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lighter meal ideas

Whether it’s for speed and ease, or because you fancy something a little lighter, I find that a comforting bowl of soup or a fragrant salad packs all the flavour and satisfaction of a larger meal. Be it summer or winter, soups are one of my go-to meals and they are perhaps one of the best ways to celebrate foods in season, be that a hydrating one in the summer – see my Cucumber Gazpacho or Green Soup, or a hearty winter soup – Mushroom, Thyme &  Walnut or Kale, Bean & Pistachio. Salads, too, offer brilliant seasonal variety and certainly shouldn’t be reserved for summer – Warm Jerusalem Artichoke Salad or Spiced Chickpea, Kale & Squash Salad.

light meals 

Roasted Pumpkin Houmous

If pumpkin is out of season, this recipe will work just as well with butternut squash.

Steamed Greens

This doesn’t quite feel like a recipe, but it’s one of my favourite ways to enjoy greens.

Store-cupboard Salad

A really handy meal idea for moments when it feels like the fridge is almost empty and you’ve not yet had a chance to…

Store-cupboard Pasta

This recipe is a really handy one to have up your sleeve for moments when you’re ravenous and need a quick meal on the…

Heritage Tomato Salad

To make this salad as delicious as it can possibly be, it’s important to use the ripest tomatoes you can find.

soup for the soul
Soup for the Soul

My plant-based version of the classic chicken and lemon soup. Here, chickpeas provide the protein and give a deliciously…

One-Tray Winter Roasted Salad
One-Tray Roasted Winter Salad

Roasted salads are a total game-changer for me. However sceptical you may be – just give it a go. The textures soften and…

Autumn Salad with Artichokes and Beetroot
Autumn Salad

This multi-coloured and vibrant, warm roasted salad is a real celebration of autumn, my favourite month. The recipe is very…

Salmon Soba Noodle Salad by Amelia Freer
Salmon Soba Noodle Salad

This is a versatile and robust salad that you can make using any protein and vegetables that you have. Soba noodles are…

Egg Muffins, Amelia Freer
Egg ‘Muffins’

They are fluffy and light and a lovely way to feed a busy breakfast bunch AND they are great hot, warm or cold.  Play around…

Winter Buddha Bowl by Amelia Freer
Winter Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls are a really simple way to prepare a meal that is balanced, vibrant, healthy and diverse with plenty of…

Turmeric Socca with Cucumber, Pepper & Tahini Salad
Turmeric Socca with Cucumber, Pepper & Tahini Salad

Turmeric is a powerful herb considered to have antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory…

Kale & Bean Soup with Pistachio & Lemon Pisto by Amelia Freer
Kale & Bean Soup with Pistachio & Lemon Pistou

This is a clean and simple kale soup that holds its own alone but comes alive with a tangy fresh pistachio and lemon pistou…

Amelia Freer's Spicy Green Shakshuka
Green Shakshuka

The ubiquitous brunch staple of red shakshuka gets a sensational spicy green make over here, with some of my favourite…

Amelia Freer's Spicy roasted tomato and lentil soup
Spicy Roasted Tomato & Lentil Soup

Hands down, this is one of my favourite soups and I’ve been making it for years, as many of my clients will attest to as it…

Amelia Freer's Healing Carrot, Turmeric and Coriander Soup
Carrot & Turmeric Soup

get quite passionate about this soup. I remember when I first made it, I felt excited by just how powerful the ingredients…

Amelia Freer's Spicy Thai Chicken Broth
Spicy Thai Chicken Broth

This broth provides an exquisite array of colour with a deliciously spicy kick, alongside a hefty dose of essential…

Pumpkin Dahl Soup

A big, comforting, fragrant bowl of dhal on a wintery day is always a treat. This one, made with seasonal pumpkin (autumn),…

Warming Chicken & Pumpkin Soup by Amelia Freer
Warming Chicken & Pumpkin Soup

This is a treasured recipe – I’ve been making it for many years and it still remains a favourite. Chicken soup has been used…

Lentil, Beetroot & Hazelnut Salad with Ginger Dressing by Amelia Freer
Lentil, Beetroot & Hazelnut Salad with Ginger Dressing

Nourish your body with this hearty salad complete with a warming ginger dressing. Lentils provide protein, essential…

Warm Jerusalem Artichoke Salad
Warm Jerusalem Artichoke Salad

This warm salad is both filling and delicious. Jerusalem artichoke is a little like a potato but more nutty, earthy and…

Kale & Mushroom Muffins
Kale & Mushroom Muffins

These are really simple to whizz up and make a great brunch to serve to friends and guests. Mushrooms provide fibre which is…

