Recharge with power plants and proteins, recipes by Annie Bell

Recharge and refresh! Try our easy, feel-good combos packed with power plants and proteins. 

Very berry passion bowl

SERVES 1 OR 2

GET IT TOGETHER: This is my idea of the perfect ending to a special dinner – in which case two can share. It also makes a fruit lunch for one; add a small bowl of Greek or coconut yoghurt for extra comfort. Choose a mixture of three berries (your favourites or whatever you can source seasonally). Arrange about 50g of each in a bowl or shallow soup plate with 50g skinned fresh coconut flesh (cut into chunks) and 1 passionfruit (cut in half). Shave 30g dark chocolate with sea salt (for example Lindt Excellence) into splinters or scrolls. Add to the fruit plate, cover and chill for up to a day.

ANOTHER WAY You can also transform the ingredients into a sundae. Divide between serving glasses (slicing the coconut more finely) and add a scoop of mango sorbet to each one.

Crab mayo bowl with red rice

SERVES 4

GET IT TOGETHER: Cook 80g red rice according to packet instructions, drain, rinse under the cold tap and set aside to cool. Finely slice 4 sticks celery heart and have ready 4 handfuls lamb’s lettuce and 8 pickled chillies (for example, Fragata brand). Divide all the above ingredients attractively among four suitable bowls or soup plates, or arrange on one large platter for sharing.

DRESS THE CRAB & SERVE Combine 30g mayonnaise, 30g zero-fat greek yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice, ½ tsp dijon mustard and, if wished, a pinch of ground mace. Stir in 1 tbsp finely chopped dill then fold in 200g white or mixed crab meat. Divide the crab mayo among the bowls and dust with cayenne pepper. Scatter over some finely sliced spring onions and a little more chopped dill, and accompany with lemon wedges.

Easy Mediterranean graze bowl

SERVES 4

GET IT TOGETHER: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Halve 250g mixed baby peppers lengthways and deseed them (or you can leave them whole and deseed once cooked). Arrange in a roasting pan, drizzle over 1 tbsp good olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and roast for about 30 minutes. Leave to cool and slice into strips if wished. You could also use ready-roasted peppers from a jar. Have ready 120g feta, 80g pitted green olives, 200g halved small cherry tomatoes, 4 slices ibérico or other air-dried ham and 4 small handfuls of rocket leaves. Divide all the above ingredients attractively among four suitable bowls or soup plates, or arrange on one large platter for sharing.

DRESS & SERVE For the dressing combine 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp good olive oil. Drizzle some dressing over each bowl or serve on the side. Scatter over some toasted pine nuts and offer a few thin grissini (for example Crosta & Mollica brand) or other skinny bread sticks on the side.

Quinoa combo with avocado & pomegranate

SERVES 4

GET IT TOGETHER: Cook and drain 70g quinoa according to packet instructions and allow to cool (or alternatively use about 170g good-quality precooked quinoa). Have ready 4 small handfuls baby spinach leaves. Trim and spiralise 4 small courgettes (about 200g total weight) or shave into ribbons using a potato peeler. Toss with 1 tbsp each squeezed lime juice and olive oil. Slice the flesh of 2 small avocados, discarding the peel and stones, and toss with 1 tbsp squeezed lime juice. Divide all the above ingredients attractively among four suitable bowls or soup plates, or arrange on one large platter for sharing. Scatter 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds over each serving.

DRESS & SERVE For the dressing, place 100g almond butter in a medium bowl and gradually work in 1 tbsp squeezed lime juice and up to 50ml water (or enough to give the consistency of a pouring salad cream). Season with ⅓ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp ground cumin and salt to taste. Stir or whisk until smooth. Serve the dressing on the side or drizzle it over.

PROTEIN PLUS You could add some cooked chicken or grilled halloumi to the bowl ingredients if you like.

