A healthier sausage and bean melt

My friend Carla works as a Property Assistant between two offices. When she is in one of her offices she has a weekly routine of going to Greggs and ordering the following: 1 sausage and bean melt, 1 packet of Quavers, and 1 yum-yum.

After seeing my last blog, Carla challenged me to make a healthier version of a sausage and bean melt. I accepted.

The old sausage and bean melt used to be a firm favourite of mine (still is, on the odd naughty occasion), so I was excited to concoct something just as tasty with a higher nutrional value. Now, obviously, this isn’t going to be the healthiest meal ever, as it involves ready-to-roll pastry, sausage, and butter, but it is definitely more full of goodness than the Greggs version (which contain sugary baked beans and no veg). I came up with a recipe with lots of tasty veg – it’s a great Saturday night take-away alternative.

Once we’d finished our meal I asked Carla to crown the melt champion, was it to be mine or Greggs, purely on flavour?

‘Honestly? Yours’, she answered. VICTORY! (I’m not sure I’m willing to curb her Greggs habit by cooking it weekly, though).

 

Ingredients – serves 4:

200g barlotti beans

200g tin cannolenni beans

Half of a chorizo sausage ring

Handful of baby chantenay carrots

2 sweet potatoes

50g baby spinach

100g feta cheese

Half an onion

1 clove garlic

400g chopped tomatoes

1 tsp hot chilli powder

1 packet ready-to-roll filo pastry

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

2 tbsp butter

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 2 inch chunks. Wash the carrots. Spread the sweet potato and carrots onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season and pop into the oven for 40 mins.

Thinly slice the onion and garlic, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan/wok, and fry the onion and garlic until soft.

Chop the spinach & chorizo and add to the pan (it’s up to you what size you want the chorizo chunks).

Cook for a few mins until the chorizo darkens and add in the beans, chopped tomatoes and chilli powder.

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Unroll your filo pastry, melt the butter in the microwave, then brush a layer of butter onto the top sheet of pastry and lift that layer onto your baking tray. brush the next layer and lay it on top of the first. Repeat until all the layers are buttered and sitting on top of each other.

Cut your pastry into even sections, and scoop a dollop of the sausage mixture onto each section.

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Crumble an even amount of feta cheese onto each pile.

Fold up your pastry in each section, encasing the sausage mixture and pinching the pastry at the top to seal.

Brush a little melted butter over each sealed melt to finish, and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Serve with the carrots and sweet potato.

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Take that, Greggs!

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four fun lunch salads

Something I’ve found quite tricky since revamping my eating is lunches. I’ve just started working again after being out of work for a few months, so getting into a routine of preparing good lunches and taking them to work with me has been a readjustment (especially on particularly lazy days). One thing I’ve noticed is that grabbing food for lunch on the go is very difficult when choosing to eat natural/sugar free. Sandwiches, soups, even salads I’ve found in supermarkets and take-aways have almost all been full of sugar and preservatives. The ones that aren’t, cost a small fortune.

I was on the hunt for healthy, quick, easy and fulfilling lunches that I could prepare at the start of the week; ‘salads!’, my mind chimed in. ‘Hmmm, but salads are boring’, I huffed back. Thankfully, after some pinteresting and some tweeking, I found and tried four fun salads that are exciting to eat, easy to prepare, nutritious and don’t break the bank.

 

1 – Mediterranean grilled veggie salad

 

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(adapted from here)

Ingredients – makes a lunch salad for one:

For the salad –

1 courguette

1 red pepper

2 spring onions

2 handfuls mixed leaves (I used spinach & rocket)

1 handful of green olives

For the dressing –

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice if half a lemon

Pinch of salt & pepper

 

Method:

I used a George Foreman grill (very handy for quick, healthy grilling), but you can use a pan or griddle.

Slice courgette and pepper into thick slices, and place on the grill/hot pan. Grill for 8-10 minutes until charred and soft.

Meanwhile, mix together the dressing ingredients, chop the spring onions and toss with the mixed leaves and the dressing.

When the veggies are done,  toss them with the leaves and throw in the olives.

Enjoy!

 

2 – Balsamic roasted beetroot and goats cheese salad

 

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(adapted from here)

 

Ingredients – makes a lunch salad for one:

2 beetroots (either fresh or vac-packed)

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp organic maple syrup

Mixed leaves (again – I used spinach and rocket)

Handful of goats cheese, crumbled

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Chop up beetroot into inch cubes and toss them in the olive oil and salt in a large bowl.

Spread the beetroot out on a foil-lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until soft.

In the meantime, combine the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the mixture has reduced to about half, then take off the heat and set aside.

Once the beetroot has cooked and cooled, mix them them into the balsamic mixture until coated and sticky.

Toss the beetroot with your mixed leaves and crumble goats cheese on top.

Enjoy!

 

3 – Mexican chicken and avocado salad

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(adapted from here)

Ingredients – makes a lunch salad for two:

2 chicken breasts

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tbsp olive oil

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 avocado

Handful of olives (green or black)

Mixed leaves (I used spinach and rocket)

 

Method:

Mix together the oil and spices in a large bowl, add the chicken breasts and coat them with the mixture.

Grill the chicken breasts for 10-12 minutes until charred and juice (again, I used George Foreman but you can use a pan/griddle).

While the chicken is cooking, slice the onions, tomatoes and avocado.

When the chicken is done, slice it and toss it with the rest of the ingredients, olives, and dressing (I used the same dressing as with the mediterranean salad).

Enjoy!

 

4 – Pear, goats cheese and cranberry salad

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Ingredients – makes a lunch salad for one:

1 pear

Half a red onion

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of rocket leaves

Handful of goats cheese

Splash of balsamic vinegar

 

Method:

Thinly slice pear and red onion. Toss with rocket leaves, balsamic vinegar, cranberries and crumble goats cheese over the top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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