Tuna Bean Salad – under 200 calories per yummy portion

One of my initial frustrations with searching for recipes for the 5:2 diet online has been that most people have gone with 2 meals a day. As I’m determined to go with 3 smaller meals, I need dishes of around 200 calories each.

This recipe is ideal since the portions are completely in your control. For a larger meal, divide the resulting salad by 3 rather than 4. I adapted this from something we do from time to time, but I’ve calculated the calories per item so you can mix and match as you please for ‘2’ days. Obviously just check the tinned items that you are using in case the calories differ from mine :

Ingredients – serves 4, 748 calories total, 187 cals each portion

  • Tin of tuna in springwater, drained, dolphin friendly would be nice 🙂 – 150 cals
  • 200g tinned chickpeas, drained weight – 262 cals
  • 200g tinned cannelini beans, drained weight – 250 cals
  • 1 medium tomato approx 200 grams – 40 cals
  • half a red pepper approx 100 grams – 26 cals
  • half a small onion – approx 50 grams – 20 cals
  • handful of parsley, chopped – I’m counting all herbs & spices as free!

Dressing: dried red chilli flakes, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, tablespoon pomegranate molasses, dried lemon peel*, mustard, dried chives*, salt & pepper – all up probably 10 cals.

Dice the onion, pepper and tomato and place in a bowl. Add beans, tuna & parsley, mix. You can steep the onion in the vinegar first to slightly pickle it if raw onion isn’t your thing.

Make up the dressing by whisking up the vinegar, juice, pomegranate molasses if using (maybe add a teaspoon of sugar if not) etc and pour over the salad. This can be made up in advance and refrigerated – the flavours will just have that little bit longer to steep.

When I dish up, I give myself slightly less than a quarter of this mix, and Mr C slightly more – boys get to eat more calories on this diet! We then eat the rest, buoyed by additional ingredients such as boiled eggs and beans as a semi nicoise, the next (non fasting) day!

The Dressing: you don’t have to be bound by what I’ve dressed the salad with. The idea is to cheer up the salad as much as possible without using oil, so add anything you fancy really. This mix worked pretty well, and had a reasonable balance, but experiment!

* To spice up our 5:2 meals I have dried a few herbs & chives, as well as lemon and lime peel. Just wash, dry, cut finely if necessary and place on a baking tray in the oven on very low until completely crisp. Store in an airtight container for sprinkling over everything! I’ve put the citrus peel in a pepper grinder to make a lovely citrus powder.


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