Healthy & Hearty Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

One thing I love doing is finding healthy, easy, and equally delicious swaps for traditional recipes. Anyone who grew up having Shepherd’s Pie would probably agree it’s a delicious meal and a great mid-week meal.

Here, I’ve swapped the potato topping for a potato-and-broccoli mash, and took out the beef mince for a leaner option with chicken breast. For vegans, or anyone who wants to make this dish plant-based, I’d suggest Quorn or using tofu or seitan.

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You will need:
(GF, dairy-free)

  • 500g chicken breast, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • Two large handfuls button mushrooms
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour (or your favourite alternative)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • salt

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Chop your potatoes into cubes.

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Chop the rest of your vegetables.

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Chop your chicken and tomatoes, and mix your spices with the chickpea flour.

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Toss your chicken with the spiced flour mix.

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In a pot with a little olive oil, brown off your chicken.

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Once it’s browned, add your onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook for 5-10 minutes.

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Once your chicken is cooked, take it out and put on the side, then add all of your veg minus the broccoli and potato and add tomato paste. Cook until the veg is semi-tender.

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Then mix in your chicken and vegetables together.

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In a separate pot, boil your chicken and broccoli together for 15 minutes. Do this while your veg are cooking so everything is ready at the same time. Once a fork goes through easily, drain and mash with 1 tbsp olive oil and a little of the cooking liquid.

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Pour your chicken and veg mix into an oven-proof dish, then top with the mash. Put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes to brown and crisp up.

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Et viola!

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Delicious, hearty and healthy meal for the whole family — or something you can portion up and use as meal prep.

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This is honestly one of my family’s favourites, and the only struggle will be eating just one portion! We polished off the whole meal pretty quickly. This made enough to fill two oven-proof dishes, so definitely enough for 6-8 people.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Healthy Curried Refried Beans & Sweet Potato

Continuing with the theme of delicious plant-based food, here’s a super hearty, warming recipe that’s perfect for the cooler months — and has a curried twist.

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You will need:
(GF, Vegan)

  • 3 small sweet potatoes (or two mediums divided)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannelloni beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • A handful of dill, chopped finely
  • A handful of coriander, chopped finely*
  • 1 tsp tandoori spices**
  • 1 1/2 tsp chicken or garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • salt and olive oil

Optional, to serve:

  • 1/2 avocado per portion (1 1/2 total)
  • 1 cup mixed green per portion
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes

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* Swap coriander for more dill if you’re someone who doesn’t like coriander
** If you can’t find tandoori mix, increase the paprika, and add a bit of cumin and turmeric

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Add your beans, spices, chopped garlic and herbs to a pot and let them cook and combine. If you prefer a wetter mix instead of a refried beans/paste consistency, add about 1/2 cup of water. Let this cook for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, poke your sweet potato, add salt and a drizzle of olive oil and put it in the oven at 200C for 45mins to one hour, depending on their size.

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Again, like last week, I was creating a meal prep here so I divided them up into three glass tupperware containers. I kept this separate from the greens because I wanted to heat this part of the meal up before eating.

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I chose to serve mine over a bed of mixed greens, with a side of avocado to cool things down and offer a creaminess, as well as some cherry tomatoes. I also made a very simple tahini dressing of lemon juice, tahini and water.

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It was honestly a delicious meal, and the tandoori spices in this kind of dish was a revelation. It made something that I consume reasonably often taste completely different, and made it quite a comforting meal.

How does this dish look to you? Would you like to see more things like this, or is there something else you’d like me to serve up?

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Pomegranate Chilli Tofu

Eating more plant-based food is a major passion of mine, although I am (clearly, as you see with my recipes) fully plant-based. It’s vastly better for the environment and as a rule it’s more humane. Usually my food is plant-based by default, but here I tried to create recipes there were flavourful and hearty.

Pomegranate syrup is a staple in a lot of Arab cooking, and I was curious to see how I could bring that into different vegan dishes.

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You will need:
(Vegan, GF)

  • 400g firm tofu
  • 3 carrots
  • 3-4 small courgettes or one large
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp pomegranate syrup*
  • Chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • olive oil & salt

Optional (to serve alongside):

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups mixed greens

* If you can’t find pomegranate syrup where you are, substitute for balsamic glaze.
For the roasted vegetables, you can obviously use whatever you have on hand or you favourite veggies.

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The spices are what’s important to bring this dish together. I’ve focused on quite Arab flavours for both the veg and the tofu.

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Chop up your veggies, add your spices and drizzle with olive oil (you don’t need much). Pop it in the oven at 200C for 35-40mins.

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For the tofu, you’ll need the pomegranate syrup and chilli flakes.

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Place the tofu under something heavy (I used a cast-iron lid) and let the liquid drain out on kitchen paper.

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Cut up the tofu into strips.

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Lay out your tofu in a hot pan — griddle if you’ve got one, but a normal pan works too (I did both to show that it doesn’t make a difference.

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Once your tofu has browned, flip it over and get it to cook on the other side.

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Then add your pomegranate syrup and chilli flakes, and let it caramelise.

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Here’s an example in a regular pan. No loss in flavour, just no griddle marks.

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I was doing this as meal prep, so I served them up in glass tupperware and it made enough for three meals. I had it on a bed of mixed greens, 1/2 cup of brown rice, a third of the roasted veg we made and six slices of tofu per portion.

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Tell me that doesn’t look absolutely delicious. I’ve always been on the fence with tofu, but when cooked right it is so damn good.

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How do you feel about this meal? Do you like tofu or do you need more convincing? Let me know in the comments if you’d be up for making this meal.

How To Eat Healthy While Unwell | What I Eat #46

Possibly my shortest video yet, but despite being unwell I thought I’d share what I ate to show how meal prep can really help us out in more ways than one. If I hadn’t meal prepped this week, I would have had to eat out for lunch, and chances are I wouldn’t have been able to have anything that healthy or satisfying!

See you in next week’s vlog, which will hopefully be more interesting.