Understanding your gut can be confusing, particularly when it comes to what to eat and which ingredients can support and improve digestive health.

To help, Love Your Gut Week (18th-24th September) has partnered with author and writer Dr Joan Ransley to share six new simple recipes that both you and your gut will love.

Each dish is based on gut-healthy combinations of foods to showcase how easy and delicious it can be to cook to support digestive health. With options ranging from breakfast to dinner, and everything in between – there’s something for every occasion. From a vibrant Breakfast Smoothie Bowl, to tasty Sardines and Cherry Tomatoes on Toast, comforting Smokey Beans, a fresh Pea and Prawn Stir Fry, herby Meatless Meatballs and a zingy Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Chilli, there’s a dish for everyone to enjoy this Love Your Gut Week and beyond.  

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

This smoothie bowl makes a great nutritious breakfast to help kick start the day. 

Thanks to the oats, muesli, fruit, nuts and seeds, this dish contains dietary fibre, which helps the passage of food through the gut and feeds healthy bacteria. Government guidelines recommend that adults in the UK should consume 30g of fibre per day, but most only manage about 20g. 

This recipe also provides plenty of plant points, as well as calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals, and a range of polyphenols – to help support the good bacteria in the gut.

Preparation time: 5 -10 minutes

Cooking time: NA

Serves 4


  • 250g live, plain, dairy yoghurt or plain, vegan yoghurt
  • 2 ripe, medium sized, peeled bananas 
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 120g frozen mixed berries, defrosted
  • 80g muesli (no-added-sugar)
  • 20g mixed seeds i.e., sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, linseed
  • 30g walnuts, chopped
  • 150g fresh seasonal fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries


  1. Place the yogurt, bananas, oats and defrosted berries into a blender and blitz until smooth. You may have to do this in batches. 
  2. Pour the smoothie mixture into the base of four bowls.
  3. Scatter the seeds of your choice into a small pan and heat gently until they are just beginning to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Sprinkle the muesli between the four bowls, followed by the toasted seeds and walnuts. 
  5. Finish it off by arranging an assortment of fresh seasonal fruit around the top of the bowls. 

Cooking tip: If the fruit is not completely defrosted it can still be added to the yogurt and puréed, which is a nice touch during hot weather. 

Sardines and Cherry Tomatoes on Toast

This dish is made mainly from store cupboard ingredients and is ideal for weekday meals or as a snack.

Tinned sardines are a cost-effective way of getting healthy fish oils such as omega-3 into our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on the type and abundance of gut microbes and could also play a key role in the gut immune system. 

The wholegrain toast provides a source of insoluble fibre, which can help decrease your chance of constipation dietary fibre, which can help decrease your chance of constipation. Due to the vibrant colours in the tomatoes and watercress, you will also get a wealth of polyphenols, which promotes the health of the gut. Polyphenols can act as antioxidants in the body, to neutralise harmful free radicals that can cause disease. When polyphenols which promotes good health in the gut.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves 4


  • 4 slices of toasted wholegrain bread 
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tins sardines in oil
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 85g watercress
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 dessertspoons kimchi or sauerkraut
  • 20g fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Rub each piece of toast with the garlic and place on a plate. 
  2. Remove the sardines from the tin reserving the oil. Cut each sardine in half lengthways along the side where it has been gutted. Divide the sardines between the four pieces of toast. 
  3. In a small bowl, mix the oil reserved from the sardines with the tomatoes and the watercress. Squeeze a little of the lemon over the tomatoes and watercress and mix well. 
  4. Scatter the tomatoes and watercress around the sardines on toast and add a serving of kimchi or sauerkraut on the side. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Cooking tip: Store any leftover sardines in an airtight container. Left over sardines can be mashed with a little olive oil and lemon juice and used as a sandwich filling.

Smokey Beans topped with Feta Cheese and Coriander

Step aside beans on toast, this wholesome and warming smokey beans dish is packed full of different beans and tasty veggies to add depth and texture, helping to keep the gut happy. 

The beans are a good source of fibre and a complex carbohydrate, meaning it is digested slowly by the gut. The combination of herbs and spices also increases the diversity of plants in the dish and adds additional micronutrients.  

