Fast day recipes

Fed up of miso soup and celery sticks on your fast days. These meal ideas from The Fast Diet Recipe Book by Mimi Spencer are tasty and satisfying but low in calories.

Cumin-scented turkey burgers with tomato salsa, 174kcal (333kcal with corn on the cob and salsa)

Swapping beef for turkey will slash the calories in a burger (and the cost) – but you do need a little egg to bind it all together in a steady embrace, otherwise the meat is liable to dry out and will collapse before your very eyes. 

  • 125g turkey mince
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small egg, beaten – use about 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all burger ingredients and leave to marinate for half an hour in the fridge. Shape into 2 patties and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Serve with lemon-dressed herby salad leaves, classic tomato salsa and corn-on-the-cob.

To serve

  • Herby salad leaves
  • Corn-on-the-cob, boiled and dusted with paprika
  • Classic tomato salsa (see page 202)

Roast red pepper soup, 58kcal 

Roasting with a drizzle of olive oil will bring sweetness and intensity to peppers and tomatoes, at the limited cost of a few additional calories. You could cover them for 10 minutes after roasting and then remove their peel for a silkier soup. Serves four.


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  • 3 large red peppers
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Chilli flakes to taste
  • Juice and husk of half a lemon
  • 1200ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsps tomato purée
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Basil leaves to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Place peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil, season, add sugar, cumin seeds, chilli flakes and lemon juice, plus husk, and roast until slightly caramelised – around 20 minutes. Transfer to a large saucepan, remove lemon husk, and add stock and tomato purée. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes, removing any floating tomato skins. Transfer to a processor, or use a hand-blender, re-season, add the vinegar and purée until smooth. Add more stock if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Serve garnished with basil leaves.

Roasting the pepers helps release the carotenoids; the addition of oil improves their absorption into the body. 

Greek salad with oregano and mint, 229kcal

If you want to eat dairy protein on a Fast Day, feta – traditionally made from sheep's or goat's milk – is a good choice as it's lower in calories than many other cheeses. It's strongly flavoured too, so you don't need much to make its presence felt. It's worth going easy, in any case, as feta is relatively high in salt. To make the very best Greek salad, use the finest tomatoes you can find. I generally buy mine on the vine and ripen them on a sunny windowsill until they're bursting with flavour. A rock-hard, fridge-cold, anaemic tomato from a plastic tray isn't even in the same ballpark. Serves four.

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsps good olive oil
  • 2 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Handful each of mint leaves and
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad:

  • 400g best-quality ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • and cored
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • I small cos lettuce, leaves torn
  • 12 Kalamata olives
  • 200g good-quality feta cheese, broken into pieces

To serve:

  • 2 wholemeal pitta breads, toasted and cut into fingers

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Assemble salad, dress, and serve with hot pitta fingers.

Or try this Eastern feta salad for four, with 200g young spinach leaves, 4 ripe tomatoes, 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts and 200g feta cheese. Dress with 2 tbsps olive oil, fresh oregano, the juice of a lemon, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, a hint of garlic, salt and pepper and a generous sprinkle of sumac, plus shards of 2 crisp toasted pitta bread (312 calories). 


Last updated: 23-May-2013 at 12:51 PM