No need to put the brakes on hearty indulgence this Christmas… Slimming World have you covered with their slim-fest menus that will keep you trim!
Wonderfully warming winter treats need not be a thing of the past if you’re on bridal big-day countdown and watching the calories. November and December truly are months for hearty meals (mince pies after every meal are obligatory in my household from November the 15th…); we love these slim-fest menus from Slimming World to keep you from missing out, but also to keep you trim!
Vegetarian Christmas Roast
Ready in 1 hour 20 minutes
75g dried brown basmati rice
65g dried Puy lentils
Low-calorie cooking spray
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh herbs (e.g. parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage), plus chopped parsley to serve
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp marmite or yeast extract
½ x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
1 large egg, beaten
15g pecans, roughly chopped
1 level tbsp reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Vegetables, to serve
For the tomato sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs to garnish
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g can peeled cherry tomatoes in juice, juice reserved
Put the rice, 150ml boiling water and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan over a high heat. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes, by which time all the water should have been absorbed. Turn off the heat and leave for 5 minutes, still covered. Uncover and set aside. Meanwhile, put the lentils into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil over a high heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
At the same time, spray a non-stick saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a low heat. Add the onion, celery, herbs and some seasoning then stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
Uncover, stir in the paprika and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato purée and marmite or yeast extract. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Spray a 450g loaf tin with low-calorie cooking spray and line with non-stick baking paper. Tip the cannellini beans into a mixing bowl and crush into a paste with a masher. Add the cooked vegetables, carrot and egg and mix well, and then stir in the rice, lentils and some seasoning to taste. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and lightly level the top. Sprinkle with the pecans and cheese and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Spray a saucepan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the rosemary and garlic then when they start to sizzle, add the tomato juices from the cans and simmer, stirring now and then, until reduced and thickened. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, season to taste and keep warm.
Lift the roast out of the tin and leave it to sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Scatter over the parsley and serve hot with the tomato sauce and your favourite vegetables.
Peppered lamb with saffron potatoes
Ready in 2 hours
2.2kg leg of lamb, bone-in, visible fat removed
Leaves of 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus a large sprig to garnish
6 garlic cloves, cut into thin matchsticks
2 tsp coarsely ground mixed peppercorns
Large pinch of saffron threads
1 tbsp ras-el hanout spice mix
500ml boiling vegetable stock
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
Low-calorie cooking spray
2kg floury potatoes such as King Edward, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
Vegetables, to serve
Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan 210°C/gas 8. Using a sharp knife, make about 20 deep cuts in the lamb and poke in half of the rosemary and all of the garlic. Season with the peppercorns and put the lamb in a non-stick roasting tin.
Mix together the saffron, ras-el-hanout, stock, lemon zest and juice in a heatproof jug and set aside. Spray another large non-stick roasting tin with a little low-calorie cooking spray and layer the potatoes, red onions and remaining rosemary in it, seasoning to taste as you go.
Pour over the saffron stock. Roast the lamb and potatoes for 20 minutes then reduce the heat to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and roast for a further 1 hour 25 minutes, checking the potatoes from time to time (cover them with foil if they’re getting a bit too brown for your liking).
Drain any fat from the lamb and rest for a few minutes then transfer to a serving dish with the potatoes and a rosemary garnish. Carve and serve hot with your favourite vegetables.
Choc ‘n’ date brownies
Ready in 50 minutes, plus cooling
2 large brown-skinned sweet potatoes (about 500g), peeled and diced
100g porridge oats
3 level tbsp sweetener
1 medium egg*
12 dried medjool dates, stoned and roughly chopped
2 level tbsp low-fat spread
6 level tbsp cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder, available in larger supermarkets)
½ level tsp icing sugar, to dust
Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and line the base and sides of an 18cm square loose bottomed cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Steam the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender (use a steamer or put them in a covered colander placed over a saucepan of boiling water and steam over a high heat).
Leave to cool slightly. Put the oats into a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. Add the sweetener, egg, dates, spread, cocoa powder, sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt, and whizz to a thick, smooth paste. Pour into the prepared tin, level the surface and carefully poke in the raspberries (placing them so that each brownie will get 1 raspberry).
Bake for 35 minutes then leave to cool in the tin. Turn out on to a board then peel away and discard the baking paper. Cut into 16 squares and dust with icing sugar to serve.
Recipes are taken from Slimming World’s collection. To find your nearest Slimming World group visit slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.
Images: Will Heap and Toby Scott
*Pregnant women, the elderly and babies are advised not to eat raw or partially cooked eggs.