Spiced Carrot, Lentil & Spinach Soup (5:2 Diet)

I know, I know, it's summer, in some areas it's scorching and here I am sharing a soup recipe. In my defence it's cooler here in Scotland and I still crave soup during the summer. This spiced carrot, lentil and spinach soup is so so delicious I had to share it.

Do you eat soup during the summer?

I wanted all the flavour of our favourite spinach and coconut dal, so I used the same spices. I was originally planning on adding some coconut milk to this soup too, but when I tasted it I realised how divine it was and didn't want to dilute the flavour by adding anything creamy.

We all loved it, even the wee one. Although I say wee, he's actually getting tall for a wee boy (must be all the soup) and eats like a horse.

Nutrients and Calories

As you can see this soup is high in Vitamin A which is important for good vision, healthy bone growth and cells. It also support the immune system and promotes healthy skin.

It is a good source or Dietary Fibre, Iron and Vitamin C. It also provides a small amount of calcium.

If you divide this soup into 6 large portions it provides 184 calories and if you serve 8 normal portions it provides 138 calories. It's also low in fat and salt. So it makes it perfect for the 5:2 diet.

5:2 Diet

You must have heard of the 5:2 diet or fast diet which was invented by Dr Michael Mosley. If not you can check out my 5:2 Diet guide. Basically it is a two day fast where men eat and drink 600 calories a day and women eat and drink 500 calories a day. Yes it's low, but it's possible. It's best not to do both days together and try not go crazy on non-fast days. It's a gradual way to lose weight and when I was doing it I felt really positive and energetic on fast days.

The Updated 5:2 Diet

Michael Mosley has recently updated the rules and you will be pleased to hear he has upped the calories to 800 for everyone.

He told The Telegraph “Cutting down to 800 calories a day seems to be almost as effective and for some people much more ‘doable’. It's low calorie, without being super low-calorie. And if you want to have lunch, you can slip those extra 200 calories in there.”

If you have tried the 5:2 Diet you will know how exciting this is.  Read more about it in my post The New 5:2 Diet Explained.

Soup on the 5:2 Diet

If you are following the 5:2 diet, either the original diet or the updated diet, then soup is your friend. It's low calorie, super healthy and it fills you up. As well as this spiced carrot, lentil and spinach soup, try my spicy tomato and lentil soup at 123 calories per bowl, my spicy butternut squash soup at 113 calories per bowl, my minestrone soup at 198 calories per bowl or my easy broccoli and spinach soup which comes in at 145 calories per bowl.

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Quick Blender Broccoli and Stilton Soup
Spiced Carrot, Lentil & Spinach Soup
A gently spiced soup that has so much flavour. It's vegan and dairy-free and perfect if you are watching your weight. It's only 184 calories for a huge bowlful or 138 calories for a standard bowlful. I'm making this soup as part of my trip back into the 5:2 diet.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 medium carrots, grated
  • 50g spinach
  • 200g/1 cup red lentils
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ litres/6 cups vegetable stock
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.2. Add the grated carrots & spinach then measure in the spices and stir through.3. Add the stock and lentils then cook for 25-30 minutes. 4. Season with salt and pepper, then serve with crusty bread.5. Enjoy!
Total prep time:
Nutrition facts per 6 servings:
138 calories
3.2 grams fat

Yield: Serves 6-8


New 5:2 Diet Explained

New 5:2 Diet? Yes it's been updated and you're going to love the changes.

The original 5:2 diet was based around a two day fast each week where men consumed 600 calories or less on those two days and women consumed 500 calories or less.

The Science Behind the 5:2 Diet

The new 5:2 Diet. Updated for 2017 with more calories, science, tips and recipes. www.tinnedtomatoes.com #vegetarian #vegan

The 5:2 Diet was created by Dr Michael Mosley, who introduced it to us in a 2012 BBC Documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer

When Michael was tested in the documentary he discovered his body was a third fat which put him at a higher chance of heart disease or cancer. After he changed his diet and followed the 5:2 diet his chances lowered quite dramatically.


Meat Free Mondays - 19 June 2017

Happy Monday!

How are you my friends? Me, I'm super excited! I'm heading to Milan this week with some of my blogging buddies. My hubby and wee one are staying at home and carrying on with their normal week. I better bring something nice back for them.

Meat Free Monday

I still need to plan and prepare some meals this week though and that's where Meat Free Monday comes in. One day of meat free eating for some and every day for others. Whichever category you fall into, I hope you leave inspired.       UPDATE AT END OF POST!


