Your body uses more energy to digest protein, so eat up. Here are 10 delicious protein-packed meals…
1. Lamb Burger with Smoked Mozzarella
Cut 120g smoked mozzarella into four pieces. Divide half a kilo of lamb mince into four and form into patties around each piece of cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Grill until the outsides feel very firm, about three to four minutes per side. Serve on toasted buns with your choice of toppings.
2. Chicken Braised in Soya Sauce and Lemon
Brown bone-in chicken pieces in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Remove from pan. In same pan, stir in some chopped garlic. Add 1/2 tbsp minced lemon zest, a pinch of cayenne, 2 tbsp soya sauce, 1 tsp sugar and 1/3 cup water; stir. Add the chicken, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, turning the pieces once. Add lemon juice and more soya sauce to taste.
3. Grilled Chicken with Pesto Sauce
For pesto: in a blender or food processor, purée 2 cups fresh basil, 1 garlic clove, a pinch of salt, 2 tbsp pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. For chicken: season half a kilo of thin chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Grill for about 4 minutes per side. Paint with pesto and serve.
4. Grilled Swordfish with Fruit Salsa
For salsa: mix 1.5cm squares of papaya, mango, pineapple and/or watermelon with 1/2 cup each of diced bell pepper (any colour) and red onion, 2 tbsp minced chillis, 1/4 cup chopped coriander, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp lime juice, and salt to taste. For fish: sprinkle swordfish with salt and pepper and grill on one side for five minutes; turn and cook to desired doneness. Serve with salsa and lime wedges.
5. Chicken with Citrus Sauce
For citrus sauce: in a pan, warm the zest and juice of 1 lemon plus the sections of another lemon, an orange and a grapefruit. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 small onion (minced), and salt and pepper. For chicken: rub boneless chicken breast with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 10 minutes and serve with the citrus sauce.
6. Grilled Tuna Steak with Corn and Tomato Relish
For relish: heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan. Cook kernels from 4 ears of corn until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add 2 chopped tomatoes, some salt and pepper, 1 tsp ground cumin and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Cook for 30 seconds; remove from heat. For fish: sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, to desired doneness; serve with the relish.
7. Cobb Salad
Dice 6 slices of cooked bacon and 2 cooked boneless chicken breasts. Chop half a red onion, a tomato, an avocado and a hard-boiled egg. Top a bowl of lettuce with the meat, vegetables, egg and 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese. Whisk together 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup sherry vinegar, a diced shallot, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss all together and serve.
8. Chicken Tikka with Yoghurt Sauce
For yogurt sauce: mix 1 cup yoghurt with 1 tsp minced garlic and some lemon juice, salt and pepper. For chicken: cut boneless chicken breast into 2.5cm chunks and marinate in 1/4 cup yoghurt, 1/4 cup ground cashews and 1 tsp each of ground cardamom, ground coriander, minced ginger and minced garlic for 30 minutes. Grill until brown and cooked through (about 7 minutes); serve with yoghurt sauce.
9. Chicken Breast with Coriander and Lime
Combine 3 tbsp peanut oil, 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tbsp chopped shallots, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread half in a pan and add the chicken; sprinkle meat with more salt and pepper, then top with the remaining mixture. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander and lime wedges.
10. Kung Pao Prawns
Combine 1 tbsp dry sherry, 1/2 tsp cornstarch and 700g peeled raw prawns. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil and cook a few dried chilli peppers over medium heat until slightly blackened. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and add to the prawn mixture along with 1 tsp minced ginger. Cook for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat, add 1 tsp sugar and 3 tbsp soya sauce, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp sesame oil and a chopped spring onion. Garnish with 50g chopped roasted peanuts.
In recipes that don’t specify amounts for meats, poultry or fish, use a total of 340 to 450g. Each recipe makes 4 belly-filling servings.