Four quick and healthy recipes from The Fast 800 Easy

Low-carb sausage 'lasagne'.
Low-carb sausage 'lasagne'. Photo: Smith & Gilmour/Simon & Schuster Australia

It was the best-selling diet book that converted Australia to eating 800 calories (3350 kilojoules) a day. The Fast 800 by Dr Michael Mosley promoted rapid weight loss by restricting people's energy intake and encouraging them to fast for certain intervals. 

Now, Dr Clare Bailey – GP and Dr Mosley's wife – and food writer Justine Pattison have released a companion book called The Fast 800 Easy, a collection of 130 new fuss-free recipes for your 800-calorie fasting days and general healthy eating.

The dishes are based on the Mediterranean style of eating, and include many vegetarian and family-friendly options, often using pantry or freezer staples. Here's a sample to try and enjoy.

Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison's new book.
Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison's new book. Photo: Supplied

Low-carb sausage "lasagne"

This easy low-carb "lasagne" was created during a brilliant Zoom session when we had to come up with a dish using specific ingredients. These included sausages, tinned tomatoes and spinach. We skipped the starchy lasagne sheets and used layers of zucchini instead.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 good-quality sausages (about 400g total weight)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 × 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 250g young spinach leaves
  • 2 medium zucchinis, trimmed and sliced lengthways into strips 3-4mm thick
  • good pinch ground nutmeg
  • 200g full-fat creme fraiche
  • 40g parmesan, finely grated

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). 
  2. Place a shallow, flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and into the pan in small chunks. Add the onions and fry together, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and the sausages are lightly browned. Add the garlic and oregano and cook for a few seconds. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until thick.
  3. Place the spinach in a colander in the sink and pour just-boiled water over the top until it softens. Otherwise, you can soften it in the microwave. Leave to stand until cool enough to handle, then squeeze the leaves to remove as much water as possible.
  4. Remove the casserole from the heat and season well. Place the zucchini slices over the sausage mixture, then top with the spinach leaves.
  5. Stir the nutmeg into the creme fraiche and spread over the spinach – you don't need to be too neat. Sprinkle with the parmesan and season with more ground black pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until starting to brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve with a large green salad.

Tip: Avoid cooking this dish for any longer than stated, as the zucchinis will release more liquid as they bake.

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Sweet chilli salmon with edamame

This is incredibly easy to throw together – delicious comfort food with lots of flavour to lift the spirits. You also get a healthy blast of omega-3 fish oils. On a non-fast day, you could serve it with a small portion of wholewheat or soba noodles.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 200g frozen edamame, baby broad beans or peas
  • 1 × 320-350g pack stir-fry vegetables
  • 160g sweet chilli hot smoked salmon, or any hot smoked or poached salmon, skin removed, flaked into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, to serve
  • dash Sriracha or Tabasco (optional), to serve

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat. Add the edamame and cook for 1 minute, or until beginning to thaw. Add the mixed vegetables and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the salmon to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until hot, turning everything gently to avoid breaking up the fish too much.
  3. Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with the soy sauce and Sriracha or Tabasco, if using.

Tip: You'll find edamame beans in the frozen food section of larger supermarkets – make sure you choose the ones that have already been podded.

Serves: 2

Feta, pea and mint crustless quiche

This light and minty crustless quiche is lifted by the salty feta. Perfect for a packed lunch, it will also keep well in the fridge for up to two days. Serve warm or cold with a lightly dressed mixed salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil, for greasing
  • 200g feta, cut into roughly 1.5cm cubes
  • 200g frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 6 large eggs
  • 200g full-fat creme fraiche
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional) and lightly oil a shallow round 20cm ceramic pie or quiche dish. It should be around 4cm deep.
  2. Arrange the cubes of feta and the peas in the dish and sprinkle over the spring onions.
  3. Beat the eggs and creme fraiche together in a bowl, then stir in the mint and season well with ground black pepper. (You probably won't need salt as the cheese is salty already.)
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the feta and peas and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until just set. (Test by inserting the tip of a knife into the centre – there should be no liquid remaining.)
  5. Leave the quiche to cool for few minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

Tip: Quickly thaw the peas by putting in a sieve and pouring just-boiled water slowly over the top. Drain well.

Serves: 6

Baked nectarines with blackberries

This is one of our favourite summer desserts. It's incredibly easy to make and can be served warm or cold. It also makes a lovely, fruity breakfast, served with yoghurt and a sprinkling of sugar-free granola.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ripe nectarines or peaches, halved and stoned
  • 150g fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds (around 15g)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). 
  2. Place the nectarine or peach halves in a small, shallow ovenproof dish or tin, cut side up. Sprinkle over 6 tablespoons of cold water. Scatter over the blackberries and the flaked almonds. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the almonds are lightly toasted and the nectarines are very soft.
  4. Serve warm or cold with full-fat Greek yoghurt (20 calories per tablespoon) or creme fraiche (57 calories per tablespoon).

Tip: If you don't have blackberries, use raspberries instead.

Serves: 4

This is an edited extract from The Fast 800 Easy by Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison, Simon & Schuster Australia, RRP $35. Photography: Smith & Gilmour. Buy now