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'I'm a big believer in eating the rainbow': 5 midweek meals from a vegetable fanatic in Cork

From a ‘thrown-together salad’ to a dessert of watermelon pops, Amy Ryan shares what she’s been making lately.

Image: Amy Ryan

EACH WEEK, WE ask a home cook about the dishes they’ve been whipping up of late. The kind of food you don’t need a recipe for, from quick snacks to empty-the-fridge dinners.

This week, Amy Ryan (@amyhelena90) shares five of her go-to throw-together veggie recipes that might just make you fall in love with vegetables – if you aren’t already enamoured. 

Amy is a fan of recipes that involve ingredients that can be swapped in or out, depending on what’s in your fridge. “I like to keep my meals interesting by trying out new recipes and putting my own twist on them,” she said. She stocks her kitchen with all the healthy stuff – but doesn’t miss out on flavour or the enjoyment of cooking:

I eat a whole food plant based diet and I am a big believer in eating the rainbow by eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies alongside healthy whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Several of the recipes she has shared are perfect for popping in the fridge or freezer and eating for lunch the next day.

From taco bowls to a thrown-together salad formula, these recipes will help you clear out the fridge – and stock it with meals for later…

1. Zoats for breakfast: ‘Zoats’ are just zucchini (courgette) combined with oats to make porridge. This is a great way to get in a vegetable fix in the morning, and it also really expands your bowl of porridge, which is great if you have a big appetite like me. The taste of courgette isn’t even really noticeable and this has been my absolute favourite breakfast option for months now. 

To make zoats, grate a courgette into a pot and then add in about half a cup of porridge oats. I usually use a full courgette, but I would recommend starting with half of a courgette first for your first bowl and see if you like it. I mix in half oat milk and half water and cook the porridge as normal. I then top my porridge with flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, granola, strawberries and blueberries. The combinations are endless and I love to change things up each morning.

IMG_9479 Source: Amy Ryan

2. Taco bowls: I love making these taco bowls for lunch. They are so filling! To make the taco bowl I put a wholemeal wrap into an ovenproof bowl, pat it down to the end and overlap some of the sides. I bake it for about 10-12 minutes at 190 degrees until it’s brown and crispy. I then add in some stir-fried veggies and borlotti beans. I topped this particular bowl with my homemade tomato and basil paste, guacamole and jalapeños. 

IMG_9477 Source: Amy Ryan

3. Thrown-together salad: Here’s my easy thrown-together salad. I love making this in big batches – it’s great for using any leftover veggies from the fridge. My favourites are pak choi, peppers, onion, carrot, sweet corn and cucumber. I then cook some sort of grain, quinoa, wholegrain couscous or brown rice. I make sure the grains have cooled before I add chopped salad leaves, mixed seeds, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and my legume of choice. I change up my legumes each time. Here I’ve added black beans, but you could add in chickpeas, kidney beans or edamame beans. I usually make enough for a couple of days and keep it in the fridge.

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IMG_9489 Source: Amy Ryan

4. Veggie curry combo: I absolutely love a good veggie curry for dinner, the hotter the better in my case! I usually take inspiration from The Happy Pear or Deliciously Ella and I’ll add in a few of my own different spices. I always add in chickpeas, tofu or tempeh for added protein to make a very filling and delicious dinner. I’ll usually serve this with wholegrain rice. 

IMG_9488 Source: Amy Ryan

5. Watermelon ice-pops: Watermelon ice-pops are really simple and cheap to make. You can pick up lolly-pop sticks in most craft shops. To make them, I slice up a watermelon into little triangles, stick in a lolly-pop stick into each piece and freeze. A full watermelon makes lots of ice-pops if you have enough room in your freezer! I’ve also done this with halved bananas, which are also delicious frozen.

IMG_9476 Source: Amy Ryan

More: ‘I’m a fan of big flavours’: 5 recipes from a Galway foodie who loves to travel>

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