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During these challenging times, we’re all about cooking and eating delicious food that’s going to help keep us feeling as happy and healthy as possible. That’s why we’ve been sharing recipes from our Free Food Festival cook-off champions – to shine a light on all those fantastic Free Foods that’ll fill you up and give your spirits a lift.

Our member Jane was first up on the podium with her Persian-inspired lamb dish, and now it’s time for our silver medal superstar, Megan Davies, from Sarah Renals’ Bodmin group, to share her winner of a dinner. This dish is packed with zesty flavours and feels extra special, but it’s also a doddle to put together. Let’s hear it for Megan’s sea bass with pearl barley risotto and herby gremolata!

All about the bass

Megan says: “Fish and shellfish are my all-time favourite ingredients to cook with – if you wanted to make this dish even more luxurious, you could add scallops and tiger prawns. That would be delicious!

I got some great compliments from friends in group who tried the dish, which was lovely, and that gave me the confidence to enter it into the cook-off competition.

This dish is a firm favourite for special lunches or light dinners, and it’ll be lovely to enjoy out in the garden now that summer’s approaching!”

Megan’s sea bass with pearl barley risotto and gremolata

serves 1
ready in 45 minutes

What you need:

30g frozen peas
30g spinach
finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
low-calorie cooking spray
½ onion, finely chopped
40g dried pearl barley
150ml hot vegetable stock
small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 boneless sea bass fillet

What you do:

1. To make the pea and spinach purée, cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling water for about 4 minutes, adding the spinach for the last minute. Drain and blitz until smooth in a food processor or using a stick blender, adding a squeeze of lemon juice. 

2. Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the pearl barley and stir to coat well. 

3. Add a ladleful of stock and cook until it has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue adding stock like this until the pearl barley is cooked, then stir in the pea purée. 

4. Meanwhile, make the gremolata by mixing the parsley and garlic with the lemon zest and juice to taste. Set aside.

5. Spray a non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Season the fish lightly and add to the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crispy, without moving the fish. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

6. Spoon the pearl barley into a bowl and top with the fish. Scatter over the gremolata and serve with salad or Speed vegetables.

Sea Bass with Pearl Barley Risotto and Gremolata - Free Food Festival - Slimming World Blog

Catch of the day

Sea bass is the Free Food hero at the heart of Megan’s delicious dish. Packed with protein, seafood is a satisfying mealtime option – and most of your favourites are completely Free! The Slimming World member website is swimming with recipe ideas for making fish the star of the show, or you can dive into these ocean-fresh dishes that are bursting with the flavours of the sea:

King prawn dhansak
Battered fish
Ocean pie
Baked spiced salmon with green beans and herby mash

Has Megan inspired you to conjure up your own kitchen creation? We’d love to know how you’re transforming your favourite Free Foods into filling feasts. Send us your foodie photos or share on social (#theSlimmingWorldblog).

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