Amp up your Autumn Vegetable Sides

Look beyond the three token vegetables paired with your meat at dinner.  Become inventive with your main meals and try to get as many different coloured vegetables into your dish as possible.  Make your meal shine and lift off the plate to your health with tasty and nourishing vegetables.

  • Add finely grated zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin and even coarsely grated fresh and firm mushrooms into your Bolognese sauce, teamed with tinned tomatoes and parsley.
  • Make your family’s pizza into a super-vege supremo pizza by adding grape tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum, roasted pumpkin, spring onion and team with a side salad or add a handful or rocket, touch of balsamic glaze, salt and pepper on top of your pizza fresh from the oven.
  • To accompany the tender lamb backstrap, grill some zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, field mushrooms and lemons halved.  Serve on a platter of salad greens and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice from grilled lemons.  To take it to a new level – add dollops of labne (sheep’s milk yoghurt)
  • Make a big pot of vegetable soup with onion, leek, carrot, celery, parsnip, sweet potato, tinned tomatoes, risoni, green shallots, kale and parsley and serve as a light entrée or enjoy as an afternoon snack

Get creative with salads

With so many amazing and seasonal vegetables available – add snow peas, bean sprouts, grated beetroot, roasted capsicum, roasted pumpkin wedges, roasted sweet potato, mixed green leaves, rocket, tomato medley, radish, pickled ginger, bean shoots, sliced mushrooms.  Try these winning combinations:

Green Salad – baby spinach, baby cos lettuce, green capsicum, cucumber, avocado, snow peas, (cut on the diagonal quite thinly), asparagus, snow pea sprouts

Moroccan Salad – gem lettuce, couscous, chickpeas, roasted pumpkin, mint, pistachios, grated carrot and preserved lemon or lemon zest

Roast Vege Salad – roast pumpkin, capsicum, sweet potato and halved roma tomatoes (add olive oil and balsamic vinegar when roasting).  Mix with a bowl of baby spinach with reserved juices of balsamic juices, and top with crumbled fetta

My favourite Autumn (actually, anytime of the year) side has been adapted from a recipe that I found years ago, tweeked and then created this delicious, vibrant and crowd pleasing vegetable side for any gathering – large or small

Duo Coloured Roasted Carrots with Labne

(cook time 40 mins)

4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into chunky lengths on the diagonal

4 purple carrots, peeled, cut into chunky lengths on the diagonal

1 bunch Dutch carrots, peeled

¼ cup olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 cup freekah

¼ cup currants

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup walnuts

335g labne or can use smooth Dutch fetta cheese

¼ cup flat leaf parsley

¼ cup mint

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease two large oven trays; line with baking paper.

Divide carrots, olive oil on trays and toss to combine. Roast in oven for 20 mins, turning once.  Remove from oven, drizzle honey over carrots and roast for a further 10 mins or until golden and tender.  In the last 5 minutes, add walnuts onto a separate small oven tray and roast for 5 mins.

Meanwhile, place 1 cup of freekah in a saucepan with 2½ cups of water, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp olive oil and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and spread across the base of a platter or large serving dish.

Stir currants and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes or until hot and some liquid has been absorbed into the currants.

Transfer carrot mixture on top of the freekah; spoon currant mixture over the carrots, dollop spoonfuls of labne randomly around the platter, scatter roasted walnuts over the dish and top with combined mint and flat leaf parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Variation: can be adapted to gluten free by using quinoa instead of freekah.

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