Mexican Quinoa & Avocado Salad

If you are in the UK, you’ll know that M&S do nice salad (they are a little on the pricey side..).

My favourite is the Mexican Rice, Quinoa & Avocado salad. I’ve tried so many times to recreate the dressing, but always failed.

For some reason, today I cracked it 🙂

I’ve replaced the rice with edamame beans to keep carbs low and add a little more protein.

Ingredients

1 pack Ready Cooked Quinoa (250g – or make your own from dried quinoa)
1 red pepper, core removed, deseeded and chopped
1 medium sized avocado, skin/stone removed and chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1 can sweetcorn, drained
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 medium sized bunch of coriander, leaves removed and chopped

for the dressing:
juice of ½ a lime
2 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp cumin
¼ cocoa powder
¼ tsp grated garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar substitute
1 tbsp water

Method

Add all of the dressing ingredients into a jar, put on the lid and shake vigourously.

Place all of the salad ingredients into a large bowl and add the dressing.

Serve immediately

Macros

485 calories
15g protein
27g fat
41g carbs

Recipe notes

The dressing appears to have a lot of ingredients, but most of them (hopefully) you will already have in your cupboard anyway. The cocoa can be left out if you don’t have any and the garlic (although it finishes off the dressing really well) might be better left out if you are taking this salad to work. 

High Protein Cauliflower Pizza

Making cauliflower pizza used to be messy and time-consuming:  you had to blast the cauliflower in a food processor, microwave it and then squeeze out all of the water.  But now that all of the big supermarkets sell cauliflower rice/couscous/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, it’s easy.   Because the cauliflower has been blasted long before you’ve got it home and opened it up, it’s had time to dry out.

Another secret to getting your cauliflower base crispy rather than soggy is to add some coconut flour, which soaks up moisture like a sponge.

The recipe & full macros (calories, protein, fat & carbs breakdown) can be found in my book High Protein Classics.

Download it as an eBook for only £1

or

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Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Turkey Bacon

Sweet-potato-pancakes

This recipe for sweet potato pancakes has only 2 ingredients would you believe??  It will give you tasty pancakes which are naturally sweet.

The only downside of not using any flour is that the pancakes are a bit difficult to flip (so need to be kept small) and also they are at their best when eaten straight out of the pan.

The pancakes are great served with Maple Turkey Bacon….the combination of maple syrup and turkey fillet bacon is perfect, why have I never thought of it before??

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato
2 eggs
salt & pepper
100g turkey fillet bacon
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp oil for frying

Method

  1. Prick the sweet potato with a fork and bake (10 minutes in the microwave or 45 minutes in the oven).
  2. Once baked, cut open and scoop out the cooked potato inside and leave to cool.
  3. Combine with the 2 eggs, add plenty of salt and pepper and beat together until smooth.
  4. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and ladle the mixture in (tip:  don’t make the pancakes any larger than your spatula or they will be very difficult to flip).  Cook each side until browned, which should only take 3 – 4 minutes.
  5. Once all of the pancakes are done, add the turkey bacon to the pan (no need to add more oil) and cook until browned on each side.
  6. Once done, add in the maple syrup, push the bacon around with a fork so it get covered and remove.  Serve immediately with the pancakes.

Macros

291 calories| 21g protein | 13g fat | 25g carbohydrate

Recipe Notes

  • You can also use cubed sweet potato and boil/steam/microwave it.  Just make sure that the cooked sweet potato isn’t too wet (as this will result in soggy pancakes).

High Protein Spinach & Ricotta Pancake Cannelloni

high-protein-spinach-ricotta-cannelloni

This dish brings back a lot of memories for me as when I was young, my mum used to make it with spinach and cottage cheese for us kids.  I’m not a big fan of cottage cheese these days and, of course, she made pancakes with regular white flour, so I have adapted things a little.

A note on the almond flour:  if you can’t find it, you can use an extra tablespoon of protein powder instead.   I was reluctant to use it as I like to only use ingredients which are easy to find.  But when I tried to leave it out, I discovered that the almond flour makes a big difference to the taste and texture (I’ve no idea why, but it does..).  It seems to take away some of the sponginess which you get when you cook with protein powder.  Almond flour is basically ground almonds, which can be substituted as well.

Another thing that makes a big difference is the lemon rind added to the tomato sauce (I copied this idea from Jamie Oliver).  Also, don’t be tempted to leave out the sweetener or sugar (I used Sukrin Gold to keep the calories low).

I will certainly be making these pancakes again (think I might call them carb-free protein crepes) and eating them with peanut butter and banana at breakfast time.

