Tag Archives: mint

Gluten-free & Dairy-Free Chia Seed Super Salad

Chia seed salad

The sun is streaming into the kitchen and it feels great to be making hot-weather food. Step forward salads – with zingy, fresh ingredients and clean, clear tastes. Making food in this heat becomes as simple as putting some ingredients in a bowl. And when it’s this simple, it’s supereasy to make healthy, nutrient-packed meals.

This salad is full of antioxidant-rich veggies. But the stars of the bowl are the chia seeds. They are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals and the highest amount of omega-3 in any fruit or vegetable. You can use chia seeds to thicken stews, soups, juices and smoothies, to bind flour mixtures together as a substitute for eggs when baking, but also very simply to sprinkle into stir-frys and salads. Ahhh, sunshine and superfoods – a wonderful combination!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes


  • 150g/5½oz mixed salad leaves
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • ½ red, orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced
  • 1 small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds


  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small jug.
  2. Using a teaspoon, deseed the cucumber by running the spoon down the centre of the cucumber. Discard the seeds and cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Put the cucumber and the remaining vegetables into a serving bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the dressing and the herbs and mix in gently. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Roasted Aubergine with Amaranth & Harissa

Stuffed aubergine

I’ve had a bag of amaranth sitting in my kitchen cupboard for a while now, so I thought it was time to use it. Like quinoa, amaranth is a true superfood, but unlike quinoa, it hasn’t started to become mainstream – people generally haven’t heard of it and don’t know how to use it. Amaranth dates back about 8,000 years and was a staple part of the diet for the Aztecs in Mexico. Although it’s a grain, it’s a fantastic source of non-meat, complete protein (it is about 15% protein), along with complex carbs and fibre. Packed with nutrients, too, especially calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, folate and riboflavin, and phytochemicals that are great for boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure and high cholesterol.

You can cook amaranth exactly like quinoa (simmer in boiling water or stock until tender and the water has been absorbed, or toast the grains and then simmer). And, just like quinoa, it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet – use it instead of couscous or rice and add fruit, nuts, herbs or spices to flavour it. Here I’ve used it to make the stuffing for the aubergines – and I’ve made a dish with layers of flavours. You can take it back by leaving out the fruity bit (the sultanas) and/or the cheesy bit, leaving just the harissa, lemon and herbs, or you can add the whole caboodle. Either way, it’s delicious!

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 15 minutes     Cooking time 50 minutes


  • 4 aubergines, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 300g/10½oz/1½ cups amaranth
  • 100g/3½oz/heaped ¾ cup sultanas (optional)
  • 600ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls finely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 large handfuls finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 8 spring onions, white part finely sliced
  • 200g/7oz dairy-free cheese, crumbled or grated (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • salad, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of the aubergines with a diagonal crisscross pattern, making sure not to pierce the skin. Put the aubergine halves on baking trays and spread the harissa paste evenly over. Bake for 40 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the amaranth in a fine sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan, add the sultanas, if using, and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes until the amaranth is tender and the water has been absorbed.
  3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, herbs, spring onions, and add the dairy-free cheese, if using. Mix together thoroughly and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. When the aubergines have cooked, remove from the oven and carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the aubergines, leaving a layer of flesh next to the skins. Mash the flesh, then add to the amaranth mixture, and mix in thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the aubergine cases and bake for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot with salad, if you like.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Tiger Prawns with Cauliflower Couscous

prawns and cauliflower couscous

If, like me, you’re keen to clean up your diet a bit, following on from a cake-filled Christmas holiday (!), you might like The S Factor Diet, by Lowri Turner. You probably know Lowri from TV but she’s also a nutritionist who writes for, among others Grazia, Now Diet and Mother & Baby. According to Lowri, this is “a diet that can put a smile on your face!”. Apparently certain hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, leptin and adrenals, can increase your appetite, send cravings sky-high, make you feel depressed and demotivated, and cause your body’s natural fat-burning process to dwindle. You can rebalance those hormones in your body easily with certain foods like chicken, avocados, bananas, fish, nuts and seeds, and dark green and brightly coloured veggies. And Lowri’s book shows you how to work out which hormones are out of kilter, and which foods you need to eat to rebalance them – and gives you lovely recipes, too.

I tried this recipe yesterday for lunch. And, although Zoë insisted on a version without chopped herbs (“yuk, green bits”), it was really good. I have been wanting to try cauliflower ‘couscous’ for a while and it was great. Super-easy to make (you just whizz cauliflower florets in a food processor) and, with the lemon juice, sweet paprika and herbs, it had a lovely taste. And the prawns were gorgeous – really tender, with loads of garlic.

