In my endeavour to increase vegetable consumption (worldwide and in my own house) I am starting to see that vegetables have a real marketing/PR problem. No one is really singing their praises. No one comes over all misty eyed with excitement and when asked what is making them gush replies “I just remembered….it’s broccoli night tonight”. No one instagrams their side dish. In fact if vegetables were indeed on social media I’m thinking their following would be most underwhelming.
Well no more! I have decided it’s time for the vegetable to shine and goddammit they will even be a little bit sexy.
I was asked for some dietary advice recently and when discussing overall food intake I realised that this person knew what to do to maintain a healthy diet (we all do to a certain extent) it was just the ratio of the different food groups that were out of whack. We might be eating all the right things but not necessarily in the right portion sizes. If we don’t make our side dishes full of flavour and exciting it does become difficult to feel the joy of dinner anticipation while staring down the barrel of a plate half full with steamed broccoli. (That’s right…. half your plate should be some variety or combination of vegetables).
Much like Jamie Oliver I have decided it is time for a food revolution! It’s time we made vegetables the hero of your plate not just that bit on the side. It’s time to get creative about what goes with your protein. It’s time for the thrill of anticipation at the thought of this evenings vegetable culinary masterpiece!…..or at the very least let’s try not to make the side dish an after thought.
This is a gorgeous little french inspired recipe that makes a hero out of the humble pea. If you have access to those fresh baby ones then good for you, they will be gorgeous. If not then the frozen variety will be gorgeous too. I’ve used snow peas, zucchini and asparagus here, mainly because they are all in season. The original recipe uses lettuce as well. Feel free to add or subtract whatever works for your household and palate. The only non-negotiable here is the leek because…well, leek. (It’s just really really good).
This lovely little green masterpiece works beautifully with a nice rack of lamb or a nice crispy skinned piece of oily fish….but it will pretty much go with anything, she’s quite a versatile girl.
Upping your vegetable intake will have so many flow on effects for your health. Your gut will most definitely thank you for it (as will, more than likely, your waistline).
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 5 minutes
- Yield : 4 as a side dish
- Leek - 1, halved lengthwise and sliced thickly (white part only)
- Garlic - 1 clove crushed
- Butter - 1 tbsp
- Zucchini - 2 large, cut into thirds and then sliced lengthwise
- Snow peas - 1 cup, cut into thirds
- Baby peas, frozen - 1 cup
- Chicken Stock - 1/2 cup
- Asparagus - 1 bunch, woody ends removed and sliced into 4 cm pieces
Heat a large non-stick fry pan over a medium heat. Pop in the butter and when it is melted and starting to bubble place the leek into the pan and sauté for 2 minutes (or until softened and translucent). Add the crushed garlic and sauté for a further minute until it starts to become fragrant.
Next add the remaining vegetables into the pan and stir through to coat with the butter. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil then lower the temperature and simmer the vegetables in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes or until bright green and tender. Season with cracked pepper to taste (there should be enough salt in the chicken stock so it probably won't be needed here).
Serve as a side dish accompaniment to any main meal.....but particularly good with lamb.