Tag: vegetarian

You’d be forgiven for assuming that veggie balls would be bland and pointless, but we’ve given them a go and can honestly say that they are delicious.

Heck veggie balls

Heck Foods, the brand behind Heck sausages seems to have understood that the rise of flexitarianism was an opportunity to launch meat free products to the standard that they make their other products.

Whether you opt for the Super Green balls or the Thai Bite balls, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with their flavour and texture. They don’t taste like a meat substitute – they taste like fragrant, well-seasoned vegetables.

The Super Green veggie balls are made with quinoa, spinach, kale and ginger and a serving size (three meatballs) is only 124kcals. There are 9 veggie balls in a pack and the preparation is easy – bung ’em in the oven for about 25 minutes, turning over halfway through.

We tried them on a bed of rocket with linguine, but think they are likely to taste great in a wrap, on a salad, with rice… you get the drift. Whether you are a die hard or fair-weathered vegetarian, these veggie balls are versatile enough for a number of meal ideas.

If you want to give them a go you can get them at Waitrose or via the Heck Foods website


Tortilla Vegetarian

Tortilla has always looked out for their vegetarian customers by providing a menu that is easily customisable but in recent months they have joined the Vegetarian Society – the only legally licensed vegetarian trademark registered globally.

If you don’t know who Tortilla are yet, here is a quick overview:

Tortilla started on 2007 after the owners saw a gap in the market for good burritos and tacos. More than just burrito producers, Tortilla take special care to ensure that they operate sustainably. They use grass fed beef and higher welfare chicken and pork, minimise ‘food miles’ by purchasing most of their ingredients from within the UK, prioritising organic food and providing recycling in their restaurants.

Tortilla work hard to keep the customer first by offering healthier options like the lower carb naked burrito and providing nutritional information for their meals so that customers can make informed decisions.

By the time you add free guacamole for vegetarian diners to their list of attributes, it makes it hard to not want to at least give them a try.

For locations click here

For more info visit click here


*Guacamole is a additional cost for non-vegetarian customers


Fresh food-to-go retailer has expanded their menu with a few new hot food heroes. These new menu additions are globally inspired and it’s no surprise that they feature a combination of colourful and healthy ingredients. There is one vegan option, one vegetarian option and four meat options to choose from!

EAT Chicken Pho Broth (1)

The hot water is added to the pot at the till so by the time you tuck in, the flavor infusions are already coming through. Choose from:

Vegetable Gyoza (vegetarian, 374 kcals)

A warming vegetarian broth filled with dumplings, Chinese cabbage, leafy spinach, crunchy carrot, red pepper and edamame beans, seasoned with shichimi and garnished with fresh coriander.

Hoisin Duck Gyoza (398 kcals)

A bed of noodles topped with layers of pak choi, carrot, Chinese cabbage, edamame beans, red peppers, spinach, pea shoots and duck gyoza dumplings, blended with a dash of lime juice in a tasty vegetable broth.

Chicken Pho (made without gluten, 330 kcals)

A fragrant lemongrass and ginger infused vegetable broth with rice noodles, crunchy carrots, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, red peppers, leafy spinach and topped off with chargrilled chicken, red chilli, fresh lime, coriander, spring onions and mint.

Sesame Shiitake Mushroom (vegan, 338 kcals)

A rich sesame broth bursting with shiitake mushrooms, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, leafy spinach, spring onions, sesame seeds and crunchy edamame beans.

Harissa Spiced Chicken (507kcals)

This punchy spicy harissa and roasted pepper vegetable broth is filled with chargrilled chicken breast, the ancient grain freekah, and chickpeas and comes with spiralised carrots, leafy spinach and roasted butternut squash, topped with spiced dukkah almonds.

Kimchi Pork (448 kcals)

Slow-roasted pork and spicy kimchi served in a chilli vegetable broth with noodles, Chinese cabbage, leafy spinach, crunchy edamame beans, pea shoots, spring onions and pak choi, topped with fresh chives and sesame seeds.


caribbean food week

It’s Caribbean Food Week! The UK’s BIGGEST celebration of Caribbean Food & Drink is well underway and Notting Hill Carnival is just around the corner. The Caribbean is renowned for producing vibrant music and equally vibrant food.

This bank holiday weekend you’ll be sure to find an array of Caribbean cuisine on the road this bank holiday weekend – jerk chicken, patties, roti and more.

So how does a Balanced Busy Body manoeuvre through a Caribbean menu? We’ve done some research for ya!

