Easy-to-make gut-friendly recipes from chilli to smoothie bowls

Love Your Gut Week kicks off on Monday, September 18 so it's time to feel inspired to eat with flavour and colour in mind, but also nutrition – and that means having an awareness of what the food you enjoy is doing from the inside-out.

There's an abundance of seasonal and fresh food available that will help aid digestion, soothe aches and pains and is jam-packed with goodness, healthy bacteria and fibre-rich qualities. All of which will have your tummy feeling very happy indeed!

Forget heavier, wintry meals for now and feel satisfied with this selection of lighter breakfast and main meal options created by Dr Joan Ransley – suitable for all the family whatever their age.

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

Serves 4


  • 250g live, plain, dairy yoghurt or plain, vegan yoghurt
  • 2 ripe, medium-sized, peeled bananas
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 120g frozen mixed berries, defrosted
  • 80g muesli (no added sugar)
  • 20g mixed seeds such as poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, linseed
  • 30g walnuts, chopped
  • 150g fresh seasonal fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries


1. Place the yoghurt, bananas, oats and berries into a blender and blitz until smooth. You may have to do this in batches.

2. Pour the smoothie mixture into the base of 4 bowls.

3. Scatter the seeds of your choice into a small pan and heat gently until they are beginning to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow them to cool slightly.

4. Sprinkle the muesli between the 4 bowls, followed by the toasted seeds and walnuts.

5. Finish it off by arranging an assortment of fresh seasonal fruit on the top of the bowls.

Tummy love: Thanks to the oats, muesli, fruit, nuts and seeds, this dish contains dietary fibre, which helps the passage of food and feeds healthy bacteria.

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Chilli

Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 30g bunch of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ยฝ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm strips
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin black beans, drained

For the tomato salsa

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

To serve

  • 4 wholemeal flour tortillas
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves pulled apart and torn
  • 100g low-fat Greek-style yoghurt


1. Sprinkle the chopped coriander stalks, ground cumin, coriander and chilli flakes into the pan and add the chicken strips, turning them in the hot oil.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring the pan to the boil.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, for 20 minutes.

4. Add the drained black beans and cook for another 5 minutes. It should be quite thick.

5. For the salsa, mix the chopped tomatoes, green chilli and spring onions and place in a small bowl then add the chopped coriander leaves, a squeeze of lime juice and drizzle of olive oil.

6. Warm each tortilla in a hot frying pan or griddle until the outside begins to char.

7. Place the chicken and bean mix, torn lettuce leaves, a dollop of yoghurt and a tablespoonful of salsa on a tortilla. Fold in half.

Tummy love: This has more than 10 plant foods and is high in dietary fibre thanks to the black beans. Onions are a major source of inulin, which helps healthy gut bacteria.

Pea and Prawn Stir-fry with Ginger and Coconut

Serves 4


  • 6 spring onions
  • ยฝ stalk of lemongrass (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 20g ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into strips
  • 340g king prawns
  • 150g sugar snap peas
  • 100g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 80ml coconut cream
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 2 limes, juice and zest of one, cut the other into 4 wedges
  • 30g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 nests of wholewheat noodles


1. Cut the spring onions into 2cm lengths. Discard the outer layer of the lemongrass and finely chop the bottom part of the stem.

2. Drizzle a little oil into a large frying pan or wok and cook the spring onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, lemongrass and pepper strips over a medium heat until soft but not coloured.

3. Add the prawns, sugar snap peas, peas, coconut cream and vegetable stock, then the lime zest and half of the coriander. Bring the pan to a simmer.

4. Cook gently for 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked pink and the vegetables are tender.

5. Just before serving add a splash of Thai fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice to taste.

6. While the rest cooks, place 4 nests of noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain after 4 minutes and place a few noodles in the bottom of 4 warm serving bowls.

7. Serve the prawns and vegetables with the noodles and a scattering of chopped coriander and lime wedges.

Tummy love: Peas are a prebiotic, which healthy gut bacteria feed on. Ginger can relieve stomach ache, while colourful vegetables increase the diversity of gut bacteria.

โ€ข Gut-friendly recipes from Dr Joan Ransley for Love Your Gut Week (18-24 September 2023). Find out more on Facebook @LoveYourGutOnline, X @loveyourgut and join the conversation with #LoveYourGut, or visit loveyourgut.com

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