Tag Archives: pimp your veg

My cauliflower and chickpea heaven…

This is one of my all time favourite dishes of mine, the flavours are phenomenal and the textures are perfect, the crunchy bits on the cauliflower, and the sticky cloves of garlic and the pop of the chickpeas…I can wax lyrical about this one for hours….!

The marinade/sauce is sharp and spicy. If you need to take the edge of the sourness, or to add some sweet stickiness, add a spoonful or two of honey to the mix.

I love it freshly cooked, cold the next day, reheated, or whizzed up into a dip if there’s any left (it’s a rarity!). If you try it, I hope you love it too…


1 whole head of a medium cauliflower

1 can/jar chickpeas, drained

3-5 lemons, squeezed for the juice

16 cloves garlic, peeled

150ml olive oil

3 tsp mayonnaise/natural yoghurt

1 tsp Harissa paste/spice mix

1 tbsp tomato purée

Salt and pepper


Separate the cauliflower florets and cut them into similar small/medium sized pieces.

Mix all of the ingredients except the cauliflower and chickpeas together in a large dish to marinate in (I sometimes use a large oven proof dish that I can then put straight into the oven, but not always) then add the cauliflower florets and chickpeas and mix it all together well.

Put a lid on it and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day, preheat the oven to 200C/390F fan/convection.

EDIT: if you read this post previously, after making this again I have amended the way to cook it for greater ease and simplicity:

Either remove the cover and cook it all in the dish you marinated the ingredients in, or tip it all out onto an oven tray/cookie sheet/open wide baking vessel, using a spatula to scrape out every last fabulous drop of the marinade, all onto the tray.

Cook, uncovered for 45-60 minutes until the cauliflower is roasted, with some crunchy edges and cooked through. Give it all a stir or move it all around halfway through to mix the flavours up again and get the cauliflower pieces evenly roasted.

Leave it for as long as it takes for the cauliflower to get charred crunchy edges, and the chickpeas to darken and get crunchy too, and the garlic to get really sticky!

Eat on it’s own straight from the pan like I end up doing, or serve on its own, or with salad leaves or as a side dish with whatever you’re eating.

Try it with a drizzle of tahini too! So so good!

My simple fast meals…

The following photos show the step by step way that I often make myself meals, keeping it simple, fast, healthy and always tasty! I took these photos as I was cooking it, so they may not be beautiful photos, but I promise the process creates a tasty dish…

The tomatoes and peanut powder + water create a sauce, and the peanut powder works as a perfect thickener, and adds protein to this vegetarian dish.

You can use the vegetables and spices of your choice. I often use a Cajun spice mix and add cacoa powder as well as the peanut powder for a chilli feel. You could add chickpeas, beans, grains, whatever you fancy!

Happy eating!

Lunch in the pan…

This was one of those creations that was driven by what I had in the fridge, and the desire for a big lunch packed with fresh vegetables…

This is my typical meal: a pan, a splash of olive oil, and lots of vegetables!

This one includes lots of chopped up courgette/zucchini, garlic, spinach, and aubergine, with a couple of spoon fulls of my homemade harissa sauce stirred through it.

Over the top I drizzled tahini and a few handfuls of toasted pumpkin seeds for the added protein, good oils and crunch! A whole huge pan of goodness!

Lunch is served!

Pimp Your Veg part 10: soup glorious soup!

 Having requested vegetable soup recipes last month, thank you so much to everyone for your responses – lots of you sent me lots of lovely soup recipes 🙂

Rather than try and pick any favourites, I thought I would create a vegetable soup directory, so please have a good look through, pin some to try out, and add any more of your own in the comments and let’s create a one stop shop for great vegetable based soups. 

