So many people say they don’t eat veges because they’re boring. It’s hard to think how this could be true, given that there’s such a massive range available. However, if you do think that veges are just a bit too dull to eat, here are some simple ways to jazz them up so that you’ll want to eat them at every meal.
Salt with sass:
Instead of using straight table salt, try getting a few different-flavoured salts and sprinkling these on your veges, especially steamed ones. Try to find salts that have got multiple flavours in them – so chilli-lime salt rather than just lemon salt – as these will add more interest. Don’t smother your vegetables with salt, though, as too much salt in your diet increases your risk for high blood pressure. You only need a sprinkle.
Spice it up:
Do something different with leafy veges like silverbeet, spinach, kale and cabbage. Put a splash of oil in a frying pan, then gently fry
1 diced onion (red or white) until soft. Add a clove or two of garlic, finely sliced. And if you’ve got one on hand, add a chilli too (also finely sliced). Cook for a minute, then add some spices – a bit of ginger, some ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, even just some curry powder if that’s what you’ve got in the cupboard. Make the total amount of spice you add about
2 teaspoons max. Stir the spices through and cook for a minute, then add your leafy veges (which you have washed and cut into strips) and a splash of water. Stir everything through, and cook to your desired level of crispness. Taste to check the seasoning, and add salt if needed.
Slow-braise your veges:
This works well for carrots, celery, cabbage and fennel, and could be adapted for a whole range of veges. Peel your veg, if needed, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put a knob of butter into a pot that has a well-fitting lid and add a splash of water (about a tablespoon, maybe two). Put the veg in, add salt and pepper (freshly ground tastes so much better), give it a stir, put the lid on and put the pot on the stove on a medium heat. As soon as you hear the water start to bubble and hiss, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave for 20–30 minutes. Check it once or twice during the cooking time – give it a stir and add a small splash of water if it looks like it’s going to burn.
Drizzle them with flavoured oils:
This works really well on steamed veges, like broccoli. Buy a small bottle of a nice flavoured oil – lemon-flavoured avocado oil, for example – and put a light drizzle of this over the veges on your plate. You probably won’t even need to add any salt.
Virtually any vegetable can be pepped up with a crunchy topping sprinkled over the top, but steamed or boiled veges particularly benefit from this. Sprinkle the cooked veg with some dukkah (buy it or make your own – it’s easy and keeps for ages), or some spiced seeds (see the recipe on page 205), or even some garlic-infused crunchy breadcrumbs – blitz a slice or two of stale bread in a food processor (or crumble by hand), heat a mix of butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add a few sliced cloves of garlic, some finely chopped chilli and a couple of anchovies, then toss in the breadcrumbs and cook till they brown up. They’ll go crispy as they cool.