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Light Snacks

Here are some basic recipes which demonstrate the principles of making low-calorie versions of our favorite foods. Don’t be afraid to experiment-you have nothing to lose but excess weight.

… Healthy Pav Bhaji (Starch & Butter Free) …
Serves 5-6 plates of pav bhaji
1 cup chopped Cauliflower
1 cup chopped Carrot
1 cup chopped green Capsicum
1 cup chopped Cabbage
½ cup chopped Beetroot
½ cup chopped French beans
1 large Onion - finely chopped
2 to 3 large Tomatoes - finely chopped
1 yellow or red Capsicum/ Bell Pepper
2 to 3 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 or 2 green Chilies, chopped
1 or 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala
½ tsp garam masala powder (optional)
1 tsp chilly powder or freshly pounded 1-2 dry deseeded red chilies - the latter works much better and imparts a beautiful orange color to the bhaji
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
A dash of Canola oil
Salt to taste


  • Boil all the vegetables except onions, tomatoes and capsicum in a pressure cooker or microwave oven.
  • Mash the vegetables lightly. Don’t puree. Keep this aside.
  • In a pan, add a dash of Canola oil.
  • Add cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add the chopped onions.
  • Fry the onions till they become transparent.
  • Now add the ginger-garlic paste.
  • Fry till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic paste disappears.
  • Add chopped green chilies and fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and fry them till they become soft and mushy.
  • Add the chopped capsicum.
  • Now add the chilly powder, turmeric powder and pav bhaji masala.
  • All the spice powders can be easily adjusted to suit your taste.
  • Mix the dry masalas well. Fry for few minutes till the capsicum become a little soft.
  • You don't need to make the capsicum very soft. A little crunch remaining is alright.
  • Now add the mashed vegetables.
  • Combine the mashed vegetables well with the masala.
  • Add some water. Keep on stirring and let the vegetables simmer for 7 - 8 minutes.
  • If the vegetables become too dry, add some more water.
  • When done, garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with chopped onions and chopped lime.
  • While serving, serve with thin slices of toast made of bread (Nachni, Johar & Bajra). See recipe in this Recipe segment.
… Stuffed Mushrooms …
Serves: 4
8 large stuffing mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable broth for sautéing
I large garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons whole-wheat bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 190°C. Sauté mushroom stems in oil or vegetable broth in a nonstick skillet. Add garlic and breadcrumbs, and additional olive oil, if necessary. Stir in basil and sauté briefly. Fill mushroom caps with stuffing. Cover with parchment and bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper to taste.

… Tofu Kebabs …
30 minutes for wrapping
1-3 hours for marinating
10 minutes for broiling
Serves: 4
450 g firm tofu
2 large carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 medium red peppers
1 large red onion
12 mushrooms, trimmed
2 cups marinade of your choice
¼ cup olive oil

If you are using wooden skewers, soak them while you prepare the tofu and vegetables to prevent their burning.

Cut tofu in lengthwise 25 mm slabs. Place slabs on a clean kitchen towel, wrap towel around them several times, and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Cut carrots in 12 mm diagonal slices and steam for 15 minutes or under tender. Cut peppers and onion in 12 mm wedges. Unwrap tofu and cut into 25 mm cubes. Place tofu and vegetables in a shallow baking dish. Add marinade and toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. Thread marinated vegetables and tofu on skewers, always placing a slice of onion next to tofu cube for flavoring. Arrange kebabs on platter. Combine olive oil with ½ cup marinade and brush kebabs thoroughly. Heat grill. Place kebabs on rack and cook, turning until lightly browned and brushing as frequently as you desire.

… Seafood Dip …
5 oz/150 g low-fat natural yoghurt
3 level tbsp low-calorie seafood dressing
pinch pepper
1 ½ level tsp creamed horseradish (optional)

Combine all the ingredients by hand or in a food processor and it's ready to eat! Serve with cucumber or carrot sticks..

… Cheese, onion and garlic dip …
5 oz/150 g low-fat natural yoghurt
3 level tbsp low-calorie blue cheese dressing
3 oz/75 g chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed, or 2 oz/50g chopped cucumber (optional)

Combine all the ingredients by hand or in a food processor. Serve with cucumber or carrot sticks...

… Devil’s Food Cookies …
Serving Size : 30
Preparation Time : 0:20
¼ cup margarine softened
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Vegetable cooking spray
2 teaspoons sifted powdered sugar

Cream margarine; add 2/3 cup sugar, and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and egg whites; beat well.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, mixing well.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 deg for 7 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yield: 2- ½ dozen (serving size : 1 cookie).

Per serving : 60 Calories; 2 Fat ; 1 g Protein; 10 g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 84 mg Sodium