In case you missed it, last night’s episode of MasterChef involved an interesting challenge.
Rather than the usual bevvy of ingredients, this week’s mystery box contained only a $20 note. The challenge: head to Coles, spend your $20 on whatever ingredients take your fancy and use these to create your dish.
And that’s exactly the challenge I gave myself today.
I spent my $20 at Coles on:
- Four prawns
- One bunch of oak red lettuce
- One bunch of radishes
- One cucumber
- One tray of cherry vine tomatoes
- One small sweet potato
- One lemon
- One bulb of garlic
- Pumpkin seeds
And I created a lemon garlic prawn salad. Here’s my recipe:
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Peel and chop half of the sweet potato into small cubes. Lay on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until soft. For the last 10 minutes of baking, add five to six cherry vine tomatoes to the baking tray.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the prawns. Remove the shells and legs from the body and de-vein. Place into a bowl with the zest and juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and two crushed garlic cloves. Place in the fridge.
3. To cook the quinoa, rinse an eighth of a cup of quinoa under running water and place in a pot on the stove with a quarter of a cup of water. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low. Once all of the water has evaporated, the quinoa should be cooked (tip: quinoa is cooked once it looks like it has ‘popped’).
4. To prepare the dressing, combine two tablespoons of lemon juice, a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar.5. To make the salad, wash a large handful of lettuce and tear into smaller pieces. Dice half a cucumber and thinly slice a few radishes. Combine in a large bowl along with quinoa and roasted vegetables, then toss together with the dressing.
5. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and cook the prawns for one to two minutes a side, or until cooked through.
6. To plate up, arrange the salad on a plate and top with prawns. Scatter over a few pepitas and serve with a wedge of lemon.
And there you have it! My MasterChef mystery box challenge with a healthy twist.
In general, this is how I recommend my clients put together their meals, too.
It’s important to start with a base of lots of veggies for fibre for a healthy gut, along with a range of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants. If you’re a little fussy with your veggies, experiment with different flavours and methods of cooking. I like to eat a lot of roasted veggies (they’re just so delicious!), but you might like raw, stir fried, steamed or boiled more instead.
Next, be sure to include some healthy carbs – roughly a quarter of your meal as quality carbohydrates is a good guideline. In my case, I’ve used sweet potato and quinoa, but you could also use ingredients like corn, brown rice, brown pasta or wholegrain bread.
Last but not least, a small amount of lean protein will round out your meal. Today I chose prawns, but other great options include lean meat, poultry, other seafood, eggs or tofu.
If you’re a lover of legumes (like me!), they include both quality carbohydrates and protein, so you’ll hit two birds with one stone.
It’s also key to include some healthy fats. I’ve done so by incorporating a small amount of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of seeds. The seeds are not only a source of heart-healthy fats, but also provide a boost of protein and gut-loving fibre.
So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can follow her @honest_nutrition.
For more on this topic, this is how you can get your week’s grocery shopping done with only $50. Plus, these are the $2 dietitian approved snacks.
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