We've teamed up with Celia Brooks, author of 5:2 Vegetarian, to right this dietary wrong and bring readers five delicious fast day recipes to fill your bellies from sun up to sun down.
Spiced Gazpacho with Lemony Egg
122 calories per serving
Nutritional info per serving: 6g fat, of which 2g saturates | 9g carbohydrate, of which 9g sugars | 9g protein | 1g salt | 3g fibre
Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Vegan (if the egg is replaced with chickpeas)
This refreshing ‘liquid salad’ is perfect on a warm day. I’ve spiced it up with toasted cumin and chilli, but leave these out if you prefer a classic gazpacho. The lemony egg topping is optional, but it does make it a complete meal, being filling and full of protein. Without it, the gazpacho has just 57 calories per serving. Alternatively (or in addition), scatter a chunk of crumbled feta on top (90 cals for 50g of reduced-fat feta or 127 cals for regular feta) or 60g/2¼oz/¹/3 cup drained canned chickpeas (82 cals).
Prep & cook time: 20 minutes
½ tsp cumin seeds
100g/3½oz cucumber (about 1/3)
50g/1¾oz celery (1 large stick)
50g/1¾oz red pepper (about ½)
25g/1oz red or regular onion (½ small)
1 garlic clove
250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup tomato juice
1 tsp best white or red wine vinegar, or to taste
sea salt and freshly ground
cayenne pepper or chilli flakes, to taste
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Place the eggs in a small pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Set aside.
Heat a frying pan over a high heat and toss in the cumin seeds. Shake the pan and toast the seeds until they turn a shade darker and there is a whiff of cumin scent, about 1 minute, then remove the seeds to a plate to cool.
Coarsely chop the cucumber, celery, red pepper, tomatoes and onion, and place in a blender. Crush in the garlic and add the tomato juice, vinegar, seasoning, chilli, and cumin seeds.
Whizz the mixture on high speed for a short time until just combined but not utterly smooth, if you like a few chunks. Taste for seasoning.
Pour the gazpacho into one or two bowls, add plenty of ice cubes and stir. Leave for about 5 minutes, then remove the ice. (Alternatively, chill the gazpacho for 2 or more hours until nice and cold.)
Meanwhile, peel one or two of the eggs and mash in a bowl with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Serve the cold gazpacho with lemony egg on top.
Freely add chopped fresh herbs to the bowl: dill, coriander, parsley, or basil (calories negligible).
Can be served with half a pitta bread (62 cals), cold, toasted, or cut into strips and cooked in the oven until crunchy.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and serve straight from the fridge. Chill the second boiled egg in its shell; mash with the seasoning and lemon juice just before serving. Not suitable for freezing.
Feed the non-fasters: Multiply ingredients as necessary and serve with tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, crusty bread, or a hot garlic baguette.
South Indian Mango Curry
Nutritional info per serving:3g fat, of which 0.8g saturates | 24g carbohydrate, of which 20g sugars | 4g protein | 0.1g salt | 4g fibre
137 calories per serving
South Indian curries are usually quick, often fruity, and always exploding with flavour. This sweet and saucy curry tastes as gorgeous as it looks. Use ready-prepared fresh mango chunks for speed and ease. If cutting your own, even a slightly under-ripe mango works here – just peel, slice off the ‘cheeks’ either side of the stone, and cut into chunks – 2 cheeks will be roughly 200g. If you have access to some fresh or frozen curry leaves, by all means throw them in as well.
Prep & cook time: 25 minutes
1 small fresh chilli or a large pinch of dried chilli flakes
1cm/½in piece fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
3 spring onions (scallions)
200g/7oz prepared fresh mango chunks
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp black or brown mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin seeds
75ml/2½fl oz/5 tbsp water
sea salt and freshly ground
125g/4½oz/½ cup low-fat yogurt
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
Slit the chilli in half or slice roughly. Peel the ginger and chop or grate it. Peel the garlic. Slice the spring onions, cut the tomatoes into chunky pieces, and cut the mango into bite-sized chunks if necessary.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat and add the oil and mustard seeds. As soon the mustard seeds start to pop, which should happen almost immediately if the pan is hot, remove the pan from the heat and add the turmeric, cumin, chilli and ginger. Crush the garlic into the pan, return the pan to a medium heat, and stir for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the onions, tomatoes, mango and water with a generous
seasoning of salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes, until
the tomato softens.
