Something different to do as side dishes with everyday vegetables
I’ve got a couple of veggie side dishes for you today. Potato and onion layer, carrot and swede mash. If you are having something quite plain as the protein element, having veggies that are a bit different will help too shoosh it up. Or perhaps it’s a struggle to get veggies into the family, these might help make them more appealing.
Potato and Onion Layer
First of all slice half an onion per person.
Then peel and slice about 250g potato per person. If your potatoes are in good condition, there is no need to peel.
Mix the potatoes and onions together and season with salt and pepper. Pour in two tablespoons of any oil, I like to use olive oil. Mix everything together really well.
Pile the vegetables into a microwaveable dish and cover with a lid, a plate will do. Don’t add any water. Microwave for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should be cooked through, if not, give them another minute or two. They should be tender when tested with a sharp knife. They don’t really get cooked much more in the oven, so they need to be cooked through now.
Put everything on an oven tray and spread them out.
When you are ready, put the veg in a hot oven for about 20 minutes to get lovely crispy bits. Enjoy straight away, while it’s crispy.
Mashed Carrot and Swede
I’ve found that mashing these two veg together, with or without a little butter, makes them incredibly sweet and delicious. Kids especially seem to like it. I’ve used this mix on oat cakes too.
To make it, peel (if they need peeling) about 100g carrot per person and dice. Do the same with about 80g swede per person.
Put in a saucepan with just a little water. I use enough to come up the saucepan no more half an inch/1cm. Slowly cook the veg until really soft. This generally takes a good ten minutes, longer than usual.
Drain off the little bit of water, which is now packed with flavour. Use it to make gravy, or put it in the next soup you make. Add a tablespoon or two of butter, coconut oil or marg to the drained veg and a bit of salt and pepper if you want it. I don’t usually put any in. Mash them up with a fork or a masher. I don’t use my stick blender for this, but you could use a food processor. The trick is to get them really soft, then they’ll mash easily enough with a fork/masher.
The veg will keep warm quite happily until you are ready. They freeze well too.
These veggie dishes are delicious just as they are. I’ve used the carrot and swede mash as a hummus type thing on oat cakes, or added butter beans or chickpeas to make it more substantial. Change the flavour by seasoning with soy sauce, fish sauce, Thai curry sauce, miso, marmite or anything else you fancy
Sometimes I make the potato one with sweet potatoes, or a mixture of white and sweet ones. Use a mixture of red and white onions for a splash of colour.
If you have radishes that need using, they roast wonderfully.
Any firm root vegetable can be used. So you could perhaps use carrot and swede in both ways. Or for either side dish: onion, swede and turnip; onion, parsnip and potato; or beetroot and onion.
Goose fat tastes wonderful, or any fat saved from a roasted joint.
Sprinkle over a little cheese a few minutes before taking out of the oven, Parmesan, feta, blue cheese or cheddar
Add a sprig or two of rosemary, thyme or bay for a herby addition.
There are many ways of using this base recipe, see what you have in and have a go.
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one