Food for Mood – Recipe 2

Towards the end of last year we ran a series of online cookery workshops for students in residences to attend in partnership with NCIM, promoting healthy eat for healthy minds. Our gut bacteria are constantly communicating with the brain through the nervous system. Keeping them robust and healthy with prebiotic foods like sweet potato, apple and mushroom not only feeds the bacteria but reduces inflammation, and creates Vitamin B and K which support brain energy and growth

Sweet Potato, Lentil, Apple, and Pancetta Soup (click to download recipe card)

  • 1 packet pancetta or bacon (can be replaced with vegan bacon) 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large, chopped onion
  • 2 apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 800g/1kg Roasted sweet potato 2 litres bone broth (preferably chicken bone broth but can also be replaced with vegetable broth. You can also use bouillon).
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar Scallions for garnish
  • Set the oven to 180 degrees. Peel the sweet potato and chop into small chunks.
  • Prepare a baking tray covered with baking paper. Place the chopped potato on top and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil to cover all the potatoes. Add salt and pepper and put in the oven for 15mins.
  • In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté pancetta with a small amount of olive oil until very crisp. Do not allow the pancetta to burn. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon to a paper towel- lined plate.
  • Quickly add onions to the remaining pancetta oil. Sauté until translucent. Add apples, salt and thyme. Sauté for a minute, or two. Add red lentils, giving it a good mix. Add bone broth and vinegar. Cook for a further 10mins. Now add in the roasted sweet potato to the pan and cook for another 5-10 mins.
  • Purée ½ the batch of soup in a blender until smooth. Keeping the other half whole in the pan to add texture to the soup. Return blended soup to the pot and stir together.
  • Garnish with pancetta pieces and scallions.

Mushroom, Kale, Garlic Crostini (click to download recipe card)

  • 250g mushrooms – you can use any kind, chopped to whatever size you want
  • 1 bunch of spinach/kale or a few big leaves of savoy cabbage, chopped 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 an onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 125mls of crème fraiche or oat/almond or soy cream.
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Fresh parsley or basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 baguette – sliced, ideally wholemeal (any wholewheat crusty bread would work well)
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan.
  • Chop onion and garlic, finely. Add them to a hot pan to fry for 2-3 mins.
  • Add the chopped mushroom, kale, and thyme, and cook at medium heat until they become soft.
  • Pour over the cream and cook for a further 5 mins.
  • Add in fresh basil/parsley leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
  • At the last minute, squeeze some lemon over the top and stir into the mixture.
  • Serve on toasted bread.

To find out what other events Residential Life have coming up, visit

To find out more about the National Centre for Integrative Medicine, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *