One of the most memorable parts of any holiday is tucking into the local specialities and enjoying incredible food in the sunshine. Whether you’re lucky enough to be getting on a plane this year or not, these slimming-friendly versions of holiday-inspired dishes will bring exotic flavours into your own home. From spaghetti carbonara to souvlaki to tacos, we’ve rounded up a variety of yummy holiday dishes and given them a low-calorie makeover. Join us on a jet-setting trip that’s good for your bank balance, and even better for your calorie count!
A summer holiday in Greece
You don’t need to hop on a short-haul flight to enjoy the best of delicious, European-inspired dishes. For a taste of the Mediterranean on a meat-free Monday, our Greek Pasta Salad is a standout lunchtime option. There’s no shortage of colour or summer flavour here, with a mix of cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes and black olives (all coated in an irresistibly lemony dressing!). We’ve stirred pasta shells through the creamy sauce to soak up all the flavour, and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
A Greek holiday starts with your first taste of souvlaki, so we had to include our very own Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki recipe. It won’t give you white beaches and cobbled streets, but we can promise a mouthful of mildly-spiced grilled chicken pieces that are just as good as the real thing! We’ve included how to make our Tzatziki dip, so you can enjoy all the garlicky, zesty lemon creaminess you’d expect from Greece’s freshest dressing, for far fewer calories.
Everything’s better with feta, so a sharing portion of our Greek Salad is the perfect excuse to crack out your fanciest salad bowl.
A summer holiday in Italy
When in Rome, it’s only right to try one of the creamiest, indulgent pasta dishes available: Spaghetti Carbonara. We’ve had to make a few tweaks to the version you might find at a restaurant overlooking the Colosseum, not that you can taste the difference! Even with our slimming-friendly swaps, it’s every bit as cheesy and rich as you’d expect. If you’d rather skip the gammon, rustling up a batch of our Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara is just as simple and delicious.
An Italian holiday in a bowl, our Chicken and Spring Vegetable Risotto is a surefire sunshine treat. While some risottos can feel heavy or wintery, the indulgent silkiness in this dish comes from stirring the Arborio rice until it’s fluffed up with a creamy texture.
With lots of leafy spring greens and tender chicken pieces in the mix, its refreshing springtime flavours make for a delightful midweek dinner.
All that’s left to do now is pop a portion of Cheesy Garlic Bread in the oven (if you’re feeling extra peckish)…
A summer holiday in Spain
When you’re in the mood to enjoy a few different dishes, there’s nothing quite like tapas. From Patatas Bravas to Seafood Paella to Creamy Garlic Prawns, Spanish-inspired dishes are made for serving up a small plate sensation. Packed with flavour, you can enjoy our show-stopping Spanish Meatballs in a number of ways. Serve them as a small plate or enjoy them as a main over a bed of pasta, potatoes or veggies.
Our Spanish Rice would be a dreamy accompaniment to any tapas-inspired spread. This effortless one-pot rice dish comes paprika-spiced with sweet chorizo pieces, so there’s lots to love. It’s a recipe from our third cookbook, Pinch of Nom: Comfort Food. If you don’t have your copy yet, you can grab it here. Now, where’s the Sangria?
A summer holiday in Mexico
We love fiery, Mexican-inspired flavours, so we’re grateful we don’t have to go too far to enjoy the delicious versatility of a classic Chilli con Carne. Finding ways to mix things up a bit is never a bad thing, and our Chilli Bowls freshen up leftover chilli portions with an irresistible crunch.
Did someone say crunch? You can’t beat a crunch-ilicious handful of our Honey and Lime Pork Nachos. Whether you’re parked on the sofa for a film night or laying out a Mexican-inspired spread, these cheesy yet zesty crisps deserve to be invited to your fiesta!
On the lookout for a meat-free meal that’s packed with Mexican-inspired flavour? We’ve packed our Sweet Potato and Coconut Tacos with a coconutty filling that’s so rich and creamy, you’ll never miss the meat. You can always add a side of sweet yet crunchy Mexican Corn on the Cob to finish your veggie-friendly spread, if your tacos are looking lonely.
If you’re not getting messy while you’re eating our loaded Burrito Burgers, chances are you’re doing something wrong. Piled high with a lean beef mince patty, cheese and homemade salsa, they’re bound to become an instant family favourite.
Mexican-themed Fakeaway burger night, anyone?
A staycation summer holiday
Enjoying summer holiday food with friends and family isn’t all about getting on a plane. Even if the Great British summer isn’t famous for its sunshine, our slimming-friendly versions of staycation staples mean you never have to miss out on your favourite British-inspired goodies.
A breakfast brought together by Welsh rarebit flavours, our Mushroom and Rarebit Muffins are bound to have you jumping out of bed early (even on holiday!). Thanks to a short list of ingredients, these savoury muffins are simple to make even if you’re limited to caravan-sized kitchen space.
Psst! If you love a fiery twist in your food, try adding a hint or hot sauce to your cheesy mushroom mix – it’s a game-changer!
A trip to the seaside bundled up in a low-calorie tortilla, our Fish and Chip Wrap is a surefire holiday crowd-pleaser. With chips, fish, tartare sauce and mushy peas, it’s got all the best bits from the chippy in every mouthful. How good does that sound?
The full recipe is in our Family Meal Planner – if you’ve not got yours yet, there’s still time to grab it here. It’s the ideal companion for planning family meals and noting down shopping lists, without losing track of your personal goals (even while you’re away from home!).
The good news is, you don’t have to head all the way to Land’s End to nibble on a delicious pasty. One of our favourite on-the-go snacks to experiment with, we’ve had lots of fun in our kitchen trying out different lower-calorie fillings. From Meat and Potato to Cheese and Onion, there’s not much that doesn’t taste delicious when it’s oven-baked inside crispy low-calorie tortilla ‘pastry’.
In fact, we love Cornish pasty flavours so much, we borrowed the filling to make our comfort-filled Cornish Pasty Pie. While you won’t find carrots in a traditional Cornish pasty filling, we love any excuse to work more nutritious veggies into our cooking. Hearty and jam-packed with Cornish holiday nostalgia, it’s the perfect staycation-inspired dish for when there’s a chill in the air.
The great thing about home-cooking is that you don’t have to spend hours travelling to enjoy the foods you love. From tacos to pasties to risotto, there’s always (slimming-friendly!) ways to bring the taste of holidays home.
Cooking anywhere nice?
We’d love to know where you’re heading on your travels in the kitchen this week. Tell us over in our Facebook group, where there are almost 1 million members sharing ideas and motivation! It’s a great space to drop in for a chat or pick up a few tips.
Don’t forget to have a look through our lovely PON gallery – our incredible community has been cooking up a storm lately! Why not share your recipe photos and swap any hints or tips you’ve discovered? We might even send some PON SWAG to thank you!