FOOD

Trying To Eat More Veggies? It's Easy With These Droolworthy Recipes

Seriously.

26/10/2016 5:50 AM AEDT | Updated 26/10/2016 5:50 AM AEDT
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Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia

We get it, eating your five serves of vegetables a day is hard, and often boring. You might detest salad or even the idea of have a veggie-based meal, but these recipes will change that.

Forget the picture which forms in your mind as soon as you hear 'vegetables', and imagine flavourful dishes like potato and beetroot rosti with fried egg, roasted eggplant with miso glaze, heirloom tomato bruschetta, tagliatelle with zucchini and hazelnut pesto, and roasted pumpkin with pickled grapes.

These vegetable inspired recipes from Salads and Vegetables by Karen Martini are all about cooking the very best produce, cheese, nuts, and flavoursome herbs and spices to create filling, exciting and nutritious meals you'll actually want to eat.

Seriously.

1. Tomato bruschetta with anchovies, parmigiano reggiano and basil

"I first had a bruschetta like this in one of the most idyllic of the countless idyllic medieval hill towns in Tuscany, San Gimignano. It was a really hot day and we didn't feel like a full lunch, so we chose this as a snack (followed by gelato, I believe), and it was one of the most memorable snacks I've ever had," Martini said.

Like so much Italian food, the success of this is all about the quality of the ingredients. Don't make this from supermarket tomatoes in June -- don't make this from supermarket tomatoes at all!

"The tomatoes have to be perfectly ripe and in season, and not the types that have had the character bred out of them -- pick old varieties that are full of flavour. Buy the best anchovies you can afford and use the freshest, peppery extra virgin olive oil."

Serves six.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 slices of sourdough bread, sliced 2cm thick on an angle
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Peppery extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large oxheart tomatoes (or other full-flavoured tomatoes)
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 anchovies
  • 80g parmigiano reggiano, shaved (you might not need all of this, but it is easier to shave from a larger piece)
  • 1 handful of basil leaves

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan-forced.

2. Place the bread on baking trays and bake for about 25 minutes until well toasted.

3. Rub the toasted bread all over with the garlic and drizzle with oil.

4. Cut the tomatoes in thick slices directly on top of the toast to catch the juices. Mash and press the tomato into the toast and season with salt and pepper, then top with the anchovies, parmigiano reggiano and basil and pour over a good drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia
Top tip: toast the bread really well and cut the tomatoes on the toast to catch all the juices.

2. Roasted pumpkin with pickled grapes, shanklish and pumpkin seed dressing

"I'm a bit of a fan of spiced roasted pumpkin matched with sweetly sour notes and dairy," Martini said.

"Often I will simply dress the pumpkin with currants or raisins plumped in vinegar, along with some labna or feta, but this version isn't that much more complicated, and it takes the combination to a whole new level.

"The naturally tart and sweet grapes are made more so by the pickling liquor, and their freshness just works so well with the sweet and spicy depth of the roasted pumpkin and the salty and sharp shanklish. Add to this the vibrantly nutty notes of the pumpkin seed dressing and you've got something pretty special on your hands."

Serves 6–8.

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ large Kent pumpkin, skin on, cut into 4-cm-thick slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 ball of shanklish cheese, sliced (it will crumble, which is fine)
  • 1 spring onion, white and most of the green parts, finely sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seed dressing:

  • 1½ tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grape pickling liquor (see below)
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Pickled grapes:

  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt flakes
  • 30 grapes (red or white)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Place the pumpkin on the prepared tray and drizzle with oil. Scatter over the allspice, season with salt and pepper and rub all over to coat. Roast for about 40 minutes until very well cooked.

3. For the pickled grapes, add the vinegar, sugar and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar and salt have dissolved, pour over the grapes in a bowl and set aside for 20 minutes to cool and infuse.

4. To make the dressing, roughly grind the pumpkin seeds and garlic using a mortar and pestle. Add the other ingredients, season with salt and pepper and combine.

5. Stir the tahini through the yoghurt.

6. Arrange the warm pumpkin on a platter and dollop on the yoghurt mix. Lay the cheese on top and spoon over the dressing. Drop on the grapes, scatter over the spring onion and pumpkin seeds and serve.

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia
This veggie dish takes roasted pumpkin to a whole other level.