Soup is a great dish to make to include lots of great vegetables; a perfect dish for a cold day; a perfect starter for a long meal; a great healthy option if you’re looking for one; a great way to use up vegetables; a great way to ‘hide’ vegetables. Soup can be the answer to many questions…so I hope you find some here that take your fancy, please do have a look through..and thank you to everyone for your recipes 🙂

Linda from La Petite Paniere makes great soups, with her trademark Middle Eastern and North African flavours, that often include lovely grains..

Middle Eastern semolina soup

Middle Eastern burghoul wheat and chickpea soup

North African freekeh (young green wheat) soup

Angela from Divalicious Recipes sent us..

Beetroot, ginger and coconut soup

Laurena from Life Diet Health sent us a few yummy offerings..in her words..

My absolute favourite soup and one that’s made regularly in our house is Turkish (or Kurdish :P) lentil soup
A variation on a theme…chickpea and lentil soup

A rich deep soup of roasted peppers and onion

A traditional (Belgian says Sophie) soup – leek and potato 

Dhanya, the Spice Adventuress..

Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons 

Scandinavian Pumpkin and Potato Soup 

Shorbat Adas (Arabian Lentil Soup) 

Sally from Bewitching Kitchen..




Lina from Lina’s Recipes sent us a story and a soup..


Deb from Pantry Portfolio..

European Cream of Barley – The story is written in the post, but it has a special place in our holiday traditions

Spicy Roasted Tomato & Corn – This might have been my first post on the blog. Looking back at it now, the pictures don’t really do it justice, but the soup was just SO good.  

Julianna from Foodie on Board..

Greek Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, Rosemary and Feta Cheese

African Yam and Peanut Soup with Ginger and Pineapple

Susan from A Little Sage..

Vegetable broth 

Vegan corn chowder 

Monetta from Yoga with Mo..

Vegan chilli

Celebration soup 

Coconut lentil soup with plaintains

Pumpkin rice soup

Dairy free cream of broccoli soup 

Annie from Kitchen Counter Culture has a selection of soups to drool over on Pinterest 

Sarah from Everyday Sarah Jane sent us a selection..

Have a great weekend, why not make some soup? I’m sharing all of these soups with everyone at Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Lily and Julianna..come on over and see what everyone has brought along..

Pimp Your Veg part 9: ‘Steam, Sear and Slather’

Welcome back to Pimp Your Veg! I’m hoping to share more vegetable inspiration over the next few months, and I fully admit that although I cook vegetables every single day, I’m not necessarily the oracle for cooking vegetables, there are methods I don’t utilise, so I’ve asked my lovely, talented blog friend Sue to share some ideas from her kitchen, which is what we are bringing you today…and it looks fab, so I invite you to ‘steam, sear and slather’ with Sue…

“I am honored to assist my friend Elaine at Foodbod in her series entitled “Pimp Your Veg.” 

Now is a particularly good time of year to embark on a vegetable journey, as many of us have probably partaken too much of starches, heavy foods, sweets and such over the recent holiday season, and so veg sounds good. And although vegetables sound good to me right now, I like a good cooked veg with lots of interesting texture and flavor, and not a raw veg for the most part. I like a salad with raw greens, but it’s got to also have a cooked element on top or mixed in, and also, please serve with a spoon! I do not like to stab leaves!

Elaine has covered some wonderful ground in the series so far, with ideas and recipes for roasting, pureeing, sauteeing, oven baking, fritterizing, spiralizing, and tucking into flatbreads. I’ve come up with an application for veg that works well non-delicate, non-leafy vegetables such as beets, turnips, rutabaga, cabbage, eggplant, squash, and also, provided you slice into thick “steaks”, cauliflower and broccoli. I’m naming it “Steam, Sear and Slather.” It even sounds Pimp-y, right?

