5:2 Zucchini and Asparagus Salad
Twice a week my new quest is to find meals that satisfy my need to eat but contain 300 calories or less. I reached the point in my life where I needed to diet, but as an avid food lover I wasn’t wiling to compromise on taste. This led me to the 5:2 diet (you can read more about it here). So far I am happy to report that it is working for me and I will be donning a dress tonight that I haven’t worn for twelve months (I was convinced the dress had shrunk in the wash…).
Anyway, for me, the difference between success and failure on the 5:2 diet is to find foods that look filling but are low in calories. This way I can fool my brain into thinking I am eating more than I actually am. That’s where raw vegetables come in. I have discovered that raw veggies contain less calories than cooked which means I can put more on the plate.
For this recipe I have left the asparagus raw because I found some really young, delicate stalks. If you can only get fatter, tougher asparagus then you may want to blanch them for a couple of minutes in boiling water and allow to cool. This may add a few more calories to the dish though!
I used some of my home made whey ricotta as it is too delicious to resist. I had to guess the calories, so judged it on the whole milk variety, but you could of course buy low fat ricotta and have more. You can also drizzle with extra virgin olive oil on days when you are not counting the calories so closely.
Zucchini and Asparagus Salad (serves 2, 102 calories per serve)
40ml fresh lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
10g red chilli, finely chopped
200g small zucchini (courgettes)
30g spring onions, finely sliced
30g black olives, sliced
6g fresh mint leaves
In a large bowl, make the marinade by combining the lemon juice, garlic and chilli.
This is my Jamie Oliver moment, I always think of Jamie when I crack out the speed peeler. I’d never heard of a potato peeler being called that until I started watching Jamie, but the name has stuck. Using a speed peeler, peel the zucchini until you can peel no more. You should be left with a large pile of zucchini ribbons. It looks a lot, but it does shrink when marinaded in the lemon juice.
Put the zucchini in the bowl with the lemon juice and stir until well coated. Add the asparagus and leave to stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to combine.
Just before serving add the spring onions, olives and mint. Dot with the ricotta and sprinkle with mint. I served this with a small portion of grilled, white fish giving me a satisfying 300 calorie dinner.