Prawns are a good source of lean protein, which is great for all your S Factor hormones, especially dopamine. And, by swapping normal wheat couscous for cauliflower ‘couscous’ you immediately reduce the starch and calorie content, which helps rebalance all of these hormones – and, of course, it’s gluten-free!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 3 hours marinating     Cooking time 6 minutes     Serves 4


  • 400g/14oz raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

For the marinade:

  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the couscous:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 handful of finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. To make the marinade, put all of the ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the prawns to the marinade and toss well, making sure the prawns are covered in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the “couscous”. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles couscous grains. Transfer to a bowl, stir in all of the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the prawns from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread about 6 prawns onto each of 4 skewers. Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat and cook the prawns, brushing with the reserved marinade, for about 2–3 minutes on each side until they are pink and cooked through. Remove the skewers and divide the prawns and “couscous” into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, if you like.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 148kcal  Protein 21.3g  Carbohydrates 4.3g  Fat 5.6g

Gluten-Free Buckwheat, Butterbean & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Most people think of buckwheat pancakes when they think of buckwheat – made with buckwheat flour. But the grain itself (totally gluten-free) is a fantastic addition to your storecupboard. It is highly nutritious (full of magnesium, B-vitamins, rutin which helps circulation and all eight essential amino acids) and in particular it’s great in terms of your blood-sugar balance. Don’t be put off by the nutty taste of buckwheat, though. As this recipe shows, it can be delicious if you mix it with strong, fresh flavours. Here I’ve added sweet roasted veggies, and fresh, tangy lemon and mint. Serve this as a main course, with a salad, for a delicious dinner – and it makes a brilliant meal for your lunchbox, too.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 20 minutes


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 aubergines, diced
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 1 onion, cut into 16 pieces
  • 200g/7oz buckwheat
  • 240g/8½oz/scant 2¼ cups tinned butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large handful chopped mint leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put the aubergine and peppers onto 3 separate baking trays and drizzle 2½ tablespoons of oil over. Bake for 10 minutes, then add the onion and drizzle ½ tablespoon of oil over. Bake for a further 10 minutes until tender and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large serving dish.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the buckwheat thoroughly, put in a saucepan and pour over 400ml/14fl oz/scant 1⅔ cups cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat then turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for about 6 minutes until softened, scimming off the scum with a flat metal spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the buckwheat is soft, but not mushy. Rinse thoroughly with boiling water and transfer to the serving dish with the roasted vegetables.
  3. In a small jug, mix together the lemon juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and season lightly. Add the butter beans to the serving dish and pour over the dressing. Mix thoroughly, then add the mint leaves and mix gently. Serve either warm or cold.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Edamame, Broad Bean & Mint Risotto

This one is a super easy version of a risotto. Forget standing at the hob stirring – all you do is fry the leeks and garlic, steam the beans, add all the ingredients and put it in the oven to cook. Brilliant! The creaminess of the risotto comes not from patient, methodical stirring but from adding soya cream cheese in at the end. This makes a deliciously fresh yet comforting meal that makes the most of summer veggies and also stars the superfood, edamame.

Edamame beans are young soya beans (which grow in pods.) They are a fantastic source of protein and also of iron and fibre, and they also contain vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and omega-3. In this recipe there’s also mint, which is well known for its soothing effects on the gut. It is particularly good for relieving wind, calming indigestion and regulating bowel movements, which will help many people with food intolerances, and can also help to ease muscle spasms that are associated with IBS.

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 15 minutes     Cooking time 35 minutes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 350g/12oz/1⅔ cup risotto rice
  • 800ml/28fl oz/scant 3¼ cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
  • 300ml/10½fl oz/scant1¼ cups dry white wine
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g/7oz frozen edamame beans
  • 600g/1lb 5oz broad beans in their pods, or 150g/5½oz frozen broad beans
  • 1 small handful mint leaves, finely chopped, plus a few sprigs for cooking
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5–6 tbsp soya cream cheese, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400°F/Gas 6. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and fry the leeks for 2–3 minutes until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds then add the rice and stir well, covering the grains of rice with oil.
  2. Transfer the rice mixture to a large ovenproof dish and add the stock, wine and lemon zest. Stir well, cover with greaseproof paper or foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the edamame and broad beans in a steamer, add the mint sprigs and steam, covered, over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until tender. Remove and discard the mint. Rinse the beans under cold running water, then drain well and leave to cool. If you’re using fresh broad beans, remove and discard the skins from the beans by squeezing them until the beans pop out of the skins. (Of course, you don’t have to do this if you don’t have the time – but they will taste better, if you do.)
  4. When the risotto has baked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven, stir thoroughly, add the beans and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice, mint and soya cream cheese and mix well until smooth and creamy. Serve hot.