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced 
  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped 
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 2 x 400g tins of mixed beans, drained 
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes 
  • 150g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks chopped (or fresh parsley)


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery, red peppers, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. 
  2. Add the beans and chopped tomatoes to the vegetables. Fill one of the empty cans with water and add it to the pan. Add half of the chopped coriander. Stir well and bring the pan to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the tomato sauce is rich and thick. Add a splash of water if the sauce for the beans gets too dry. 
  3. Divide the beans between four plates and scatter with crumbled feta cheese and chopped coriander. Serve with baked sweet potato wedges or wholemeal brown rice. 

Cooking tip: Both the tender stalks and leaves of coriander can be chopped up and used in recipes. If you don’t like coriander, you can use fresh parsley instead. 

Pea and Prawn Stir Fry with Ginger and Coconut

This tasty, one pot meal is a real crowd pleaser that screams gourmet but is super simple to make. It’s also great for the gut. 

The peas and sugar snap peas provide soluble dietary fibre. This means that it is a prebiotic, which acts as food for healthy gut bacteria to feed on. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can help the passage of food through the gut and soften stools. 

It also contains ginger, which has been shown to help relieve gastrointestinal discomforts in clinical studies[vii]. The colourful vegetables also contain polyphenols, which are known to increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut[viii].  

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, seeds removed and chopped 
  • ½ stalk of lemongrass (optional) 
  • 20g piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 – 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 340g frozen king prawns, defrosted 
  • 150g sugar snap peas
  • 100g frozen peas, defrosted 
  • 80ml coconut cream 
  • 100 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 limes. Juice and zest one. Cut the other into 4 wedges 
  • 30g coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 nests of wholewheat noodles


Prepare the vegetables

  1. Trim the spring onions and cut into 2cm lengths. Discard the outer layer of the lemongrass (if using) and finely chop the bottom part of the stem. 
  2. Drizzle a little oil into a large frying pan or wok and cook the spring onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, lemongrass, and pepper strips over a medium heat until soft but not coloured.
  3. Add the prawns, sugar snap peas, peas, coconut cream and vegetable stock to the pan. Add the lime zest and add half of the chopped coriander. Bring the pan to a simmer. 
  4. Cook gently for 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked (they will turn pink) and the vegetables are tender.
  5. Just before serving add a splash of Thai fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice to taste. 

To cook the noodles

  1. While the vegetables and prawns are cooking, place 4 nests of wholewheat noodles in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain the noodles after 4 minutes and place a few noodles in the bottom of four warm serving bowls.  
  2. Serve the prawns and vegetables with the noodles and a scattering of chopped coriander and lime wedges.

Cooking tip: Other vegetables can be used in this dish instead of peas, such as baby sweetcorn, fine beans, or broccoli, which all have dietary fibre.

Meatless Meatballs with an Herb Flavoured Tomato Sauce

Looking to cut down on red meat? These meat-free meatballs are the perfect substitute. Infused with spices and herbs, this dish is packed full of flavour and high in resistant starch and dietary fibre – all of which contribute towards a healthy gut. Resistant starch is important in the diet because it resists digestion, passing directly through the small intestine to the colon. It is then fermented by ‘good bugs’ to butyrate which plays a key role in reducing inflammation, increasing calcium absorption, and maintaining the health of the gut lining. [ix]

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes 

Serves 4 – 6 (Makes 20 ‘meat’balls)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp wholemeal four
  • 1 medium egg 
  • pinch of black pepper
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander both leaves and stalks
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 50g fine breadcrumbs e.g. panko 
  • rapeseed oil for shallow frying

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Warm the olive oil in a small frying pan, add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the chopped garlic in a food processor with the drained chickpeas, kidney beans, cumin, wholemeal flour, and egg. Pulse the bean mix so there are still a few visible lumps of beans and chickpeas. Transfer to a bowl and season with pepper. 
  3. Add the fried onion, lemon zest, chopped coriander and parsley to the bean mix. Keep a little coriander back for garnish.
  4. Place the fine breadcrumbs onto a plate. Take a tablespoon of the bean mix (about 30g), shape into a ball, roll in the breadcrumbs and place on a sheet of baking parchment paper. Continue rolling the balls until you have used up all the mixture. Place the balls in the fridge while you make the tomato sauce. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and place a shallow oven proof dish in the oven to warm.

