5:2 recipes – Red Veg

It’s January, and I’m back on the fast train.  I also have some leftover Christmas veg to use up, so I decided to make a rich red thick soup.  There was about 1/3 of a red cabbage, some aging carrots, and half a bag of wilting spinach.  I used a red onion to keep the colour theme, and for a bit of added protein and texture added a handful of earthy brown lentils.

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1 large red onion (170g)

2 stalks celery (100g)

1/3 red cabbage (220g)

2 carrots (100g)

100g spinach

500g passata or a tin of tomatoes

50g lentils

1 tablespoon oil


black pepper

smoked paprika

Lea and Perrins

Start by sautéing the chopped veg in 1 tablespoon oil and a splash of water.  I use rice bran oil as it has a fairly neutral flavour, but any would do. Put the onion and garlic in first, then the cabbage, the carrots and celery.  Stir well after each ingredient is added so that everything gets nicely covered in the oil.

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Add a good grind of black pepper, and a teaspoon of smoked paprika to intensify the warm winter flavours.

Add liquid – 1 pint stock.  I used lamb as I happened to have it, and thought the richness would work, but again, substitute for a stock cube of your choice.  Add 1 500g pack of passata, or a tin of tomatoes.  Stir everything well and let it simmer.  At this stage it should be rich glossy texture.  You could leave it at that, but I felt the need for some additional protein.

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I’d been looking for a reason to use these reddish brown lentils that I’d bought a while back, but they are high in calories.  So I carefully measured out 50g.  Over 4 portions this shouldn’t add too much to the calorie total, but if you left the lentils out the calorie amount will be lower.

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Add a dash of Lea and Perrins.

Let simmer for 30 minutes while you have a  cup of tea and a slice of Christmas cake, since we’re clearing the festive leftovers.

Check that the veg and lentils are soft, and stir in the spinach.  Let it wilt for a few minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of some green parsley, snipped chives or coriander.

Makes 4 portions at 190 calories each (150 without the lentils).  Non fasters can have a slice of crusty bread to dunk in the rich juices! 2015-01-07 11.27.08

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