The Happier Meal: A Healthy Twist on the McDonald's Classic
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The Happier Meal: A Healthy Twist on the McDonald’s Classic

The Soil Association has shared an organic version of the kids' classic

We’ve all heard of the McDonald’s Happy Meal – but what about The Soil Association’s Happier Meal? The certification body has created the recipe to showcase the nutritional benefits of organic food, and demonstrate that by swapping just a couple of ingredients we could give our bodies a big health boost.

Created by eco-minded chef Tom Hunt, the recipe offers a twist on the classic Happy Meal, which typically contains a burger, fries and of course a little toy. Instead, Hunt’s version includes a beef and bean kimchi burger, purple sweet potato fries, and raspberry kombucha – all made using organic ingredients. ‘People can eat this meal knowing that it has been created from the best organic farming practices that hold the potential to rejuvenate personal and planetary health,’ says Hunt. ‘And for me that means it’s some of the highest quality food there is.’

The Soil Association Launches ‘Happier Meal’

What Are The Health Benefits Of Organic Food?

‘Choosing organic isn’t just about what’s on your plate; it’s about overall wellbeing,’ explains nutritionist Michaella Mazzoni. ‘There are holistic benefits of choosing organic that extend beyond the plate and simply swapping one or two elements of a dish to organic can make a world of difference.’

She highlights benefits such as:

  • The organic beef used in the recipe delivers up to 50 percent more omega-3 fatty acids, plus it’s combined with beans to up the plant diversity in your meal. 
  • Organic produce has higher levels of antioxidant phytochemicals, which help strengthen the immune system and support the gut microbiome.
  • Organic food contains lower amounts of pesticides, which Mazzoni explains ‘may have endocrine disturbing effects, neurotoxicity, and carcinogenic effects.’
  • ‘Microorganisms in the soil impact the nutritional content of the produce that grows within it,’ Mazzoni says. ‘Studies have found significantly higher quantities of nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, iron in organically grown produce versus non-organic/conventionally grown produce.’

Chef Tom Hunt

Recipe: The Soil Association’s Happier Meal

Where possible use organic ingredients

Beef and Bean Burger

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 50g cooked black beans, drained weight (keep liquid for mayo)
  • 130g organic, grass-fed beef (20% fat)
  • Olive oil to fry
  • 1 wholemeal or brioche bun
  • 1 large slice organic cheese
  • 1 large pot kimchi

Method:

  1. Drain the black beans, making sure to reserve the water for the mayonnaise. Mix the beans thoroughly with the beef and roll into 180g balls. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Once hot (but not smoking), place the patty ball in the pan and press it out flat using a spatula. The patty should be about 10-20mm thick. Season generously with salt. Once a crust forms on the bottom of the burger, flip it and allow a crust to form on the other side.
  2. Once cooked, place the kimchi on top of the burger and top with a large slice of cheese. Place a lid on top to allow the cheese to melt. Add the burger bun with a flick of water and place the lid on top for another 60 seconds to soften the bun.
  3. To assemble, place the bottom of the bun on a plate, top with the patty, slather the top burger bun with some of the kimchi mayo, place on top and enjoy!

Chard and Kale Kimchi

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • 150g rainbow chard (substitute: red chicory leaves)
  • 150g kale
  • 65g carrot, cut into thin batons
  • 50g spring onions or leeks, cut into thin batons
  • 30g cloves garlic, peeled
  • 50g onion, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 150g apple
  • 6 tablespoons Korean chilli flakes
  • Korean gochugaru flakes
  • Pinch hijiki seaweed

Method

  1. Gather the raw vegetables, the majority of which should be leafy greens. Cut hard vegetables, leafy green stalks and brassica stalks into matchsticks, cut brassica florets into bite sized pieces and rip leafy greens into large pieces.
  2. Wash everything well and drain in a colander.
  3. Massage one teaspoon of sea salt into the mixture. Leave for 30 minutes, then pour off any excess liquid.
  4. Blend the garlic, onion, apple, pear and chilli flakes to a puree with 120ml of water. Pour the garlic mixture over the greens, add the hijiki seaweed and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour into a clean tub and press down, packing it in tightly.
  6. Leave for 3 to 4 days, or until it starts to bubble.

The Soil Association's Happier Meal

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients (serves 5)

  • 1kg dark purple sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt to serve

Method

  1. Slice into thin wedges, boil for 1 minute or until al-dente.
  2. Fry in extra virgin olive oil at 175C (no higher to avoid smoking the oil).

Vegan Kimchi and Black Bean Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 50ml bean water from the black beans (or a can of chickpeas) 
  • 2 tbsp kimchi juice
  • About 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Take a clean bowl and add the bean water, kimchi juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend with a hand mixer or blender until combined and frothy.
  2. Whilst blending, pour in the oil in a very slow steady stream. Once the consistency is as you like, stop adding the oil and blend in the vinegar and lemon juice.
  3. Serve the meal alongside your favourite kombucha drink for an additional gut-friendly boost.

Recipe created by Tom Hunt for The Soil Association.