Rhythm Kitchen Jerk Chicken SaladTraditional jerk chicken is marinated with a variety of spices before it is cooked over hot coals and pimento wood. Many Caribbean restaurants in the UK restaurants are unlikely to be able to prepare their jerk chicken exactly as they would back home, but most do grill their jerk chicken, giving Balanced Busy Bodies a naturally low fat option when eating out at Caribbean restaurants. Rhythm Kitchen in Westfield Stratford City, pride themselves on marinating their meat for 24 hours before grilling. www.rhytmkitchen.co

Greenz Restaurant Vegetable GateauWe appreciate that not everyone eats meat, so you’ll be pleased to know that vegetarianism is common in the Caribbean. Whether due to the presence of Rastafarianism or the sheer abundance of fruits and vegetables in the region, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy Caribbean flavour – minus the meat. Greenz Restaurant in Tulse Hill specialise in vegetarian and vegan food inspired by their travels and their Caribbean heritage. Some items on the menu are also suitable for those on a gluten free diet. www.greenzrestaurant.com

KTmuttonIf you’re looking for an eat-in option, you should definitely get down to Sainsbury’s or Tesco and look for the Kingston Town Range. The range includes popular Jamaican favourites such as Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, Curry Mutton with Rice and Chicken Fricassee with Rice and Peas.

The meals are free from artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and hydrogenated fats. The list of ingredients are easy in the meals are easy to pronounce which is always a plus in our eyes

Ocado are currently running a Caribbean Meal Deal promotion – buy 2 Kingstontown meals and 2 Port Royal patties for £8

Hope you all have a great Carnival Weekend!

Lupita East exterior

In short

Authentic Mexican restaurant that doesn’t patronise diners who have specialist requirements.


Mexican food has been elbowing its way onto the London dining scene for the last few years with some hits and some misses so when we passed newcomer Lupita we thought we’d pop in to find out if it was a hit or a miss.

We visited Lupita East, which is located just a few minutes’ walk away from Aldgate East Station. The décor was minimal yet authentic, but the true beauty of the restaurant lies on the menu which offers a wide range of Mexican fare from burritos and tacos to soups and totopos Not only is the food authentic, it provides reasonable options for diners with specialist diet requirements.

You’ll find great options for vegetarians which include ingredients such as nopales (cactus), flor de calabaza (squash flour blossoms) and huitlacoche (Mexican truffles).

Coeliacs can request corn tortillas for dishes that are made with flour tortillas (except burritos). Our server explained that the restaurant will always try to modify a dish to meet your needs. However, requests should be reasonable – there have been requests in the past for quesadillas with no cheese…

Calorie counters can obtain calorie information on meals if you ask in advance. We took it upon ourselves to do a little enquiring and learned that the following dishes are below 400 calories:

  • Tostada Ceviche
  • Tostada Tuna
  • Tacos de Hongos ( Mushrooms)
  • Tacos Gobernador (asked with half portion of cheese)
  • Tortilla Soup, no avocado, no sour cream,
  • Sopa de Verduras
  • Prawn Nopales Salad
  • Ensalada Maya
  • Arroz ala Mexicana ( no sour Cream)

All in all this was a great Mexican experience and we would recommend Lupita to anyone who appreciates Mexican food – specialist requirements or not!

What we tried:

Chicharron de Queso y Guacamole

A tunnel of cheese served with guacamole. Heaven for cheese lovers.

Chicharron de Queso








Nopales tacos with corn tortillas (top)

Flor de calabaza quesadillas with corn tortillas (bottom)

Lupita tacos








Flan de cajeta (top)

Almond Daim chocolate tart (bottom)

Lupita desserts











What we liked

The authenticity of the menu from start to finish

The guacamole was the best we’ve tasted for a long time

The staff have a great understanding of the menu and confidently responded to diet specific queries

What we would do differently

Add a little more kick to one of the salsas

Include more of the nutritional attributes to their website

Who can eat here?

Lupita profile breakdown (592x834)















Value for money

Definitely. Two people can have a starter, main and drink for around £20 per head.


Lupita Central 13 – 15 Villiers Street, WC2N 6ND

Lupita East 60 – 62 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LT

Find out more




Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching which means we are soon to be surrounded by promotions and offers on flowers, wine and chocolate.

While the first two luxuries are pretty manageable for some of our busy bodies, the latter can wreak havoc for the diets of most of us if we don’t plan carefully.

It is worth noting that unadulterated cocoa offers some pretty impressive health benefits. Dark chocolate specifically contains a significant amount of magnesium – which is necessary for your nerves and muscles to function correctly. It also contains flavanoids (antioxidants) which support a healthy heart. Unfortunately most of the chocolate that we find on the shelves has been through so much manufacturing and processing that the benefits are dwarfed by the added sugar and fat. Add to that the complexities of specialist diets and choosing chocolate can feel like more hassle than it’s worth.

