and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove star anise, then blitz the soup with a blender until pureed. Serve with snipped chives and a swirl of yoghurt mixed with the horseradish sauce.

Salads

Warm Chicken Salad

Serves 2

  1. 200g skinless chicken pieces
  2. 150g rocket
  3. 150g lamb lettuce
  4. 4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  5. spray of oil
  6. 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  7. 50g sundried tomatoes, chopped
  8. 4 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  9. 8 black pitted olives, halved

Heat oil, add chicken, cook until sealed
Add vinegar, lime juice, paprika and keep on low heat for 20 mins
Add to salad ingredients.

Golden beetroot and blood orange salad

Serves 4
For the dressing:

  1. 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  2. 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  3. grated zest of half an orange
  4. 5 tbsp. olive oil
  5. Half a tsp. of brown sugar
  6. Pinch of salt and freshly milled pepper

For the salad:

  1. 450g fresh golden beets
  2. 50g walnut halves
  3. 3 blood oranges
  4. 1 large head of chicory
  5. 4 spring onions
  6. 2 colourful apples, e.g. Pink Lady

Method:
Put all the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar and shake well until blended.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/GM6. Put the beets in a roasting tin with half an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, so they are tender when pierced with a knife. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins, top and tail then and slice into rounds. Toss them in a little dressing. With a sharp knife, trin the top and bottom of each orange, pare off the rest of the peel and pith and slice thinly. Core and quarter the apples and cut into thin slices. Thinly slice the spring onions. Cut the stalk end from the chicory and discard the outer leaves. Separate the leaves and arrange in a salad bowl and then add the other salad ingredients. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and garnish with the walnuts.

Avocado, grapefruit and fennel salad

Serves 2

  1. 2 avocados
  2. 1 large pink grapefruit
  3. Half a bulb of fennel
  4. Juice of 1 lime
  5. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  6. 2 tsp. honey
  7. Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:
Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh. Cut each half into thick slices. Peel the grapefruit and separate the segments with a knife, catch the juice in a bowl. Thinly slice the fennel. Place the avocado, grapefruit and fennel in the bowl with the juice and toss together. Make up the dressing by mixing the lime juice, oil and honey together. Pour over the salad and sprinkle on the fresh coriander.

Steak salad

Serves 2

  1. 1 jar of pepperdew sweet red peppers
  2. 2 tbsp. honey
  3. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  4. Knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  6. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. 2 lean steaks
  9. 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  10. Quarter of a cucumber, diced
  11. 1 gem lettuce, shredded
  12. 4 spring onions, sliced

Method:
Place the steak in the soy sauce to marinade. Mix together the honey, ginger, chilli, garlic and lemon juice. Arrange the salad leaves in a large bowl and add the cucumber and peppers. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and lift the steaks out of the marinade, fry for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the steaks to a plate. Add the marinade and honey mixture to the pan with the spring onions, bring to the boil and boil for a minute, then remove from the heat. Slice the steak into thick slices, place on top of the salad and add the dressing a spring onions.

Warm halloumi salad

Serves 4

  1. 2 x 350g bundles asparagus, trimmed
  2. 2 red peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
  3. Olive oil spray
  4. 225g pack light halloumi cheese
  5. 120g bag mixed salad leaves
  6. 4 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Spread the asparagus and red pepper out on a large, shallow roasting tray and spritz lightly with oil spray to coat. Roast in the oven for 15-18 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and starting to caramelise. About 5 minutes before the vegetables are ready, preheat a large nonstick frying pan on the hob. Cut the block of halloumi into 12 slices and season with freshly ground black pepper. Coat the frying pan with oil spray, add the halloumi and fry for 60-90 seconds on each side until toasted brown. Divide the halloumi between 4 bowls or plates and top with the roasted asparagus, peppers and salad leaves. Drizzle a teaspoon of balsamic over each salad and serve with warm pitta.

Pancetta and broad bean salad

Serves 2

  1. 1 garlic clove, peeled
  2. 150g podded broad beans
  3. 3 slices of pancetta
  4. Handful of toasted flaked almonds
  5. 75g fresh peas
  6. 25g pecorino cheese, grated
  7. A handful of fresh mint leaves
  8. 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  9. Juice of 1 lemon
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  11. 2 handfuls of a mixture of rocket, watercress and baby spinach leaves

Method:
Preheat the grill to its hottest temperature. Put the pancetta on a baking tray and grill crisp. Half fill a pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the garlic and beans and allow to boil for 3–5 minutes, until tender. When cooked, remove the skins and place the cooked garlic to one side. To make the dressing, place the raw peas and boiled garlic into a pestle and mortar and bash till smooth. Add the cheese and mint and smash until creamy. Add the olive oil and lemon juice, season and mix well. Chop up the pancetta and mix with the beans, almonds and leaves, and drizzle over the dressing.

Mackerel with broccoli and avocado

Serves 2

  1. 4 large handfuls of tenderstem broccoli
  2. 4 handfuls of rocket
  3. 1 avocado, diced
  4. 2 fillets of smoked mackerel, diced
  5. 8 cherry tomatoes halved
  6. Juice of ½ a lemon
  7. Handful of fresh dill, torn
  8. 4 teaspoons toasted mixed seeds
  9. A dash of virgin olive oil
  10. Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Steam the broccoli for about 2 minutes, until tender but still crunchy. Rinse in cold water and chop. Put the rocket, broccoli, avocado, smoked mackerel and tomatoes into a large serving bowl. Squeeze over the lemon juice, add the dill, seeds, olive oil and black pepper and toss lightly together.

Feta, apple and walnut salad

Serves 2

  1. 1 bag of leafy green salad
  2. 1 ripe avocado, diced
  3. Quarter of cucumber, diced
  4. ½ a fennel, finely sliced
  5. Large handful of walnut pieces
  6. 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  7. 1 Cox’s apple, core removed, cut into thin slices
  8. Juice of half a lemon
  9. 2 tbsp. walnut oil
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  11. 1 small baton of French bread

Method:
Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apple slices. Place all the ingredients, apart from the oil and black pepper, into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with the oil and grind over the black pepper. Toss lightly but well enough to mix everything together. Serve with some crusty French bread.

Prosciuto with melon and rocket

Serves 2

  1. 8 slices of prosciutto
  2. 1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  3. Bag of rocket, washed
  4. 1 ripe avocado, diced
  5. ½ a cantaloupe melon, diced
  6. Half a cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  7. Juice of half a lemon
  8. Dash of olive oil
  9. Freshly ground black pepper
  10. 4 slices of pumpernickel bread

Method:
First put the seeds into a non-stick frying pan and heat gently until they turn golden brown – be careful not to let them burn. Allow the seeds to cool and place the rocket, avocado, melon and cucumber into a bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon juice, a dash of oil, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and the pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve with 4 slices of prosciutto (remove any visible fat), and 2 slices of pumpernickel bread.

Salmon and watercress salad

Serves 2

  1. 6 slices of smoked salmon
  2. 4 handfuls of watercress leaves
  3. Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
  4. Half of a bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced
  5. 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  6. Handful of fresh dill, chopped
  7. Juice of half a lemon
  8. Dash of extra virgin olive oil
  9. Handful of toasted pinenuts
  10. Freshly ground black pepper
  11. 4 slices of Wheaten bread

Method:
Simply mix all the salad ingredients together in a small salad bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with the smoked salmon and Wheaten bread.