Scottish Oaty Cranachan with Strawberries

We Scots love our oats and this Scottish Oaty Cranachan is a good example of how fabulous oats can be. I know you probably use them to make the occasional bowl of porridge but do consider them when making dessert too.

What is cranachan?

First of all let me help you pronounce it, here we go, cran-i-kin.

Cranachan is an old Scottish dessert that was originally called cream crowdie and was traditionally served at harvest time. It was made with crowdie cheese, a creamy cheese which was mixed with cream and oats and a little bit of honey to sweeten it. When raspberries were in season they would be added and if a crofter was feeling flush he would add a spot of whisky.

Try - Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes (vegetarian and vegan recipes)

Crananchan made with strawberries?

You really can't beat the flavour of Scottish berries and I usually make cranachan with Scottish raspberries, but this time I decided to try it with strawberries for a change and it was rather wonderful.

I filled the dessert glasses with some pureed strawberries, then topped the puree with a glorious mixture of whipped cream mixed with lightly toasted oats and whisky, sweetened with a little maple syrup. I finished off the desserts with some squirty cream I happened to have in the fridge, some fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of finely grated lemon peel.

Cranachan is usually made with honey, but the maple syrup worked really well.

Vegan Cranachan

I've not tried it yet but I plan to make a vegan version of this. I'm thinking that coconut cream would work well instead of double cream. The kind you make by chilling a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, pouring out coconut water (keeping it for smoothies), then whipping up the solids until thick and creamy. I think it will be rather lush. I'll report back once I've tried it.

I said we love our oats. You really would not believe how much we love oats and how many dishes they are used in. Oats have always been a basic crop here in Scotland and a cheap way of bulking out dishes. 

16 Uses for Porridge Oats

  1. Porridge
  2. Oaty Breakfast Bars
  3. Overnight Oats
  4. Oaty Flapjacks
  5. Cookies
  6. Picnic Eggs
  7. Bean Burgers
  8. Savoury Oaty Topping
  9. Nut Loaf
  10. Veggie Sausage Rolls
  11. Bean Pate
  12. Homemade Sausages
  13. Oatcakes
  14. Cake
  15. Fruit Crumble
  16. Smoothies

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Scottish Oaty Cranachan with Strawberries
Scottish Oaty Cranachan with Strawberries
A traditional Scottish dessert made with lightly toasted oats, cream, whisky and berries.

  • 400g strawberries
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 55g/½ cup porridge oats
  • 300ml/3 cups double (heavy) cream
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp whisky
1. Whizz up most of the strawberries with the icing sugar to make a puree. Reserve a few to serve. 2. Lightly toast the oats in a frying pan for a few minutes, being careful not to burn them. Tip them onto a plate and leave them to cool.3. Whisk the cream, with the whisky and maple syrup until you have soft peaks. Then fold in most of the oats, but keep some aside for serving. 4. Layer small glasses with strawberry puree, then carefully add the cream mixture. Sprinkle with oats and top with strawberries. You can add a swirl of whipped cream and some grated lemon peel as a garnish, but this is optional. Chill until ready to serve. 5. Enjoy!
Total time:

Yield: Serves 4-6 (depending on serving size)

A Taste of Britain

I created this dessert for Rennie's Taste of Britain celebration. Needless to say I had to bring some Scotland into the mix.

Rennie® have been helping relieve heartburn and indigestion on these shores for more than 80 years and as part of the 80 year celebration they wanted to proudly share the flavours of Britain and the stories behind them. 

Disclosure: I created this recipe for Rennie as part of their celebrations. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.


Overnight Sweet Potato Oats - Wake up to Organic

Wake up to Organic

That's today's theme and the reason I'm sharing these overnight oats with you. As a good Scot's lass I usually make porridge out of oats, but it's nice to change things up from time to time and these overnight sweet potato oats are a delicious addition to a breakfast table.

Independent stores across the country served up free breakfasts as part of the Wake up to Organic campaign, but I think we can do more at home and make ourselves some really interesting breakfasts instead of just pouring cornflakes into a bowl.

A simple recipe for sweet potato overnight oats that's high in vitamin c & iron. This recipe is dairy free and vegan.

Why buy organic?

  1. It's better for nature - Organic farming works with the environment as it uses fewer pesticides as it's a way of farming that protects and encourages wildlife while looking after the soil
  2. It's better for the planet - Organic farms use fewer pesticides and support up to 50% more wildlife.
  3. You know what's in your food - When it comes to organic you know exactly what's in your food. GM crops and ingredients are banned in organic farming.
  4. It's tasty! - Organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil to grown a mixture of crops that are bursting with flavour. 

