Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad – 270 calories

As the weeks move towards spring, sunshine and warmer weather, I fancied putting together a zesty, refreshing accompaniment for my lunchtime meal.

Lunches most days are salad or soup.  These never become mundane or boring as I am always looking for ideas and inspiration to add colour, flavour and texture.

I’ve previously combined orange and fennel, but this recipe works really well.  I combined ingredients from a couple of recipes I found to come up with my own recipe.

The pecans add some protein.  I served it alongside a tempura coated oven baked chicken fillet and a fairly plain green salad (lettuce, cucumber, celery, watercress).

It was a little fiddly to prepare, but good food is always worth the additional time and effort!


Fennel, Orange and Pecan Salad – 270 calories

Preparation Time:          20 mins

Cooking Time:               N/A

Serves:                         2

Calories per serving:      270


Fennel, Bulb                                        1 Medium Bulb/300g

Blood Oranges                                     1 Orange/140g

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin                           1 Tbsp/15ml

Orange Juice, Freshly Squeezed          20ml

Sumac, Ground                                    ¼ Tsp/0.5g

Pecan Nuts                                          40g

Mustard, Wholegrain                            1 Tsp/5g


Cut the core from the fennel and shred finely with a julienne cutter.

Carefully cut the peel and pith from the orange. Do this by cutting a slice off the top and bottom of the orange to provide a flat surface, then slice carefully downwards with a sharp knife removing the skin and pith. Try to remove as much pith as possible as this is quite bitter.

Cut the orange into segments and then each segment into three. Combine the orange pieces with the fennel shavings. Sprinkle over the sumac. Add the salt and pepper.

Combine the olive oil, mustard and the juice of half an orange. This is the dressing. Pour the dressing over the fennel and orange and stir gently to combine.

Roughly chop the pecans and sprinkle over the salad.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)                  270

Protein (g)                         4.2

Carbohydrate (g)             14.3

Fat (g)                            21.7

Fibre (g)                            6.4

Fruit & Veg                        2.8


Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories

I was inspired to make this when I received a link to a vegan version of the recipe via a website I subscribe to – www.mob.co.uk

I love that so many of the recipes are low cost and use store cupboard ingredients – however, their quantities are usually HUGE and they’re not particularly focussed on healthy foods or weight loss.  They do have a section on Healthy Recipes and also many excellent “fakeaway” recipes which I often drool over!

I’m trying to introduce more vegetarian and vegan foods into my meal planning and to generally cut down on meat consumption. Something we should all be making an effort to do.

This recipe is a take on macaroni cheese but the creamy sauce is made by roasting and pureeing cauliflower and almonds with milk – the result is rather delicious!  However, I was unable to resist the temptation of adding some cheese – as cauliflower cheese is one of my all time favourite meals.

So this is my version of the Mob recipe:

Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories


Cauliflower                                                 –  260g

Carrots, peeled                                         –  100g

Cashew Nuts, Plain, Average                  –  50g

Milk, Whole                                               –  300ml

Garlic                                                         –  1 whole bulb

Breadcrumbs, Panko                               –  50g

Thyme, Dried                                            –  1 Tsp/1g

Rosemary, Dried                                       –  1 Tsp/1g

Parsley, Fresh, chopped                          –  1 Tbsp/3.8g

Macaroni                                                    –  225g

Olive Oil                                                     –  4 Tsps/20ml

Cheese, Cheddar, Mature                       –  50g

Salt, Average                                            –  ¼ Tsp/1g

Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground                    –  ½ Tsp/1g


Preparation:  Grate the cheese.


Step 1.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Step 2.
Chunk up the cauliflower and dice the carrots. Toss with salt and a dash of oil and spread out onto a tray.

Step 3.
Roast the cauliflower and carrots at 220°C until tender, this will take roughly 25 mins. Roast the garlic in foil with salt and 1 tsp of olive oil for 25 mins until tender (this can be done alongside the vegetable roasting).

Step 4.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C.

Step 5.
Briefly toast the cashews in the oven in an oven proof dish or on a piece of foil. Once toasted, transfer to a blender jug and pour over 500ml of warmed milk. Add the roasted cauliflower and carrots and one of the cloves of garlic (popped out of its skin) blend until super smooth.

Step 6.
Season the creamy sauce with salt and pepper and set aside. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and save some of the oil.

Step 7.
Toast the breadcrumbs in some of the garlicky oil. Finely chop the thyme, rosemary and parsley and toss through the breadcrumbs.  Pop the rest of the garlic cloves out of their skins, roughly chop and stir into breadcrumb mixture.

Step 8.
Cook the pasta for a couple of minutes less than the pack instructs. Stir through the sauce with a splash of pasta water (if required). You want it a bit wetter than you think. Add the grated cheese and gently stir through. Pour into an oven proof dish and top with the herby breadcrumbs.

Step 9.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Serve with a fresh, zingy green salad or green vegetables.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)       384.6

Protein (g)                14.8

Carbohydrate (g)    36.7

Fat (g)                       19.8

Fibre (g)                     3.2

Fruit & Veg                 1.3