Serves 2

Ingredients

for the pancakes:

  • 2 large eggs, whites only (keep the yolks for the spinach mixture)
  • ½ a scoop of unflavoured whey protein powder (15g)
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 50ml milk
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • ¼ of a teaspoon of sweetener or sugar

for the tomato sauce

  • ½ a large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • rind of ½ a lemon

the rest

  • 250g spinach, washed and drained well
  • 100g ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a good grating of nutmeg
  • ½ of a ball of Mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Method

for the pancakes:

  1. Put the two egg whites into a mixing bowl and add the protein powder and almond flour.  Add the sweetener/sugar and milk and beat together until all of the lumps have gone.
  2. Heat up 1 tsp of the coconut oil in a medium-hot frying pan and add half of the pancake mixture.
  3. Using a wooden spatula, push the edges away from the pan – this will make it easier to flip the pancake, which you can do when the edges are starting to brown (note:  the easiest way is using a large metal spatula).
  4. After flipping, immediately turn off the heat and after a minute or two longer, transfer the pancake to a plate (note:  as we have used nut flour which burns easily, it is normal that the pancakes may look a little brown).
  5. Repeat from step 2. for the other half of the pancake batter.

for the spinach mixture

  1. Wilt the spinach in a large pan or wok (no need to use any oil, just add it to a hot pan and stir for a few minutes).
  2. Once wilted, pour the spinach into a sieve over a bowl and press down so that as much water as possible is extracted.
  3. Add the drained spinach into a mixing bowl together with the ricotta cheese, the egg yolks and the nutmeg.  Season well with salt & pepper and mix everything together.

for the tomato sauce

  1. Heat up a saucepan and add in 1 tsp of the coconut oil.  Once melted, fry the chopped onions for approximately 5 minutes, by which time they should be starting to look translucent.  Add in the garlic and grate in the lemon rind.  Fry for a minute or two longer.
  2. Add in the can of chopped tomatoes and some salt & pepper.  Turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until the sauce is beginning to thicken.

for the finished cannelloni

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Lay out each pancake on a plate or chopping board and add in half of the spinach mixture into the middle.  Fold each side of the pancake over and transfer into a small baking tray.
  3. Pour over the tomato sauce and top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  4. Put the baking tray into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top has browned.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Macros

419 calories | 30g protein | 24g fat | 20g carbohydrate

Super-Quick Palak Paneer (Spinach & Indian Cheese)

Palek Paneer

Palak Paneer is a long-time favourite of mine (ever since I went to India as a teenager) but for a long time I struggled to make it well.  One day, after making yet another tasteless batch, I threw in some jalfrezi paste that I happened to have open in the fridge as a last resort….and amazingly, it turned into one of the best versions of the dish I’ve ever tasted!

I’m quite sure that using jalfrezi paste is not very authentic…but it’s easy and quick.  Although paneer cheese can be quite difficult to find (I did manage to find some in my local big Sansburys), if you do manage to find some, be sure to give this dish a bash.  It has 20g of protein a serving (quite a feat for a vegetarian dish) and only takes minutes to make.  To make it super low-carb you can serve it with caulirice rather than regular rice (which is exactly what I’ve done in the video – again not very authentic but I’ve just got back from eating lots of croissants in France and my clothes are a bit tight..).

Macros 

without any accompaniment:

340 calories | 20g protein | 19g fat | 22g carbs

with 100g of caulirice:

482 calories | 23g protein | 20g fat | 25g carbs

The full recipe is included in my book High Protein Classics – order it here.  

Skinny Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs are the perfect low fat, high protein breakfast and picnic snack.

If you like your eggs hard or semi-hard, this recipe is really easy.  If you like them runny, things get a bit more tricky and you have to watch your timings more.  After around 5 attempts I managed to crack it and I got a perfect runny Scotch egg (see my post on Instagram).  But if you are going to be saving any Scotch eggs for later, hard boiled is better anyway.

At first, I tried using my favourite pork & apple sausages.  But, if you watch the below video carefully, you will notice that one of the Scotch eggs disappears half way through.  This was the pork & apple one, sadly it fell apart!  The sausagemeat just wasn’t sticky enough.   I settled on lean pork sausages which work really well with the rich egg yolk and crispy polenta exterior.

Speaking of polenta, those of you who have followed me on Facebook for a while will know that I use it to cover everything.  Polenta is a great lazy option as it sticks to any meat without the need for dipping in egg – plus it goes really crispy when baked or fried.  But you could also use panko breadcrumbs or even some ground nuts in its place.

Note:  I’ve revised this recipe since making the video as I discovered that you can skip browning the top and bottom step!  Also, the recipe works very well with chicken sausages, which are super-lean.

Macros

251 calories | 32g protein | 10g fat | 10g carbs

The full recipe is included in my book High Protein Classics – order it here.  

 

Shakshuka

shakshuka

Shakshuka is a middle eastern breakfast of eggs poached in a spicy sauce.  It is so simple to make – the only difficult bit is making sure that the eggs don’t overcook at the very end (which I didn’t quite master during the practice run).

This would make a lovely weekend breakfast, but would also be great as lunch or dinner.  Or anytime.  I really can’t wait to make it again.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 can of chopped/plum/cherry tomatoes (whatever you prefer)
  • 80g feta cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • a few coriander leaves (optional, to serve)
  1. Heat up the oil in a large frying pan. Chop up the onion, pepper and garlic into thin slices and throw it all into the hot pan, gently frying everything until the onion is soft.
  2. Once the onion is cooked, add in the cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and a little salt and stir for a minute or so.   Then, pour in the can of tomatoes and allow the sauce to thicken for a few minutes.
  3. Crumble in the feta and gently break the eggs over the sauce. Immediately put the lid on the frying pan (or you could do this part in a hot oven if you don’t have a lid) and leave for 5 – 10 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  4. Serve with coriander sprinkled over the top.

Macros (per portion)

418 kcal | 22g protein | 28g fat| 18g carbs