I’ve been getting in a bit of a food funk recently, relying on the same old dinners each week and not trying anything new. I’m blaming the fact that we’ve been so busy recently (school stuff, me starting a course with Digital Mums, 3 kids crazy-mental-life in general), so I’ve not had the chance to look through my recipe books or even to do a ‘proper shop’, meaning I’ve been serving up way more freezer based meals than I’d like to admit.
But my lovely friend bought me a new cook book for my birthday earlier this month which is packed full of delicious veggie recipes, so this has given me a much needed kick up the backside! My oldest son is starting to get more interested in recipes and flavours too, so I asked him to choose 3 recipes from the book for us to try this week. He chose a fennel and tomato stew, squash and chickpea mini burgers and a black bean, lentil and turnip chilli. All perfect autumnal tummy fillers! Here’s how we got on…
Up first, Roast fennel, new potato and tomato stew – a gorgeous Moroccan inspired roast vegetable stew with a tomatoey sauce, olives and a harissa kick, plus its a one tray wonder, meaning it automatically makes it onto my favourites list, as I’m all about meals where you just chuck everything into one dish, bang it in the oven and forget about it for an hour. And roast fennel is the bomb, in case you didn’t already know!
Here’s the recipe. The kids loved this with hunks of bread dipped in, and it had just the right level of heat from the harissa to make your tongue tingle. The potatoes make sure that tummies are nicely filled and the chickpeas provide all important veggie protein, though this dish also works served as a side to a garlicky chicken breast or with a crisp green salad. A new favourite in our house, give it a try!
Next up, Butternut squash and chickpea mini burgers, made that extra bit special with a crunchy seed coating. These are really kid friendly, especially when served with a big dollop of hummus for dipping and the recipe can easily be adapted if you or your kids don’t like chickpeas, by swapping for cannellini beans, for example, and if you prefer parsnip or beetroot to butternut squash, then they would both work equally well too.
Here’s the recipe. The natural sweetness of the butternut squash made these a big hit with the kids, and they had just the right amount of spice too. The toddler shovelled one down by the fistful when he’s usually very suspicious of anything orange that looks like it contains vegetables! With plant protein from the chickpeas, they are more filling than burgers made solely from vegetables, and the seeds add heart healthy fats and that all important crunch to contrast with the soft burger. Very moreish and super healthy to boot – the perfect healthy veggie burger!
Our final new recipe features a vegetable that I normally only use at Christmas time – turnip! Its a Black bean, turnip and lentil chilli; another one pan wonder, which is just perfect for chilly autumnal days, and great to make a big batch of, then keep dipping into throughout the week. If you can’t get turnips, swap them for swede or parsnip, or you can swap the black beans for kidney beans, or chickpeas if you’d prefer.
Here’s the recipe. My 4 year old rolled his eyes at this one, as he’s not a lentil fan and it’s fair to say I’m a little bit lentil obsessed. There’s a few recipes that I fall back on time and time again, and they all seem to involve lentils (I make this turmeric lentil bake EVERY week!). So he flat out refused to try it, and the toddler also turned his nose up, but my oldest got stuck straight in. I love this chilli – the turnips give it a peppery taste and a much needed bite and chunkiness along with the black beans, making it a great make-ahead, warming and filling dinner to serve up in a big bowl at Halloween or Bonfire Night parties. On the nutrition front it wins a gold star too, as it is packed with iron, fibre, vegetables and plant based protein. Big tick.
So, 3 new veggie recipes to add to our family meal planner to spice up those autumnal evenings a little. All are easy to adapt, so change up the vegetables or pulses if you fancy it. They all make great leftovers too! Cook once, eat twice or three or four times – that’s cooking my style. Maybe I’ll have to let my oldest son help with the menu planning every week – he’s got a good eye for a new recipe idea, that’s for sure!
Hope you and yours enjoy these recipes as much as we did.