Baked Chicken and Vegetables <500 calories

I love the idea of cooking everything at the same time in a single oven tray. So simple!

The chicken is ‘washed’ with lime juice and then sprinkled with jerk spice. The mushrooms have a little olive oil in the centre and about half a clove of crushed garlic in each one. The sprouts are drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180c (fan). Roasting sprouts like this is really a great way of cooking them. I have just a few left growing in the garden, so I’m looking forward to finishing them!

This was a non-fast day for us and I served it with baked sweet potato and a knob of butter (put a skewer through the middle to help them cook more quickly. I gave them about 45 minutes).

Baked Chicken and Vegetables

Baked Chicken and Vegetables 469 kcals



  • 1 chicken leg,  eaten without the skin: 250 kcal
  • 1 tsp jerk seasoning 0 kcals
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
  • 2 medium mushrooms 8 kcals
  • 1 clove garlic 4 kcals
  • 5 cherry tomatoes 14 kcals
  • 1/2 cup brussels sprouts 19 kcals

Per serving: 469 kcals
 Carbs 8g Fat 26g Protein 49g

  • 1 sweet potato 100 kcals
  • 15g butter 108 kcals

Per serving: 208 kcals
Carbs 24g Fat 12g Protein 2g

Roast Pumpkin and Glazed Walnut Salad <200 kcals

Roast Pumpkin and Glazed Walnut Salad

Roast Pumpkin and Glazed Walnut Salad

Glorious colour to brighten up a dull day. This would be very good with some bacon lardons running through it, or topped with chopped feta or blue cheese or slices of taleggio. You could also dress it with toasted pumpkin seeds.  As an alternative to pumpkin, use butternut squash

Serves 2

  • 300g pumpkin, peeled and cubed 102 kcals
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil 62 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar 3 kcals
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 25g walnut pieces 155 kcals
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 52 kcals
  • 2 tbsp walnut or cider vinegar 6 kcals
  • 75g rocket leaves 19 kcals

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).

Put the cubes of pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 25 – 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft and starting to brown.

Heat the maple syrup and vinegar in a small pan until they are well combined then toss the walnut pieces in to coat thoroughly.

Dress the rocket with the pumpkin and walnuts, drizzling over any remaining dressing.

Serve warm.

Per serving: kcals 199
Carbs 22g Fat 12g Protein 6g

Blood Orange with Pistachios and Dates <200 kcals

When shopping this week, I found some lovely blood oranges. The perfect finish for a Moroccan inspired dinner or to follow something spicy. 

Blood Orange with PistachiosBlood Orange with Pistachios

I love the vibrant colour of these blood oranges, but of course ordinary ones would be lovely prepared like this too.

Per person

  • 1 large orange 86 kcals
  • 3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped 70 kcals
  • 6 unsalted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped and toasted 33 kcals
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon

Cut the rind and pith off the orange and then slice thinly.

Arrange on a plate and distribute the dates over the top.

Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, sprinkle with cinnamon and scatter the pistachios over the top.

Per serving: kcals 193
Carbs 43g Fat 3g Protein 4g

This recipe can be found in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life.

Crustless Asparagus and Salmon Quiche <300 kcals

sparagus and Salmon Quiche

It is really quite surprising how successful a crustless quiche is – you really don’t need the pastry. This is also a useful way to use any leftover cooked fish, or you could use smoked salmon, which gives it a wonderful flavour.

Serves 3

  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil 20 kcals
  • 3 large eggs 225 kcals
  • 10 green or white asparagus spears 40 kcals
  • 175 ml soya or dairy milk 130 kcals
  • 50g Cantal or other well-flavoured hard cheese, grated 193 kcals
  • 150g salmon fillet 237 kcals
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan).

Snap the asparagus as near to the base as possible and discard the ends.

If using white asparagus, peel off the outer skin with a peeler or sharp knife.

Steam the asparagus spears for 5 – 6 minutes, until just tender.

