Six 15-Minute Meals

A quarter of an hour to turn round a full meal? It’s easier than you think. From gorgeous garlic prawns to a simple bean salad, Chloe Scott-Moncrieff reveals a spread of 15-minute marvels to inspire…

1. Sesame Bean Salad (v)

Sesame seeds have been used for millennia. Not only do they have numerous health benefits, but they boost the flavour of the dishes they grace.


  • 300g of green beans
  • 100g of peas
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g of sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • Garnish: fresh mint


On a low heat, simmer the green beans in a pan for a few minutes, then pour in the peas. After a few minutes, check they’re cooked and drain. Make a dressing of soy sauce with rice wine vinegar (50:50). Lightly toast the sesame seeds and garlic in a pan. Mix the beans with the dressing. Taste and season. Sprinkle over the garlic and sesame seeds. Finely chopped fresh mint is a magical addition to this.

2. Garlicky Prawns With Lentils

This is deliciously moreish and can be cooked at breakneck speed.


  • 1 tin or packet of black lentils, drained so you have 230-250g
  • 150g of uncooked prawns
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • Optional: Lime, soy and herbs to taste


In a frying pan on medium heat, add a little oil and gently stir in the garlic and shallots until softened but not browned (brown equals bitter). Throw in the fresh prawns and plenty of sea salt. Cook until pink. This should take about two minutes.

In a separate pan, heat the lentils on a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice. After two minutes or when cooked, pour the lentils into the pan of garlic prawns. Pour in 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle over with freshly chopped herbs and a wedge of lime. Serve.

3. Masala Omelette (v)

An Indian spin on an omelette – add other vegetables like green peppers if you wish.


  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 green chilli 
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • Optional: Fresh coriander; 2 tomatoes, diced


Whisk the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan with a little oil, sauté the onions and garlic, chilli and garam masala.  Add the tomatoes. You could mix in other chopped vegetables at this point to cook. Now add the omelette batter and swirl across the pan. Flip for a further minute on the other side. Serve with fresh coriander or mint.

4. Microwave Risotto (v)

Purists will balk, but microwave risotto is a nifty cheat’s recipe if you’re time-poor.


  • 250g of risotto rice
  • 60g of parmesan 
  • 400ml of veg stock
  • 100ml of white wine
  • Thyme
  • Vegetables of your choice: butternut squash, onions, courgette, fennel bulb, mushrooms


In a large microwaveable casserole dish covered with cling film, cook the rice with the wine and stock for 5 minutes in the microwave. Microwaves vary so do check it doesn’t burn by stirring half way. When it’s done, stir, then add the veg (butter, finely chopped shallots or onions, cubed butternut or courgette). Cook for another 10 minutes with cling film tightly over it. Stir now and again throughout. When it’s done, sprinkle in the parmesan. Season. Taste and check it doesn’t need another few minutes. Finish with fresh thyme scattered over.

5. Grilled Fish With Mint Sauce

If you’re looking for an easy fish dinner, this Greek-influenced dish is summer on a plate. Use an oily fish such as mackerel, sprats, trout or sardines.


  • Oily fish of your choice
  • Flour for dusting
  • For the sauce: mint, parsley, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper

In a Vitamix or NutriBullet, blitz up the sauce with all of the ingredients listed. Season your oily fish and stuff the herb mix in the cavity. Dust everything in flour and drizzle over oil. Bake or grill for 10 minutes until the fish is creamy and flaky. You can drizzle over any remains of the herb mix on top.

6. Mint & Lemongrass Noodles 

The fragrant flavours here are wickedly fresh.


  • 180g of prawns, cooked (easily subbed with chicken)
  • 100g of cabbage, shredded finely
  • 1 carrot, grated or julienned
  • 150g of fresh or ready-to-wok ribbon noodles,
  • 1 lemongrass, finely chopped with woody parts and both ends removed
  • 1 large handful of mint and coriander, finely chopped
  • Peanuts
  • Dressing: 1tbsp fish sauce, 1tbsp soy sauce


On a medium to high heat, fry the carrots in neutral oil. Then add all the other veg and lemongrass. Splash in the fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir in the ribbon noodles. Squeeze in the lime. Add the prawns. Stir quickly on the heat. To serve, sprinkle over peanuts and freshly chopped herbs.

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