Looking after your gut may seem like a full-time job, but these five recipes taste good, are good for your gut and don’t require Michelin Star chef skills.
Traybake Chicken (Serves 4)
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 red pepper chopped into strips
16 cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 garlic bulbs grated
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
200g green beans
Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Heat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4. Add the tomatoes, chopped peppers and chicken thighs to a roasting pan
- Mix the paprika, olive oil, fennel seeds, grated garlic and balsamic vinegar together then pour over the chicken and the vegetables. Place the tray in the oven for an hour.
- Baste the chicken with the tray juices a couple of times during cooking.
- 15 minutes before the chicken is cooked either steam or boil the green beans. When cooked through add them to the traybake for the last few minutes.
- After an hour, remove the tray, add a few fresh basil leaves and add a dash of olive oil. Serve.
Tip: You can use chicken breast if you prefer, just be wary of the cooking time as they’ll go dry if cooked too long. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables to keep it interesting or add more to what’s already there.
Why it’s good: All those vegetables will provide you with a good amount of fibre and a range of vitamins and nutrients to keep your gut in good condition.
Miso Salmon with Brown Rice (Serves 2)
2 salmon fillets
2 spring onions sliced
2 pak choi chopped lengthways
Handful of baby corn
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger grated
1 garlic clove grated
- Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Heat the grill to high.
- Add the miso, rice vinegar, ginger, chilli flakes and garlic in a bowl and mix with 100ml water.
- Season the salmon. Lightly oil an ovenproof frying pan, place on the hob on a medium heat and fry the salmon for a couple of minutes.
- Turn the salmon, add the sauce and place under the grill for a few minutes until cooked.
- While the salmon cooks, cook the pak choi and baby corn in some lightly salted boiling water.
- Divide the rice and vegetables between two dishes, add the salmon, spoon the sauce over each and sprinkle with spring onion.
Tip: you can also add sugar snap peas and replace the rice with noodles.
Why it’s good: The Omega 3 in the salmon helps support the probiotics in your gut, allowing them to do vital work. Miso is a fermented food and will provide plenty of good bacteria for the gut, and the vegetables will provide vitamins and minerals.
Sweet Jacket Potato (serves 4)
4 sweet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove grated
half an onion grated
1 can chickpeas drained
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp tahini
chilli flakes (optional)
- Heat the oven to 180c, wrap each sweet potato in foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the centre is soft (may take more or less time depending on the potato size).
- Add olive oil to a frying pan and place on a medium heat. Start by frying the garlic and onion until soft being careful not to burn them. Add the chickpeas and spinach and allow the chickpeas to warm through and the spinach to wilt.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the chickpea mixture. Add another dash of oil and a small amount of salt and pepper then gently crush the chickpeas with a masher.
- When the sweet potatoes are cooked through place under a hot grill for a few minutes to crisp up the skin.
- Mix the tahini and yoghurt together and season.
- Split the potatoes and fill with the bean mixture. Finally, top with the yoghurt mixture and sprinkle with chilli flakes if using.
Top tip: you can also sprinkle some toasted pine or cashew nuts on top of the potatoes. It’s ideal as a lunch or light main dish with a bit of salad on the side or accompany it with some fish for a great dinner.
Why it’s good: the yoghurt offers plenty of beneficial bacteria. The chickpeas, spinach and sweet potato are packed with nutrients to help your gut thrive.
Potato, pea and ham salad (serves 2)
200g new potatoes halved
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 bag Lettuce, rocket, or other salad leaf
35g frozen peas
40g thick-cut ham
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
- Heat the oven to 180c. Add the potatoes and olive oil to an oven dish, season with pepper and a small amount of salt. Mix and place in the oven for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Cook the frozen peas according to the packet.
- Mix the oil, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of sugar together. Add the potatoes, lettuce (or preferred salad leaf) and peas. Split onto two plates, then top with sauerkraut and ham.
Top tip: you can swap the ham for chicken breast or some sausages cut into small chunks.
Why it’s good: sauerkraut is a fermented food and will provide your gut with probiotics and will help aid digestion. The greens from the salad and peas add extra nutrients.
Lentil Dahl (serves 4)
1 tbsp oil
1 onion finely chopped or grated
1 garlic clove grated
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
400g butternut squash peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 tsp tomato paste
1 400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp mango chutney
300g red lentils
- Place a saucepan on a medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent (approx. 5 mins). Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the spices, squash and tomato puree mixing everything together well.
- After a few minutes add the chopped tomatoes, stock and chutney. Season and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 mins and then add the lentils, then simmer again for 20 minutes.
- When the lentils and squash are cooked tender serve in four bowls.
Top tip: serve with naan bread and sprinkle with some coriander to make a real feast.
Why it’s good: lentils are high in fibre which will help healthy gut bacteria flourish and aids in regular bowel movements. Turmeric is particularly good for you as it contains curcumin which provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.