Drain and leave until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, wrap the fish in baking parchment and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or grill until just cooked. Separate into large flakes. If using smoked salmon, cut into strips.

Brush or spray a little oil on the inside of a quiche dish.

Distribute the salmon over the base of the dish.

Trim the asparagus to fit the radius of the dish and lay evenly around with the points towards the centre.

Use any trimmings to fill the gaps.

Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top.

Break the eggs into a jug, beat well, stir in the milk and season well (you will not really need any salt if using smoked salmon).

Pour over the salmon and asparagus, then garnish with the chopped parsley.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until lightly golden brown and set in the middle.

Serve hot, warm or cold.

Per serving: kcals 282 Carbs 4g Fat 12g Protein 20g

This is really excellent if served with a good drizzle of Gremolata (page 96).

I’ve served it here with some mashed cauliflower and steamed green beans.

Crustless Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Quiche


For the Gremolata 

serves 4

  • 6 marinaded anchovy fillets, chopped 24 kcals
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 8 kcals
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 120 kcals
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A bunch of parsley leaves, chopped 4 kcals

make the Gremolata by whizzing all the ingredients in a food processor to make a sauce

Per serving: kcals 40 

These recipes are taken from 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Greek Salad with Feta and Olives – less than 200kcals per serving


I know it’s only February and the tomatoes and cucumbers will have to come from Spain or Morocco, but with a little bit of sunshine streaming in through the window, I really feel like having something summery.

This goes brilliantly well with meat or fish, or for a vegetarian option falafels would be wonderful.Greek Salad with feta and olives

Greek Salad with Feta and Olives

Making a salad like this always brings me happy memories – of holidays in Cyprus or meals at one of our favourite Greek restaurants in London. Of course it goes wonderfully well with Lemony Lamb Skewers (page 106) or Lemony Tuna Kebabs (page 99). No need to make a complicated dressing for a salad like this – a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon is all you need.

Serves 2

  • 1 Little Gem lettuce or romaine heart 15 kcals
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks 23 kcals
  • 2 large or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced or halved 52 kcals
  • 1/2 onion, sliced 22 kcals
  • 50g feta cheese 132 kcals
  • 8 black kalamata olives 45 kcals
  • 1 tbsp flat leaved parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil 80 kcals
  • 2 lemon wedges 4 kcals

Per serving: kcals 186 Carbs 15g Fat 13g Protein 6g

Please note: page references are to 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life – available on Amazon in print or kindle formats.

Moroccan Cucumber & Tomato Salad – 40 kcals

Back from Morocco with a bag full of foodie ingredients! The light, fresh salads and use of spices was inspiring – and delicious.

Here’s something simple that I made as a side dish for lunch today that was lifted out of the ordinary by some fresh coriander leaf (cilantro), toasted ground cumin seed and a drizzle of argan oil, which has a lovely toasted nutty flavour. If you haven’t got argan oil (which is only produced in South West Morocco), use walnut oil or toasted sesame oil instead.

Moroccan Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Despite the fact the hothouse veg from Spain are not as flavourful as they would be in summer, this makes a real impact. It goes really well with cheese or cold meats and would be an excellent partner with some hummus in a lettuce wrap for a fast day snack or starter. You could add some chopped red or green pepper for variation, and also I considered sprinkling with a few sesame seeds or chopped almonds.

Moroccan Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Serves 2
Simple and really tasty salad using two basic ingredients, a herb, some spice and some oil.
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
35 calories
3 g
0 g
2 g
1 g
0 g
92 g
4 g
2 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35
Calories from Fat 22
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4mg
Total Carbohydrates 3g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp coriander leaf, finely chopped
1 tsp oil (argan, walnut or sesame)
Mix the vegetables and coriander leaf together and turn into a dish
Sprinkle with cumin
Drizzle with oil
If you can't get argan oil, use walnut oil or toasted sesame oil
Focus on Flavour

Spanish style Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean – 370 kcals

Over on the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Recipes from Around the World group on Facebook, there is a Spanish theme going on. So this week I thought I would share one of my Spanish-inspired recipes.  

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Key flavour ingredients are the lovely smoked paprika and a little robust flavoured chorizo. You can use other beans instead, but I am particularly fond of these, so big and soft and buttery. I buy them ready to use in glass jars. If using dried beans, you will need to soak them overnight, then drain and put in a pan, cover with fresh water, add some herbs like bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

The addition of the beans and chorizo makes this a substantial dish with robust Spanish flavourings.

Serves 2

  • 300g chicken breast fillet 330 kcals
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 4 kcals
  • 30g chorizo 105 kcals
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 9 kcals
  • 150g courgettes, sliced 30 kcals
  • 200g tomatoes, peeled and chopped 76 kcals
  • 120g cooked butter beans 97 kcals
  • 2 tsp olive oil 84 kcals

To garnish

  • Some chopped coriander or flat parsley leaves

Trim the chicken breast and sprinkle all over with the smoked paprika.

Peel the skin off the chorizo and cut into slices.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the chicken and chorizo, turning and frying until the chicken is sealed on all sides and the chorizo is starting to release oil.

Add the garlic and courgettes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and butter beans and add a couple of tablespoonfuls of water.

Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley.

This looks good served in a cazuela, a flat earthenware dish used extensively in Spain.

Per serving: kcals 368
Carbs 19g Fat 11g Protein 45g

This is on Page 122 of 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

Chicken, Chorizo and Butter Bean

Serve with Cauliflower and Caper Salad (page 42) 73 kcals Cauliflower and Caper Salad 
and Cabbage, Green Pepper and Raisin Salad (click on the link or look on page 50) 70 kcals 

Cabbage, Green Pepper and Caraway Saladwhich works out to just slightly over 500  (adjust portions slightly for 500/600), or simply with Cauliflower Rice (page 84) at only 25 kcals for 100 grams.



First Anniversary Fast Day – Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

It is now a year since we started following 5:2 Intermittent Fasting. Wow. I remember how strange it felt that first day, going without lunch. Well nowadays, more often than not, I go without breakfast too and find it makes no difference to how hungry I feel in the afternoon. I still tend to get a dip, and a rumble or two mid-afternoon, but it doesn’t interfere with whatever else I want to do. I just have another cup of something and carry on.

For my first anniversary fast day dinner, I’m going to use up some ingredients that I have in the fridge, which includes fresh leeks and carrots and an assortment of cheese. I also have piles of gorgeous nuts, which I love to have around the house at Christmas time. Some of these are walnuts from our own garden, which was a good crop this year. It is worth buying caraway seeds to use in this, they add a great flavour to the dish. They are handy to have with all kinds of cabbage dishes as well, they reputedly help with reducing flatulence!

Leek and Crunchy Carrot GratinThe recipe in my book serves 5, so I’ll probably freeze a couple of portions for another time (before cooking), as it’s just me for this meal. But I won’t mind eating leftovers!

I have a lovely basket of small satsumas from Corsica that caught my eye when I went shopping, so dessert will be one of those, together with some of my first batch of home-made kefir yogurt. More about that another day.

This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

This is a very flavourful vegetarian main which is low enough in calories to have on a 5:2 Fast Day or as part of a calorie-counted healthy eating plan. It would also work well to serve as a side dish with sausages (baked in the oven at the same time)

With the vegetables, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and nuts, this has a good balance of ingredients. I used oddments of cheese that I had left – a little cheddar, some Comté and some crumbled blue sheep’s cheese, which worked fine, but you can use any hard cheese really. The caraway seeds add a really interesting flavour.

Serves 5

  • 500g leeks, cut into chunks 155 kcals
  • 150ml vegetable stock or water 12 kcals
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds 7 kcals
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk 113 kcals
  • 10g unsalted butter 70 kcals
  • 1 tbsp plain flour 52 kcals
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping

  • 60g fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs 127 kcals
  • 2 medium carrots, grated 50 kcals
  • 75g grated hard cheese 312 kcals
  • 15g chopped walnuts 98 kcals

Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).

