Recipes for a happy and healthy New Year

PUBLISHED: 12:56 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:59 07 January 2014

Red Lentil Tikka Masala

Red Lentil Tikka Masala


We’re great fans of the Fast Diet Recipe Book and here’s proof that you can start your New Year Resolution while all the celebrations are continuing

The Fast Diet recipe book by Mimi Spencer with Dr Sarah Schenker provides perfect inspiration for those already following The Fast Diet and those about to embark on it. With 150 delicious calorie-controlled meals, there’s something for everyone and plenty that all the family will enjoy. Why not swap some of those calorie heavy festive indulgences and try one of these three tasty and healthy recipes from the book.

The Fast Diet Book is publishes by Short Books Ltd. See


Red Lentil Tikka Masala with Rye Barley Roti- calorie Count: 218 or 386 with Roti

Utterly delicious and authentically spicy. Really, who needs chicken? You may not need the roti either – though it’s a great bonus if you can spare the calories.

Serves four

For the masala paste:

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-fried and ground

1 tsp coriander seed, dry-fried and ground

2cm root ginger, peeled and grated

1 tbsp groundnut oil

2 tbsp tomato purée

Salt and pepper

Handful of fresh coriander


For the curry:

1½ tsp groundnut oil

1 red onion, diced

2 tbsp masala paste

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

250ml vegetable stock

200g red lentils, rinsed

4 generous handfuls of young spinach leaves,

washed (200g)

2 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt


Pulse the paste ingredients in a processor until well combined and fairly smooth. Then, for the curry, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook until softened, around 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the masala paste and cook to release the flavours, then add the tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the lentils, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from

the heat and add the spinach leaves, allowing them to wilt. If necessary, loosen with a little more hot stock. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and a warm rye barley roti.


For the rye barley roti:

100g wholewheat flour, 50g barley flour and

50g rye flour

(or a total of 200g wholewheat flour)

½ tsp rock salt

Pinch chilli powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp olive oil

120ml water


Mix the ingredients to a smooth dough and rest for 20 minutes. Knead well and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a disc, using a little wholewheat flour to prevent sticking. Spray a heavy frying pan with a hint of oil and heat the rotis on each side until cooked through.


Spiced Baby Aubergine with Pomegranate Yoghurt and Walnut Rice - calorie count: 298 or 412 with Rice Salad

No recipe book is complete these days without the obligatory pomegranate seeds scattered over anything that doesn’t move – and here they bring a touch of ruby magic to a brilliantly balanced, terrifically appealing dish. The rice, though nice, will whack up the calorie count considerably, so only include it if your budget allows.

Serves two

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 tbsp fresh root ginger, grated

1 tbsp harissa paste

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp ground coriander

4 baby aubergines, halved

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato purée

Squeeze of lemon

½ tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

200g tinned chickpeas, drained

Fresh coriander leaves, torn

1 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt

Handful of pomegranate seeds


Soften the onion in olive oil and add the garlic, ginger, harissa, cumin seeds and coriander. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the aubergines, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, lemon, sugar and salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes and add the chickpeas, plus 1 tbsp water if the sauce is too thick. Heat through and serve with torn coriander and drizzle with low-fat yoghurt, a scatter of pomegranate seeds and a side of nutty wild rice salad.


For the walnut wild rice salad:

50g wild brown rice, cooked until tender, drained and cooled

20g walnuts, chopped

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2 tsp grated orange zest

1 tbsp orange juice

½ tsp chilli flakes

Coriander leaves, torn

Salt and pepper

Combine the ingredients, mix and serve, topped with torn coriander leaves.

NB: Pomegranates contain antioxidants with the potential to scavenge free radicals which cause damage to body cells.


Sarah Raven’s Chicken Puttanesca - calorie count: 247

Horticulturalist, kitchen gardener and cook, Sarah Raven is also a Fast Diet fan. She says: “There is no need for your Fast day meals to be punishing. This punchy puttanesca is low-fat and low-calorie but incredibly satisfying. It only needs a salad to make it a meal.” Romaine lettuce would be a good choice.

Serves six

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

20 anchovy fillets (drained); use fewer if you prefer a milder flavour

4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

600g cherry tomatoes (orange ‘Sungold’ will give extra sweetness)

3 tbsp good-quality, mixed marinated olives (stoned)

2 tbsp capers (if salted, rinse before using)

12 boned, skinned chicken thighs

Bunch of fresh basil (approximately 30g), stems removed

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole dish (shallow works best). Add the anchovies and garlic and gently fry for 2-3 minutes, until the anchovies have melted, but the garlic has not browned. Add the cherry tomatoes, olives and capers, and turn down the heat to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Then add the chicken thighs to the tomato mixture and stir well to combine. Place a lid on the casserole and position on a middle shelf in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, give the chicken a good stir so it’s well coated in the puttanesca sauce. Put back into the oven without the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes, before

stirring in the basil leaves. Check for seasoning and serve.

NB: Cherry tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that helps the body fight disease.

Latest from the Hampshire