According to the Association of British Dietitians, most of us are still not eating enough fruit and vegetables in our diets. The five-a-day rule feels as old as time, yet a mere 27% of adults aged 19–64 are meeting this daily target. And we get it – you’re busy. But upping your veg intake doesn’t have to be complicated, and with benefits ranging from decreased risk of cancer to better digestion, the humble vegetable certainly packs a nutritional punch.
With this in mind, we’ve put together three fast and fabulous veggie-inspired dishes that deliver on taste as well as health, all developed by nutritionists. Eating well has never looked so good.
One-pan roasted veg
“This really is the simplest of dishes,” enthuses nutritionist Thalia Pellegrini. “It’s one of my favourite recipes for getting loads of veg in – it’s totally versatile, as you can use any vegetables you have at home, and it’s also a good way to use up any odds and ends that are past their best.
“While you can use any mixture of veg, I’d recommend the following recipe. If you have a good blender, you can also whizz up any leftovers with some veggie stock to make a delicious soup.
Butternut or sweet potato
Mushrooms (bigger mushrooms like portobello work best)
- Chop all the veg and chuck it all in a roasting tray in one layer so they cook well.
- Season with salt and pepper and any fresh herbs you have.
- Pop in the oven at a low heat (around 160ºC) for 45-60 minutes.
- Add sliced halloumi, feta or pine nuts for the last 10 or so minutes, if liked.
“As a nutritionist, I’m forever asking my clients to eat more plants and veggies,” says registered nutritionist Eva Humphries. “Most of us are low on nutrients and adding more veg is a nice way to up those feelgood vitamins and minerals. However, I don’t just want my clients to eat more veg, I would like them to actually enjoy it and the only way to do that is via nutrient-dense meals that are big on flavour – these recipes tick those flavour boxes while being entirely wholesome.”
1 medium onion, roughly diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2x medium Bramley apples, roughly chopped and the core removed
1 yellow pepper
1 green chilli, roughly chopped (deseeded if you like less heat)
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g of hemp seeds – I used Good Hemp, available in most supermarkets
1 handful of coriander
1 handful of parsley
2 large handfuls of spinach
Sea salt and black pepper
Cooking oil of your choice
For the top:
Black rice, cooked according to packet instructions
4x eggs, hard or soft boiled
4x small courgettes, sliced and roasted
Any soft herbs
A handful of roasted & salted pistachios, shells removed
- Put the grill on maximum heat.
- Slice the pepper down each side so it forms 4 flat pieces.
- Put the pepper pieces on a roasting tray and put under the grill until the skin on the pepper has charred. This makes the pepper pieces sweet and smokey, adding extra flavour.
- Set aside to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the pepper pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Put the apple pieces on a roasting tray, drizzle with oil and roast until you make the sauce.
- Put a saucepan on a medium heat and add a splash of oil.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and cook until softened (around 5 minutes).
- Add the tomato, pepper pieces and hemp seeds to the sauce. Add a couple of splashes of water and cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have cooked down.
- Throw in the roasted apple pieces and cook for another couple of minutes, adding a splash of water if it’s beginning to look dry.
- Season well with sea salt and black pepper.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender, add the coriander, parsley and spinach and squeeze in the juice of 1.5 limes.
- Season again with sea salt and black pepper and blend until completely smooth.
- Check the flavour and add more lime juice, salt or pepper as required.
- To serve, divide the sauce between 4 bowls and top with the desired toppings.
Smoky beans on toast
“This recipe was created with iron in mind because low iron can make us feel low – there’s also a good dose of vitamin C, which we need to absorb iron, so it’s win-win,” says Humphries.
1 stick of celery, diced
1 shallot or ½ small onion, diced
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of chipotle paste or a pinch of chilli flakes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of beans such as butter beans or cannellini
100g of baby leaf spinach
1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter
sea salt and black pepper to season
a handful of fresh parsley to serve (this is high in both iron and vitamin c)
a tablespoon of sour cream to serve (optional)
- Pop a frying pan on a medium heat.
- Add a splash of rapeseed oil, the celery and shallot/onion and cook for a couple of minutes until softened.
- Add the paprika and chipotle paste. Stir and cook for a minute.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes, season well with sea salt and black pepper and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat to reduce the sauce.
- Add the beans and season again.
- Add the spinach bit by bit and stir to wilt it.
- Stir in the peanut butter.
- Taste to check the seasoning.
- Serve on some sourdough bread, topped with fresh parsley and sour cream.
Images: Getty; Eva Humphries