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What to make when... you want to pack lots of veggies in

Looking for a colourful meal? Here’s some inspiration.

Image: Shutterstock

TIRED OF LOADING up on steamed veggies in order to get your seven a day? We’re all aware that having a plate full of colour is a nothing but a good thing – but sometimes it can be difficult to find ways to incorporate more vegetables into our diets. 

However, with just a little imagination, you can use up almost any leftover vegetables to create a seriously tasty, veggie packed meal.

We’ve put together a list of veggie packed meals that are tasty, quick to make, and full of nutrients. Whether you’re cooking for kids or grown ups, vegetarians or non vegetarians, our recipes below tick all of the boxes.

Hidden vegetable bolognese: Heat some oil in a large frying pan and gently fry onion and garlic until soft. Add in a combination of finely chopped vegetables – a mixture of carrots, peppers, leeks and mushroom work really well, but use whatever you have in the house.

Stir for another few minutes, then add in a cup of dried red lentils, a tin of tomatoes and a cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked, and serve with spaghetti and a side salad.

Root vegetable gratin: Use a sharp knife to slice a mixture of root vegetables thinly, and layer them into a buttered gratin dish. A variety of vegetables like potato, sweet potato, parsnip and carrots work well, or you could take inspiration from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and add celeriac and fennel.

Season each layer with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary and set aside. In a saucepan, heat a carton of cream and a cup of milk with some sliced garlic and, once warmed, pour over the vegetables. Top with grated cheese, cover with tinfoil and bake for just over an hour, until the vegetables are cooked. This is delicious served as it is with a side salad, or as an accompaniment to a steak.

Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Veggie-packed Pad Thai: Any noodle dish is an excellent way to use up a wide variety of vegetables, and is quick and healthy too. Soak rice noodles in a bowl of hot water while you prepare the vegetables. Thinly slice carrots, peppers, onions, leeks and courgette, and fry in a large frying pan along with some crushed garlic and ginger.

When the veggies are almost cooked, add in a dash of rice wine, soy sauce, fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice and then add the drained noodles. Fry for another 2 minutes, tossing to combine, then serve with crushed peanuts and fresh coriander.

Pesto stuffed peppers: Stuffed peppers make a colourful and tasty supper and are an excellent way to use up leftovers. Fry finely chopped courgette, leeks, onion and garlic in a pan until soft, then add in frozen peas, a teaspoon of pesto, and a cup of cooked rice or quinoa. Stir together, then set aside for a few moments to prepare the peppers.

Cut the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds, then place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, then spoon in the filling and top with cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes, until soft and serve with a side salad.

Thai vegetable broth: Heat some oil in a pan and gently fry sliced onion, baby corn and peppers for five minutes. Add in some crushed garlic and ginger, turmeric, a spoonful of red curry paste and some shaved carrots. If you’re looking to include a protein kick, you could add some prawn or tofu, as seen in this recipe from Berries and Lime.

Pour over a tin of coconut milk and a pint of chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then lower the heat. While this is simmering, cook some rice noodles and set aside. Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, stir through the noodles, a handful of spinach leaves, and serve with a dash of soy sauce and a squeeze of lime.

More: What to make when… you *really* want a takeaway>

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