Try this smoked mackerel cauliflower kedgeree for a "low carb, high protein, brain-healthy" lunch

This exciting, high-protein dish is perfect for lunch, packing 38g of protein in under 500kcal

Kedgeree dish with eggs and fish served in a pan
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your lunch features the same salads, soups, and sandwiches on rotation, we’ve got a flavor-rich dish that can break you out of your routine. This quick meal, designed by Amy Reichelt, a neuroscientist and chief innovation officer at PurMinds Neuropharma is rich in brain-loving ingredients and high in protein.

"Kedgeree is a rice and smoked fish dish that originated in India and is now a cherished British recipe that is great for a weekend brunch,” says Reichelt.

"Kedgeree can trace its roots to khichdi—a dish from the Ayurvedic khichari diet that included spices, fried onions, ginger, and lentils. Kedgeree nowadays uses rice instead of lentils, however, this version uses cauliflower rice to lower carbohydrates and provides a rich source of gut-loving fiber and vitamin C."

You can prep this meal ahead of time, making it great for a lunchbox, or if you want to make it fresh on the day it should take you less than half an hour to prep and cook, making it lunch-break-friendly.

Amy Reichelt
Amy Reichelt

Amy Reichelt, Ph.D. is the chief innovation officer at PurMinds Neuropharma, with 15 years of experience in life science research. She specializes in neuroscience, neurodegeneration, psychedelics, and obesity neurobiology, as well as biomarker discovery and application in psychiatric and neurological diseases. She has a PhD in neuroscience, a BSc with honors in psychology, and an advanced diploma in nutrition.

Smoked mackerel cauliflower kedgeree: Nutrition profile

  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 480
  • Protein: 38g


  • 1 tsp chili
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp, garam masala
  • 2 large fillets smoked mackerel
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ large head cauliflower
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ juiced lemon (save the rest for garnish)


  1. Add the olive oil to the pan and fry the onion over medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes until softened. While the onions are frying, roughly grate the cauliflower (use a food processor or a cheese grater) to form 'grains'.
  2. When the onions have softened, add the turmeric, garam masala, garlic, ginger, chili and parsley and fry together for another minute.
  3. Soft-boil the eggs, put them in a medium pan, cover them with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then refresh for 1-2 minutes in cold water until they're cool enough to handle but still warm; then peel and halve them.
  4. Add the cauliflower and stir in the coconut milk. Cook, partially covered, on low for about 5-6 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender but still has a little bite.
  5. Add the lemon juice to the cauliflower rice, and stir through most of the parsley leaves and baby spinach. Flake the mackerel fillets and stir through the cauliflower rice. Top with the halved soft-boiled eggs, season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Serve and garnish with the remaining parsley and chopped chili, and slice the remaining lemon into wedges and place on the side.

Why is protein important for brain health?

"Protein is needed to form neurotransmitters [brain signaling molecules] like dopamine and serotonin," said Reichelt. "Low levels of [dopamine and serotonin] are associated with mood disorders and cognitive deficits."

"As protein is important for building and maintaining muscle, lack of protein can make you lose muscle mass, which decreases your strength and slows your metabolism. Low protein can also lead to anemia—where your cells don't get enough oxygen—which can cause brain fog and exhaustion."

Why is this recipe good for brain health?

"This recipe is designed to be high in brain-boosting superfoods like mackerel, which is a great source of omega-3 essential for maintaining neuron function; eggs, a source of choline needed as a building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine; turmeric, which contains the potent anti-inflammatory curcumin; and spinach, a great source of iron, folate and magnesium," said Reichelt.

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.