3 high-protein batch-cooking recipes that won't break the bank
If you’re looking for simple and delicious meal-prep ideas that are going to keep you full without costing a fortune, look no further. These recipes from Becky Excell’s Quick + Easy Gluten-Free book can be made in 30 minutes, don’t have massive ingredient lists and are packed with protein.
As we roll towards September, you may be planning to revitalise your fitness routine, nutritional habits and finances. And that means one thing: meal-prep inspo.
Whether you’re plotting packed lunches for the office, batch-cooked breakfasts to eat from home or simple snacks to take on summer cycles and August holidays, we all want high-protein, low-fuss options. These recipes are just the ticket. Ready in under 30 minutes, they’re all high in filling protein and fibre, and two can be made the day before. While they’re all gluten-free, you can switch the GF options to regular wheat if you don’t have coeliac disease.
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Remember, you can pack each one out with more veg if you have it and want to add more fibre.
Frozen berries tend to be better value than fresh, and pack a serious flavour punch to energy-rich breakfasts. You can serve curries with delicious tomato and onion side salads, and add any odd bits of veg from your fridge drawer to pasta bakes to bulk them out and increase your plant count for the day.
Date and walnut loaf
250g pitted dates, chopped
150ml boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
100g light brown sugar
85g walnuts, chopped, plus an extra 15g, chopped, for on top
2 medium eggs, beaten, or 6 tbsp of aquafaba (juice from a can of chickpeas)
• 225g gluten-free self-raising flour
¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
Preheat your oven to 150°C fan / 170°C / 340°F.
Place the chopped dates, boiling water, butter, bicarb and sugar in a large bowl and mix together so the butter melts. Leave for about 15 minutes so that the mixture cools down a little.
Add the chopped walnuts and beaten eggs (or aquafaba) and mix again before adding the flour, xanthan gum and baking powder, mixing to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts and bake for about 60–65 minutes, covering loosely with foil if it starts to brown a little too much during cooking.
Allow to cool in the tin for a while before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice and enjoy as it is, or spread with a little butter.
200g dried red lentils (if gluten-free, be sure to check the label)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 tbsp garlic-infused oil
1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp minced ginger paste
1 tsp minced chilli paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 gluten-free vegetable stock cube, crumbled
40g (1½oz) creamed coconut block (optional)
700ml (3 cups) boiling water
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, to serve
You can make this recipe in a slow cooker, oven or pressure cooker.
To cook in an oven
Preheat your oven to 140°C fan / 160°C / 325°F.
Place all ingredients (bar the coriander) in a casserole dish with a lid and cook for two hours until thick and creamy.
To cook in a slow cooker
Place all the ingredients except the water and fresh coriander in the slow cooker.
Mix thoroughly so everything is well dispersed (ignoring that the coconut, if using, is still a solid block), then add the water.
Stir briefly and use a wooden spoon to gently compact everything down below the water as much as possible. Pop the lid on and cook on low for around four hours, or high for two hours.
For the last 10–20 minutes, cook with the lid removed to allow it to thicken up to your liking.
To cook in a pressure cooker
Place all the ingredients bar the fresh coriander in the pressure cooker.
Pop the lid on and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Use the quick-release function to release the pressure and, with the lid open, cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow it to thicken up.
Serve topped with fresh coriander, alongside rice.
Quick fish pie
1 fillet each of salmon, cod and smoked haddock, chopped
185g (6½oz) crème fraîche or dairy-free natural yoghurt
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
60g frozen peas
100g raw, shelled prawns shrimp), deveined
50g smoked salmon
Salt and black pepper
For the topping
•50g–1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
• 50g butter (dairy or plant-based_
Splash of milk
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
50g Cheddar (or plant-based cheese), grate
Preheat your oven to 220°C fan / 240°C / 465°F.
Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes until tender, then drain and mash with the butter, milk, mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan of simmering water, poach your chopped salmon, cod and smoked haddock for about five minutes.
Drain, return to the pan and carefully stir in the crème fraîche, chives, frozen peas and prawns.
Spoon the fish mixture into an ovenproof dish, about 18 x 28cm (7 x 11in).
Pull the smoked salmon into pieces and dot it on top, then cover with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 10–12 minutes until the top is starting to turn golden.
Quick + Easy Gluten Free by Becky Excell (Quadrille, £20); Photography: Hannah Hughes
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