Lifestyles

Summer Vegetable Feast

Piling your plate with bright red and orange fruit and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and capsicums is a healthy way to give your diet a vitamin boost and increase your daily fibre intake. What’s more, the antioxidants (beta-carotene1, lycopene2 and vitamins C3 and E) found in some vegetables may improve your skin's resistance to sunlight.

Get grilling

Cooking outdoors is one of summer’s great pleasures and though you might normally throw a sausage or steak on the barbeque, don’t forget that the hot grill is fantastic for serving up delicious veggies that are good enough to eat on their own, as a side, or as a feature in a pasta dish.

  1. Oil ‘em up. Start with a clean grill and well-oiled vegetables so they won’t stick.
  2. Be patient. Resist the urge to shift the vegetables around. Wait until they're seared and lift off easily.
  3. Manage the hot spots. Place the heartier vegetables, like onion and capsicum, in the hottest spots on the grill. Delicate produce such as tomatoes should be cooked in areas with less heat.

Fast Foodie: Penne With Mixed Grilled Vegetables

Now you’ve grilled your veggies, slice them and toss into a bowl with pasta for a quick dish that’s as easy as it is tasty.

Make a match with grilled eggplant, courgette, capsicum and asparagus. Toss them into a large bowl of cooked penne pasta and add a handful of sliced kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes. Top with fresh basil leaves, some lemon zest and add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

The big dipper

A plate of raw vegetables isn’t going to float everyone’s boat, but partnered with hummus, guacamole and a spicy tomato salsa and crunchy crudités become a whole lot more appealing.

6 delicious ways to boost your vegetables

  • If you prefer vegetables hot off the grill, here are a few easy ways to spice things up. Toss a couple of teaspoons of pesto or harissa through warm vegetables.
  • For a Japanese inspired marinade, mix two tablespoons of light soy sauce with two tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar, two teaspoons minced fresh ginger and one teaspoon sesame oil in a shallow dish. Leave the vegetables to marinate in the ingredients for 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.
  • Use a simple salad dressing to add flavour. Whisk a dash of of olive oil, vinegar and mustard together and then tossed through your hot vegetables.
  • Toast some pine nuts, sunflowers or pepitas in a hot pan with a little olive and salt. Then scatter over vegetables for a nutritious crunch.
  • Chop up fresh avocado, coriander and chilli and stir through some lime juice. The avocado melts slightly as it comes into contact with the vegetables and forms a kind of sauce.
  • A quick tahini and garlic sauce makes a fantastic topping. Simply grate a clove of garlic, and whisk together with two tablespoons of tahini, the juice and zest of one lemon, 1/4 of a cup of minced parsley, a pinch of salt and enough hot water to make it a drizzling consistency.