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Halloumi, lemon & herb traybake – a quick healthy family meal, by Gemma

Feeding a family can feel like a mission at times. Our needs and schedules are as unique as our families. It is often easy to feel overwhelmed by that daily, daunting question: what’s for dinner?

Family Feed was created in 2020 as a space for sharing meal ideas with a family community. I love to cook fresh food as often as life allows. You won’t find many complicated meals in my kitchen. My recipes are about speed, nutrition and bringing a family to the table to connect.

The recipe

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This halloumi, lemon & herb tray bake is bright, fresh and tasty. I can bring this dish to the table with minimal fuss. It is our go to when we want a meat-free meal, a great alternative to pasta dishes, and popular with kids.

This recipe evolved over time, it is actually a mix of two recipes.

  1. Nigel Slaters Lokanta stew which is a dish my husband started cooking a few years ago. It is another quick and healthy meal for the family though it is absolutely nothing like a stew.

  2. A roasted herb and halloumi veg traybake that I have been making for many years and we usually serve with pitta breads and hummus.

The two recipes came together one day when I was looking to reduce the temptation of having bread with dinner. The addition of the butter beans and green beans are stollen from Lokanta stew. This makes the dish a more satisfying, protein rich and a complete meal on its own.

Feeding small children

At the moment, our children enjoy food like this because it is bright and full of flavour. Though I would add that we don’t expect them to eat it. Instead we encourage them to eat the bits they like and try new things. If they don’t eat any of it we would offer some supper/fruit etc later.

I want to be clear about that because people often ask me about children eating the same as us, and how we do it. No two days are the same, children change their mind from one meal to the next. Overall our kids eat really well. But somedays they don’t eat the food we make and we are OK with that.

Our children are exposed to lots of choice and we give them autonomy over what they eat. This can be hard for parents if we weren’t given that same autonomy as children. I like to think bigger picture about what they eat on the whole. Dinner time for us is largely a happy time, sometimes that means the kids eat a spoonful then go for a dance in the kitchen before the next one. Our dinner table is alive and reflective of our values around food and family culture. There’s lots of noise and energy at our table and that is how we like it. I tend to make meals where the children can serve themselves from the centre of the table. I find they try more things this way.

Making this meal your own

You can add courgette, carrots, sweet potato broccoli etc. I am always open to using whatever is to hand. The quantities aren’t massively important in this recipe either. If you have an extra pepper throw it in. This recipe was born out of a bit of experimentation, it is lovely just as it is but I like the idea of you making it your own too!

I use my magic bullet kitchen express to make the herb dressing. You can read my review about this small but mighty, affordable food processor. If you want to do this by hand, my suggestion is to shred the coriander and chop your garlic as fine as you can. Then mix in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Quick and healthy family meal

If you are looking for a new recipe to add to your week - if you want a meat free favourite - if you want something easy to prep in advance, this is the recipe for you! I would encourage you to give this quick, healthy family meal a go. It takes less than 30 minutes and the washing up is kept to a minimum too!

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