Put the leeks in a saucepan with the stock or water and seeds.

Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are softened.

Remove the leeks with a slotted draining spoon and transfer to a baking dish.

Pour the remaining liquid into a jug and make up to 300ml with milk.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

When it starts to froth, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon to make a roux.

Remove from the heat and gradually add the liquid, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth sauce.

Return to the heat and simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time, to make sure that it doesn’t burn and there are no lumps.

Check the seasoning.

Pour over the leeks.

Mix all the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden.

Serve with some fresh green vegetables, such as steamed broccoli.

Per serving: kcals 199
Carbs 20g Fat 10g Protein 7g

Leek and Crunchy Carrot Gratin

Something for the weekend – Baked Citrus Chicken

This is a super way of cooking chicken and a perfect winter warmer or family meal, that is low enough in calories to have on a Fast Day! All you need to add is some steamed green beans and carrots and some wilted spinach. This has become a firm favourite since I first cooked it last February and is now my preferred way of cooking a whole chicken. The citrus-flavoured gravy is delicious.

This is one of the recipes that I have included in 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life which is now available in print and kindle editions from Amazon.

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnips and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken

The idea here is to have the enjoyment of a roast chicken, but by using citrus juice instead of fat, the whole meal is lighter and healthier. When there are just the 2 of us for lunch, I can get several meals from an average sized bird, and then there is the carcass to make stock with for a tasty soup and leftovers to have with salad. A great alternative to a traditional Sunday Roast!

Serves 4

  • 1 whole chicken (1.5kg) 917 kcals
  • 2 oranges 40 kcals
  • 1 lime 20 kcals
  • 500g pumpkin or butternut squash 170 kcals
  • 1 med-large (200g) parsnip 150 kcals
  • 1 red bell pepper 37 kcals
  • 1 red onion 44 kcals
  • 1 red chilli 6 kcals
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp Bisto gravy powder (optional) 5 kcals
  • 300 ml vegetable stock or water

Heat the oven to 180C (fan).

Remove any visible fat from the chicken.

Peel the pumpkin or squash, the parsnip and the red onion. Trim the pepper and chilli and remove the seeds and pith. Cut all the veggies into wedges and put into a roasting tray.

Make slivers from some of the orange and lime peel (no pith) and reserve.

Lightly grate the remainder over the veggies.

Squeeze the juice of the fruits and pour half over the veggies.

Put the chicken on top and brush the remainder of the juice over, then rub in the jerk seasoning.

Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through, basting regularly with the juice.

Put the chicken to rest on a warm serving plate and keep the veggies warm while you make the gravy.

If there is any visible fat in the pan juices, strain it off.

Add stock or water to the pan together with the orange and lime rind.

I like to use a little Bisto mixed with water to make the gravy a little thicker, but it will have a good colour anyway from the jerk spices.

Bring to the boil and simmer for few minutes whilst steaming other veggies to serve with it.

Serve slices or portions of meat without skin, the wonderful coloured vegetables alongside and gravy with some of the peel to bring the whole dish together.

You could use sweet potato or beetroot instead of parsnip.

Based on a recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookery club book “Healthy Eating”, 1995.

Per serving: 349 kcals
Carbs 30g Fat 9g Protein 38g

Serve with steamed vegetables such as julienne carrots, broccoli spears and peas.

a great alternative to a Sunday Roast - Baked Orange Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Baked Citrus Chicken with Pumpkin, Parsnip and Peppers

Monday Fast Day Meal Plan

Today’s fast day menu is going to be

_MG_0197 Stuffed Salmon Fillet with Steamed Vegetables _MG_3300

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup – 87 kcals
Salmon stuffed with Pinenuts and Herbs – 186 kcals
Mixed Steamed Vegetables – 42 kcals
Cinnamon and Citrus Pineapple – 135 kcals

for a total of 450 kcals.

Graham has some porridge and prunes for breakfast and a slightly larger portion of fish to bring his intake up to 600 kcals.

All these recipes are in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

If I get time today, I will add them here too.