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Low-Calorie Vegetable Curry for the 5-2 Diet:
I was sent a large box of rather beautiful organic fruit and vegetables from Soil and Seed last week. Now, when I was asked if I would like to trial one of the boxes I looked at the range currently on offer and was a little bit thrown. As a single person household trying my best to follow the 5-2 diet, I can’t easily eat through a family box of fruit and vegetables. But, they only had small boxes of either fruit OR vegetables. And I really wanted to try both, because at this time of year, for the most part, organic seasonal vegetables need cooking. So, purely in the interest in trialling the box, I ended up with a LOT of fresh fruit and vegetables this week. My £22 box (retail) had rudolph potatoes, red onions, brown onions, leeks carrots, parsnips, celeriac, turnip and savoy cabbage – as well as apples, pears and pomegranate. So, this week I am eating a vegetarian diet when I am at home and you’ll probably find more than one 5-2 diet vegetarian recipe!
Generally, I’d make this curry up with chicken or prawns. I’m sure it’s not in the least bit authentic, but it IS very nice. And, actually, the vegetarian version I made, with roasted root vegetables and a little broccoli was really tasty and filling. Roasting the vegetables is a good way to get that nice caramelised depth of taste without adding too much fat (I spray mine with one cal and roast on a non-stick tray)
- 1 Medium Carrot 100g
- 1 Medium Onion 50g
- 1 can Tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1/2 teaspoon Coriander Seed Ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1 piece Cinnamon Ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1/2 teaspoon Tumeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 piece Ginger
- 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 3-4 shots 1cal oil
- 1 handful Fresh Coriander
- 1/2 Lemon
- 500 g Carrots/parsnips/turnips/onion/celeriac Chopped into chunks. You can also use broccolli, cauliflower, celery
- 2 tablespoons Coconut milk
- Slice the onion finely and peel and dice the carrot
- Spray a heavy based pan with 1 cal and add in the dry spices
- heat over a medium heat for a minute before adding in the onion, garlic, ginger and carrot. Stir well and cook over a low heat till the onion is translucent
- Add in the tinned tomatoes and the juice of the lemon and cook for 15 - 20 minutes over a low heat until the carrot and onion is completely soft. Then stir through the fresh coriander and blitz with a hand blender and check the seasoning, adding salt and more chilli as necessary. This makes enough for two portions of curry, so if you are cooking just for yourself, remove half and either freeze or put in the fridge. You will also only need 250g of roasted vegetables for one person.
- Put all the slow cooking vegetables onto a non-stick baking tray and spray with 1 cal
- Roast in the oven at 160 for about 20 minutes, adding in the soft vegetables (cauliflower, brocolli etc) for the last 5 minutes.
- Stir the vegetables and the coconut milk (if you are using it) into half the curry sauce and heat gently for 5-8 minutes
- Serve with rice, quinoa or just by itself depending on your personal taste and calorie count!
I’ve called it a made-to-measure curry because I can easily see how this recipe could be adapted to pretty much how every many calories you have to spare for your evening meal. The basic curry sauce has 79 calories per portion. Adding coconut milk will add 20-30 calories but make the dish richer and creamier. And the calorie count of the final curry will depend then upon your mix of vegetables. It should be perfectly possible though to put together 250g of mixed vegetables for 100-150 calories. If you were really trying to eat a low-calorie meal, you could simply stick to the low-calorie vegetables and have a large portion of curry for about 150 calories in total! With the vegetable mix I used, I had enough calories left to add in a little quinoa from Quinola, an ethical importer of award-winning organic Peruvian quinoa . That was another sample I was sent last week and a lovely addition to the dish which helped make it even more filling! I’ll write some more about quinoa and Quinola in particular once I’ve experimented a little more. Mine with a small helping of quinoa (30g uncooked or about 50g cooked) comes in at 300 calories, but that was enough for two bowlfuls and I really did feel full!
I’ve done a little checklist for myself so that I can easily keep on track
- Low-Calorie Vegetables: Celery, Turnip, Cauliflower, Broccoli (under 30 calories per 100g)
- Medium Calorie Vegetables: Onion, Carrot, Celeriac (30-70 calories per 100g)
- High-Calorie vegetables: Potato, Parsnip (over 70 calories per 100g)
On top of the calories, you need to remember that some vegetables are quite dense. So, a small potato will be around 100 calories. There’s a good visual guide to what I;m talking about here.
The organic fruit and vegetable box WAS a little bit too big for me to think I will be buying regularly, but very good value at £22.00 (they even threw in a free sample of some gluten-free pasta) I’m guessing it would provide most of the needs of a normal family of four for a week of meals. I’ve already made a large pot of carrot and cumin soup as well as enough curry sauce for another meal. The vegetables are good quality, maybe not quite as regular in size as you might be used to buying from the supermarket, but very well flavoured. Delivery, in London only at the moment, is via Tesco, so you can now order a good value organic food box with your regular supermarket shop. I’m used to ordering (occasionally) from Abel and Cole and this box stands up well to the products they’ve sent me. For me, at the moment, I’d probably stick with Abel and Cole simply because it suits my own lifestyle to be able to order smaller quantities and to chose what items I want in my box. But for a normal household, being able to order a good value organic fruit and vegetable box WITH your regular groceries and with the same flexibility that you get from Tesco Direct, should be a winning formula