Jokes aside, this is one of my favorite ways of preparing because you can prepare it partially, then refrigerate until later, and you can prepare a giant batch at once for eating during the week. It uses less oil than roasting vegetables (at least the way I roast vegetables, which is: I like to really lubricate them and then blast them on high heat to get a moist and chewy interior and a charred exterior) and creates a wonderful umami flavor. What you do is, you steam, you sear in olive oil or your preferred fat, and then you slather with your preferred sauce. Let’s see what this looks like with cabbage:

I started with half of a green and red head of cabbage: 

   Getting ready for the steamer: 

  In they go: 


  Out them come: 

  Now for the sear. In they go again: 

 I used enough olive oil in the bottom of the pan to make a thin film, and seared each side for 2 minutes, on high heat for 1 minute and medium high for 1 minute. 

 Now for the slather. I like cabbage either with butter and salt, or with an aggressive anchovy/caper/parsley/garlic/olive oil type sauce. What I usually do, however, is simply use what I have on hand. That could be tomato sauce; lemon juice + garlic + olive oil; harissa thinned out with some yogurt; a curry; a satay-type sauce; chermoula; chimchirri, or pesto. The idea is to get some flavor onto the vegetables, and you can be as simple or complicated as you like. This past weekend I was out of capers and anchovies, but had some cherry tomatoes and some of Sonal’s beautiful curry powder, and some yogurt. I blackened the tomatoes in the broiler for a couple of minutes, with a tablespoon each of olive oil and curry powder, then blended the living daylights out of them with some added yogurt. Voila! 

 Now, you can either slather as above, or you can slather while cooking for a real pimpy, sticky, delicious mess: 

   After these cabbages cool down, I tuck them into the fridge and they keep very well for days. 


You can eat them straight up, alongside a protein, atop a salad, dropped into some hot broth, on a plate alongside some hummus or dip, or: 

 Nothing better than a pimped veg on some homemade bread with a poached egg!

Happy New Year !


I am bringing Sue’s lovely cabbage to the first Fiesta Friday of the year, #101, co hosted this week by the dynamic duo of Jhuls and Mr Fitz, come and join in!

I would also like to share this with two new link ups for me, Throwback Thursday, and also Cook Once Eat Twice from Searching for Spice – I hope it is well received 🙂 

Pimp Your Veg part 8: dips, dips, and more dips! (perfect for using up leftover vegetables) 

 Yes, it had to be done didn’t it? I’ve been called the ‘dip queen’ so often that I couldn’t ignore one of my fundamental kitchen practices during this series…I have made dips with sweet potato, butternut squash, aubergines, shallots, garlic, cauliflower, potato, tomato, spinach, coriander, parsley, parsnips, sprouts, pumpkin, courgettes/zucchini, peas, endemame beans, avocado, beetroot, swede/rutabaga, carrots…basically, no vegetable is ever safe from from being whizzed up in a blender with various other ingredients in my kitchen and being turned into a super tasty dip!

It’s also another great way to use up leftover vegetables, cooked or uncooked; and another great way to get more people eating vegetables…its a win win!

There are more examples of dips below, and even more in my recipe index if you’d like more inspiration.

My simple go to method is to whizz up my chosen vegetables with tahini, lemon juice and sometimes some water, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.

Alternatively, you could use peanut butter or another nut butter, plain yoghurt or soft cheese, cashew cream or hemp seed cream (example below), experiment with lime juice or vinegars, it all depends on your tastes. The key thing is to give it a go.

You can roast, steam, boil or cook your veggies however you want to make dips by design, or use up leftovers. Alternatively, try using raw vegetables and see what you think.

Adding spices or herbs is a definite for making a real difference to the flavour. Vegetables roasted with spices make great dips.

Get your blender out and have a go!

Sweet potato (link above)

Spiced roasted potato

Roasted tomato and garlic


Swede (rutabaga) and carrot – basically roasted root vegetables blended with tahini and lemon juice

Homous and harissa – a blend of things I had left over

Chermoula and tahini sauce – yum! Again, I was using things up

Fava bean and salad

Wild garlic pesto

Roasted carrot, red onion and garlic – this is a really favourite: beautiful roasted carrots, red onion and garlic whizzed up with some homous – so good!

