Aim: An indulgent tasting brunch (or lunch or dinner!!), that packs a mean protein and vitamin hit!

Per Serving:

Based on average nutritional values of ingredients. Actual values will vary.

  • Protein: 35g

  • Fat: 22g

  • Carbs: 17g

  • Fibre: 5g

  • Kcal: 258

Introduction:

Whether it be breakfast or brunch, the first meal of the day is my favourite. Is there anything better than a hearty brunch with friends on a weekend morning?! Or a weekday morning, if you are feeling particularly extravagant!!

Even if you are restricting your calorie intake, there is no reason to miss out on this treat. This hearty low calorie brunch recipe packs a mean micronutrient and protein punch – and given the evidence that increasing the proportion of protein in your diet during caloric restriction promotes the retention of lean mass and loss of fat mass (particularly when coupled with exercise) (Pasiakos et al, Areta et al, and Longland et al), it is not one to be overlooked.

Important for any athlete, but potentially of particular importance for those consuming fewer calories, this dish sets you on your way to hitting your vitamin B1, vitamin B5, chromium, magnesium and phosphorous goals for the day – supporting your ability to metabolise macronutrients and produce energy effectively. And of course there is also the benefit of all the other vitamins and minerals that eating the rainbow of vegetables in this dish provides.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:

· ½ tsp cumin seeds

· 1 tsp olive oil

· 2 red onions, chopped

· 1 red pepper, chopped

· 1 yellow pepper, chopped

· 1 orange pepper, chopped

· 1 green pepper, chopped

· 2 bay leaves

· 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

· ¼ tsp paprika

· 1 x 400g tin tomatoes

· 2 generous handfuls spinach

· Salt and pepper

· 8 medium eggs

· 120g quark

· 1 lemon, quartered

Cooking time:

· 5-10 mins prep

· 35 mins cooking time

Method:

· Dry fry the cumin seeds in a large deep frying pan over a high heat, for 2 mins or until you can smell the aroma from the seeds.

· Add the olive oil and chopped onions and sauté until the onions are soft.

· Add the peppers, bay leaves, coriander and paprika and continue to sauté until all vegetables are soft.

· Add the tomatoes and spinach, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 mins, until the sauce is reduced and thick.

· Transfer to an ovenproof dish, make 8 gaps in the mixture and crack one egg into each. Cook in a 180c preheated oven until the eggs have just set (you want to retain a lovely runny yolk!).

· Serve, topping each serving with the quark, a lemon quarter, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Variations to consider:

· If you are looking for a higher fat content, cook the vegetables in a larger amount of olive oil, or butter and olive oil. You could also consider serving with a side of Greek yoghurt instead of quark, or sprinkling with nuts or seeds. Almonds in particular would add a nutritional powerhouse, serving up riboflavin, vitamin E, magnesium and manganese alongside the healthy dose of fats.

· To increase the carbohydrate content, serve with wholegrain bread or brown rice (these options also provide an added dose of fibre, and various vitamins and minerals)

· To add more protein, consider adding 50-100g cooked chicken per person – the chicken can be added into the cooking dish at the same time as the tomatoes.

References:

Areta JL, Burke LM, Camera DM, West DW, Crawshay S, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, Hawley JA, Coffey VG. Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 306:E989–97, 2014.

Pasiakos SM, Cao JJ, Margolis LM, Sauter ER, Whigham LD, McClung JP, Rood JC, Carbone JW, Combs GF Jr., Young AJ. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. FASEB J 27:3837–47, 2013.

Longland TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CJ, Devries MC, Phillips SM. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr 103:738–46, 2016.

Aim: An indulgent tasting brunch (or lunch or dinner!!), that packs a mean protein and vitamin hit!