You may remember my post from a couple of weeks ago where I was a bit miffed about the new government guidelines concerning our suggested fruit and vegetable consumption. Not because I object to eating more vegetables, quite the opposite in fact, but because said health officials make blanket statements without appreciating that the average family is struggling to manage the previous 5-a-day prescription, let alone the new 7-a-day one. Anyway, you can read my thoughts here, but today I’m going to try and do something positive about it and suggest some brand new ways to not only hide those vegetables in your cooking but make them taste delicious too. Yes, it IS possible!
This one I tried a couple of days ago, and it’s also a great way to use up excess meat from a roast dinner. Normally I struggle if I have any leftover mash potato, but this is a great way to use it without forcing dried up, re-heated-in-the-microwave mash onto your family. Firstly, fry a chopped onion, a grated courgette and a crushed glove of garlic in a pan – once this is all soft and sweet, put to one side in a bowl and then boil some frozen sweetcorn for a few minutes until cooked and add this to the mix along with some chopped chives and parsley. Next, pick off any leftover bits of roast chicken (or any leftover meat really) and separated them into small pieces. Put them in too, followed by the leftover mashed potato and one beaten egg. Season then combine it all together with a wooden spoon or your hands. Shape into patties and fry until heated through and golden brown on each side. That’s three types of vegetables you’ve got right there. Of course, you can always dispense with the meat entirely and add even more.
When is a vegetable not a ‘vegetable’? And with the latter, I mean what many children expect a vegetable to be – a boiled and bland afterthought, lingering on the edge of the plate next to something far more interesting. The answer to my question is ‘when it is covered in cheese’. I love, love, love cauliflower cheese, but there’s no reason you have to stop with cauliflower – trying doing the same with broccoli and you might find the plates get polished off completely.
Pretty self-explanatory, but there’s no reason you should limit this to carrots and parsnips. Do a Mediterranean version by roasting some red peppers, red onions, courgette and aubergine in some olive oil and you will have a very pleasing and tasty side dish.
I never used to think of gherkins and pickled cucumbers as ‘vegetables’ but that is what they are and the world is more glorious place because of this. I know they’re an acquired taste but personally, I love ‘em – easy to pick up a good value jar at the supermarket, or you can pickle your own at home if you so desire. And they’re great on the side of your fish and chips.
So you see, tasty vegetables are all around us – you just have think outside the box and they’ll be a little less of a chore to munch on.