Asian Chicken Pot Noodle
Asian Chicken Pot Noodle

This is a fun way to make a healthier version of the pot noodle. It’s a quick, portable lunch - so long as you can get…

Amelia Freer's 12 Favourite Things on Toast
12 Favourite Things on Toast

Here are a few ideas of delicious and nutritious toppings for toast that can be enjoyed for a leisurely breakfast, speedy…

Beetroot, Rosemary and Walnut Soda Bread
Beetroot, Rosemary and Walnut Soda Bread

This is a different way to use beetroot and I think it’s pretty lovely to see a pink loaf of bread. Beetroots offer vitamins…

This nutrient dense vegetable broth is a beautiful way to start the day,
Green ‘Wake me up’ Broth

This broth can be enjoyed it at any time of day for a natural energy burst. Asparagus contains vitamins, minerals and fibre…

Asian Salmon Burgers by Amelia Freer
Asian Salmon Burgers

These salmon burgers are zingy and tangy with Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which help to maintain our health and…

Chickpea & Aubergine Salad
Chickpea & Aubergine Salad

Chickpeas are a starchy carbohydrate, but they also contain protein. They are a brilliant substitute for meat, as…

Crisp Apple & Fennel Salad with Turmeric Dressing
Crisp Apple & Fennel Winter Salad with Turmeric Dressing

Salads aren't just for summer! As the seasons change, I continue trying to find ways to include them in my diet. This salad…

Poached Thai Salmon & Pak Choi
Poached Thai Salmon & Pak Choi

This is a failsafe, light (but satisfying) meal. Poached salmon is not only tender and delicious, but also contains the…

Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnut & Celeriac Puree
Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnut & Celeriac Puree

The rich, sweet and nutty joys of Jerusalem artichoke partner wonderfully with chestnut and celeriac for this puree – it’s…

Spiced Chickpea, Kale & Squash (or Pumpkin) Salad
Spiced Chickpea, Kale & Squash (or Pumpkin) Salad

This is a hearty salad, packed with flavour and goodness - it takes a little time to prepare but is a meal in itself, and is…

Amelia Freer's Celeriac Rostis
Celeriac Rösti

During the winter months root vegetables are the stars of the show. Usually I mash celeriac or have it in soups but once I…

Gluten Free Herby Green Bread by Amelia Freer
Herby Green Bread

This green bread is more cakey than bready in texture due to the gluten free flour (I haven’t tried it with regular flour…

Butternut ‘Squashetti’ with Sage & Pine Nuts
Butternut ‘Squashetti’ with Sage & Pine Nuts

This is a classic Italian flavour pairing of butternut squash, sage and pine nuts and it’s a dream. Squash contains many…

Wild Rice Purple Salad
Wild Rice Purple Salad

This is a stunning winter grain salad with nutty wild rice. If the bitter radicchio or chicory are hard to find, red cabbage…

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini & Miso Dipping Sauce
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini & Miso Dipping Sauce

Cauliflower contains a variety of nutrients including fibre, and vitamin C - which helps support our immune system. It is…

Simple Ratatouille by Amelia Freer
Simple Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a great Sunday (or any other day!) ‘cook-up’ dish to prepare in advance for the week, as it always tastes…

Chicken Nuggets with Mango & Avocado Salsa by Amelia Freer
Chicken Nuggets with Mango & Avocado Salsa

Here’s a recipe for the whole family – it’s a healthier (and dare I say, tastier!) version of chicken nuggets.

Sprout Slaw
Fragrant Sprout Slaw

Sprouts are in season from September all the way through until February but so many of us only eat them at Christmas.

Beetroot & Squash Salad with a Hazelnut Dressing
Beetroot & Squash Salad and Hazelnut Dressing

I love the vibrant colours in this hearty autumn salad, which packs a hefty nutritional punch too. The dressing tops it off…

Zingy Turkey Pâté
Zingy Turkey Pâté

Making pots of healthy pâté to dip crudités into, to spoon generously onto little gem lettuce boats, or to top hearty…

Crunchy Vegetable ‘Tabbouleh’ with Coconut Cream & Herb Dressing
Crunchy Vegetable ‘Tabbouleh’ with Coconut Cream & Herb Dressing

This is a lovely starter to serve at a dinner party but I also eat this alone. The creaminess of the coconut cream with the…

Asian Crayfish Lettuce Cups
Crayfish Lettuce Cups with Asian Dressing

We are very lucky in the UK as an island to have easy access to fresh shell fish which is not only delicious but is also…

Yellow Courgette, Herb & Feta Salad by Amelia Freer
Yellow Courgette, Herb & Feta Salad

