Tag Archives: low fat

Lentil and Spinach Dhal with Cashews and Coriander

9 Apr

This is my kind of comfort food.  All the flavour of a take away curry with none of the fat. It is easy, quick to cook (after the chopping) and really delicious. You could serve it with some whole grain rice if you like or poppadoms but on its own is just fine and filling enough. The soft spicy lentils with the irony richness of the spinach are topped off with toasted crunchy cashews, fragrant coriander and all the flavours are brightened by the zingy lime juice.

Lentil & Spinach Dhal with Cashews & Coriander

serves 3, vegan, gluten-free

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  •  1/2 tsp panch pooran (an Indian whole spice mix) use fennel seeds if you can’t get any
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • about 250 ml veg stock
  • a 400 gr jar/ tin cooked lentils, rinsed
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • about 150 gr fresh spinach leaves (about half a bag)
  • 125 gr cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (about 1/2 a lime) and some wedges to serve
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped and leaves for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and panch pooran/fennel seeds until they start to pop. Then stir in the onions, celery, carrot, a big pinch of salt & grinding of black pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until softened but not browned then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another minute being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the ground spices and a splash of stock if it seems dry and cook for another minute.

Tip in the lentils, tomatoes, veg stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes then add the spinach, put the lid on and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has just wilted.  Season with salt, stir through the chopped coriander and lime juice and taste for seasoning.

Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with a handful of toasted cashew nuts and coriander leaves with some extra lime wedges on the side.

 From the lentils you get an excellent balance of protein and complex carbohydrate as well as iron, B vitamins and soluble fibre that provides sustained energy and balance blood sugar levels. The carrots & spinach are super rich in beta carotene, which helps to protect the body from cancer and benefits the skin. The spinach also provides lots of vitamin C, folate and iron. Tinned tomatoes contain lycopene, another powerful anticancer nutrient and the cashew nuts supply protein, zinc & fibre.

I really didn’t know it was this easy to eat more healthily. I thought it would be a lot more difficult to give up cheese but I really don’t miss it and, as I said yesterday, I am not hungry, which is amazing if you know me. I am always hungry!! If you are not interested in the health benefits just ignore the paragraph above and enjoy the food. I just think it’s surprising/interesting how many good nutrients you can get from food and how good it tastes. And I haven’t even started on the health benefits of turmeric yet…..

Buen fin de semana!!

Lavender, Lemon and Honey Soft Oat Bars

9 Mar

We have a beautiful lavender on our roof terrace. I sometimes pick some to use as table settings. I wrap 3 or 4 stems with natural garden raffia and put it on a white serviette.

I store these in a draw with the serviettes so they always smell nice. After a while they do dry out, which isn’t a problem, but it got me thinking about cooking with lavender. When we had the restaurant we had a lamb dish on the menu with Lavender, Honey and Garlic. It always sold really well for an unusual dish.

I saw a recipe for Lavender and Lemon Pound Cake on Kitchen Operas which caught my eye. It looked beautiful and I have a huge bowl of lemons on my kitchen table. This was definitely the direction I wanted to go in but I didn’t feel like making a cake. The Washer Up likes to take sweet things to work to share with the others so when I saw a recipe for Honey Lavender Oatmeal Squares at The Bee & the Fruit in the Kitchen I decided to combine the lemon into that recipe and see how it turned out.

Lavender, Lemon & Honey Oat Bars

makes 9 – 12 mini bars/squares, vegetarian, sugar-free. Adapted from The Bee & The Fruit in the Kitchen & Tartelette

  • 75 gr wholemeal flour
  • 60 gr rolled oats
  • 50 gr almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds (make sure they are untreated)
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 55ml greek yogurt
  • 115 gr honey
  • the zest of 1 lemon (washed)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • a few drops of almond extract (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 180C and line a small baking tin with baking paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a jug and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together well with a wooden spoon. Tip the mixture into the lined baking tin and pat it down so it is even. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden and leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into 9 or 12 mini bars.

As you can see there is no butter or sugar in this recipe. The sweetness comes from the honey which makes this a healthy, not overly sweet, treat. The lemon & lavender work really well together as a flavour and aroma combination making these perfect for a grab & go breakfast or a mid afternoon pick me up snack.


The Washer Up said he prefers his snacks with sugar in but the other guys weren’t complaining. It’s funny to think of a group of builders snacking on healthy Lavender & Lemon Oat Bars with their afternoon cup of tea………….

These oat bars are featured in a sweet treats round up hosted by Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookies. Just click on the Sweets for a Saturday badge above and have a look around at some of the most delicious sweet things posted this week.

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