Born to provide you with the latest facts and information about nutrition and health as well as recipe and meal ideas, photos and foody tidbits.

Tag Archives: low calorie

Serves 2 (just double ingredients and use a larger baking dish to feed 4)

A high fibre and high protein post exercise meal

A high fibre and high protein post exercise meal

This is a real humdinger of a leftovers dish. It allows you to use up your roasted chicken meat leftovers (or omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish) and any odds and ends of Mediterranean vegetables that you might have (courgettes, aubergine and mushrooms would work just as well in this dish).

 The real beauty of this lasagne is that you can pack in as many vegetables as you like and, because you are roasting them, they don’t need to be in perfect form – you can catch them as they’re starting to wilt or shrivel a tad and they’ll still taste delicious roasted in oil and covered in pesto. No need for food wastage and, even better than that, one portion packs in half of your daily fibre requirements and is low in salt and saturated fats. It would make a great post exercise meal as it is high in protein to help repair muscle.  Serve with a salad or some steamed green beans or mange tout.


110g lasagne sheets (approximately 6 sheets)

1 tbsp. olive oil (10g)

½ butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes (700g)

1 medium red or yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped (160g)

1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (150g)

100g pre-roasted chicken, shredded

25g pine-nuts

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped fine

125g fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. green pesto (25g)

2 tbsp. reduced fat crème fraiche (30g)

30g grated parmesan cheese (you could use a mature cheddar if you prefer)

Pinch nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper



  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  •  Boil a kettle of water. Place the lasagne sheets (separated from each other) in a large deep flat dish and cover with the boiled water. Place in the bottom of the oven to allow them to soften and par-cook in the hot water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook and break apart (they shouldn’t do).
  •  Heat the olive oil in a large, deep roasting tray in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes and stir to coat them in oil.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.
  • Add the chunks of onion and pepper to the roasting butternut squash. Stir all the veg round to coat in oil and replace in the oven.  Roast for a further 20 minutes, until all are softened and starting to brown slightly.
  •  Add the chicken, pine-nuts, garlic and chilli to the roasted veg and stir round to coat in oil.  Place the shredded spinach leaves on top of the veg and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 5-10 minutes to wilt the spinach and allow the vegetables to become infused with the chilli and garlic flavours.
  • Remove the roasted chicken and vegetables from the oven (leave the oven on though cos the lasagne is going back in!) and stir the pesto through until they are all coated.
  • Remove the lasagne sheets from the oven and drain off the water carefully, making sure the sheets don’t stick to each other.  Hopefully they are par-cooked at this point. 
  •  Start to assemble the lasagne. Place half of the roasted ingredients in a square or rectangular glass dish (one roughly 7” x 7” / 18cm x 18cm). Place half of the lasagne sheets on top – you can cut them to make them fit.
  • Add the rest of the roasted ingredients on top and then another layer of lasagne sheets. Squash it all down as much as possible to allow the juices in the veg to cook the pasta through.
  • In a separate bowl mix the low fat crème fraiche, half of the grated parmesan and nutmeg together and add black pepper to your own taste.
  • Spoon this mixture on top of the lasagne and spread out smoothly to the edges.  Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan evenly over the top.
  •  Return to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.


Delicious Mediterranean flavours

Delicious Mediterranean flavours


Per whole lasagne

 Energy                          1132 kcal / 4737 kJ

Carbohydrate              81.9g

Fat                                   61.7g

Protein                           62.1g

Total sugar                    62.5g

Saturates                      17.2g

Fibre                               18.0g

Salt                                  1.3g


Nutritional Information

Great for using up leftover roast chicken and veg

Great for using up leftover roast chicken and veg

Per portion (serves 2)

 Energy                           566 kcal / 2369 kJ

Carbohydrate              41.0g

Fat                                   30.9g

Protein                           31.1g

Total sugar                    31.3g

Saturates                       8.6g

Fibre                                9.0g

Salt                                   0.7g


Serves 4

A delicious warming, low fat dish

A delicious warming, low fat dish

There was a chill back in the UK air again this morning (at least in Yorkshire) and it felt kinda autumnal again which to me means only one thing for lunch….SOUP!