For the tomato sauce

  1. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the chopped garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes bay leaf, and dried oregano to the saucepan and heat until they just begin to simmer. Continue to simmer the tomato sauce while shallow frying the meatless ‘meat’ balls. 
  2. Remove the ‘meat’ balls from the fridge and shallow fry in oil for about eight minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden, draining the balls on kitchen paper after frying. You may have to do this in batches and place the balls in the dish warming in the oven.
  3. Pour the tomato sauce over the ‘meatballs’ and serve with brown rice and a scattering of parsley and coriander.

Cooking tips: For a gluten free option, use gluten free bread to make the breadcrumbs by cutting it into small cubes and adding it to a food processor until fine. Spread the crumbs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C until golden. Once the breadcrumbs have cooled, add seasonings of choice.

For a vegan version, leave the egg out of the recipe and replace the flour with chickpea (gram) flour to help to bind the bean mixture together more firmly. This version of the recipe will be slightly crumblier than the original one, but the meatballs will hold together and taste great.

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Chilli

Make it a Mexican night without the worry of gut troubles. This recipe contains more than 10 different plant foods and is high in dietary fibre thanks to the black beans. 

The dish also contains two types of onions. Onions are a major source of inulin, a naturally occurring prebiotic. Inulin travels through the gut and is fermented by the colon helping healthy gut bacteria to thrive, keeping the immune system functioning efficiently and the cells lining the gut healthy.[x]

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes 

Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 30g bunch of fresh coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • ½ tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes 
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm strips 
  • 1 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 x 400 g tin of black beans, drained 

For the tomato salsa

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeds removed and chopped 
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed 
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

To serve

  • 4 wholemeal flour tortillas
  • 1 little gem lettuce, leaves pulled apart and torn 
  • 100g low fat Greek style yoghurt 


  1. Warm the olive oil in a large pan and add the sliced onions and chopped garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes until soft. 
  2. Sprinkle the chopped coriander stalks, ground cumin, coriander and chilli flakes into the pan and add the chicken strips, turning them in the hot oil. 
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the pan to the boil. 
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer the chicken, partly covered, for 20 minutes. 
  5. Finally, add the drained black beans and cook for another five minutes. The chicken and bean mixture should be quite thick. 

How to make the salsa

  1. Mix the chopped tomatoes, green chilli and spring onions and place in a small bowl.
  2. Add the chopped coriander leaves, a squeeze of lime juice (to taste) and a drizzle of olive oil

How to assemble the tortillas

  1. Warm each tortilla in a hot frying pan or griddle until the outside begins to char.
  2. Place the chicken and bean mix, torn lettuce leaves, a dollop of Greek yogurt and a tablespoonful of salsa on the tortilla and fold in half.

Cooking tip: To make a vegetarian version of this dish, omit the chicken and serve the beans with grated cheddar cheese, salsa, and yogurt.


Media Enquiries 

For further information, images or comment please contact Emily and Emma at loveyourgut@ceres-pr.co.uk or 01189 475 956. 

About Love Your Gut 

Editors’ Notes 

Love Your Gut is an initiative of Yakult UK Limited, in association with Guts UK Charity, Bowel Research UK, St Mark’s Hospital Foundation, The IBS Network and the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology. 

A national campaign, Love Your Gut has been raising awareness of the importance of gut health for 25 years through expert tips, recipes, case studies, digestive health news and more.

This year’s annual Love Your Gut Week will take place 18th-24th September, and will celebrate the 25-year anniversary – exploring the key gut health milestones of the past quarter century and expert predictions for future gut health trends.

Follow us on Facebook @LoveYourGutOnline and Twitter: @loveyourgut and join the conversation with #LoveYourGut 

For more information and useful resources including those below, visit www.loveyourgut.com.

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