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8 easy (but healthy) dinner ideas for when you’re too tired to cook

November 2nd 2015 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? Here are 8 deliciously healthy, quick and easy dinner recipes and tasty takeaway and delivery services to provide some appetising food for thought...

You’ve had a long day, a stressful commute, it’s dark, cold and rainy and the last thing you want to do is cook. We know the feeling well.

With convenience and temptation often leading us astray from our healthy eating good intentions, what if we were to tell you that fast food needn’t mean more fat, more sugar or more grease? And, healthy dinners needn’t take an age to make nor bankrupt you in the process either, (the good news just gets better and better doesn't it?) Although hard to believe, we promise these meals do actually exist. We asked nutritional therapist, author and co-founder of Food-Grown™ supplement brand Wild Nutrition Henrietta Norton and nutritional therapist Zoe Stirling for their recommendations of easy and healthy dinner recipes and quick dinner ideas that are easy to whip up and taste delicious too.

Henrietta Norton’s healthy but easy dinner recipes

1. Halloumi, lentil and roasted pepper salad with toasted pine nuts

Serves 2

Ingredients

200g lentils cooked, tinned or in a ready-to-eat packet

150g halloumi cheese, cut to 1 inch pieces

12-15 baby plum tomatoes, ripe and ready to eat for sweetness, halved

2 large roasted red peppers, sliced (I buy mine ready done in a jar for convenience)

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, squashed, but not peeled

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 - 3 large handfuls of baby watercress

A couple of slices of stale bread

For the dressing

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

Method

"First of all, make your dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small jar, season and place on the lid. Shake well until the dressing is combined and emulsified.

"Now put your lentils into a bowl and pour over half of the dressing.

"Heat a large frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the squashed garlic and tear in the stale slices of bread. Make sure they are bite-size. Toast the breadcrumbs in the oil for 5-6 minutes until they are golden brown.

"Remove the croutons from the pan and leave to drain on a piece of absorbent paper.

"Add a little more oil and start to fry your halloumi and cook until it turns slightly golden.

"Now add the halved tomatoes and the sliced peppers. Heat through before adding the lentils. Place the watercress into a large serving bowl and pour over the hot halloumi, tomatoes and peppers. Season with pepper and pour over the remaining dressing. Add in the toasted pine nuts. Serve while still warm."

2. Cream of broccoli and cashew soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 pints of water

1 minced garlic clove

10g freshly grated ginger

50g cashew nuts

1 sprig of rosemary

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 vanilla bean

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper and rock salt

600g broccoli chopped into small pieces (include the nutrient rich stem!)

1 - 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 - 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Tamari soy sauce to flavour

Method

"Combine the water, garlic, ginger, cashews, rosemary, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, pepper and salt into a large pot and bring to the boil. Add the broccoli and boil for 2 minutes until it's tender. Allow to cool until just warm. Whizz in the blender until velvety smooth. Add in the olive oil and vinegar and process again. Serve hot with a few drops of tamari soy sauce to taste."

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3. Chicken fillets with a cannellini bean purée

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 chicken fillets or thighs

300ml fresh organic chicken stock

200g organic cannellini beans, soaked and cooked as per instructions

2 garlic cloves

The juice of ½ a lemon

A handful of freshly chopped parsley

Method

"Poach the chicken fillets in the chicken stock for approximately 20 minutes (depending on their size). Pulse the cannellini beans, garlic and lemon juice together in a food processor and slowly add the chicken stock until you have a desired consistency like a smooth hummus. Season and pour over the cooked chicken fillet and sprinkle with fresh parsley. It’s delicious served with sautéed leeks and roasted vine cherry tomatoes."

