If you’re sat there looking at your kohlrabi wondering why on earth you’ve been sent a vegetable that has tentacles, fear not. I’ve been getting an organic veg box for years and I wanted to share some of my favourite vegetable box recipes. Sometimes you can end up with a vegetable you’ve never cooked with before so hopefully you can find a recipe for almost everything here! In this post I’ll take you through the contents of my most recent veg box and how I used everything up.
There’s a certain time of year where the contents of the veg box are suddenly more vibrant. There’s something red or orange which isn’t a carrot and something green which isn’t cabbage. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a good brassica but when the first spring vegetables come through you know that it’s not long until the spring and summer veg are in full swing. To mark this occasion I made a spring vegetable tray bake; to celebrate all that is delicious at this time of year.
At this time of year I get all the spices out of the cupboard and start to use those that I forgot about over the summer months. I found a tub of my homemade keema spice mix and although I know it’s delicious with lamb I wanted to try and make a veggie version. After trying out a few different vegetables and quantities I decided that I like this version of my vegetable keema rice the best. Not only is it easy and filling, it’s also got four different veg in and loads of texture from that crispy paneer.
You will need (for two):
- Rapeseed oil for cooking
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 dsp keema spice mix
- 125g basmati rice
- 300ml water
- 2 nuggets frozen spinach (about the same as 4-6 tbsp blanched and chopped fresh spinach)
- 1/2 mug frozen peas
For the crispy paneer:
- Rapeseed oil for cooking
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Handful mushrooms, sliced
- 225g paneer cheese
Heat a little oil in a lidded saucepan on a medium heat and add the onion. Fry for around 10 minutes or so until it’s starting to turn golden brown.
Add the garlic and the keema spices to the pan and cook for another minute or two.
Stir the rice into the pan so it gets all coated with the spices then pour in the water with a little salt. Pop a lid on the pan and leave for 12-15 minutes.
After this add the peas and spinach to the rice, stir the pan and then pop the lid back on and leave for another 8-10 minutes.
Test the rice to ensure it is cooked, all the water should have been absorbed by the rice, and add a little more salt if needed.
While the rice cooks you can get on with the crispy paneer. Start by heating a little oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium/high heat. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook for a few minutes until smelling fragrant.
Tip the mushrooms and paneer into the spices and fry for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are soft and turning golden and the paneer is crispy on the edges. Add a little salt and check the seasoning.
Serve up the vegetable keema rice with the crispy paneer and mushrooms on top.
I really like the combination of veg in this meal. You’ve got sweetness from the onion and peas, a slight earthiness from the spinach and a rich mushroom flavour. By using a spice mix that you’ve already made (and which you can alter to suit your taste) means most of the hard work is already done and you can just sprinkle in those flavours! The crispy paneer is a fantastic way to add texture and it would be delicious to use some marinated paneer if you fancied.
The weather has certainly changed, although I do consider November to technically be in autumn things have started to get much wintrier. With ice in the mornings, digging scarves and hats out of the drawers and the fire blazing it’s definitely the time of year for soup. The more filling and comforting the soup the better and my autumn vegetable minestrone is exactly that; a restorative bowl of loveliness. Filled with six different vegetables including beans to bulk it all out it’s simple, speedy, cheap and delicious.
You will need (for four hearty bowls):
- 1 large leek, ends removed, sliced £0.25
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced or diced £0.25
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced £0.05
- 2 tbsp olive oil £0.10
- 1 large handful kale, shredded £0.30
- 1 mug frozen peas £0.15
- 2 nuggets frozen chopped spinach £0.15
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock £0.20
- 100g orzo (or other small) pasta £0.20
- 1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed £0.55
- Salt and pepper £0.02
Start by getting a large lidded saucepan on a low heat. Add the leek, carrots and garlic along with the oil to the pan and cook on a low-medium heat. Cook with the lid on, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes.
Increase the heat of the pan slightly and add the kale, frozen peas and spinach. Leave for a minute or two to bring the pan back up to temperature before pouring in the hot stock.
Bring the pan to the boil then add the orzo. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for six minutes.
Add the beans to the pan along with some salt and pepper and cook for four minutes more.
Check the seasoning before serving.
I love that this minestrone is so full of veg and is really substantial and hearty too. The pasta and cannellini beans really fill you up and because it’s not blended each of the vegetables retains its own texture and flavour. This recipe is a great way of using up all those autumn vegetables in the fridge; you could add diced tomato or pepper for a beautiful hit of red too. It freezes really well so it’s ideal for a bit of batch cooking and when it comes to summer, there’s a delicious summer version to try too!
P.S. If you haven’t discovered frozen chopped spinach yet it’s a great freezer staple. I chuck a couple of the nuggets in all sorts of food for extra veg; so convenient!
Meals which are healthy, filling, full of colour and flavour and balanced are what I try to aim for with my cooking…most of the time. I always seem to come back to the same combination of chicken with some sort of grain; it’s always a winner and none more so with my latest recipe. This sesame sesame chicken with miso dressing is wholesome, flavourful and just the ticket for some quick weeknight cooking.