Spicy herby lamb with ribbon veg

SERVES 6

GET IT TOGETHER: For the lamb sauce (which is like a ragù and could be served with pasta or flatbread as well), have ready 1kg minced lamb and 400ml sieved fresh orange juice. Peel and finely chop 4 shallots and 3 garlic cloves. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots for a minute or so until softened and translucent, stirring frequently, then stir in the garlic followed by ⅓ tsp each ground allspice and ground cinnamon and fry for a minute more. Add the lamb mince, turn up the heat and fry until the meat changes colour. Add the orange juice, followed by 2 heaped tbsp tomato purée, some salt and a little cayenne pepper, bring to the boil, then cover and cook over a low heat for 1 hour. Leave the ragù to stand for 5 minutes. Skim off any excess fat and stir in a large handful each of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and coriander. Finish with lots of chopped spring onions (about 16) stir-fried in a little oil for a few minutes until softened, then scattered over. Serve the ragù with courgetti or thin pared courgette ribbons or other vegetable noodles. It also works well with roasted aubergines and warmed pittas or Middle Eastern breads.

Vietnamese beef noodles with tangy lime dressing

SERVES 4

GET IT TOGETHER: Cut 300g lean rump or sirloin steak across the grain into strips 1cm thick, halve these lengthways and toss with 1 tbsp groundnut oil and some salt and pepper to coat. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, spread half the steak strips in the pan and sear for 45-60 seconds, then turn and cook for another 30 seconds or until coloured and done to your liking. Spread the steak on a plate, cook the remainder in the same way and leave to cool. Have ready 175g cooked halved fine green beans and 125g beansprouts. Prepare 70g vermicelli rice noodles according to packet instructions, drain, toss with 2 tsp oil and leave to cool. Divide all the above ingredients attractively among four suitable bowls or soup plates, or arrange on one large platter for sharing.

DRESS & SERVE For the dressing, peel 1 garlic clove and crush to a paste. Whiz the garlic with 3 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp groundnut oil and 1 level tsp caster sugar. Drizzle some dressing over each bowl or serve on the side. Finish with a scattering of chopped fresh coriander, finely sliced medium-hot red chilli and crushed roasted cashews to taste.

Big green soup with pasta & parmesan

SERVES 4

PREP THE SOUP: Trim and chop 225g spring onions. Melt a knob of butter with 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the onions, season with salt and fry for about 5 minutes until softened and glossy, stirring occasionally. Add 750ml vegetable or chicken stock, bring to the boil, then gradually add 500g spinach by handfuls, submerging each one as you go, followed by 100g frozen peas or trimmed watercress sprigs (or a mixture). Cover and bubble over a low heat for about 5-7 minutes or until the peas are tender and leaves are wilted but retaining a good colour. Purée the soup in batches in a blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to your liking, adding a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of nutmeg. Reheat gently as necessary.

FINISH & SERVE Cook 60g orzo pasta (ideally wholewheat) according to packet instructions, drain and toss with a knob of butter. Serve the hot soup with some of the pasta in the centre and generous shavings of parmesan (or a veggie equivalent if preferred).

VARIATION Add a glug or two of white wine if you like. Splash it into the pan towards the end of cooking the onions and bubble to reduce before proceeding with the recipe.

Totally tomato soup with a hint of mint & ginger

SERVES 4

PREP THE SOUP: Peel and chop 2 small onions or shallots and 3 garlic cloves. Prepare 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger. Coarsely chop 1.25kg plum tomatoes. Heat 2 tbsp good olive oil in a large heavy pan over a low heat and fry the onions or shallots for about 7 minutes or until lightly coloured, stirring occasionally and adding the garlic and ginger a couple of minutes before the end. Add the tomatoes and a few generous pinches of salt and give them a stir, then cover the pan with a lid and bubble gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the tomatoes are soft and soupy. Purée the contents of the pan in a blender with 1 tsp caster sugar and 4 small mint leaves until smooth and press through a sieve using the back of a ladle. Check the seasoning and reheat as necessary.

FINISH & SERVE Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over each serving, grind over some black pepper and decorate with a few tiny mint leaves.


Food styling: Clare Lewis, Styling: Sue Radcliffe.