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4. Tuna, aduki bean salad with avocado, pumpkin seeds and parsley salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 x 125g tuna steak

A little oil, salt and pepper

The juice of half a lemon

For your salad

1 tin of Aduki beans, drained weight 200g

1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into 1 - 2cm pieces

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

2 handfuls of cooked kale

30g bunch of flat leave parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

For the dressing

2 tsp Dijon mustard

The juice of ½ a lemon

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tsp rapeseed oil

Method

"Season the tuna steaks on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little rapeseed oil. Heat a griddle pan and when hot, lay on the tuna steaks. Cook on each side for 3 minutes - more if you prefer it well done. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, remove from the pan once cooked and leave to rest.

"Combine all the ingredients for your salad in a large bowl.

"Make your dressing by combining all of your ingredients in a small jar. Place on the lid and shake well. Once the dressing is emulsified, pour ¾ of it over your salad.

"Serve the salad with the sliced tuna steak on top and pour over the remaining dressing.

"This dish can also be made with tinned tuna. This is a really simple salad for an easy lunch to have either at home, take to work or over the weekend."

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Zoe Stirling’s recommendations of healthy but tasty takeaways

5. CPRESS

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"Certified organic by the Soil Association, CPRESS are one of the only high street cold-pressed juice brands out there with the organic seal of approval. From juices to salads, breakfasts and treats, they use the highest quality ingredients to ensure maximum nutrition in every mouthful. Their plant-based menu offers healthy staples such as courgetti, quinoa and lentil salads as well as fragrantly spiced falafel.

"Not only is it one of the cleanest meals you can get in London, it’s also totally delicious too. Smaller salads start from £3.60 and larger ones like my favourite ‘Five Seasons’ are £8.50; juices start from £4.95. Order and collect in store or use Quiqup should you want it delivered to your doorstep."

www.cpressjuice.com

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6. Daylesford Organic

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"I simply love Daylesford and their ethos on organic farming. Daylesford has a few cafés/shops in London where you can sit, relax and eat delicious, nourishing and sumptuous meals, juices and snacks. If you’re into seasonal eating, then Daylesford always offer special soups and salads in stores.

"Not only can you find Daylesford on the high street, you can also access some of their products online via Ocado. They offer a particularly wonderful range of soups including chicken and beef bone broths, £3.99, and a classic pea and mint soup, £4, among many others. In addition to being able to get their products delivered to your doorstep with a few clicks of a button, they can also occupy your fridge for a few days so they’re the perfect go-to option should you get stuck at work and need a quick, easy and light meal when you arrive home. Prices for soups start from just £4."

www.daylesford.com

7. Pollen + Grace

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"Although Pollen + Grace don’t deliver to your doorstep in the evenings as they’re a lunchtime delivery service; I make use of their fantastic food offering by ordering my dinner at lunchtime and storing it in the fridge until I’m ready to have it in the evening. Not the most convenient way of doing it, but it’s totally worth it.

"Each day they have a set meal, with an option of having either a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal. Their food is nourishing, wholesome and filling; perfect for training days when you’re stuck for time. You can also choose to add on hazelnut truffles, mini pumpkin pie and a selection of juices to your order should you wish to have a snack too. They’re based in South West London, but do deliver to other parts of London for an additional charge. Prices start from £8.50."

www.pollenandgrace.com

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8. Marks & Spencer

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"Although Marks & Spencer wouldn’t be my top choice, they do provide some great, easy-to-prepare ingredients that you can quickly combine together to make a healthy meal. I tend to get a few ingredients and then spruce them up at home with add-ons such as goji berries, avocado or leftover vegetables from my fridge for example. I wouldn’t suggest living off pre-prepared meals - there’s nothing better than getting into the kitchen and cooking yourself, but they’re great for the occasional meal when you’re stuck and are pressed for time.

"Remember to have a close look at some of the ingredients they use, as there is not a great variety for people with wheat and gluten allergies or intolerances. Prices start from £3.50 for a pre-poached salmon fillet and £2.70 for a large bowl of salad with quinoa."

www.marksandspencer.com

Follow us @getthegloss and Ayesha @Ayesha_Muttu.

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