I am a firm believer that veges can be the stars of the meal. Maybe we just have to promote them a little differently!
We all know that the way we cook and serve veg can make a huge difference to the taste, texture and overall appeal. So let’s have a look at a few ways to give vegetables a make-over and make them shine.
1. Kumara nachos - Kumara nachos. Okay, let’s be honest, we all love nachos. Crunchy, salty, smeared with sour cream and avocado or covered in melted cheese. So why not do this with orange kumara. Slice thinly and bake in the oven with smoked paprika and salt then serve with your favourite Mexican toppings. Simple and more-ish.
2. Cauli tots - A super yummy, roasted version of the classic tater tot but made with cauliflower instead of potatoes. A slam dunk winner in my house even with the ‘biggest’ boy, who apparently doesn’t like cauliflower.
3. Zucchini pizza - Using strips of zucchini or eggplant as the base for pizza toppings is an excellent way to provide a quick, light and super tasty meal. Even better, you can easily adjust the toppings to personalise them.
4. Bean sprout spaghetti - Bolognese sauce is a great family favourite. Instead of using spaghetti, though, use gently steamed bean sprouts. Crunchy and full of nutrients they are a fun, simple way to serve your favourite pasta sauce.
5. Nori vege rolls - Sushi is super popular and, as nori is full of vitamins and minerals, it’s a great way to up the nutrients in our diets. I often use nori to wrap veges. No rice but a splash of tamari sauce and the whole package is decidedly delicious. In fact, my eldest reckons they are better this way!
6. Mushroom burgers - Mushrooms are a lovely, meaty veg and are perfect for creating burgers. Roast in the oven then stuff them with whatever your favourite burger fillings are. Yum!
7. Cabbaage tacos - Mexican cuisine is so popular and for good reason. Lots of lovely spice and crunch. Create texture with an edible cabbage bowl. Fill with some taco flavoured meat, beans or chicken and then top with some salsa and guacamole. Simple, fresh and tasty.
8. Vege dipping bowls - Using veges as plates or serving dishes is a great way to have them centre stage at a meal or social engagement. Even better that the ‘dish’ gets eaten and saves on washing up!
9. Cucumber roll-ups - Slice cucumber or zucchini thinly and add a favourite filling. Roll up and peg with a cocktail stick to create a lovely few bites. Cream cheese, tuna, avocado, whatever is your favourite!
Judith Yeabsley is a mum of two boys who is passionate about healthy food for kids. She runs a food art website, theartofnutrition.com, focusing on presenting fruit and veges creatively. She also works to change the food environment in schools, community groups and lunchboxes. For information on this and great recipes, see theartofnutrition.co.nz.