Italian Staycation: Recipe for Monday lunch

Italian tuna and bean salad with olives

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Takes: 10 mins to prepare
  • Serves: 4


  • 2 tins of mixed beans (400g each)
  • 2 tins of tuna (180g each)
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 16 green olives
  • 2tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Each serving contains 241 calories, 3.7g sugar, 6.2g fat, 1g saturates and 0.6g salt.


This light and summery Italian-style salad is perfect for those hotter months and is perfect for barbecues. This recipes is packed with healthy beans, tuna and fresh crunchy salad vegetables.

  1. Drain the mixed beans and then rinse well under running cold water to remove any excess salt and sugar. Drain the tuna.
  2. Place the drained beans and tuna in a large bowl with the red pepper, red onion, olives and chopped parsley. Dress with the olive oil and red wine vinegar and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently to combine.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until required.

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Italian Staycation: Recipe for Tuesday lunch

Courgette and mozzarella salad

  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Takes: 10mins to prepare and 5mins to cook
  • Serves: 6


  • 3 pitta breads, halved and cut into triangles
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 3 courgettes, trimmed
  • 100g watercress
  • 3 balls buffalo mozzarella, drained and ripped in half
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

Each serving contains 371 calories, 3.6g sugar, 24.5g fat, 12.5g saturates and 1g salt.


This summer salad is the perfect light lunch. Smoky griddled courgettes, creamy mozzarella and crispy pitta chips combine with peppery watercress for a simple 15-minute salad.

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Arrange the pitta triangles on a baking tray, brush with a little olive oil, season, then bake for 6-7 mins until golden. Set aside until needed.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan on the hob. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the courgettes lengthways into ribbons. Toss in a large bowl with 1 tbsp of oil and some seasoning. Griddle the courgettes in batches, until lightly charred on both sides.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk with a little seasoning.
  4. To serve, arrange the watercress on a serving platter and top with the pitta crisps, ripped mozzarella and courgettes. Drizzle over the dressing and garnish with the chilli flakes and some freshly ground black pepper.

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Italian Staycation: Recipe for Tuesday dinner

Chicken and parsley meatballs with classic tomato sauce

  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Takes: 20 mins to prepare and 30 mins to cook
  • Serves: 4


  • 500g cooked chicken
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 75g spinach
  • 2 small eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • olive oil for cooking
  • For the sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 500g passata

Each serving contains 343 calories, 5.5g sugar, 136g fat, 2.6g saturates and 1g salt.


  1. Finely chop the cooked chicken, parsley and spinach, place in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the eggs and blend in with 20g flour, place the remaining flour in a shallow bowl. Dust your hands with the flour from the bowl and carefully bind the mixture together. Shape into 12 balls and roll all over in the flour.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and onion and sauté for 10 mins until soft, but not brown. Pour in the passata and gently simmer for 10 mins.
  4. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken balls, turning until golden brown on all sides. Remove and place on kitchen paper to drain. Serve the chicken meatballs on tagliatelle pasta and spoon over the tomato sauce.

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Freezing and defrosting instructions

This recipe is freezable. To defrost, leave in room temperature for about an hour. Reheat in a saucepan under a low light covered.

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.

Italian Staycation: Recipe for Wednesday dinner

Italian beef, rocket and parmesan warm salad

  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Takes: 3mins to prepare, 3mins to cook and 5mins to rest
  • Serves: 4


  • 520g rump, sirloin or fillet steaks about 2cm thick
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 60g bag rocket leaves
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (in a piece)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Each serving contains 325 calories, 2g sugar, 20.3g fat, 6.3g saturates and 0.6g salt.


This warm beef salad makes the perfect starter or a light flavoursome lunch. This Italian-style salad features fresh crisp leaves, vegetables and a tangy vinaigrette dressing.

  1. Heat a griddle pan or large non-stick frying pan until very hot. Meanwhile, brush the steaks each side with a little of the oil. When the pan is hot, add the steaks (cook in two batches if necessary) and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side (a little more or less, depending on thickness of the steaks) to produce medium-rare steaks. Remove the steaks to a rack placed over a plate in a warm place to catch the juices, and season well.
  2. Combine the remaining olive oil with the vinegar and some seasoning in a small bowl. Arrange the rocket leaves on serving plates. Cut each cherry tomato in four and arrange over the rocket.
  3. When the steaks have rested for at least five minutes, tip any juices beneath them into the olive oil dressing and stir. On a board, cut each steak into slices about 0.5cm thick and arrange the slices on the rocket, then add any juice from the cutting board into the dressing and sprinkle it over each plate. Shave the Parmesan over the steaks to serve.

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.

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