Thankfully, the choice of Valentine’s chocolate for specialist diets is a lot wider than it used to be and you should be able to find a treat that fits into your lifestyle should you wish to indulge. We did some digging just in case you or your Valentine wants to indulge a little without compromising on your lifestyle needs.

Calorie Counters

If you’re prepared to try a Valentine’s treat that is off the beaten path, a small, chocolate frozen yogurt from Pinkberry may be just the treat for you. It may be a little unconventional for Valentine’s Day but will only set you back 150 calories. In addition to being low in calories, Pinkberry yogurt contains live and active cultures, so it’s a treat worth enjoying.

Carb Conscious

Carb Conscious busy bodies have the most challenging dilemma as the ingredient that really makes chocolate scrumptious is sugar which leaves you with three options – schedule your cheat meal for Valentine’s Day, try some raw cacao or go for sugar free chocolates.

Sugar free chocolates are not necessarily carb conscious per se, but they are made with sweetener instead of refined sugar which will inevitably lower the carb content slightly.

A word of caution: if the packaging states that excessive consumption may have laxative effects, heed the warning and eat a sensible amount of the chocolate or you may regret it in a few hours.

One good option is a Cavalier Belgian Dark Chocolate bar which is sweetened with Stevia.

Gluten Aware

A gluten free chocolate cake from Gluten Free Delices is enough to knock the socks off of most chocolate lovers. It’s so rich and chocolatey that you only need a small slice to satisfy your sweet tooth!

A rich, gooey gluten-free brownie from Just Brownies made with Dove’s gluten free flour and dark chocolate will also do the trick.

If a good old fashioned chocolates are what you or your Valentine desires, try something from gluten free chocolatiers Cirillo. Their dark chocolate lollipops (left) are dairy free also.




‘Surely all chocolate is suitable for vegetarians’, we hear you say. Alas, this is not necessarily the case. Whilst MOST chocolate is suitable for vegetarians it is fair to say that the higher the quality of chocolate you go for, the more likely it is to be suitable for vegetarians. We actually stumbled upon a pot of chocolate mousse from a popular manufacturer that contains pork gelatine. Whilst we won’t call them out, we will point out that chocolate from places like Green & Blacks and Montezuma are suitable for vegetarians.


Hotel Chocolat have developed a range of chocolates that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike however, their website states the following: ‘our chocolate is made in the same environment as milk chocolate, we cannot guarantee that it is free from milk traces’.

If you want chocolate that’s free from caveats, try Moo Free Luxury Dairy Free Chocolate Pralines. These treats are dairy free, lactose free, gluten free and wheat free.







Happy Valentines!

If your only experience of Caribbean food is from the streets of Ladbroke Grove towards the end of an eventful Notting Hill Carnival, you’d be forgiven for querying the nutritional friendliness of a typical Caribbean meal. However, a visit to Rhythm Kitchen in Westfield Stratford may challenge that opinion.

Located in one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, Rhythm Kitchen serves a Caribbean menu with a slightly modern twist.

The ‘I jerked the sheriff’ printed boldly on the back of staff shirts and website warnings that chickens will be jerked on site are humorous on the one hand but indicative of how integral Caribbean seasoning is to the menu.

Expect basics like jerk chicken, jerk pork and braised oxtail alongside modern additions such as the jerk chicken burger and jerk chips.

This establishment seems to be conscious of their halal diners, which calls into question the inclusion of jerk pork on the menu.

We also noticed that there is only one dish on the menu that has been specifically created for vegetarians…

We tried:

Jerk chicken breast pieces with a side salad and coleslaw

Jerk pork with rice and peas and coleslaw

Lamb roti

This is definitely not a stereotypical Caribbean offering. The flavours were combined a little differently than we were expecting from the jerk pork and jerk chicken but the authenticity was not compromised.

The same couldn’t be said for the lamb roti which had the right seasoning but lacked the depth of flavour that a roti should have.

Regardless of the taste, food is prepared without excess oil, well presented and served in sensible portions.

Value for money
At £7.25 for a ¼ chicken with 2 sides it’s a touch more expensive than your average Caribbean meal but that’s to be expected given its high profile location.

Good for: Halal diners

Ok for: Vegetarian, vegan and carb conscious diners

Not so good for: calorie counters, coeliacs

What we liked
The modern twist to a traditional offering

The preparation area plainly visible

What we would do differently
Remove jerk pork from the menu

Add at least one more vegetarian dish to the menu

Either revisit the recipe for the lamb roti or remove it from the menu and stick to what they do best – jerk

What they said:
We e-mailed Rhythm Kitchen to find out what assurance they can give to their halal diners that there is no risk of cross contamination.

We’re still waiting on a response but will update you as soon as they come back to us.

Find out more: