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Fast diet recipes

fast diet recipes

The Horizon fasting diet, also known as the 5:2 diet, has been a runaway success since Michael Mosley made a BBC documentary about the benefits of intermittent fasting in 2012. The idea is to fast for two (non-consecutive) days a week then eat what you like the rest of the time. Here's a handful of our favourite recipes from its printed successor 'The Fast Diet Recipe Book'. You'll be out of those elasticated waists in no time... <vows to stick to it this time>

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Jumbo porridge with jewel fruits

jewel fruits porridge

Add a delicate swirl of seeds and a dusting of cinnamon to arrive at a wonderful, ruby-studded dish with a flast of inspiration from the Middle East. Use jumbo oats as they promise to keep you fuller for longer than the more processed varieties.



  • 300ml skimmed milk
  • 30g jumbo porridge oats
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 50g fruit of choice, but stick to the lower GI fruits such as berries, cherries and pomegranate seeds



  1. Heat milk, oats, cinnamon and salt in a pan, stirring well until the porridge is thickened, for around four to five minutes (you can do this in a microwave, stirring halfway through the five-minute cooking time).
  2. Leave to stand for one minute before adding berries, cherries, and pomegranate seeds. The fibre in oats can help lower blood cholesterol.


Mushroom, pepper and tomato concasse with thin rye crispbread

Calorie count: 181

This is another show-stopper, a real 'come-over-to-my-place' breakfast or brunch, which means you can follow your fast without anyone else knowing about it. Make plenty of the concasse - the recipe here makes enough for four servings but you can double or even triple it, and use it another way on another day. It will keep in the fridge for three to four days and freezes well.



For the tomato concasse:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp water

For the mushroom base and garnish:

  • 1 medium flat field mushroom
  • 1 tsp pine nuts, dry fried
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 thin rye crispbreads, such as Wasa Delikatess



  1. Start with the concasse. Roast red peppers in a hot oven (200°C/400°F) until browned.
  2. Chop, deseed and set aside. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan, add garlic and shallot; sweat until softened.
  3. Add tomatoes, herbs, roasted pepper, water and seasoning and cook gently for ten minutes until reduced.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in a processor or with a hand blender until coarsely combined. 
  5. Oven-bake mushroom on a baking tray for three to five minutes.
  6. Remove the tray and spoon concasse into the central well of the mushroom.
  7. Bake for a further five minutes. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve with chopped parsley and crispbread dippers.
  8. Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, plus vital minerals selenium, copper and potassium.


Simple suppers

Ratatouille with rye bread toast

ratatouille rye bread

Calorie count: 118 or 173 with rye toast

Most of us know how to make ratatouille, chiefly because it's one of those cheerful dishes that can cope with anything you sling at it. We've slung plenty at this version in order to max out the veg content. Don't dismiss the tiny amount of sugar here - it helps to bring out the flavour in any cooked tomato dish. Make this in double quantity and have it handy in the freezer for a Fast Day fix. 



Serves four

  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers, sliced into strips
  • 2 small aubergines, sliced
  • 2 courgettes, cut into chunks
  • 2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100ml water
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 4 slices rye bread for toasting



  1. Fry onion in oil until softened and translucent.
  2. Add garlic and celery, and cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Add peppers and cook for three minutes.
  4. Add aubergine, courgette, tomatoes, oregano, chilli flakes, sugar, salt and pepper, plus water, and cook for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water if necessary to achieve correct consistency.
  5. Serve at room temperature, topped with torn basil leaves and thin slices of crisply toasted rye bread. 
  6. A portion of ratatouille will provide three of your five a day.


Like these? Get more dinner inspiration here...


Vietnamese sea bass

Calorie count: 185

Note the delightfully minuscule calorie count. Note the fragrant aroma as it arrives on your plate, as if from heaven itself. Poetic? Well, it is.



Serves two

  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 30g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 30g oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 spring onion, julienned lengthways
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste
  • 1cm root ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 sea bass fillet (preferably line-caught)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/½ tsp fish sauce
  • Fresh herbs to garnish



  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Heat oil in a pan, add mushrooms and seasoning to taste.
  2. Cook until tender (around four to five minutes), then combine with the spring onion, chilli and ginger.
  3. Place the sea bass in a small, ovenproof dish and add the mushroom mixture.
  4. Mix oyster sauce, lime juice, soy and fish sauces.
  5. Pour over the fish, season, and cook uncovered for ten to fifteen minutes. Serve scattered with fresh herbs.


Allotment soup

allotment soup

Calorie count: 108

This is a glut in a bowl, and as such, defies rules. My only suggestion would be to try it semi-smooth – half of it fully blitzed, the other left chunky, then recombined prior to serving. It makes for an engaging texture, and promises to fill you up as soon as you look at it. The smoked paprika, too, adds a cunning twist.



Serves four

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g non-starchy vegetables of your choice: courgettes, spinach, peppers, kale, cavolo nero, leeks – whatever you have a glut of, or whatever is cheap and plentiful in the shops
  • 400g tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1500ml vegetable stock, made from veg trimmings boiled for 20 minutes with bouquet garni, then strained
  • Garden herbs of choice – perhaps chervil, marjoram, thyme
  • Salt and pepper



  1. Heat oil in a large pan, add chopped vegetables, garlic and smoked paprika, and sweat for five minutes.
  2. Add stock, season and allow to simmer gently for twenty minutes.
  3. Cool slightly, then blitz half of the soup in a food processor, or with a handheld blender, keeping the remaining half as it is.
  4. Return blitzed half to a pan with the non-blitzed half and reheat, stirring to achieve a semi-smooth soup. Serve topped with a tangle of herbs from the garden, and some sliced bread (optional).


Lightweight cottage pie

Calorie count: 243

The pleasingly low calorie count here is achieved by swapping the usual topping of buttered potato mash for a lighter celeriac and leek lid, and using less meat than usual. The idea remains the same – a pot of unctuous loveliness to see you through a cold snap.



Serves four

  • Oil for spraying
  • 250g extra-lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 2 Oxo cubes
  • 500g celeriac, peeled and cubed 100g half-fat crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • 2 young leeks, trimmed and sliced (pound coin width)



  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Spray a large pan with oil and brown minced beef. Add mirepoix (diced onion, celery and carrot) and allow to soften for ten minutes.
  2. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, water and Oxo cubes. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, boil celeriac until very tender, drain and mash with crème fraîche until as smooth as you wish.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and gently sauté leeks, then add them to the celeriac mash; season well.
  5. Pour beef into a shallow ovenproof dish and top with celeriac mixture.
  6. Bake for twenty to thirty minutes, until top is golden brown.


If you'd like to see more recipes, you can purchase The Fast Diet Recipe Book from Amazon.


dinner inspiration



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