Healthy meals in 20 minutes

Healthy meals in 20 minutes

What you eat is an important element of your marathon training. Getting your diet right will help to keep your body well fuelled and ready for the miles ahead.

Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes, by best-selling author and nutritionist Anita Bean, features more than 100 nourishing recipes designed to support your training.

Check out the three recipes below that can be put together in just 20 minutes, or for more meal ideas, take a look at our easy breakfasts for active lifestyles.

Noodles with edamame beans, lime and ginger

If you thought noodles were only useful for stir-fries, then think again! They also make a nutritious base for delicious salads, which can be eaten straight away or packed in plastic boxes for lunch on the go. This recipe combines a tasty Asian-inspired sauce with soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat – a type of seed that’s rich in manganese, magnesium and zinc, which are all important for the immune system, as well as lots of protein and fibre. Its slightly nutty flavour goes beautifully with edamame beans (see ‘What are edamame beans?’ below) and I’ve added pumpkin seeds for their high content of omega-3 fatty acids.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


  • 200g (7oz) soba or wholewheat noodles
  • 250g (9oz) frozen edamame beans
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 50g (2oz) pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 6 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 250g (9oz) sugar snap peas
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Serves 4

Method: Cook the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water according to the directions on the packet. Add the frozen edamame beans to the pan for the last 30 seconds of cooking, then refresh the noodles and beans under cold water, drain in a colander and set aside.

Make the sauce by whisking together the chilli flakes, tamari or soy sauce, oil, honey or maple syrup, lime juice and grated ginger in a large bowl.

Add the noodles, edamame beans, pumpkin seeds, vegetables and coriander and toss well to combine.

Nutrition per serving:

  • 451 cals • 22g protein • 17g fat (3g saturates)
  • 48g carbs (12g total sugars) • 10g fibre

Sweetcorn and black bean fritters with tomato salsa

Sweetcorn and black bean fritters with tomato salsa

These Mexican-inspired fritters are super-quick to make and perfect for brunch after your workout or as a main dish with a leafy salad. Black beans are a brilliant source of protein and fibre and also supply significant amounts of iron, which is important for making haemoglobin in your red blood cells. These fritters can be made using fresh or canned sweetcorn, or sweetcorn thawed from frozen. If you want to make them from fresh sweetcorn, you’ll need three cobs of fresh corn. Remove the husks, then cut the kernels off the cob.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 400g (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 340g (13oz) can sweetcorn (or 2 x 198g cans)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Half tsp smoked paprika
  • Half–1 red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (or 1 tsp chilli powder)
  • 175g (6oz) cornmeal (or plain flour)
  • 100ml (3½ fl oz) water
  • 1 egg
  • A handful of parsley or coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve: A leafy salad
Makes 8

For the salsa:

  • 2 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Half a green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method: Mix together the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, roughly mash the beans with a fork, add the remaining fritter ingredients, except the oil, and stir to combine.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry tablespoons of the fritter mixture, pressing lightly with a spatula to flatten. Cook for about 2–3 minutes each side until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve with the salsa and a leafy salad.

Nutrition per fritter:

  • 175 cals • 6g protein
  • 5g fat (1g saturates)
  • 25g carbs (2g total sugars)
  • 4g fibre

Halloumi, vegetable and sesame skewers

Halloumi, vegetable and sesame skewers

These kebabs are perfect for barbecues and outdoor cooking, although I also cook them under the grill during winter. I’m a big fan of halloumi – it’s lower in fat than most hard cheeses but equally rich in protein and calcium – and this is my favourite way to eat it. Its chewy texture and salty taste go beautifully with the crispiness of the vegetables in this recipe. As the vegetables are cooked only briefly and over a high heat, they retain most of their nutrients. I’ve included colourful peppers here (see ‘The health benefits of peppers’ below) but you can use other vegetables too, such as cherry tomatoes, aubergines or pieces of corn on the cob.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 250g (9oz) halloumi, cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 red or yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) pieces
  • 3 courgettes, cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) pieces
  • 16 button mushrooms

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A small handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, mint or parsley
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve: Warm flatbreads, rocket and watercress
Makes 8 skewers

Method: Soak 8 bamboo skewers in a bowl of water for a few minutes (this stops them burning). Thread the halloumi cubes and vegetables onto the skewers. In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing and brush the skewers with half the dressing.

Place a griddle pan or barbecue on a medium heat. Add the skewers and cook for 5 minutes before turning over and cooking on the other side for 5 minutes until lightly charred. Drizzle with the remaining dressing before serving with warm flatbreads, rocket and watercress.

Nutrition per skewer:

  • 181 cals • 10g protein • 13g fat (6g saturates)
  • 6g carbs (5g total sugars) • 3g fibre