Nutritious and delicious, vegetables come in a rainbow of colours, with an amazing range of flavours, textures, shapes and sizes. As well as being tasty, they’re probably the most vastly versatile part of our diet. Below are some exciting recipes to help fully embrace the love for vegetables!

 

Coconut & squash dhansak

This quick and easy vegetarian curry is perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner - with butternut squash, coconut milk, lentils and spinach.

Ingredients

 

1 tbsp vegetable oil

500g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks

100g diced onion

4 heaped tbsp mild curry paste

400g can chopped tomatoes

400g can light coconut milk

mini naan bread, to serve

400g can lentils, drained

200g bag baby spinach

150ml coconut yogurt

 

Method

 

Heat the oil in a large pan. Put the squash in a bowl with a splash of water. Cover with cling film and microwave on High for 10 mins or until tender. Meanwhile, add the onions to the hot oil and cook for a few mins until soft. Add the curry paste, tomatoes and coconut milk, and simmer for 10 mins until thickened to a rich sauce.

 

Warm the naan breads in a low oven or in the toaster. Drain any liquid from the squash, then add to the sauce with the lentils, spinach and some seasoning. Simmer for a further 2-3 mins to wilt the spinach, then stir in the coconut yogurt. Serve with the warm naan and a dollop of extra yogurt.

 

 

Bean, tomato & watercress salad

 

Try this gluten-free, vegan salad with filling beans and fresh watercress for a quick, light meal. It has just four ingredients and three of your five-a-day. Watercress is possibly the most nutritious food. It has a perfect nutrition score based on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, a rating of a food’s nutritional value divided by its calories. Watercress received a score of 100, with other super foods like kale scoring 49 and cauliflower scoring 25.

Ingredients

2 x 400g can cannellini beans

100g watercress

1 lemon zested and juiced

250g pack sundried tomatoes and olives

 

Method

Drain and rinse the beans, then combine in a bowl with the watercress, zest and juice of the lemon, tomatoes and olives, including the oil from the pack. Toss well and season to taste.

 

Frosted courgette & lemon cake

 Vegetables don’t have to be savoury this luscious cake is lemony and light, with an extra citrus kick from the lemon syrup drizzle.

 

Ingredients

250g pack unsalted butter, very soft, plus extra for the tin

3 unwaxed lemons

200g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

2 medium courgettes coarsely grated

1 tsp poppy seed, plus extra to decorate

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g self-raising flour

100g plain wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

85g icing sugar

200g pack full-fat soft cheese

4 tbsp lemon curd (optional)

 

Method

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Zest 2 lemons, then squeeze their juice into a separate bowl. Put 200g butter, the caster sugar, eggs, courgettes, poppy seeds, vanilla and lemon zest into a mixing bowl. Beat to a creamy batter. Stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice, the flours, baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Spoon the mix into the tins, then bake for 25 mins or until risen, golden and springy in the middle.

 

Make a drizzle by mixing another tbsp lemon juice with 25g icing sugar. Put the remaining icing sugar and butter into a bowl, add the soft cheese, remaining lemon juice (about 2 tbsp) and grate in the final lemon’s zest. Beat to make a creamy, smooth frosting.

 

When the cakes are ready, cool for 15 mins in their tins, then turn onto a cooling rack. Prick several times with a cocktail stick, spoon over the drizzle and cool completely. Can be frozen at this stage for up to 1 month. Put one cake onto a serving plate and spread with just under half the frosting. Spread over the lemon curd, if using. Top with the second cake, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sprinkle with poppy seeds.