Fast ‘n' fresh

Packed with vegetables, these quick and healthy dinners are serious weeknight winners

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Packed with vegetables, these quick and healthy dinners are serious weeknight winners

My Reading Room
Beef & Lentil Bolognese Prep 10 mins / Cook 25 mins / Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

300 g beef mince

2 tbsps tomato paste

700 g jar passata

1 tsp Italian herbs, dried

400 g can lentils, drained, rinsed

400 g spaghetti Shaved Parmesan, basil leaves, crusty bread, to serve

1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil on high. Saute onion, carrot and garlic 3-4 mins until tender.

2. Add mince. Brown 4-5 mins, breaking up lumps. Stir in paste then passata and herbs. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8-10 mins. Stir in lentils. Simmer 1-2 mins until heated through. Season.

3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pan of boiling salted water to the boil. Cook spaghetti following packet instructions. Drain.

4. Serve spaghetti topped with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and basil and accompany with crusty bread, if liked.

My Reading Room
Ham, Tomato & Haloumi Rice Salad Prep 20 mins / Cook 10 mins / Serves 4

2 x 250 g packets brown rice and quinoa, steamed for 90 secs

2 cups broad beans, frozen

100 g ham, shaved

250 g haloumi cheese, sliced

250 g cherry tomatoes

½ cup kalamata olives in balsamic vinegar

½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve


¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsps white balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Prepare rice mixture following packet instructions. Transfer to a large platter.

2. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, blanch broad beans 1 min. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pod beans.

3. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue on high. Chargrill ham and haloumi, 1-2 mins, until ham is crisp and haloumi is golden. Set aside.

4. Top rice mixture with beans, tomatoes, olives, ham and haloumi.

5. BALSAMIC & GARLIC DRESSING In a small jug, whisk all ingredients together. Season.

6. Drizzle dressing over salad. Scatter with parsley, to serve.

My Reading Room
Moroccan Couscous Salad Prep 20 mins (plus resting) / Cook 15 mins / Serves 4

400 g lamb leg steaks

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsps Moroccan seasoning

1 carrot, julienned

1 zucchini, julienned

1 cup water

1 cup wholemeal couscous

¼ cup flaked almonds, toasted

½ cup mint leaves

½ cup coriander leaves

100 g marinated feta cheese, crumbled Natural yoghurt, to serve


½ cup currants

2 tbsps lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsps finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat a chargrill or barbecue on high. Drizzle steak with

2 tbsps oil and sprinkle with half seasoning. Chargrill 2-3 mins each side, until cooked to taste. Rest, covered loosely with foil, 5 mins, then slice.

2. Meanwhile, in same pan, heat remaining oil on medium. Saute carrot, zucchini and remaining seasoning, 1 min. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. In same pan, bring water to boil. Remove from heat. Add couscous. Set aside, covered, 5 mins. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to bowl with carrot mixture.

4. LEMON DRESSING In a small jug, whisk all ingredients together. Set aside 5 mins until currants are plump.

5. Add remaining ingredients to couscous with dressing. Toss gently until combined. Serve couscous topped with lamb and accompanied with yoghurt.

My Reading Room
Chicken & Corn Soft Tacos Prep 15 mins / Cook 20 mins / Serves 4

2 corn cobs, husks removed

1 tbsp oil

1 red onion, sliced

2 large tomatoes, chopped

3 tsps Mexican chilli powder

2 cups shredded barbecued chicken

400 g canned kidney beans, rinsed, drained

8 tortillas, chargrilled Sour cream, coriander sprigs, lime cheeks, to serve


1 large avocado, seeded, mashed

2 tbsps chopped coriander

1 tbsp lime juice

1. Preheat chargrill pan or barbecue on medium. Spray corn with oil. Season to taste.

2. Grill corn, turning occasionally, 10 -15 mins until golden and tender. Remove kernels from corn with a sharp knife.

3. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat oil on high. Sauté onion, 2-3 mins, until tender. Add tomatoes. Cook 1-2 mins until starting to soften. Add chilli powder and cook 1 min. Stir in chicken and beans until heated through.

4. GUACAM OLE In a small bowl, combine avocado, coriander and juice. Season to taste.

5. Chargrill tortillas 30 secs each side until heated through. Fill with chicken mixture, top with corn and guacamole. Serve with sour cream, coriander and lime