Healthy one-dish wonders
Olive|January 2021
We’ve made some of our favourite comfort foods a little bit lighter, but they’re still just as hearty and indulgent
Spicy coconut chicken noodle soup

This slurp-able bowl of comforting noodles was inspired by classic Thai red curry. You can use ready-made red curry paste but the freshness of the paste in the recipe below really sings in the soup, and will help ward off any winter blues. Try prawns, tofu or finely chopped veg such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes or shiitake mushrooms instead of chicken, if you like.


  • vegetable or coconut oil 1 tbsp
  • red curry paste 150g (see below)
  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts 4
  • coconut milk 400g
  • vegetable or chicken stock 600ml
  • lime leaves 3-5
  • brown sugar a pinch, or to taste
  • fish sauce 2-4 tsp, or to taste
  • lime juice to taste


  • rice noodles 4 nests, cooked and drained
  • small bunch, leaves picked, stalks chopped
  • thai basil or mint ½ small bunch, leaves picked
  • bean sprouts a handful, cooked following pack instructions
  • bamboo shoots 225g tin, drained
  • mangetout 50g, finely sliced
  • carrot 1, finely sliced
  • lime 1, cut into wedges
  • coconut cream 2 tbsp, loosened with water for
  • drizzling (optional)
  • spring onions 4, shredded
  • red chilli 1, shredded


  • lemongrass 1 stalk, trimmed and finely chopped
  • white peppercorns 1 tsp
  • long red chillies 10-15, chopped
  • shallots 4 round, peeled and chopped
  • ground coriander 1 tsp
  • ground cumin 1 tsp
  • garlic 5 cloves
  • galangal 25g, peeled and chopped
  • shrimp paste 2 tsp, or 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • lime 1, zested

1 To make the red curry paste, pound the lemongrass stalk and peppercorns using a large pestle and mortar. Add the chillies and shallots, and continue to pound into a paste. Add the coriander stalks, spices, garlic and galangal, and pound again until well combined. Stir in the shrimp paste or fish sauce, and lime zest. Alternatively, crush the peppercorns and lemongrass, then tip everything into a blender and blitz to a paste. Will keep chilled in an airtight container for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months.

2 Heat the coconut oil in large pan and fry the curry paste for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the chicken and tip in the coconut milk, stock and lime leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Remove the chicken to a board and shred or slice into bite-sized pieces. Stir the chicken back through the soup, then check for seasoning, adding the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to taste, if needed. The broth should be hot, sour, salty and spicy.

3 Divide the cooked noodles between four warmed deep bowls, and ladle in the broth and chicken. Scatter over the herbs, bean sprouts, mangetout and carrot, squeeze over the lime wedges, drizzle with some coconut cream, if using, and sprinkle with the spring onions and chilli to serve.

PER SERVING 525 kcals | fat 24.9G saturates 18.4G | carbs 48.7G | sugars 6.2G fibre 6.7G | protein 23.3G | salt 1.9G

Slow cooker brisket chilli

Brisket chilli is a joy to eat. Diced braising steak is sometimes cut too small or is too full of gristle to get the satisfying ‘pull’ or texture. We’ve upped the veg and beans in this chilli, and avoided the guacamole and soured cream, so it’s still a hearty bowl, but is a little bit healthier.


  • olive oil 2 tbsp
  • beef brisket 1kg, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • onion 1 large, finely chopped
  • garlic 6 cloves, crushed
  • ground cumin 1 tbsp
  • whole dried chipotle chillies 2
  • smoked paprika 1 tbsp
  • dried oregano 2 tsp
  • chilli powder 1-2 tsp
  • tomato purée 3 tbsp
  • beef stock 600-700ml
  • kidney beans 400g tin, drained and rinsed
  • black beans 400g tin, drained and rinsed
  • red peppers 2, chopped
  • steamed brown rice to serve
  • fat-free greek yogurt to serve
  • lime wedges to serve
  • sliced red chillies, spring onions and coriander to serve

1 Heat half of the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and sear the beef on all sides until browned (you may need to do this in batches). Scoop into a bowl using a slotted spoon.

2 Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes until golden. Stir in the garlic, spices and tomato purée, and fry for another minute until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker, then stir in the stock. Tip in the beef, making sure it’s submerged. Season and cook on low for 8 hours until the beef is falling apart. Shred any large chunks using two forks, and stir back into the sauce.

3 Stir in all of the beans and the peppers, and cook for 30 minutes more – do this uncovered if the chilli needs to thicken. Remove the chipotle chillies, chop and stir through the sauce. Season.

4 Serve the chilli in deep bowls over rice, topped with the yogurt, lime wedges, chillies, spring onions and coriander.

PER SERVING 486 kcals | fat 24.5G saturates 8.6G | carbs 20.8G | sugars 6.9G fibre 10.8G | protein 40.2G | salt 0.3G

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