Pop a Spring Into Your Step with Nutrition-Packed Recipes by Green Chef

As springtime approaches, it’s time to start swapping out warming bowls of curry for smoothie bowls and focus on eating colourful, feel-good meals.

Thankfully, health kicks are no longer about plain chicken and rice, so surprise and delight your tastebuds throughout spring with Lily Keeling’s Green Chef’s nutritionist, three nutritionally dense dinnertime recipes.

Spring orzo bowl

Packed with tasty plant-powered ingredients, this vegan recipe is incredibly high in protein and quick to make. Lily, Nutritionist at Green Chef, says: “It’s one of my favourite mid-week dinners as it only takes 20 minutes to make. Adding the pumpkin seeds on top is the perfect rich addition of vitamin K and zinc, which is great to keep healthy and strong.”

Ingredients (for two people)

  • Mixed tomatoes (125g)
  • Asparagus (100g)
  • Green beans (80g)
  • Orzo (120g)
  • Sun-dried tomato paste (25g)
  • Vegetable stock paste (10g)
  • Lemon (1)
  • Flat leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • Nutritional yeast (10g)
  • Baby spinach (100g)
  • Pumpkin seeds (15g)

Method (20 mins)

  • Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Halve the tomatoes. Trim the asparagus and cut it into thirds. Trim and halve the green beans. Boil a half-full kettle.
  • Spread the tomatoes, asparagus and green beans on a lined baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on the middle shelf for 8-10 mins.
  • While the veg cooks heat a large saucepan on medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Add the orzo and sun-dried tomato paste. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Add the boiled water from the kettle. Turn the heat up high and bring it back to a boil, stirring regularly to ensure the orzo doesn’t stick. Stir in the veg stock paste. Reduce to a simmer on low heat, and cook until the orzo is tender 6-8 mins. Stir regularly. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, zest and juice half of the lemon and cut the remaining half into wedges. Roughly chop the parsley (stalks and all). In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest, half the parsley and half the nutritional yeast. Set aside your lemon & parsley topping until ready to serve.
  • Once the orzo is tender, add the spinach to the pan a handful at a time and cook until wilted and piping hot, 1-2 mins. Stir through the lemon juice, remaining parsley and nutritional yeast. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is absorbed for 1 min.
  • Share the orzo between your bowls. Top with roasted tomatoes, asparagus and green beans. Sprinkle over the lemon & parsley topping, then scatter with pumpkin seeds and serve with a lemon wedge.

Asparagus fattoush salad

Fattoush is a Levantine salad that’s all about the crunch. Add in some of that asparagus has speared early this year, a welcomed arrival amid the current vegetable shortages, and make it the hero of dinner.

Pair it with baked tortillas sprinkled with berry-tart sumac, tied together with a crumble of tangy feta. Lily says: “What’s great about this meal treat is it stars one of my go-to iron-rich vegetables- asparagus. And don’t let the veggies fool you; in this meal alone, you’ve hit a quarter of your daily protein take!”

Ingredients (for two people)

  • Asparagus (100g)
  • Baby plum tomatoes (125g)
  • Cucumber (half)
  • Mint (1 bunch)
  • Radishes (100g)
  • Baby leaf salad mix (50g)
  • Plain taco tortilla (4)
  • Sumac (2 tbsp)
  • Pomegranate molasses (15g)
  • Feta cheese (100g)

 Method (25 mins)

  • Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Trim the asparagus and cut it into thirds. Place the asparagus onto a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and, if you’d like to, season with salt and pepper, then toss. Roast on the middle shelf of your oven until tender, 6-8 mins, turning halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, halve the baby plum tomatoes. Trim the cucumber, then halve lengthways. Thinly slice widthways. Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks). Trim and thinly slice the radishes. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl with the baby leaf mix.
  • Cut the tortillas into roughly 1-inch squares. Place on a large baking tray in a single layer and drizzle with oil. Use two trays if you need them. Sprinkle with sumac and, if you’d like to, season with salt and pepper. Bake on the top shelf until lightly golden brown and slightly crisp, 6-8 mins. Turn halfway through.
  • While the tortillas cook, combine the pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a small bowl. Pour over the salad, and if you’d like to, season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together to coat.
  • Add half of the tortilla chips to the salad and toss.
  • Serve the salad in bowls. Crumble over the feta, then top with the asparagus. Serve with extra tortilla chips.

Aromatic chicken pho

Looking for some extra spice? This healthy recipe will hit the refresh button and clear out any lingering winter colds. A great choice for the shoulder seasons,

Lily says: “It’s low in fat, calories and cholesterol, not insanely tasty. The protein from the chicken breast will help reduce inflammation and improve joint health- perfect for runners looking for a post-workout meal.”

Ingredients (for two people)

  • Garlic glove (1)
  • Lime (1)
  • Chicken breast (2)
  • Chicken five spice (1 tbs)
  • Spring onion (2)
  • Carrot (1)
  • Pak choi (1)
  • Rice noodle (90g)
  • Mushroom broth paste (15g)
  • Mint (1 bunch)
  • Red Chilli (1)
  • Ginger (1)
  • Lemongrass (1)

Method (45 mins)

  • Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Boil a whole kettle. Cut the ginger into chunks. Crush the garlic (but leave it whole) and bash the lemongrass with the bottom of a pan to release the flavour. Heat a large saucepan on medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. When hot, fry the garlic and ginger for 1 min. Add in the lemongrass, mushroom broth paste and boiled water (see ingredients for amount). Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
  • Meanwhile, zest the lime and cut it into wedges. Put the lime zest, five spices and chicken in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and coat the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a lined baking tray. Roast on the middle shelf until fully cooked, 25-30 mins.
  • Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks). Trim the spring onions, and slice them thinly at an angle. Use a peeler to shave the carrot into ribbons, running it down all sides evenly until you reach the core. Thinly slice the red chilli. Trim the bok choy, then thinly slice widthways.
  • Boil a whole kettle. Cover the rice noodles in a heatproof bowl in boiling water. Leave to soften for two mins. Drain in a colander, return to the bowl and toss in a splash of oil to prevent sticking.
  • Heat a medium frying pan on medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until just soft, 3-4 mins. Remove the broth from the heat and pour through a sieve to strain out the aromatics (you can discard these). If you’d like to, season the broth with salt and pepper.
  • Slice the chicken widthways into 1cm slices. Divide the noodles between your bowls, then top with the bok choy and carrot. Pour in the broth, then add the chicken. Garnish your soups with mint, spring onion, chilli and a lime wedge.