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Cooking Creatively with Vegetables

By Edited Mar 5, 2014 0 0

You can't blame adults who refuse to eat thier greens - after all, if someone has grown up with tasteless broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts - then come on! Many folks back in the day, used to overcook their veggies. However, by overcooking, I really mean boiling away to smithereens!

Today, however, things are different, and there is so much you can do with just about any type of vegetable. There is no point in eating spinach that has been boiled away until it dark green in color because it has just lost all of its goodness.

Marinated Chickpeas

Just something easy as a really tasty side dish. You can also use it in a salad with a couple of rocket leaves. Beans and legumes, like these are great for diabetics, however these should be bought dried so there is less sodium present.


  • 1x 14 oz. can chickpeas
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 chile, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


credit: Lisa Williams - all rights reserved


  • Pour half of the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash them up with a fork.
  • Add the rest of the chickpeas to the bowl.
  • Mix them with the olive oil, lemon juice and other ingredients.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Pesto Carrots

To me carrots are rather boring by themselves so I like to spice them up. Sometimes I add some sort of cheese, or clarified butter also works well.


  • 8 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp basil pesto (see recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • salt
  • black pepper


  • Bring a small pot of water to the boil and put in the carrots.
  • In the meantime make the pesto.
  • When the carrots are ready, drain them and put them back in the pot.
  • Add the pesto and the butter.
  • Add salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Spicy Roast Potatoes

And now for something a little different. I guess it's not for everyone. I like a traditional roast potato with a roast, but this is sweet with a lamb chop or with a barbeque.


  • 8 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt

spicy roast potato

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters.
  • In a hot pan add the cumin and coriander seeds until they are toasted.
  • Add a little oil to the pan and add the mustard seeds until they start jumping around.
  • Crush the mustard seeds with the cumin and coriander.
  • Add the chili powder, garam masala, salt and turmeric.
  • Add the oil to this mixture.
  • Add a little oil to a roasting tray.
  • Place the potatoes on it and pour the spice mixture over, coating all the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle sea salt over the potatoes and roast in a hot oven.

Serves 6

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

With a bit of imagination and slightly extended budget, ordinary mash turns into this stylish dish.


  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper


  • Peel the potatoes and boil them until they are soft.
  • Mash them up through a sieve.
  • Add the butter and milk, and stir in the mascarpone cheese.
  • Add and stir in the chives.
  • Add salt and pepper.

Add these to the ready-made mash:

  • Garlic
  • Carmelized red onion
  • Basil pesto
  • Black olives, mashed up

Serves 4

Baked Stuffed Onion

Baked stuffed onions always seem to go down well whoever I serve them to. Use different fillings for different occasions. You can use almonds, feta, olives, and chile. You can even use hot spices.


  • 4 white onions
  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • piece of foil to wrap the onions in


  • Hollow the inside of the onion out with a knife, leaving the bottom intact.
  • Chop the inside up.
  • Add the chopped onion to a pan with the olive oil and add the bacon, garlic and rosemary.
  • Now stuff them in the onion and wrap the foil around the onion.
  • Leave in the oven at 180°C/350°F for about 1 hour.

Serves 4

Butternut Squash Mash with Feta and Thyme

You can mash all sorts of different vegetables. This was inspired from the Mount Nelson Hotel when I was working there, but we were using other vegetables such as parsnips, sweet potatoes and gem squash.


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 5 sprigs thyme, chopped


  • Boil the butternut squash.
  • When the butternut is soft, drain it, mash it up and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Leave it to cool for a few minutes.
  • Add the feta and the thyme and mix everything together.

Serves 4

Grilled Peppers, Courgettes and Egg Plant

This is very Mediterranean, and can be served with so many dishes. Yes, it does take some time, but it is really worth the effort.

Simply slice everything up and grill the veggies. Usually I put the peppers in the oven and really blacken them. That way you can get the peels off, and they are really tasty. It's great if you have a griddle pan because, you just have to put the veg in there and create a couple of nice markings.

mediterranean veg

credit : Lisa Williams - all rights reserved

When the veg is soft, take everything out and toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season them. Sometimes I even add a little pesto, crushed up olives or feta.

Make sure you know the basics - this will include sauces, dressings and reslishes so you have a couple of ideas up your sleeve.



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