Chimichurri pea and quark

Hemp seeds and parsley

Green sauce

You may find this recipe of use as a base for your dips: my homous holy grail, and tahini sauce is a blend of 1 part tahini plus 2 parts water plus the juice of 1-2 lemons depending on taste. You can make it thicker or thinner by controlling the amount of water you add.

I hope you like my suggestions 🙂

I’m going to share this over at Fiesta Friday today in case anyone needs some ideas for using up leftover vegetables from their Thanksgiving Day meal xx

Pimp Your Veg part 6: Sally and her spirilizer 

One of the methods I wanted to include in my Pimp Your Veg is the use of a spirilizer to prepare and seriously pimp vegetables – I don’t own one, but I know that they can be a great tool for pimping vegetables…so I have invited the lovely Sally from Bewitching Kitchen to share some tips and ideas for using a spirilizer…Sally has brought some great ideas for your kitchen. Enjoy!!! 

First of all, I’d like to thank Elaine for inviting me to write this guest blog post on Foodbod, giving me the chance to share my passion for the gadget known as “spiralizer“, or if you prefer, “spiral cutter.” If you are looking for ways to pimp your veggies, the spiralizer is one of the easiest ways to achieve that. Even before I had one, I already felt that by prepping a veggie in a slightly unexpected way you’ll end up with wonderful dishes. For instance, shaved asparagus are great in salads or stir-fries. Grated tomatoes offer a texture that will amaze you in a fresh tomato sauce. But the spiralizer takes veggies to a new level and opens so many possibilities! In this post I’ll share two types of recipes, a refreshing salad and a comforting sweet potato “noodle.”

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ tsp salt

1/2 tsp minced fresh dill

1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed

2 medium cucumbers

2 large carrots (thick, appropriate for spiralizing)

toasted cashew nuts to taste

Make the dressing by whisking together lemon juice, grapeseed oil, vinegar, salt, and dill. In a medium bowl mix the chickpeas with the dressing and reserve while you prep the veggies.
Cut the cucumber into spirals and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to remove excessive moisture. Cut the carrots in spirals, place in a microwave-safe dish, add 1 tablespoon of water, cover with plastic and microwave for 30 seconds. Drain and place on paper towels to cool.
Once the carrots are cool and dry, add them and the cucumber to the bowl with the chickpeas, mix well to combine. Sprinkle with toasted cashews and serve. 

  Comments: You could conceivably skip the short microwaving step I suggested for the spiralized carrots. For my personal taste, I find the texture of raw spiralized carrots a little too harsh. By microwaving for 30 seconds they get a bit softer, and interact with the dressing a little better. Again, if you love super crunchy carrots, omit the microwaving.

Now for a warm version of pump your veggies… the spiralizer is wonderful to turn veggies such as zucchini and sweet potatoes into noodle-like entities. I already have zoodles (zucchini noodles) in my blog, so for this post I decided to go with sweet potatoes. They have a lot less water content than zucchini or cucumbers, so once you cut them you will notice they are pretty sturdy by comparison. I paired them with a hearty mushroom sauce made in the pressure cooker. 

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the mushroom sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 celery rib, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup veggie stock (or water)

1/4 cup sherry

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons heavy cream
for the sweet potatoes:

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in spirals

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

minced chives and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese to serve

First make the mushroom sauce. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan (or pressure cooker). When hot, add the shallots and celery and saute until soft and fragrant, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Add the flour, cook over low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, veggie stock and sherry. If using a pressure cooker, close it and cook for 25 minutes. Release the pressure quickly, open the pan and simmer the sauce a little longer if you find it too liquid. Finish the sauce with the heavy cream right before serving, adjust seasoning. Reserve.

