For the love of vegetables

Vegetables (in my opinion) play a significant part in successful 5:2 fasting, .  They are so filling!  One gets a lot of filling food on ones plate for ones calories.

Fast Day dinner.  A 95g sea bass fillet (108 cals), pan fried in 2.5ml of olive oil (21 cals).  Braised fennel and tomatoes (38 cals), roasted cauliflower steaks (71 cals), mashed swede and carrot (49 cals).  100g of leek (22 cals) friend in half a teaspoon of olive oil and 2.5g of butter (21 & 18 cals).  Total 348 calories. 

Thankfully I LOVE vegetables.  I prepare them in a variety of ways – not just boiling or steaming.  Oven roasting adds a whole different dimension to the flavours.  Cooking vegetables in a tomato sauce, griddling in a pan over a low heat….

I particularly love these cauliflower steaks and they are so simple to make.  I trim the stalk from the cauliflower leaving the base flat and then cut the cauliflower vertically through the middle.  I then cut a “steak” of about 1.5cm from either half.  Depending on the cauliflower, you can get two or three steaks before you reach the crumbling outer parts.

I lay these gently onto a baking sheet and spray with low calorie spray oil (about 15 squirts).  Place in a pre-heated (200 degrees) oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning over half way through.

The texture is perfect.  Still “el dente”.

The braised fennel and tomato shown is really simple to cook too.  I make a huge batch, as it works well with so many things and is very low calorie.  Simply slice two fennel bulbs into the slow cooker, pour over two tins of chopped tomato and cook on Medium for two hours, turning to Low for another three hours.  I then freeze in smaller individual portions.

Other vegetables I love are:  cubed and roasted butternut squash, courgette, aubergines (usually cooked in some sort of casserole or curry), savoy cabbage, roasted peppers, beetroot… actually, I think I love ALL vegetables – yes, even spinach and kale!  They’re great for adding a bit of bulk to all sorts of dishes.

Far from five a day, I probably eat 6 or 7 portions of vegetables on a Fast day!

Healthy Food Swaps

As part of my weight loss journey, I’ve made a lot of “food swaps”.  I’m trying to virtually cut out things like pasta, rice and bread, reduce the amount of potatoes I consume.
These foodstuffs often are those which make you feel fuller – the things which make you feel full and contented.

I discovered, tried and like a recipe for cauliflower rice a long time before it became so hugely popular.  It’s now being sold in pouches ready to microwave!  Of course, as a horrendously marked up price.  £2 for 200g!

Given that the same shop sells a whole cauliflower (around 400g) for £1, it’s easy to see why so many stores are jumping on the bandwagon.

Strange that people buy it – all you need is a food processor with a metal blade and a cauliflower.  Chop the cauliflower into chunks, add to food processor, pulse about 4 or 5 times until the cauliflower resembled rice grains.

I actually managed to put myself right off cauliflower rice as I simply ate it too often!  Thankfully I wasn’t put off the vegetable itself.

Roasted spiced cauliflower.  A tasty and healthy alternative to rice or pasta.

Tonight I made a spiced roasted cauliflower to accompany a chicken breast in a tikka masala sauce.   330g of raw cauliflower, broken/cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spread on a baking tray.  Sprinkle on half a teaspoon of nigella (black onion) seeds, a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a drizzle (10ml) of a really good quality (thick) balsamic vinegar.  Spray with 20 squirts of a low calorie spray oil.  Put into a pre-heated oven (190 degrees) for around 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

Total 150 calories.  Services one as a main meal or two as a vegetable side dish.

It remains slightly al dente, which is nice as it retains a bit of crunch and makes the whole meal take longer to eat!