 This is a really quick, classic, tasty soup to make with ingredients that you are likely to have in stock in your kitchen cupboards and freezers.  Peas are a really excellent source of fibre which is helpful in regulating blood glucose levels, keeping cholesterol levels normal and keeping your bowels regular.  In addition peas also contain plenty of vitamins including decent levels of iron, calcium, zinc and Vitamin C.

 You could make this soup vegetarian by leaving out the ham or gammon.  If you want to make alterations to the meaty elements you could use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and substitute the ham or gammon for shredded bacon rashers (grilled before adding to the soup).


1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)

1 small chilli, deseeded and chopped fine

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

2 small onions, chopped fine (120g)

1 litre vegetable stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)

450g frozen peas

1-2 tablespoons of fresh or frozen mint leaves, chopped fine (20g)

1 tsp. mint sauce

100g thick cut, pre-cooked good quality lean ham or gammon, cut into cubes

Ground black pepper



  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for approximately 30 seconds, just to infuse the oil with some flavour.
  • Add the chopped onion and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
  • Add the stock with the peas and fresh mint. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes – to cook the peas.
  • Stir in the fresh mint, mint sauce and black pepper.
  • Remove approximately one quarter of the soup and use a blender to blend the remaining three quarters.
  • Mix all of the soup back together. Return to the heat, add the ham cubes and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes.


Per Batch

Energy                  755 kcal (3159 kJ)

Carbohydrate    64.5g

Total sugars        19.0g

Fat                          31.2g

Saturates             6.7g

Protein                 58.4g

Fibre                      23.1g

Salt                         7.3g


Per Serving (Serves 4)

Energy                  189 kcal (790 kJ)

Carbohydrate    16.1g

Total sugars        4.8g

Fat                          7.8g

Saturates             1.7g

Protein                 14.6g

Fibre                      5.8g

Salt                         1.8g



Try with:

1 x tbsp. of reduced fat crème fraiche = 70 kcal / 293 kJ

1 x tbsp. of low fat natural yogurt = 25 kcal / 105 kJ

A crusty roll = 130 kcal / 545 kJ

Serves 4

Stay with me, now….!  It may sound strange, and that is exactly what I thought when I found the recipe in the Hamlyn book of soups and that was exactly why I had to try it out!  I have an inquisitive tummy!

Also, having lived in Boston, Massachusetts for 1.5 years as a vegetarian I was anxious to try out a fishy chowder of any description as I had missed out on the Boston classic, clam chowder!  Smoked fish is much easier to come by when you’re slap-bang in the middle of the North of England!

Well, I tried and I liked very much!  I have since made it with 3 different types of smoked fish I had lurking in my freezer and all were equally as creamy, smoky, fragrant and delicious.

It tastes a lot like a fish pie, only the potatoes are not mashed but included in the soup so they soak up all the scrumptious smoky flavours. If you’re a fan of fish pie then I highly recommend you try this.

I have tweaked the recipe a bit, adding sweetcorn and prawns and missing out the butter which it used to fry the onion and potato to make it a little lower in saturated fat, although I imagine it does add a little something to the flavour.  Parsley might be a nice addition too. If you wanted this as a main meal you could cook the potatoes separately and mash for a topping, reduce the amount of milk to around half, add in some cornflour to thicken the sauce and double the amount of fish and prawns. Nom!

Taste of the sea - smoky and delicious!

Taste of the sea – smoky and delicious!


1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)

2 x small-medium sized onions, peeled and chopped (220g)

350g potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes

800ml semi-skimmed milk

1 fish stock cube (10g cube)

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Black or white pepper to taste

250g smoked white fish (haddock, cod, river cobbler, etc.)