This is a super-quick dish (but no less impressive or tasty), bursting with flavour and goodness. You can, of course,…

Homemade Sauerkraut
Homemade Sauerkraut

To make sauerkraut, cabbage is fermented by bacteria to give it a delicious sour taste. Sauerkraut contains fibre, vitamins…

Avocado Papaya Salsa by Amelia Freer
Avocado Papaya Salsa

This zingy, zesty salsa contains a variety of essential vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fibre to help support our…

Smörgåsbord
Smörgåsbord Platter

This festive Smörgåsbord Platter has to be the most exquisite way to serve a crowd a feast of colour, flavour and goodness,…

Smoked Salmon & Buckwheat Toast Canapé
Smoked Salmon & Buckwheat Toast Canapé

These are very popular appetisers and look fabulous with their contrasting colours. This is a bit of a Christmas morning…

Lettuce Boats & Picnic Pots by Amelia Freer
Lettuce Boats & Picnic Pots

These are delightful little pots for picnics and lunch boxes: potted crab, crayfish tails, and light smoked mackerel ‘pâté’…

Tuna on Sprialized Courgetti
Tuna on Sprialized Courgetti

This simple salad makes a tasty and nutritious lunch. This recipe works just as well with smoked mackerel, poached salmon or…

Vegetable Soufflé with Parsley, Sage & Rosemary by Amelia Freer
Vegetable Soufflé with Parsley, Sage & Rosemary

Don’t be put off by the name ‘soufflé’ as this is just my simplified version and much easier to make. These are great to…

Prawn, Sesame & Ginger ‘Gyoza’ in Cabbage Wrapper
Prawn, Sesame & Ginger ‘Gyoza’ in Cabbage Wrapper

I love Japanese steamed gyoza, and discovered that cabbage leaves make the perfect easy wrappers.

Indian Coconut Cabbage by Amelia Freer
Indian Coconut Cabbage

This is the perfect example of how using spices can really bring vegetables alive. It is delicious alongside some lean meat…

Oysters 3-Ways by Amelia Freer
Oysters 3-Ways

Oysters come into season from September onwards and are not only nutritious but are also good for the environment. Oyster…

Hake in a bag with zucchini ribbons
Simple Hake in a Bag with Zucchini Ribbons

Brilliantly fresh and full of colourful goodness, this is a no-fuss, super easy dish – best of all, there’s barely any…

Summery Lemon & Herb Warm Chicken Salad
Summery Lemon & Herb Warm Chicken Salad

This salad is a lovely light lunch or evening meal, but equally tasty, nutritious and filling. Peas and runner beans contain…

Vegetable Pakoras
Vegetable Pakoras

These vegetable pakoras are my lighter take on the Indian favourite. They are delicious and so easy, although I confess a…

Mushroom, thyme and walnut soup by Amelia Freer
Mushroom & Thyme Soup

Soups always provide comfort year round but particularly in Autumn and Winter when we feel the cold. Mushrooms fortunately…

Brunch Vegetable Fritters
Brunch Vegetable Fritters

I absolutely love fritters and think they can work for any time of day but they do make the ideal quick, lazy…

Amelia Freer's Green Curry Turkey Soup
Green Turkey Curry Soup

This is the ideal post-Christmas dish, using up lots of leftovers, and a great warming soup for serving after long, bracing…

Spring Garden Salad with Watercress & Hazelnut Pesto
Gluten Free Spring Tart

This salad is a super celebrations of spring and the fresh green bounty of salad vegetables that the season brings. It lends…

Amelia Freer's Chilled Summer Asparagus Gazpacho
Asparagus Gaspacho

Chilled gazpacho of any kind is such a joy on a hot day. The core ingredients change as the season progresses as gazpacho is…

Amelia Freer's Vegan & Dairy Free Kale & Almond Pesto
Kale & Almond Pesto

Pesto is something I always have in the fridge because it’s so simple to make and livens up so many meals, even as a mere…

Crunchy Harissa Chickpea by Amelia Freer
Crunchy Harissa Chickpeas

In my pre-nutritionist days I was a crisp addict – they were a hard habit to break.  These baked chickpeas are a perfect…

Pissaladière
Pissaladière

Although the weather isn’t always kind to us in Britain, an easy way to evoke the sunnier climes of southern France is…

Broad Bin Dip with crudite
Broad Bean Dip with Crunchy Veg

Broad beans are still one of those wonderful vegetables that are absolutely at their best when in season.

