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Get in those greens!

Recipes to sell the family on veggies

Spicy Tomato, Mushroom and Olive Penne. Picture: Supplied

Meander Chronicle Reporter

Veggies … we are very fortunate in the KZN Midlands to have so many providers of quality organic produce, grown the natural way, no weird and destructive chemicals added. It’s healthier and, of course, the food tastes much better too. Off the top of my head people like Dovehouse Organics, Emphare Organics, Happy Heart Foods, Mgwaba Veggies, Tatsfield Farm, those who sell at Reko in Hilton and Howick, through The Vegbox Company, Earth Route Market, Karkloof Market and more.

But there are those unfortunates who still pull a face when eating them and really dislike veggies, and for them, getting in a daily serving of the good stuff can be a real problem.

Just a little effort turns ‘boring’ veggies into something delicious, that looks delicious too. Picture: Nadine primeau on Unsplash

So how exactly are they good for us, and why go to all the trouble of getting little Michael, Lizwe or Megan to eat them? Vegetables are excellent sources of various vitamins and nutrients that the body needs. Many have been labelled as super foods, containing, for example, carotenoids and folates. But, that’s not all that they’re important for. Vegetables are a rich source of fibre which is extremely important for gut health and the gastrointestinal tract as well as promoting the growth of good gut bacteria in our bodies.

Delicious veggies: Oven roasted beetroot and butternut pasta

Making vegetables appetising to those who are not naturally convinced of their goodness can be a challenge. Rather than relying on butter, cheese, and sugar – which can make most things taste good but are not necessarily very good for one’s health – it’s best to embrace the techniques that maintain the nutritional integrity of vegetables. Some of the best tricks include using veggies in meat-centric dishes to replace the meat so that the overall dish is familiar and appetising, as well as seasoning and preparing vegetables the same way you would meat.

‘Rabbit food’

To help make sure you hit your veggie intake, culinary artist Theo Mannie of Granny Mouse Country House and Spa shares some of his best vegetarian recipes. Even if you profess to be a carnivore who hates “rabbit food”, we are certain that you will be converted and, most certainly, come back for more.

One of chef Theo Mannie’s veggie favourites… Roasted Butternut Salad. Picture: Supplied

Roasted Butternut Salad
300g butternut, peeled and chopped into bite sizes
20g pumpkin seeds lightly toasted
2 large sticks of cinnamon
10g pistachio nuts
100g cream cheese
20g mixed micro herbs
20ml Italian salad dressing

Method
Place the pistachio nuts in in a food processor until the end result resembles dust. Pour in the cream cheese and blend for another 30 seconds. Place in a piping bag then chill.

Place the butternut into a roasting tray together with the cinnamon, cover with foil and bake at 180ºC for 21 min.

In the meantime, lay the micro herbs in the centre of the plate. Sprinkle on the toasted pumpkin seeds. Pipe scatted dots of the cream cheese. Do the same with the salad dressing. Randomly place the butternut over the salad.

Summer’s a great time to get the veggie garden pumping. There’s nothing more satisfying than growing and eating your own. Picture: Garth Johnstone

Spicy Tomato, Mushroom and Olive Penne
1 red chilli, chopped
300g button mushrooms sliced
100g pitted black olives
1 can chopped tomatoes
200g penne
15g garlic, crushed
20g butter
1stp sugar
1tsp vinegar
150g feta
20g fresh rocket
Salt and pepper

Method
Boil the pasta, strain and cool before setting aside. In a large saucepan, melt the butter on high heat. Add the mushrooms and olives. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until the mushrooms become golden brown.

Pour the tomato and garlic, continue to sauté for a minute before reducing the heat. Pour in the vinegar and add the sugar.

Once the tomato has cooked out, add the pasta into the sauce. Cook for a further 3 minutes and season to taste. Once plated, scatter both the rocket and feta over the pasta.

Both recipes serve 2

More veggie goodness: Hearty beetroot and ginger soup

Health and lifestyle: Your heart will thank you for it

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