Isn't it expensive to buy organic?

It can cost a little more, but the best way to start is by introducing a few organic products to your diet and do it gradually. Organic vegetables are definitely a good place to start.

I always buy organic tomatoes when I can as they actually taste like tomatoes.

Do you remember what tomatoes are supposed to taste like?

So many are bland. If you've ever been given some tomatoes from someones greenhouse, you will know just how much flavour they should have and organic tomatoes are just like that. Packed with flavour.

Shop local

Remember to buy local and check out your local organic veg box scheme, then you can create your weekly meals from seasonal organic veg.

For veg box inspiration, check out my monthly column in Cook Vegan magazine called Veg on Wheels where I give you lots of ideas for cooking with what's in season each month.

If you are looking for an special breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning, try my traditional Scottish Potato Scones.

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Overnight Sweet Potato Oats
Overnight Sweet Potato Oats
A nutritious and tasty recipe for overnight oats with the sweetness from roast sweet potatoes and a little maple syrup. High in Vitamin C & Iron.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 450g)
  • 130g rolled oats
  • 260ml almond or rice milk, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt (Greek, coconut or soy)
  • 2 tbsp roasted almonds, cut into slivers
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6. 2. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the flesh is completely soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oats, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half, scoop out the flesh and mash it to a pulp with a fork. Add this to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 4. The following morning, stir the oats. The mixture will be quite thick; if you prefer it a little thinner, add in a
tablespoon or 2 of almond milk, and combine. Divide the oats between 2 bowls and top with the yoghurt, almonds and a little drizzle of maple syrup if you like.
5. Enjoy!
Total time:

Yield: Serves 2-3

This recipe comes from HEALTHY BAKING: Nourishing Breads, Wholesome Cakes, Ancient Grains and Bubbling Ferments by Jordan Bourke which is published by Orion as a hardback & eBook (£20/£10.99). 

To join the conversation about going organic follow and use the hashtag #WakeUpToOrganic

As well as this recipe I'm hosting a competition. Would you like to win this organic hamper full of tasty goodies?

To enter the giveaway

  1. Leave a comment telling me what your favourite breakfast is.
  2. Enter via the rafflecopter box below.
  3. This giveaway will run until Friday 28 July 2017 and is open to UK residents.
  4. Good Luck!

Disclosure: I'm sharing this recipe and hosting the giveaway on behalf of the Soil Association and their Wake Up To Organic campaign. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Meat Free Mondays

Happy Monday! How are you?

You may see a few changes to Tinned Tomatoes blog. I've had a blog upgrade and I'm rather pleased with it. Of course I have loads of work to do behind the scenes to get everything upgraded and quite how it should be, but I'm getting there (slowly). There may be a little less posting for a few weeks, but I'll try to post at least a couple of times a week.

As well as the refresh, Tinned Tomatoes has been nominated for a Good Housekeeping Award, if you have a minute, please vote

Now on to the recipes for the week. Meat Free Mondays is all about trying a veggie diet at least one day a week, but I like to give you options for the whole week. I do hope you try some of them.


Red Pepper Sweet Chilli Sauce

Easy Red Pepper and Sweet Chilli Dip

Do you ever make your own sauce? Too often we reach for the ready made versions in the supermarket, but it's actually easy to make sauce at home and you can tweak the flavour to suit yourself. My latest batch is a red pepper sweet chilli sauce. 

I've made a sweet chilli sauce before, but this time I decided to add red pepper for a fuller flavour and a pinch of paprika for a smoky edge.

A simple red pepper sweet chilli sauce that has so many uses including a topping for veggie burgers, a drizzle for salad wraps and a marinade for tofu. Sweet, smoky and delicious! It's fat-free, very low in sodium and a good source of Vitamin A & C. Only 28 calories per tablespoon.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Comvita Manuka Apple Cider Vinegar

I also used Comvita Manuka Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar in this sauce which gives it a wonderful sweetness as well as the health benefits of Manuka Honey. The vinegar is a combination of naturally fermented apple cider vinegar and New Zealand UMF 5+ Manuka Honey and bush honey. It is also unpasteurised and can be used as a tonic or salad dressing.

Of course my vegan readers can use standard apple cider vinegar, it will just be a bit less sweet and a bit sharper.

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