Fish Pie Soup - smoky fish, prawns, spinach and sweetcorn

Fish Pie Soup – smoky fish, prawns, spinach and sweetcorn

150g spinach (fresh or frozen)

100g sweetcorn, canned or frozen

100g large prawns, peeled and cut in half


  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
  •  Add the diced potatoes and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the potatoes are browned slightly.
  •  Add the milk, bay leaves, nutmeg and pepper.
  •  Place the fish fillets whole in the milk. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  •  Remove the fish fillets and set aside until cooled. Continue to allow the milk to simmer to cook the potatoes.
  •  When cooled, remove any skin and bones from the fish.  Flake the fish and stir it back into the milk.
  •  Add the spinach and sweetcorn, stirring it into the milk. If frozen simmer for 3-5 minutes until defrosted. 
  • Add the prawns and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
Smoking Fish

Smoking Fish

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  1337 kcal (5594 kJ)

Carbohydrate    145.4g

Total sugars        63.4g

Fat                          32.7g

Saturates             13.0g

Protein                 126.0g

Fibre                      12.1g

Salt                         12.3g

Per Serving (Serves 4)

Smoking Fish

Smoking Fish

Energy                  335 kcal (1402 kJ)

Carbohydrate    36.4g

Total sugars        15.9g

Fat                          8.2g

Saturates             3.3g

Protein                 31.5g

Fibre                      3.0g

Salt                         3.1g

Suggested Additions

A crusty roll (50g) = 130 kcal / 545 kJ

1 rasher of bacon, grilled and sliced = 80 kcal / 335 kJ

1 hard-boiled egg, peeled, chopped into 4-8 pieces = 80 kcal / 335 kJ

A moat of mashed potato, made with semi-skimmed milk (2 scoops or 120g) = 125kcal / 523 kJ

Suggested Ear Candy

I was feeling surprisingly nautical so had to stick on some Seasick Steve – gotta stick with the theme!

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks by Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve – offical website

Of course, if you really wanted to stretch that sea-faring theme as far as possible there’s always Climie Fisher!

Love Changes Everything by ClimieFisher


Serves 6

Got yourself some bruisey apples that you really don’t want to eat but can’t bear to throw away?!

Well, there’s always apple crumble, of course, but I always make this soup when I’ve got some slightly less than perfect apples.  It’s delicious, sweet, spicy and creamy and I love it!

It works best with sharp-tasting apples like Granny Smiths or Braeburn but you can use any really.

 ** WARNING** Wear an apron if you are wearing anything you value! Turmeric stains like a demon and any splashes may result in you requiring new clothes!

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup - freshly served with a crusty seeded roll


3 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped (400g)

600ml water

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)

½ – 1 x green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (4g)

1” piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (7g)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (4g)

1 tsp. mustard seedsCurried Parsnip and Apple Soup - freshly served with a crusty seeded roll

1 white onion, peeled and chopped (140g)

2 tsp. honey

1100ml water

3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (280g)

2 tsp. garam masala

150g low-fat fromage frais

½ tsp. salt

Black pepper to taste



  • Put the parsnips, turmeric, cumin and coriander in a medium-sized saucepan with 600ml of water.  Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  •  In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Add the mustard seeds and fry for a few seconds, until they start popping.
  •  Add the onions and honey and fry for 5-10 minutes, until they are softened and browned.
  •  Add the parsnips in their cooking liquid to the onions. Add the rest of the water (a further 1.1 litres) and the apples also.
  •  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.
  •  Add the garam masala, fromage frais, salt and pepper.
  •  Use a hand-blender to blend the soup until smooth.

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  760 kcal (3180 kJ)

Carbohydrate    122.1g

Total sugars        78.6g

Fat                          19.1g

Saturates             2.5g

Protein                 26.4g

Fibre                      25.6g

Salt                         2.8g

Per Serving (Serves 6)

Energy                  130 kcal (545 kJ)

Carbohydrate    20.4g

Total sugars        13.1g

Fat                          3.2g

Saturates             0.4g

Protein                 4.4g

Fibre                      4.3g

Salt                         0.5g


Suggested Additions

1 x white or brown crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ

As above but with seeds on top (60g) = 190kcal / 800 kJ

¼ pre-packed garlic bread (french baguette style) = 150 kcal / 630 kJ

40g (2” piece) french stick, sliced and toasted with 20g cheddar or parmesan = 200 kcal / 840 kJ


Suggested Ear Candy

How could I not have whacked something by The Apples in Stereo on the hi-fi whilst making soup with apples in?! 

