Category Archives: Sides

roast tomato green beans

Roasted Tomato & Garlic Green Beans

Serves 4 as a side

One of the things that I’ve heard most often from people over the years is that they could never be vegan because they don’t like vegetables. This, to me, is astounding. Not like vegetables!? Like, not ANY of the hundreds of different vegetables!?

However, I came to realise after being served many a meal ‘minus the meat’ that plain, steamed or boiled and woefully overcooked vegetables were what people thought they were supposed to be like. They all tasted the same: bland and soggy. Now, I LOVE vegetables, but I wouldn’t dream of boiling cauliflower and plonking it on a plate and calling it dinner.

I like to do things with my vegetable sides, making them delicious enough to eat without a centrepiece. Roasted green beans are one of my favourites, and combining them with roasted tomatoes and garlic takes them to a whole new level.

These are really simple and easy and I don’t even add herbs most of the time (only fresh basil when in season), but they taste incredible. Like, soak up every last drop with a slice of bread incredible.

I would usually serve these as part of an Italian meal, but there are no rules. They would also fit well into a Middle Eastern or Greek table. Just make sure you serve it hot, it really loses its magic when cold.

Ingredients

450g green beans, top and tailed

2 medium tomatoes, cored

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped (around 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp good olive oil

Handful fresh basil, optional, when in season

Method

1. Preheat oven to 210C.

2. Place the green beans and tomatoes (cored side up) onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and toss well. Roast in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until the beans are nearly soft. Add the garlic and stir it all up.

3. Return the tray to the oven and continue to roast until the tomatoes are soft and the beans are slightly wrinkly and have a few browned spots, around 10 minutes. They should look like this:

roast tomato beans instruction

4. Remove the skins from the tomatoes (with a spoon or fork, don’t burn yourself) and place the tomatoes into a bowl. Mash with a fork until you have a rough puree. Add the beans and toss to combine. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.

arroz verde 2

Quick and Easy Arroz Verde

Serves: 12

Time: 35 minutes 

This is a really simple rice dish that tastes like it isn’t simple. It’s delicious, quick and easy and as an added benefit adds some sneaky greens to your meal.

Arroz verde is a versatile side that is a perfect addition to any Mexican feast. I always serve it alongside my Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas. Most versions require making a salsa verde and adding milk or cream, but it really doesn’t need it, so I came up with this quick version that you can whip up in no time.

This is always a hit, flavoursome enough to eat on its own, but not too flavoursome to accompany rich and spicy main courses.

Ingredients

3 cups basmati rice

1 small white onion, very finely chopped

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh jalapeño, minced

4 tbsp vegan butter, or olive oil

2 cups good quality vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups water

3 cups baby spinach (a couple of good handfuls)

A large handful fresh parsley

1 tsp sea salt

Method

1. Place the stock, water, salt, spinach and parsley into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside

2. Heat the butter/oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeño and rice and cook, stirring constantly until the edges of the rice go clear.

2. Add the contents of the blender to the pan and give a good stir. Bring to the boil, stir and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the rice is soft (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil dry). Add a little more water if you need it. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.

3. Adjust salt to taste, fluff with a fork and serve hot.

 

cabbage w pesto

Roasted Red Cabbage with Carrot Top Pesto

Most vegetables are better roasted, and cabbage is no exception.. In winter, it’s my favourite way to prepare it. I like it even more than coleslaw (yep, that much. More than delicious, mayonnaise drenched coleslaw). It’s perfect with a roast, or any hearty main that needs some veggies on the side.

This time, instead of my usual mustard dressing, I decided to pair my garlicky cabbage with some carrot-top pesto. I hate wasting anything, so if there’s a part of a vegetable that’s edible, it gets eaten in this house. Luckily, carrot-tops are also delicious, and whenever I find carrots with the greens attached, they come home with me. They taste carroty, and therefore go with everything that pairs well with their orange roots.

I only managed to snap a poor quality photo of this dish with my phone as Fabio was on set with the camera, but this is such an easy, colourful and yummy side dish I had to post it anyway. It looks just a little bit fancy, and is a great way to add a bit of excitement to a head of cabbage.

Ingredients

1/2 large red cabbage

4 cloves garlic

Carrot tops from one bunch carrots

1/4 cup raw almonds

Olive oil as needed

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200C

2. Slice the cabbage into thin wedges and place onto an oven tray. Brush the cabbage with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and place into the oven for ten minutes

3. Meanwhile, finely mince the garlic. Remove the cabbage from the oven and spread two thirds of the garlic into the cabbage, getting as much between the layers as you can without breaking up the wedges. Return the cabbage to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until it is soft and the edges are crispy

4. Place the carrot tops, remaining garlic, almonds and a little olive oil into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add enough olive oil to make it into a rough paste. Season with salt and black pepper to taste

5. Place the cabbage on a serving dish and top with the pesto. Serve hot