Cook the sweet potato noodles. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large non-stick skillet over medium-heat. Add all the sweet potato “noodles”, increase the heat to high and move the noodles around to prevent the strands at the bottom from burning, season lightly with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, add a tablespoon or two of water, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Check for doneness, once the strands are tender, shut the heat off, and keep them warm.
To serve, mix the mushroom sauce with the noodles, sprinkle with chives and a nice coating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. 

Comments: You can cook the sweet potatoes strands in many different ways. For instance, you could add them to a baking sheet, coat lightly with olive oil and roast them until done. You could also steam them, or even drop them in boiling water like regular pasta. I prefer to saute on a non-stick skillet because it is easier and faster. You should use whatever method suits you best. As to the mushroom sauce, the pressure cooker gives a depth of flavor hard to get in a regular pan, but if you don’t have one, simply sautee the mushrooms together with the shallots and celery until they release some of their liquid and develop some color, then add the flour, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the liquid and simmer gently until thick, finishing with a touch of heavy cream as described.

The beauty of the spiralizer to make noodles is that you can opt to go real light by using zucchini, or a little more substantial with parsnips, rutabagas or sweet potatoes. Just as with regular pasta, your imagination will be the limit to what types of sauce to pair your veggies with. Cacio e pepe with zoodles? Bechamel with sweet potatoes? Fresh tomato sauce? Genovese pesto? Let your taste be your guide… and have fun with it!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Pimp Your Veg with a Spiralizer. There are many types of spiral cutters in the market, mine is this one. It has three blades that can give you flat ribbons, and two thickness of strands. The only drawback of this model is that carrots need to be very thick in diameter to properly work. Other than that, it is a great gadget to have and play with.

Elaine, I cannot thank you enough for your invitation to write a post on your blog, absolutely loved it!

Thank you for sharing your tips and lovely recipes, Sally xx

So, who’s ready to get spiralizing? If you like these ideas but don’t have the tool, try grating your vegetables to get an idea of whether you fancy making the purchase. Try grating strings as long as possible done the side of your grater – have fun! 

Pimp Your Veg part 5: vegetable patties/fritters/tikkis/burgers/cakes…

 Making vegetable patties or fritters, or any of the other names in the title, is a great addition to your kitchen repertoire..

a great way of using up raw or cooked vegetables, 

adding flavour with herbs and spices, 

frying or oven baking, 

perfect eaten hot or cold,

creating these wonderful burger shaped goodies is a simple and quick way add more vegetables to your plate…

or for making your own healthy snacks..try one of these mid afternoon instead of something carb or sugar based and boost your energy 🙂 

If you read through just a handful of recipes, of which I have a list of suggestions below, you will see that there is a definite regimen for making patties etc: 

If you are using cooked vegetables, mash them a bit

If you are using raw vegetables, squeeze out as much liquid as possible

Add some flour/grains and an egg for binding OR use cooked beans or pulses to bring the mixture together 

Throw in some cheese for added flavour and texture

Maybe add some chopped nuts or seeds for a crunch and some added protein and goodness 

And always remember to add your choice of herbs/spices and seasoning 

They can all be fried or oven baked – I always prefer oven baking 

I have made a couple of Selma’s fritters recipes recently, sweet potato, courgette and paneer fritters (image at the top of this post) Selma’s romanesco, feta and za’atar cakes (above), and I am sharing with you a selection of some wonderful recipes from my fellow bloggers; I encourage you to have a good look through the list – and feel free to add more links in the comments – then take a look in your fridge and see what needs using up..that’s what I did when I made these sweet potato cakes..remember these babies my fellow bloggers?? 

I hope you’re feeling inspired 🙂 

Why not give some of these a go? 

