Boosting iron with just a little meat or not

BBQ lamb fillet with lentil tabouli salad

If youre needing to boost your iron levels you don’t need to become a carnivore just eat smarter. Lots of plant based foods also have good levels of non-haeme iron. In this recipe thats parsley, almonds and lentils, all excellent plant based sources. Although non-haeme isn’t as bioavailable as haeme iron from animal products, you can boost the amount absorbed in three simple ways that are covered in this recipe.

Vegan or vegetarian? Simply skip the meat and you still have a balanced healthy & better way to boost your iron levels. Top with some slices of avocado for more fibre and healthy fats.

  1. Combine with vitamin C foods; in this recipe that’s parsley, tomatoes and lemon juice.
  2. Soak your legumes and nuts to break down the phytates which bind minerals including iron
  3. Eat with a small amount of animal (haeme) iron food as this also increases the amount absorbed from the plant sources.

Serves 4



1 cup dried brown or puy lentils soaked overnight, rinsed and boiled for 20-30mins until just tender

2-3  tomatoes chopped

1 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped

½ Spanish onion finely sliced

2 sticks celery sliced

1 clove garlic minced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tspns cumin seeds roasted for 1-2mins until fragrant in a heavy based dry pan

S & P to taste

2 tablespoons chopped dry roasted almonds (if you soak your almonds then dry roast you will also liberate more iron)

Lamb fillet

One whole fillet

1 tspn oil

1 tspn apple cider or red wine vinegar

1 stalk fresh rosemary

1 clove garlic cut into slices

freshly ground pepper


Pierce the lamb in a few places along its length and insert pieces of garlic and rosemary into the slots

Mix oil & vinegar together and coat the fillet with mixture

Sprinkle rest of rosemary over fillet

Grind on pepper

Drain lentils and place in bowl with other vegetables.

Roast the cumin seeds for 1-2mins until fragrant in a heavy based dry pan

Pour in oil and lemon juice mix through and combine all ingredients, adding in cumin seeds, almonds and seasoning last.

Heat bbq plate

Place fillet and cook turning to brown all sides total cooking time about 5mins depending on how big the fillet is and how pink or cooked you like it.

I recommend eating lamb pink so that it stays juicy.

Allow meat to rest covered in foil for 10minutes prior to slicing along the length into 1.5cm pieces.

Serving suggestions

Pile salad on dish and place strips of lamb fillet on top.

This salad keeps well for 2-3 days in the fridge so make up this amount and serve in different ways, topped with a tablespoon of homous or smoky baba ganoush, ,slices of avocado, peeled fresh prawns, or grilled chicken.

Handy tip

Marinating meat and using herbs when barbecuing can reduce the formation of carcinogens by 90%. It also makes the meat more tender and more delicious.

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