You will need (for two):
- 2 small chicken breasts
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for cooking
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 150g brown rice
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 2 tbsp white miso paste
- Juice 1 lime
- 125ml plain yoghurt
Start by adding the onion and carrots to a roasting tray, drizzle over a little oil along with some salt and pepper and mix everything together well. Pop into the oven at 180C for 25-30 minutes or until soft and starting to brown at the edges.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and then add the rice and cook according to packet instructions.
Place the chicken in between two sheets of clingfilm and bash with a rolling pin to make them a little thinner. Sprinkle the paprika, garlic powder, cumin and salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken.
Get a frying pan onto a medium/high heat and add a little oil. Add the chicken and fry, turning from time to time until the chicken has cooked through and the spices are lightly blackened. Add the sesame seeds to the chicken for the last few minutes of cooking to allow them to toast.
Whisk the miso, lime and yoghurt together to make the dressing.
Drain the rice when cooked and return to the pan, mix the roasted vegetables into the rice and serve up with the chicken and dressing.
This recipe lends itself particularly well to using up Sunday roast leftovers. You could mix any leftover veg into the rice, top with leftover roast chicken and just mix up the quick dressing. The combination of spices with the earthy miso gives the whole dish a delicious undertone; the sharp lime and sweet roasted vegetables add flavour over the top. Red rice or wild rice would be great if you don’t have any brown, the nuttiness of the rice is great in this dish. All in all this is my new current favourite chicken and grain combination!
There’s always a pack of lentils in my kitchen cupboards. Sometimes more than one; the quick cooking red variety to throw into soups, the big fat yellow ones for making dahl and the more elegant puy for making a wholesome side dish or salad. The mealy, earthy taste and texture that comes from a lentil is part of its charm; the fact that they are so humble but so versatile and filling is why I always find myself with lentils on my plate at least once a week. This dish of lentils and chard was served alongside some simply griddled chicken but it was so good that I think it’s perfect as a meal on its own.
I regularly get a vegetable box delivered for a few reasons: I like that I have to use what I receive which means I get more variety than I probably would otherwise and there’s only so many times you can make mushroom risotto so I find myself trying out new recipes to use the vegetables. Grown With Love got in touch to see if I would like to try out some of their veg so I was looking forward to getting stuck in.
The vegetables that came from Grown With Love were very nice, they were all prepared which is something that I never buy normally. Considering they were prepared I was impressed with the shelf life of the veg and that the texture remained good. I received: butternut squash and sweet potato mix (chopped 50:50), butternut squash (peeled and deseeded), tenderstem broccoli (in bags and some that came with asparagus too), sweetcorn (some with garlic butter, some without) and sweet potato wedges.
Instead of reviewing each of the vegetables (not very fun reading) I thought it would be more useful to provide you with quick and simple ideas for how to use the vegetables above should you find yourself with any of them or fancy throwing something different into your basket next time you’re shopping.
I used the butternut squash and sweet potato mixture to make a soup. I simply fried it gently in a little oil with some garlic, seasoning and garam masala before adding enough stock to cover. I simmered until the veg were cooked and added a little coconut cream at the end. Sorry, I didn’t get a photo of this one!
The next recipe was from cooking to eating in less than 20 minutes. Boil some pasta in a pan then steam the broccoli over the pasta for the last few minutes of cooking. I made a simple blue cheese sauce to go with it (recipe for this coming in the next post).
Sweetcorn salsa is one of my favourite ways of eating sweetcorn (other than griddled) and it’s so easy to make. Boil the sweetcorn and cut off the kernels when cooked. Add to a bowl with one or two chopped tomatoes, a small chopped red onion, roughly chopped coriander and salt and pepper. I had this at the same time as some of the sweet potato wedges (which I find cook so much quicker than standard potato wedges) and are lovely dipped in some hot chilli sauce.
I wouldn’t normally buy sweet potatoes but having had some delivered, I couldn’t not use them so it made me try something I would normally never have cooked. Just having a few quick and simple ideas ready in the recipe bank makes it easier to know what to cook up. If you’ve got any recipe ideas to use your veggies I’d love to hear them!
Thank you to Grown With Love for the vegetables. All opinions expressed are my own.
Carrots seem to be in my fridge no matter what time of year it is. Earlier in the year and around this time they are skinny spring carrots bought or delivered with their huge green fronds still attached. In the autumn and winter months they are the sturdier, larger carrots which are essential for roasting, stewing and making into a hot soup. I do sometimes find myself at a loss for what to do with spring carrots; other than nibbling on them as they are or serving simply with butter. I needed to find something new to try, something to cut through but complement their sweetness: a recipe for spring carrots with crème fraîche and herbs.
Apparently I have become a magnet for books and other similar reading materials. Old and new, modern and traditional, there is not a manuscript that passes me by without a glance or sometimes a purchase. Because of this new exponential accumulation I needed to reorganise and rearrange my boudoir in preparation for a charming new bookcase I had clapped my eyes upon. I wrestled with the idea of what to have for dinner and I knew this rearrangement would take many hours. Do I have a quick sandwich and feel an intense sense of disappointment or…Quick cheats risotto and roasted veg.
He recommended a baked marrow but not to cut it down the middle and then stuff it as one might expect but to go about it as follows.