5:2 Diet Goes to Sicily

5:2 Diet Recipe – Tuna, Aubergine and Tomato with Courgetti!

This 5:2 diet recipe takes its inspiration from three sources.  Firstly I caught Nigel Slater making Courgetti on Making the Most of It.  Now, I am a huge Nigel Slater fan, I have the books, I even sometimes make recipes FROM the books, but actually what I like best is his approach to cookery which is, I think, reflected in the title of the TV series.  There are very few absolutes and he encourages his readers/viewers to be creative with what they have available.  The Courgetti were made to take advantage of the courgette glut at this time of year and are quite similar to another Nigel Slater recipe I borrowed and adapted earlier this year for carrot and parsnip tagliatelli.  And, I’ve been trying hard to work out how to adapt what was possibly the nicest pasta dish we had in Sicily to make a good 5:2 diet recipe.  My second source, the original recipe from Carla our Sicilian chef was a mixture of maccheronicini with swordfish, aubergines and mint – and I thought the courgetti would be an excellent substitute for the pasta.  The third source was from a 5:2 diet forum where someone posted a link to a Jamie Oliver recipe for steamed aubergine.  Another way to cut the calories in a dish for a vegetable that would otherwise never make it as a 5:2 diet recipe.

5:2 diet courgette ribbons with tuna, aubergines and mint

Now, when I got to the shops there was no swordfish.  I substituted another fish which is very popular in Sicily – fresh tuna.  And, while the original recipe used parsley and fresh tomatoes, my own parsley is looking a little sad right now and fresh tomatoes are just not the same as those you can buy in Sicily.  So, my version has basil and a tomato sauce using canned tomatoes.  In fact I also added a little Sicilian sun dried tomato paste, but I appreciate you might not have that to hand;).  Mint is used a lot in Sicilian recipes thanks to a proximity to Africa and makes this recipe deliciously fresh and vibrant.

5:2 diet – Courgetti with Aubergine and Tuna

Serves 2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Fish
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region Italian


  • 2 Medium Courgette
  • 1 Medium Aubergine
  • 180g Tuna or Swordfish (for a vegetarian option, leave this out and top with vegetarian cheese or toasted pine nuts)
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes (very ripe. If ripe vine tomatoes are not available, substitute half a can of chopped Italian tomatoes)
  • 1 clove Garlic (crushed)
  • 1 handful Fresh Mint
  • 1 handful Fresh Basil or parsley
  • 1 Lemon (the original recipe used white wine here.)
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil


Step 1 Cut the aubergine in half lengthwise and steam over a pan of boiling water for about 20 minutes till soft
Step 2 Allow to cool slightly, then chop into chunks and tear the mint into the aubergine, mixing well
Step 3 Top and tail the courgettes, then using a potato peeler, slice the courgettes into ribbons
Step 4 Cut the fish and tomato (if fresh) into chunks
Step 5 In one pan soften the garlic and seal the tuna, then stir through the tomato and aubergine and allow to rest while you cook the courgettes
Step 6 In a largish non-stick frying pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil, then gently soften the courgettes over a moderate heat till they start to go translucent.
Step 7 Stir through the sauce, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste and tear in the basil leaves
Step 8 Serve!

This is a dish with all the flavours of a Mediterranean summer.  If you are NOT dieting, then by all means fry your aubergine in olive oil rather than steaming them and use pasta instead of courgettes.  Although, do try my lighter version at least once, you never know, you might prefer it.

I make the calories in this dish about 250 per serving, based on 90g of tuna.  A worthy 5:2 diet inclusion and one that tastes amazingly fresh thanks to the Mint.

My 5:2 Diet day comprised of this Aubergine and Tuna dish for dinner, a large bowl of Celeriac and Watercress Soup for lunch and some low fat yoghurt for breakfast. So, in terms of keeping under the 500 calorie limit, I believe my day’s calorie count came it at around 400 calories. I feel better for doing the diet, and when I am not eating TOO many review meals I am gradually losing weight – so hurrah for the 5:2 diet – it’s a life changer for me!


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  1. says

    I could watch Nigel Slater cooking for hours – so relaxing but always end up having the same result i.e. being ravenous:-) I tried to do the steamed aubergine recipe you describe above in Hong Kong as we had just been given a steamer. Sadly, it didn’t work (faulty steamer)so I ended up grilling them and made an asian dressed aubergine instead which was a good replacement. I like the idea of using courgetti instead of pasta. I agree mint and aubergine are a match made in heaven :-)

  2. anthony harrington says

    this looks lovely, I have been enjoying the Nigel Slater series on Friday nights, he is no-nonsense and makes everything look do straightforward.

    • says

      I love Nigel Slater’s recipes, I have quite a collection of recipe books from him and think he strikes an excellent balance between unusual and easy to make!

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