As a vegetable lover, most days you can find me eating a giant bowl of colour and crunch for lunch. And if not then, I’ll serve it up at dinner. Broccoli, green leaves and carrots are my feel-good foods – they’re vibrant, filling and energy-giving, and help me stay strong and healthy. In fact, vegetables are a cornerstone of my self-care practice. Ben agrees, he loves the taste and feel-good properties of veg, even more so after we started getting our produce from Transition Farm and tasting and feeling the difference of vegetables grown organically in good soil. And while there are loads of like-minded folk out there, there are also a good number who find vegetables to be boring and bland. They see them as a chore, choking down steamed broccoli and boring salads so they can get a gold star, because they’ve been told from such a young age that they must eat their vegetables before being offered anything else. Vegetables were never thought of as the treat, rather a stepping stone to dessert. In my work as a Dietitian, and in general as someone who loves to talk about food and is genuinely interested in what people eat, I rarely come across individuals who find cucumber and steamed carrots to be a source of joy. But what if you serve that cucumber with sea salt and dip each slice in a pool of extra virgin olive oil? Or if you tried roasting vegetables (cauliflower! carrots! broccoli! cabbage!) in the oven with, once again, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, then decorate the caramelised bites with toasted seeds? Next, steam some carrots and broccoli until just tender before delicately drowning them in bagna cauda. See? Top billing. If we treat vegetables with the respect they deserve and give them a chance by cooking them in undeniably delicious ways, while pairing them with foods that make them shine, eating a bunch of veg every day totally feels like a treat. For more ideas I suggest you devour the book Vegetable Literacy, and Deborah Madison’s recipes for peas with baked ricotta and breadcrumbs, and turnips with white miso butter. Oh, and braised cabbage with chewy fried potatoes, feta and dill.
So, yes, I adore my vegetables, that we know. And because I feel we are too restrictive in the way we eat them, I thought I might share a few thoughts how I like to purchase, prepare and eat my vegetables, in the hope that it may encourage rambunctious vegetable-eating. I’m also going to leave you with a few instructions on how to make my everyday salad, the one I blast all over Instagram almost daily.