Warm Spring Vegetable Medley by Amelia Freer
Warm Spring Medley

This is a real celebration of spring veg. The ingredient list here could easily read ‘any green spring vegetables that your…

Avocado, Broad Bean & Radish Seed on Toast
Avocado, Broad Bean & Radish Seed on Toast

This is quick to put together and brilliantly filling and colourful. Broad beans contain plant-based protein, fibre, and…

Carrot & Caraway Gluten-Free Bread
Carrot & Caraway Gluten-Free Bread

This is a sumptuous and festive loaf, perfect for Christmas platters and sharing with family and friends. But I love it so…

Shakshuka using leftover vegetables
Shakshuka using leftover vegetables

The smoky heat of a shakshuka brings wonderful flavour to leftover vegetables. Here, I used chestnuts, crunchy red cabbage,…

Turkey Meatball Tacos, by Amelia Freer (gluten Free)
Turkey Meatball Tacos

Turkey works wonderfully well in these meatballs, which lend themselves perfectly to sharing: lay all the parts out and…

Grilled Sardines & Tomatoes with Crunchy Herb Dressing
Grilled Sardines & Tomatoes with Crunchy Herb Dressing

Sardines are a fantastically cost-effective source of the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA & DHA, as well as containing a…

Summer Vegetabel Frittata, Amelia Freer
Summer Vegetable Frittata

I think every fridge should have some frittata slices in it. Possibly the easiest and swiftest meal to make, it stores well…

Beetroot and parsnip fritters
Beetroot & Parsnip Fritters

Beetroot and Parsnips are abundant during the winter months and are two of my favourite root vegetables.  Naturally both are…

Egg on Toast, Broad Beans with Herbs & Feta
Egg on Toast, Broad Beans with Herbs & Feta

Broad beans are from the legume family, so are a great source of vitamins and minerals, plus they pack a good protein punch.…

Hangover Sandwich, Amelia Freer
The Hangover Sandwich

It would be unrealistic not to enjoy the odd overindulgence. We’ve all suffered from the morning after effects of too much…

Amelia Freer's Recipes: Pepper Gazpacho
Gazpacho

Peppers, of course, are also a true ‘rainbow’ vegetable coming in the full, dazzling gamut of colours from white through to…

Amelia Freer's Green Soup & Cashew Cream
Green Soup & Cashew Cream

This simple soup is a celebration of all things green. Green leafy vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and fibre…

Gluten-Free Asparagus & Crab Cakes by Amelia Freer
Asparagus & Crab Tarts

A gluten-free diet doesn’t have to mean no pastry, although if you are not gluten free this can be made using normal…

Amelia Freer's Jerusalem Artichoke, Sage & Hazelnut Soup - Autumn Soup
Jerusalem Artichoke & Hazelnut Soup

The rich, sweet and nutty joys of Jerusalem artichoke partner wonderfully with chestnut and celeriac for this puree – it’s…

Amelia Freer's Cucumber and herb chilled gazpacho summer soup
Cucumber & Herb Gazpacho

This is a velvety, iced, super refreshing gazpacho soup containing lots of antioxidants, vitamins and goodness from the…

Amelia Freer's Mackerel & Rhubarb Salad
Mackerel & Rhubarb Salad

Mackerel is one of my favourite fish – rich in healthy fats. This is an excellent fish to introduce into your diet if you…

Poached Chicken, Crunchy Vegetables & Herb Dressing by Amelia Freer
Poached Chicken, Crunchy Vegetables & Herb Dressing

This dish celebrates delicious summer vegetables, all of which are in season together during July and August so this is an…

Summary Potato Salad
Summery Potato Salad

Cooking, then cooling potatoes increases the ‘resistant starch’ in them. This is a type of fibre that the beneficial…

English Summer Garden Salad
Garden Summer Salad

A beautiful salad is the epitome of summer when we are blessed with an abundance of resplendent seasonal produce.

Ribbon Zucchini Salad with Rocket, Feta & Hazelnuts
Ribbon Zucchini Salad with Rocket, Feta & Hazelnuts

Both rocket and zucchini are in season throughout June to October so this exquisite summer salad can really be enjoyed all…

Summer Salad
Quintessential Summer Salad

As wish all vegetables, this salad delivered a hearty dose of vitamins and minerals including some iron. It is harder for us…

Root Vegetable Crisps with Herb Salt
Homemade Root Vegetable Crisps, Herb Salt

These homemade root vegetable crisps are easy to make and cost the fraction of the price of commercial alternatives.…

Crab Cakes with homemade mayo (gluten-free) by Amelia Freer
Crab Cakes

Crab, like most shellfish, contains protein and is also an important source of zinc. These crab cakes are my light,…