Measure the yogurt into a small bowl and beat in the cornflour. Add to the pan, stirring thoroughly until the sauce turns yellow and just starts to bubble, then remove from the heat. Eat immediately.
Enjoy on its own or with ½ cup cooked brown rice (108 cals) or half a pitta bread (62 cals). For extra protein, top with a quartered hard-boiled egg (72 cals).
Top with chopped fresh coriander for an authentic finish (calories negligible).
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Can also be frozen. Reheat in the microwave; stir very thoroughly, as the sauce might curdle slightly on reheating, but it is still delicious.
Feed the non-fasters: Accompany with cooked brown or basmati rice and/or naan bread.
Nutritional info per serving: 3g fat, of which 0.2g saturates | 7g carbohydrate, of which 2g sugars | 2g protein | 0.5g salt | 2g fibre
62 calories per serving
Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Vegan
Canned artichoke hearts are a convenient fast-day treat, tasting way more indulgent than their mere 30 cals per 100g. Here’s a simple treatment that makes them even yummier, concentrating their unique natural sweetness, imparting a meaty texture, and making them sing with garlic and chilli.
Prep & cook time: 35 minutes
1 x 400g can whole artichoke hearts in brine, drained
2 tsp extra-virgin rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed, or 1 tsp garlic powder or granules
½ tsp chilli flakes or powder, or to taste
large pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters. Place in a bowl with the oil, garlic, chilli and salt, and toss gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula to coat the artichokes well.
Transfer to the baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Use the rubber spatula to scrape every last drop of dressing over the artichokes.
Bake for 30 minutes, until slightly crisp and patched with gold. Eat hot, warm or cold.
Use this flavour bomb:
• As a filling for a One-Egg Omelette (page 126) or to top scrambled eggs.
• Alongside a small jacket potato dressed with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese.
• With a mixed-leaf and tomato salad seasoned with salt and balsamic vinegar; add a scoop of cottage cheese or a boiled egg for protein.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Not suitable for freezing.
Curried Cottage Cheese
Nutritional info per serving: (2 tbsp serving) 0.4g fat, of which 0.2g saturates | 0.8g carbohydrate, of which 0.8g sugars | 3g protein | 0.2g salt | 0g fibre
20 calories per serving
Spoon this into Little Gem lettuce cups or scoop it up with celery sticks.
Prep & cook time: 2 minutes
50g/1¾oz/¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp curry powder
cayenne pepper, to taste
Stir everything together in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning and enjoy with raw veggies.
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutritional info per serving: 9g fat, of which 3g saturates | 3g carbohydrate, of which 3g sugars | 9g protein | 0.6g salt | 0.9g fibre
130 calories per serving
Prep & cook time: 4 minutes
½ small green chilli (or a whole one if you dare!)
2 cherry tomatoes
15g/½oz (1 triangle) low-fat cheese spread
sea salt and freshly ground
½ tsp margarine or butter
2 tsp Mexican salsa, to serve (optional)
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat.
Chop the spring onion and chilli. Slice or quarter the tomatoes.
Break the egg into a small bowl. Add the cheese and use a fork to beat thoroughly, pressing the cheese so it breaks up into lumps. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt (bearing in mind that the cheese is salty).
Plop the margarine or butter into the frying pan and use a spatula to spread it over the surface. Add the onion and chilli and stir.
Pour in the egg mixture and swirl to coat the pan. Add the tomatoes. The bottom should set immediately; fold from the edges, turning the cooked underside over the uncooked middle. Continue folding, breaking it up slightly as you go to ensure even cooking. Remove from the heat when just set throughout and serve immediately, topped with salsa, if desired.
5:2 Vegetarian by Ceila Brooks is published by Pavilion. RRP £9.99