15 easy 15-minute meals to make this week
We're huge fans of meals that take only minutes to prepare – after all, with working long hours and spending what little free time we have at the gym or running, there's little time left for cooking complicated recipes; save those for your days off. Admittedly, the inspiration for this post comes from Jamie's 15-Minute Meals on Channel 4 (if you haven't watched it, you should!) and we felt inspired to create our own list of 15-minute meals that you can whip up when you get home from work, when you've got friends coming over for dinner, or just whenever really!
#1. Lentil and haddock pilaf
This healthy pilaf uses basmati rice and smoked haddock, but you could use brown rice and other oily fish, such as salmon, a great source of omega-3, if you like. Buying puy lentils ready-cooked saves time – these types of lentils are an excellent source of protein, they count as one of your five-a-day and they're delicious!
#2. Squash and ricotta wraps with coriander salsa
These healthy veggie wraps use butternut squash, but sweet potatoes (packed with vitamin C) would work too. Try switching the ricotta cheese for feta if you're in the mood – both complement the sweetness of the vegetables nicely, whilst the fresh lime and chilli in the salsa add a real kick to this simple yet tasty dish.
#3. Immunity booster stir fry
Feeling over-worked, stressed and like you're coming down with something? A healthy vegetable stir fry like this one from Oh She Glows is perfect. Iron and vitamin C packed vegetables are the stars of the show here, including spinach, tomatoes, peppers and carrots. Serve with egg noodles for a filling dinner.
#4. Veggie chilli with crunchy tortilla and avocado salad
Trust Jamie Oliver to turn a simple veggie bean chilli into something special. Chickpeas and blackbeans add a hearty dose of protein and fibre, whilst the fresh avocado salad is packed with monounsaturated fats and features a fresh yoghurt and lime dressing. Simply divine!
#5. Mighty mackerel with mixed tomato and quinoa salad
Another Jamie recipe, this time with mackerel as the star of the show. Mackerel, along with other oily fish, is a great source of omega-3, essential for healthy brain function. Packed with protein, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K plus calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and selenium, mackerel is also a source of Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant which can help reduce your risk of some cancers (1).
This super-healthy fish is served with a quinoa and tomato salad, for even more antioxidants and protein.
#6. Vegetable rigatoni with creamy cauliflower sauce
This vegan cauliflower and pasta dish is a great way to eat more vegetables. Did you know that one cup of cauliflower contains over 85% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C? It's also an excellent antioxidant. You'll find our other cauliflower recipes, such as guilt-free cauliflower mash, on the recipes page. Nutritional yeast is a vegan source of vitamin B12 and this recipe includes carrots, peas and courgettes, although you could use any vegetables you like.
#7. Golden chicken, braised greens and potato gratin
A great dish to serve if friends and family are coming over, Jamie's recipe does include single cream and parmesan cheese, but then, a little of what you fancy does you good! The richness of the creamy potato gratin is balanced nicely with the roast chicken and greens – iron-rich spinach, leeks and peas are used here, but any greens will do.
#8. Vegan black bean soup
Looking for a soup that's packed with clean, healthy ingredients plus plenty of protein and fibre? This is the perfect soup to enjoy after a session with your personal trainer. Black beans are loaded with protein, fibre and antioxidants, plus one cup contains 20% of your RDA of iron. Immune-boosting onions and garlic, alkalising celery and vitamin C rich red peppers are also thrown into the mix. Try adding a tablespoon of coconut oil for some healthy fat.
#9. The best fish baps with mushy peas and tartare sauce
For a healthier take on burgers, why not try a fish burger? Lemon sole or plaice both work well here. With 665 calories per serving, this is perhaps a dish best saved for your cheat day, but it's still healthy, high in protein and simple to prepare, plus, it's a great way to get more fish in your diet.
#10. Spicy salmon with bok choy and rice
Salmon is a great choice for a quick, easy dinner as it doesn't take long to cook in the oven. But stay away from ready-made sauces and packet spice blends, which often contain additives and artificial preservatives. Brush your salmon with a little organic honey and soy sauce, then sprinkle with some crushed red chilli flakes and bake in the oven. We like to serve this with brown rice and bok choy, but it would also be delicious with a simple kale salad.
#11. Turkey and broccoli pasta
Turkey is a source of tryptophan, an amino acid our bodies need to create serotonin, which regulates mood and well-being. Increasing levels of tryptophan in your diet can boost your mood, improve your memory and even lower aggression (2). Minced turkey is also easy to cook and it's a lean source of protein. This super-quick and easy recipe uses broccoli, packed with vitamin C, but you could switch this for another vegetable if you like.
#12. Courgette and bean salad with bulgur wheat
We love bulgur wheat, and it turns out it's pretty good for you too! A staple of cuisine in the Middle East, it can cut your risk of gallstones and has anti-inflammatory effects. It contains betaine, which can help to lower levels of homocysteine, an agent linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. It's also an excellent source of manganese and fibre; one cup contains 8.19g of fibre (that's 32.8% of your RDA) (3). Protein and fibre packed kidney beans and courgettes, plus protein-rich almonds create this tasty, nutty salad that's ideal for a quick meal – take the leftovers to work for lunch!
#13. Huevos Estrellados
'Crashed' eggs are served in Madrid as a popular lunch or dinner dish and they're so easy to make. Eggs are a great source of protein and amino acids – they're one of the healthiest fast foods around and will leave you feeling full of energy and satisfied. Crack the eggs some distance from the pan so they 'crash' into the pan. Flavoured with immune-boosting garlic and onions, you could even add some vegetables or chilli for added spice. We like to make ours with chopped red peppers and some Serrano ham.
#14. Kale and tomato spaghetti
For creative ways to get your greens, take a look at our post from earlier this week, or try this speedy recipe. Using wholegrain spaghetti is a healthier option than regular egg pasta and with super-healthy kale, antioxidant rich tomatoes and almonds, this simple yet delicious meal is the perfect choice after your yoga or meditation class.
#15. Spanish omelette with chorizo and potatoes
An omelette that cooks in the oven? Sounds so simple – and it is! You can make this chunky omelette vegetarian by omitting the chorizo and adding your choice of vegetables, such as courgettes and red peppers. We think the chorizo gives a fantastic smoky, spicy flavour to the eggs – serve with a healthy side salad which you can prepare whilst the omelette bakes.
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