The number ONE, most important thing you can do for your health is EAT MORE VEGETABLES. Sounds easy! But then you start peeling and chopping all those vegetables and you start thinking its NOT so easy! Its quite time consuming, messy and boring. And then how do you cook them all, how do you keep it interesting? Just steaming or boiling carrots and potatoes gets old pretty quick and slowly you are back on the wrong side of the statistics, joining the average Australian who eat less than half the recommended daily dose of vegetables. But we don’t want to be average, we want to be ABOVE average. We want to reap the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants in vegetables so we can keep our energy levels high, keep our digestive system running smoothly.
A radical change of diet can be very difficult to achieve. For example, many people try to cut down on their carbs. A good idea for sure, but unless you first get used to replacing carbs with vegetables, you will probably end up feeling hungry and grumpy and you might fail. Be realistic and start by introducing more vegetables to every meal. You will soon notice that you don’t need to eat so many carbohydrates to feel satisfied. Goal achieved, a new healthy habit is in place. Go you!
So how can we make the peeling and chopping to a minimum? Read on and I will share one of my hacks with you.
In the beginning of every week, I will buy a load of vegetables and prepare a couple of pans of roasted vegetables. BIG PANS! These will be my go-to for those extra serves of vegetables. Get all the peeling and chopping done all at once and out of the way. The oven roasted vegetables are really yummy and versatile, they go with everything like a pair of favourite black shoes. No fuss! So here is one of my favourite recipes for oven vegetables, I call it “THE ITALIAN JOB”
- 1 Eggplant
- 1 Fennel (both bulb and leaves)
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Red Onion
- 2 Capsicum (one green, one red)
- 1 Red Chilli (optional)
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Bunch of Fresh Dill (if you don’t have fresh herbs, 1 tblsp of dried mixed Italian herbs will be fine)
- 1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Tamari
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Nectar (or honey)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Can Peeled Tomatoes
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Warm up the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Chop the eggplant, zucchini, and capsicum to approximately 3 cm sized chunks.
- Slice the fennel and onion, finely chop the chilli, garlic, parley and dill.
- Place all the veggies in a large oven safe pan making sure they are not too crowded. ( If you don’t already own a pan, get yourself a big cast iron oven pan with 5 cm high sides. I own 3 different sized SCANPAN oven pans and have used them daily for the past 20 years. A great investment! The thick cast iron bottom means your vegetables roast beautifully.).
- In a bowl, place all the wet ingredients (oil, tamari, nectar, ACV, can of tomatoes) and mix them well with a fork.
- Pour the liquid mix over the vegetables making sure they are all well coated.
- Place the pan in the middle of the oven, uncovered and roast for 10 min in 200 degrees, then turn down the oven to 180 degrees and roast for a further 20 minutes.
- Pull out the pan and gently stir and test the tenderness of the veggies. Turn down the oven to 150 degrees and return the pan to the oven for a further 15 min.
- Take out the pan, test the vegetables with a skewer to make sure they are all soft, and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, or allow the veggies to completely cool before transferring them into an airtight container and placing them in your fridge for up to 7 days.
Easy as that! Now you have a really tasty side that you can use for any meal.