Courgette fritters from Krystina at Kouzounas Kitchen 

Pan-fried creole cauliflower fritters and Spicy Aloo Ricotta (crumbled paneer) Tikki Sliders from Kellies Food to Glow 

Spicy ricotta crumbled tikki sliders and aloo bread potato cutlets from Sonal at Simply Vegetarian 777

Carrot broccoli fritters and broccoli fritters from Cooking with SJ 

Beetroot carrot spicy fritters from Divalicious Recipes 

Sweet potato burgers from Marisa at Miss Marzipan 

Courgette quinoa burger from Susan at Watch Hatch Fly 

Potato patties from Linda at La Petit Paniere  

So, what will you put together? Have fun concocting your own versions 🙂 

I’ve been away too long…

…and I’m not even really sure why??!! So it’s time to get back to my blog and start sharing all of these lovely things I’ve got ready post… 

Plus lots more coming to Pimp My Veg..

Right…time to get writing…see you very soon…

For now I’ll leave you with images of the lovely autumnal roasted vegetables I enjoyed recently.. Yum! 


Butternut squash, sweet potato & carrot with my new spiced paste creation..an absolute taste sensation!!! 

Luckily I have friends that are happy to taste test my kitchen experiments…and this was one of my recent creations…

All I can say is, it was sooooooooooo good, it’s now become a kitchen staple! I can barely find the words to sufficiently tell you how good this tasted. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it, but I can tell you that my friend agreed 🙂 there was none left at the end of lunch!

So, what was it?
By way of research, and out of curiosity, I was recently perusing the shelves in my local supermarket and seeing what new products are on offer nowadays; I don’t shop much in supermarkets so it’s interesting to see the array of cuisines and flavours that are now becoming standard. Whether or not people are experimenting with the more diverse offerings I don’t know, but there is a whole new world of flavours available which I think is great – even better if you have the time and inclination to play with them yourself… 🙂

I came across a tiny jar of tagine paste; the collection of ingredients sounded interesting and piqued my interest, so I had a good look at the label and mused on it at home, then got busy in the kitchen to see what I might produce…this was it…calling it a paste doesn’t seem very inviting but I’m stumped for what else to call it…any ideas anyone? How about a ‘pastesensation’?? Because that’s what it is..

This makes a huge bowl of chunky paste that can be used in various ways, feel free to reduce the quantities.


2 large banana shallots or 4 small round shallots, finely diced

6 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

250g tomato purée

5 tbsp rapeseed oil

5 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp dried pepper flakes

1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds

1 tsp ground roasted coriander seeds

1 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp Turkish red chilli flakes

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp roasted ground caraway seeds

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt


Mix everything together and leave it in the fridge for the flavours to develop overnight and/or for a day.

This can then be used in whatever way you fancy, so far I’ve eaten it as it is, added it to a bowl of ‘foul’ and added it to pan cooked vegetables…which is what you can see in this post, but I do think there is so much more you could do with it. Add it to a casserole or tagine; thin it down and use it as a marinade; use it as a salsa, basically, have a play.  For my root vegetable dish..continuing with my theme of pan cooking vegetables..

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled

1 medium sweet potato, skin on

2 large carrots, peeled

Chop all of these root vegetables into small cubes, all the same size

In a wide based saucepan, heat a tablespoon of your chosen oil over a medium heat

Pan cook all of the cubed vegetables until they start to cook through, agitating a few times as they cook, but not too often, you’re not stir frying these vegetables

Once they’ve started to show signs of being cooked through, add half of the paste mix above and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes

Serve hot as a side dish or as a complete meal topped with cheese, or with chopped spring onions and tahini sauce over a bed of cooked grains like I did. This is quite a rich dish, so the tahini sauce was a perfect addition.

And if you’ve got leftovers, enjoy it all over again the next day, hot or cold. I had some in a wrap with goats cheese for lunch today.

I served mine with leftover spelt, freekeh and my dukkah Topped with the cooked vegetables, chopped spring onions and tahini sauce
I really cannot tell you just how good this is, you’ll just have to try it yourself! But I can tell you, I’ll be making this again and again, and already have done!

I hope you like my ideas, I’m bringing them to  this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosting this week by Kaila and Mila, and hope that they enjoy it 🙂