Travellers in Space and Time is one of the most lively, fun and brilliant albums my ears have had the pleasure of listening to in a long time and I urge everyone to try it out. It’s got excellent soundbytes, electronica, amazing tunes, comedy and is absolutely the greatest for jumping around the soup kitchen to!


 Suggested Alternatives

I love a bit of the Andrew Sisters for their twee-ness and a gentle reminder of how sweet and innocent music used to be! Some 1940s/50s era ditties seem like a good pairing when making soup out of ‘salvaged’ fruit too!  Just what grandma wudda done!

Serves 6

Peanut & butternut squash soup 2 Peanut & butternut squash soup 3


1.5 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (15g)

1 x medium-large sized butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded, chopped into 2cm cubes (850g)

4 x cloves garlic, whole and peeled (13g)

½ – 1 x green or red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (4g)

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (8g)

1 x white onion, peeled and diced (165g)

2 x sticks of celery, thinly sliced (70g)

1.4 litre vegetable stock (1 x 10g cube)

200g canned tomatoes

100g peanut butter, smooth or crunchy

½ tsp. ground allspice

Pepper to taste


  • Heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a deep baking tray. Add the cubes of butternut squash and the 4 whole cloves of garlic. Roast for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic cloves, stir round and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, until soft and slightly browned. Set aside for later.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with their flavour.
  • Add the chopped onion and celery and fry for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are softened and browned.
  • Add the roasted butternut squash and garlic and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, peanut butter, tomatoes, allspice and pepper.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Puree the soup using a hand blender.

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  1000 kcal (4184 kJ)

Carbohydrate    54.8g

Total sugars        37.1g

Fat                          71.2g

Saturates             15.8g

Protein                 35.5g

Fibre                      18.9g

Salt                         5.4g

Per Serving (Serves 6)

Energy                  170 kcal (710 kJ)

Carbohydrate    9.1g

Total sugars        6.2g

Fat                          11.9g

Saturates             2.6g

Protein                 5.9g

Fibre                      3.2g

Salt                         0.9g

Suggested Additions

1 x tbsp. of reduced fat fromage frais = 30 kcal/ 125 kJ

1 x tbsp. of low fat natural yogurt = 25 kcal / 105 kJ

A crusty roll = 130 kcal / 545 kJ

Pitta bread (65g), toasted = 160 kcal / 670 kJ

40g roasted chicken strips = 70 kcal, 3g fat, 1.1g saturates, 10.9g protein


Suggested Ear Candy

I have just been bought a couple of tickets by my fabulous man to see one of my 90s faves Suede live in October – whoop whoop! 

After seeing them on Jools Holland at the weekend I had to have another nostalgia fest so I listened to Coming Up by Suede.

Suede – band website

 No idea why at all but the peanuts in this soup made me think of African cuisine so I also listened to Jungle Blues by C.W.Stoneking.

C.W.Stoneking – band website

Alternatively, let’s stick with a theme…

Serves 4


This is a chunky, warming, South Asian inspired soup that I made to use up a whole bag of carrots that I’d had for way too long!  It’s a cross between carrot & coriander soup and a lentil dahl and is sweet and herby.


600ml vegetable stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)

150g dried yellow split peas (chana dal)

¼ tsp. turmeric

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (5g)

1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped (6g)

1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped (180g)

2 sticks celery, finely chopped (75g)

500g carrots, peeled and chopped into small ½ cm2 cubes

800ml water

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped (10g)

1 tsp. lemon juice



  • Place the split peas in a medium-sized pan with the stock, turmeric and cinnamon. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  •  Meanwhile, heat the oil over a medium heat in another saucepan. Fry the garlic and ginger for 30-60 seconds.
  •  Add the onion and celery and fry for 5-10 minutes until the onions are soft and browned. Remove from the heat and set aside until the lentils are finished.
  •  Add the lentils and stock mixture to the onions and celery, also adding the water, carrots and cumin.
  •  Return to the heat, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are cooked.
  •  Blend half of the soup and mix the smooth back with the chunky.
  •  Add the chopped coriander and lemon and stir in.

