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food for busy people

Weeknight wonders: 2 satisfying protein-packed dinners for post-gym or after-work

Refuel fast (and deliciously!) with two great new recipes from the GastroGays.

GastroGays GastroGays

WE KNOW THAT if you haven’t had the chance to prepare anything, the worst time to do so is straight after the gym. You’re tired, you’re potentially still out of breath and almost all of your energy is expended until you refuel.

Here are two simple, satisfying, protein-packed recipes to fill that gap. 

GastroGays GastroGays

Salmon, Broad Bean, Puy Lentil and Spinach Salad
Serves 2-4

So here’s a super simple, incredibly quick recipe that takes a few cheats and shortcuts to ultimately create a delicious dish, packed with protein from oily fish, spinach, pulses and beans.

You can opt to use fresh salmon if you wish, and grilling or poaching is best in this case. For an alternative, we used tinned salmon for that slightly stronger flavour and the sheer ease of preparation.

Puy lentils pack a huge amount of flavour, with a warming peppery taste and broad beans are a cheap and effective source of protein, so rest assured your muscles will thank you for this type of dish post-exercise!

  • 200g approx tin of salmon (alternatively 2 fresh salmon fillets, grilled or poached, then flaked)
  • 2 large free-range eggs, medium to hard boiled to your preference
  • 250g pouch of pre-cooked puy lentils (or cook as per packet instructions)
  • 200g frozen broad beans
  • A large handful of fresh spinach per person
  • Fresh chives, to serve, chopped

1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and place your eggs in the water, reducing the head slightly and boil for about 7 minutes for a softer set middle or 9 for a harder yolk. When boiled, place the eggs into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Leave to one side.

2. Using the hot water from the eggs, immerse the broad beans and leave for about 3-4 minutes while they cook through.

3. Cook the puy lentils as per packet instructions (if using a pouch simply re-heat in a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water until hot).

4. To serve, slice the eggs into quarters. Lay out a bed of spinach, top with puy lentils and flake the salmon on top. Scatter the broad beans and top with some chopped chives. Depending on your gym regime, feel free to add some flaked salt or some salad dressing if you please to add extra flavour.

GastroGays GastroGays

Thai Turkey Laab with Broccoli ‘Rice’
Serves 2

Healthy, fast and packed full of lean protein, this is a go-to lunch, dinner or post-exercise refuel for us.

This Thai style dish delivers a real balance of spice, herb and garlic, so it’s not a sad, dry, overcooked turkey burger or day three of the same old chicken, broccoli and sweet potato meal prep container.

Fry this all freshly in the wok, amp up the chilli, coriander or lime if you want it seriously tastebud-tingling and try it out with the broccoli rice – a lighter alternative to rice!

  • 300g minced turkey
  • 1 head broccoli, stalk removed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp dried chillies
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp each of fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ground/crushed peanuts
  • 1 red chilli, fresh mint and fresh dill, to serve

1. Heat a wok on medium-high and when smoking add 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil followed by the garlic, onion, ginger and coriander, which you need to stir constantly, cooking out for a minute or so until fragrant.

2. Then follow with the turkey. Use a large spoon or spatula to keep cutting through it, much like using a cleaver, breaking the turkey down until it’s in in the smallest, bite-sized chunks, as tiny as it will go. When almost cooked through add the chilli, sugar and salt.

3. Combine the liquids (fish sauce, soy, sesame oil, lime juice) in a bowl and pour over the turkey mixture. Allow to bubble down on high heat until almost completely evaporated, then introduce the spring onions 30 seconds before removing everything to a bowl.

4. For the broccoli ‘rice’, simply pulse the florets (just the florets, not the woody stalk) in a processor until rice-like in size and cook in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil in the same wok for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until just about cooked. Toss through the sesame seeds and a little sesame oil before serving for flavour and texture.

5. To serve, split the vibrant green ‘rice’ between two plates, matched with the same amount of laab. Top the laab with extra spring onion, crushed peanuts, sprigs of fresh mint and dill and a thick wedge of lime each. This is fairly mild, so by all means add thinly sliced fresh chilli on top and, of course, eat with chopsticks for the full effect!

More: 11 simple rules that will help anybody become a better cook>

More: Got eggs? You’re halfway to dinner with these deadly 30-minute recipes>

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