My freezer stores are quickly becoming depleted during this lock-down (so many meals to think about and cater for!) but thankfully my pantry ones are holding up well for now. Big spaces in some places as my son keeps raiding the rice, pasta and noodle stores (but tbh they were frequently used for feeding him and the family anyway so not a great deal of need for our two-person wls-household at the moment).
I have therefore looked to what I have in terms of plentiful stores of for my latest Bariatric Cookery Pantry+ recipe today, and the most obvious is beans – so a salad combo it is, using them to good effect I think. I have made this one with white cannellini beans but you can use any canned (or cooked dried) bean that you have to hand. I have made this before with kidney beans, butter beans, flageolet beans and even a canned bean salad mixture. I’m pairing it with tuna – and again you can use canned, jarred or fresh (if you’re lucky enough to find). I buy both canned and jarred in spring water and in oil and it will work well with either – although the nutritional stats will change. Replace with canned salmon, mackerel or sardines if you prefer.
I think tomatoes and red onion are a bit of a must-have in the salad but do feel free to sub with roasted peppers/capsicums and other onions like white, spring/scallion and even shredded leek if that’s what you have to hand. Add diced cucumber, celery or other salad ingredients too to stretch the quantity. As for dressing, then whatever rocks your boat – I do like a home-made French one but frequently use a low-fat ready-prepared to keep the recipe on point for fat content.
The dish as it stands is fine for me (a half regular portion) but if you are also feeding ‘regular’ diners then you might want to serve with a little crusty bread too.
This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled, trebled or more and keeps well covered in the refrigerator for a few days. It would also make a good lunchbox meal if you are still going into work and need a nourishing dish.
Just this last week I also received a press release from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) with some thoughts on using your store cupboard and pantry to make meals during this tricky time. I think the information is worth passing on so you’ll find it at the end of the recipe.
TUNA AND BEAN QUARANTINE SALAD
300 g/11 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 400 g/14 oz can other bean of choice)
3 tbsp fat-free or low-fat French or Italian salad dressing (I used Kraft fat-free French dressing)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or snipped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 g/7½ oz can tuna chunks in brine or spring water
½ red onion, thinly sliced
125 g/4 oz baby plum tomatoes, halved
- Place the beans in a bowl and stir in the dressing, mustard, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the tuna and break into large flakes. Add to the bean mixture with the onion and baby tomatoes.
- Serve in bowls with crusty bread on the side if liked and tolerated.
WLS PORTION: ½
CALORIES PER PORTION (USING CANNELLINI BEANS, TUNA IN SPRING WATER AND FAT-FREE DRESSING): 220
PROTEIN: 24.9 g
CARBOHYDRATE: 25.9 g (4.8 g sugars)
FAT: 1.3 g
THE BNF’S 6 STAY-AT-HOME MEAL TIPS
With the majority of adults and children across the UK now staying at home, we’re having all of our meals and snacks in the house instead of at work, school or out and about. Many of us might be feeling like we’re running out of ideas for what to prepare next, or may be worried about whether our favourite staples will be on the shelves next time we shop. To help take the stress out of meal planning in these unprecedented times, the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) is able to lend a hand in the kitchen, providing easily digestible tips and inspiration for making healthy meals.
Shop for variety: Having a variety and balance of foods is the foundation of a healthy diet. If you’re out shopping, look for a selection of foods across the main food groups: fruit and vegetables; starchy foods, like pasta and grains; protein foods, including beans and lentils; and dairy or plant-based alternatives. There may be items available that you don’t usually buy and now is a great time to give them a try.
Use up forgotten ingredients: Don’t forget what you may already have at the back of your kitchen cupboard! Now may finally be the time to utilise that pack of lentils or can of mackerel that you never got round to eating – you could even try doing an inventory of what you’ve got so you can look for recipes and make a plan. If you’ve got a few packets with just a little bit left of foods, like pasta or rice, think creatively to use them up – for example, using the last bit of rice to bulk out a homemade soup.
Substitute pasta, rice and grains: We all know that pasta and rice are popular staples and, as such, have sometimes been selling out far quicker than other products in the shops. Try using what is available, for example bulghur wheat, quinoa, barley, couscous and noodles. Prepared packs of grains may also be easier to find on the shelves and, although usually more expensive than their dried counterparts, can provide a quick and convenient meal option.
Looking up new recipes is a great way to be inspired in the kitchen, but for those wanting something familiar, it’s good to know pasta and rice can be swapped by these alternative ingredients. Good examples of this include combining couscous with a Bolognese sauce, or having quinoa or bulghur wheat with stir-fried vegetables.
Canned fish and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh: Canned goods come in all varieties and, although some (such as sweetcorn and tuna) may sell out quickly, it is definitely worth considering other canned foods. Sardines, mackerel and salmon all count as oily fish and are rich in protein, omega-3 and vitamin D. Serve on top of salads or toast, or if you prefer something more subtle, they can be added to sauces or made into dips.
Canned peas, carrots and spinach are all nutritious and versatile, and why not try something new like heart of palm or artichokes if these are more readily available? Add canned vegetables straight into curries and stews to bulk out your meals. Canned pulses like kidney beans or chickpeas are also a quick, nutritious addition to things like pasta sauces or salads.
Go nuts: Nuts butters have a good source of micro-nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamins E and B, and they are also high in fibre too. Add them to Asian inspired noodle dishes or curries, or just have them with fruit or wholemeal bread as a tasty snack.
Meal planning: Although a large portion of the UK is now spending time at home, this does not necessarily mean more spare time is available to them. With many people now juggling working from home, looking after relatives and home schooling, trying to find the time to prepare meals can be a challenge. Making a plan for what you’re going to have for each meal for the next few days, or for the week, could really help you work out how best to use the ingredients you’ve got, and what else you may need. If you’ve got the space to do so, cooking and freezing portions using the ingredients you have available to you is a great way of managing your meal preparation around whatever is going on in the house, while cutting down on waste too.
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