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  550 kcal (2300 kJ)

Carbohydrate    75.8g

Total sugars        53g

Fat                          14.7g

Saturates             2.0g

Protein                 20.0g

Fibre                      28.0g

Salt                         4.6g

Per Serving (Serves 4)

Energy                  140 kcal (590 kJ)

Carbohydrate    19.0g

Total sugars        13.3g

Fat                          3.7g

Saturates             0.5g

Protein                 5.0g

Fibre                      7.0g

Salt                         1.2g


Suggested Additions

½ x naan bread (80g), toasted = 225kcal / 942 kJ

1 x white or brown crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ

As above but with pumpkin seeds on top (60g) = 190kcal / 800 kJ

1 x tbsp. of butter (10g) = 75kcal/ 315 kJ


Suggested Ear Candy

I went to an Eels gig in Leeds recently and loved it!  I hadn’t actually listened to their latest musical delight yet so I did just that whilst cooking my soup.

Wonderful Glorious by The Eels

My vegetable of choice today also reminded me of the most fantabulous song by one of my all-time fave bands, Pavement, so I had to go for Terror Twilight;

Suggested Alternatives

Hilarious link, I know, but it had to be done and is definitely the perfect description of this dahl!

Serves 4

This is a really tasty and warming mushroom soup that makes me feel all cosy and snug on cold days. It’s also great for when you feel like pretending you live in a wintry rural English cottage, working the land, digging up your own veggies and cutting your own herbs for nutritious meals. Of course, I just went down to the Co-op store for my ingredients but you gotta have a dream!

wild mushrooms


½ – 1 x red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (5g)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped (3g)

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (6g)

1 x large red onion, peeled and diced (190g)

2-3 x sticks celery, sliced (85g)

400g mixed mushrooms, sliced (field, chestnut, portabello, etc.)

1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)

750ml boiled water

4 tbsp. miso paste (70g)

*If you can’t find miso paste then use 750ml vegetable/chicken stock made with 1 cube*

1 tbsp. thyme (fresh or dried)

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)

Black pepper to taste (personally, I add an embarrassing amount cos I love it – it does give it some pep!)



  • In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for 30-60 seconds to infuse the oil with their flavour. Add the chopped onion and celery and fry for approximately 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and fry for 7-8 minutes until they are softened and smell…well…mushroomy!
  •  Add the water and miso (or stock if you are using this instead), thyme, nutmeg and black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Per Batch

Energy                  370 kcal (1550 kJ)

Carbohydrate    38g

Total sugars        12.9g

Fat                          13.7g

Saturates             2.3g

Protein                 17.5g

Fibre                      8.3g

Salt                         6.7g


Per Serving (Serves 4)

Energy                  93 kcal (390 kJ)

Carbohydrate    9.5g

Total sugars        3.3g

Fat                          3.4g

Saturates             0.6g

Protein                 4.4g

Fibre                      2.1g

Salt                         1.7g


Suggested Additions

1 x white or brown crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ

As above but with seeds on top (60g) = 190kcal / 800 kJ

50g of rice noodles or rice (dry weight given) = 180kcal / 755 kJ

1 x tbsp. of reduced fat crème fraiche = 70kcal/ 293 kJ

1 x tbsp. of low fat natural yogurt = 25 kcal / 105 kJ


** This works really well as a Japanese style miso soup so you can add your favourite veggies (red and green peppers, broccoli, courgettes, baby sweetcorn, etc.), beansprouts and even seaweed (it’s more delicious than you can imagine – it tastes like sea breeze!).  This will make it really high in fibre and, if you don’t add any extra oil won’t increase the calories per portion to much more than 150 kcal / 630 kJ**

***If you want a more meaty feast in your belly try the following***

Fry 2 x chicken breasts, chopped into chunks (300g), and cook until browned before adding the vegetables. This will add 330kcal/ 1382 kJ per batch so if you are dividing your batch by 4 then this would be an additional 85kcal / 346 kJ per portion.

Suggested Ear Candy

Sticking with the mushroom soup theme I had a good jig about to the amazing Herman Dune –  Mash Concrete Metal Mushroom

and, for no particular reason, Dry by PJ Harvey just cos I fancied some 90s nostalgia.


Alternatively, if you want to go East and you’re making the Japanese style soup I’d thoroughly recommend The 5,6,7,8s;