A 5:2 Dinner that will make you forget the “D” word!
First week back at 5:2 and I am taking Ted along for the ride as well. Let’s just say we enjoyed a very festive Christmas and really need to get things back under control. Grateful that I had started the 5:2 before Christmas, because I am almost back where I started. Not unexpected given the amount of feasting and celebrating that has occurred over the past few weeks. Life is almost back to normal with school starting next week, so here is the first 5:2 recipe for the year- Italian Style Lamb Salad. Well, it is actually the second. We fasted on Monday and I made a beautiful veggie chilli, but was so hungry by the time I plated that I forgot to photograph! Next time.
This Italian Style Lamb Salad is amazingly good. Huge portion and so tasty! Usually I don’t eat meat on a fast day, but holding Ted in mind, I decided to experiment. The lamb is lean, juicy and full of flavour. The salad has crunch and texture, and the addition of the parmesan creates another layer of flavour and just that little indulgence that you need after a day of fasting. Quick to prepare and the salad component can be made ahead.
Given that we were having meat included in our dinner, and therefore a higher calorie meal, I had a very low cal morning. A black coffee for early on, off to Pilates, then a Watermelon Cooler :
This is absolutely delicious and very refreshing in this heat! 100g watermelon (30 calories) and 75g strawberries (20 calories) and some mint (2 cal) with a hand full of ice – into the Nutribullet. Great pick me up. Sorry that the photo doesn’t do the drink justice – I was hungry!! Will take another shot when I make the next batch. I find the longer I wait to break my fast, the easier sticking to the 500 calories is. Although I am not much of a morning/breakfast person. Up to you really how you spread the calories. But try the watermelon Cooler – it is fabulous! (If I had the ingredients I would make one now, with a sneaky shot of vodka as a pre-dinner treat!)
Now to the Italian Style Lamb Salad. We have been hooked on lamb backstrap or fillets for the past few months, making a salad with roasted sweet potato, fetta and pomegranate (recipe will come – pinky promise!). Ted told me recently was his favourite dinner.This is a big call from him. In almost 25 years of marriage, he has never claimed a favourite, always saying that he loved everything I cook (aahhh) So I thought using the backstrap in this recipe might make him feel more favourably towards the whole 5:2 concept. Whilst making the salad, take the lamb from the fridge to come to room temperature. Grab a shallow bowl or plate and scatter with rocket leaves. Top with the diced tomato, cucumber and torn basil leaves, and a couple of sliced black olives. Sprinkle the lot with finely grated parmesan cheese.
Now the lamb. Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Now, if this week hadn’t been so hellishly hot, I would have cooked on the barbecue to get lovely grill marks, but I was not venturing outside for anything! So I cooked the lamb in a non-stick pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes a side. Pop on a plate and cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Don’t rush this process, you want your meat to be succulently tender.
How good does that look? (Sorry vego friends!) Slice on the diagonal, and place on top of your salad. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and those wonderful meaty juices that have collected on the plate.
Ted’s verdict? Great – but would have better with a hunk of bread and a glass of red. Still some way to go to embrace 5:2! And just to note – I was generous with the amount of meat here. If you are wanting a lower cal meal, reduce lamb portion to 75g (220 calories) I have listed the individual calories of each ingredient so you can mix and match. Oh, and to make life even easier – Aldi has an electric scale that not only weighs the food, but also tells you the calories! All for $15 – bargain! Enjoy
- 100g Lamb backstrap (220 calories)
- spray of cooking oil (9 calories)
- 1 large roma tomato, cut into wedges (35 calories)
- ½ lebanese cucumber (10 calories)
- 2 tbs basil (1 calorie)
- 1 tbs parmesan cheese, finely grated (22 calories)
- 50g rocket (12 calories)
- 3 sliced black olives (10 calories)
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (10 calories)
- Take lamb out of fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Lightly spray each side with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook lamb on medium heat in a non-stick pan or on bbq- 4 minutes a side for medium.
- Remove lamb to a plate and loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice lamb on the diagonal
- Place rocket on a plate or shallow bowl and scatter with other salad ingredients and top with parmesan cheese. Place lamb on top, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve