Puy Lentil and Feta Salad.

Puy lentils are quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread.

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I’m serious. They are amazing.

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On their own, in a curry, as a side dish – they are so versatile, not to mention incredibly fibrous and good for you. At my work there’s a couple of dishes which include puy lentils, such as sea bass with a tarragon vinaigrette which looks amazing, or a lighter dish of goat’s cheese salad with puy lentils. This is similar in nature to that dish, though the saltiness of the bacon compliments the woody flavour of the lentils. I love this!

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You can buy ready cooked pouches of puy lentils which make this meal fast and convenient, but oh so much healthier than take away!

Ingredients for one:

125g ready cooked puy lentils

1/2 onion

1 rasher bacon, chopped

handul cherry tomatoes, halved

feta, as much as you want

salt and pepper

coconut oil, for frying

olive oil, for drizzling

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat on the hob and sauté the onions. Add the cherry toms and bacon and fry until cooked.

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Meanwhile heat the lentils in a microwave according to the instructions on the packet. Once hot, add to the pan with the bacon etc and mix. Tip onto a plate and sprinkle over salt, pepper and as much feta as you fancy. Drizzle with olive oil and you’re ready to go.

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Healthier Chicken Caesar Salad

I love chicken Caesar salads SOOOO much, but the high calorie and fat content rather pisses me off – it’s a salad for god’s sake! If I wanted that many calories, I’d order burger and chips! So here is my alternative; I can’t claim it’s fat free or anything bogus like that, but it is lighter than the original and even better than that – you can’t tell the difference!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken thigh, deboned and skinless
  • 1 rasher of bacon
  • Fry Light
  • 1 small gem lettuce
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved

For the Caesar dressing:

  • 3-4 Tsp. low fat yoghurt
  • 2 Tsp. light crème fraiche
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 30g finely grated cheddar
  • 1 anchovy, chopped finely (you need the anchovy to make it near as possible to an authentic Caesar dressing – you can’t taste it, I promise!)

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Method:

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use the back side of a spoon to mash the anchovy as finely as possible – you don’t want chunks of it.

Arrange your salad. Take the gem lettuce and cut it into eighths, then add in the cherry tomatoes.

Sandwich the chicken between two pieces of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until it’s about 1cm thick. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook for about 4 minutes either side, or until it’s not pink on the inside. Add the bacon to the pan in the last 2 minutes and fry for one minute either side.

Cut the bacon and chicken into bite size pieces and add to the arranged lettuce. Drizzle on the salad dressing and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and enjoy.

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Chicken salad bowl

I love the simplicity of this dish, but it still manages to pack in a helluva lot of flavour. Filling but light enough for a summer’s eve, this will soon be a staple in our household! I hope you like it.

  • Ingredients:
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces 
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sumaq (you can get this in any health food shop or online)
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 1/2 mugs jasmine or basmati rice
  • 3 mugs water
  • 2 red pepper, cut into fourths
  • 1 courgette, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 avocados, mashed very well
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
Instructions: 
  1. In a large bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, onion powder, sumaq, pepper, cayenne, smoked paprika, parsley and basil. Add the chicken and toss well. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  2. Make the rice. Add the water to a medium size pot. Bring to a low boil and then add the rice. Stir to combine and then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook ten minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely and let the rice sit on the stove, covered for another 20 minutes (don’t take any peeks inside!). After 20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.
  3. Add the red pepper and courgette to a gallon size ziplock bag. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake well so the veggies are coated with olive oil.
  4. Grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, gently flipping 2-3 times until chicken is cooked through and has light char marks. While the chicken is grilling grill the courgette for about 4 minutes on each side, or until tender and the red peppers for about 5 minutes flipping once or twice during cooking.
  5. Remove everything from the grill and let cool 5 minutes. Once cool slice the red peppers into strips and if you have whole chicken breast cut those into cubes.
  6. Add the mashed avocados to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  7. To assemble the bowls, divide the rice among 4 bowls or plates. Top each bowl of rice with equal amounts of chicken, grilled peppers and courgette. Add a large dollop of the avocados and then add the fresh tomatoes and walnuts. Sprinkle with blue cheese if desired. Serve warm.