3. Tagliatelle with zucchini and basil hazelnut pesto

"I know people enjoy making pasta-like ribbons out of vegetables, then sauce them like pasta and proclaim it to be just as good. But not me, pasta just ain't pasta without pasta," Martini said.

"However, matching the noodle quantity with an equal amount of zucchini 'tagliatelle' does work for me. In fact, it works beautifully. You still get all the pasta pleasure, but there are plenty of vegetables as well."

Serves six.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g dried tagliatelle
  • 500g zucchini, sliced into 3mm thick ribbons using a mandoline, then cut into strips similar to the pasta
  • 2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml cream
  • 4 zucchini flowers, stamens removed and flowers roughly torn (optional)
  • 1 handful of basil leaves, torn
  • 1 handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed

Basil hazelnut pesto:

  • 200g (2 bunches) basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 80g lightly toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 220ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g grana padano, finely grated
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

1. For the pesto, blitz the herbs and garlic in a food processor or blender. Add the hazelnuts and process while adding the oil until you have a fairly smooth paste. Add the grana padano and blitz until just combined. Season with salt and pepper and set aside (you won't need all the pesto for this, so just store the remainder in a small jar with a layer of oil on top to stop it oxidising).

2. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, adding the zucchini ribbons for the last 30 seconds of cooking.

3. When the pasta is almost ready, add the oil, three-quarters of the pesto and the cream to a large frying pan over medium heat and just warm through. Drain the pasta and zucchini and add to the pan, tossing through to evenly coat. Portion the pasta into bowls and top with the zucchini flowers (if using), basil and hazelnuts and serve.

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia
Love the idea of zoodles but love pasta even more? This dish is the best of both worlds.

4. Grilled eggplant with miso glaze and sesame

"This rich and quite indulgent feeling dish is very simple to cook and makes a great standalone entrée, or serve it as a side with steamed Asian greens, rice and seared beef," Martini said.

"Try dressing it up further with some sliced spring onion and bonito flakes."

Serves 6–8.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggplants, cut into 4-cm rounds and scored in a criss-cross fashion on both sides
  • 80ml grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Miso glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2½ tablespoons water
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dashi powder

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Brush the eggplant with the oil and place on the prepared tray. Roast for 20–30 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the tray.

3. Reduce the oven to 180°C fan-forced with the grill on.

4. For the miso glaze, add the ingredients to a small jug and process with a stick blender until smooth.

5. Place the eggplant in a large baking dish in one layer and spread the miso glaze over the top. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and place in the oven for about six minutes until the glaze is bubbling. Serve immediately.

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia
Drooling.

5. Potato and beetroot röstis with horseradish cream and fried eggs

"This recipe is a slight detour from a traditional potato rösti, but the addition of beetroot works beautifully," Martini said.

"It also fits so well with many of the best rösti accompaniments: smoked salmon, trout or eel; fried, poached or soft-boiled eggs; smoky bacon; even an indulgent spoon of caviar; and always topped with soft herbs and crème fraîche, or a dollop of sour cream spiked with horseradish.

"These are just great vehicles for so many things, making for a very satisfying breakfast or brunch."

Serves four.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large desiree potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons grated horseradish (or unsweetened prepared horseradish)
  • 125g sour cream (or crème fraîche)
  • 1 large beetroot, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 handful of tarragon leaves (or ½ bunch of chives, finely chopped)

METHOD

1. Add the whole potatoes to a large saucepan and fill with cold salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool -- the potatoes will still be a little firm.

2. Combine the horseradish and sour cream in a small bowl. Refrigerate until needed.

3. Coarsely grate the cooled potatoes over a tray -- if you do this in a bowl you can lose the texture by crushing the threads. Add the grated beetroot and flour, season with salt and pepper and combine gently with open fingers. Shape into cakes the size of tennis balls, being careful not to crush the potato threads too much.

4. Heat a generous amount of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the rösti in batches for about three minutes on each side until cooked through and golden -- you can keep the cooked rösti warm in a low oven while you fry the remainder.

5. Fry the eggs to your liking.

6. Serve two rösti per plate, topped with an egg and a dollop of horseradish cream. Scatter over the tarragon and serve.

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia
The perfect way to sneak in some veg to your next breakfast or brunch.

Recipes and images courtesy of Salads and Vegetables by Karen Martini, published by Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99

Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia

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