Nutrition: 8-10  portions of vegetables a day part 2

Tuesday 08 May 2018

Hello everyone, This month I want to continue the theme of trying to eat 8-10 portions of vegetables and fruits in a day in line with the new government guidelines. Last month I focussed on how this could be done, giving practical ideas, and this month I wanted to share recipes with you that you might like to try. I know that there are hundreds of recipe books available for ideas but these that I am sharing with you are ones that I have tried and tested. They are quick and easy using vegetables that are easily available.


I want to start with an idea that is so easy, absolutely no preparation. Simply buy a butternut squash, take off the label and bake it whole in the oven like a baked potato on gas 6/ 180’C. It will generally take an hour depending on the size. You will know it is cooked when a knife inserted into the solid end of the squash goes in easily. If I am feeding a family I simply put it on a plate and cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and put it on the table for people to scoop out the flesh that they want. I also scoop out the flesh to add to a soup.

Here is a delicious recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Squash soup. It freezes well and this quantity serves 4. (Taken from, The 8 week Blood Sugar Diet by Dr. Clare Bailey)


4 red peppers halved and deseeded.

Butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks (about 500grms prepared weight)

1 onion peeled and diced

1 tblsp olive oil.

1 litre (2 pts) vegetable or good chicken stock.

½ tsp of chilli flakes or ½ red pepper deseeded and finely chopped.

Fresh parsley or coriander to serve (optional).


1. Pre- heat the oven to 180’C. Spread the peppers, squash and onion onto a shallow oven tray.

2. Drizzle over the olive oil, bake in the oven for about 20mins or until the edges start to blacken.

3. When cooked put them into a large pan with the stock and chilli, bring to the boil then simmer for about 15mins until everything is soft.

4. Blend the soup and season to taste. Serve garnished with parsley or coriander.

This is delicious and surprisingly satisfying.

Another very simple recipe that makes a dish that is good at lunch times:

Spring Greens with Cannellini Beans

This recipe is very much in line with the Mediterranean diet. Serves 2. It can be eaten hot but also good the next day cold from the fridge. You could use any beans of your choice. I have made this also using pok choy which works well but would not contain the high iron content of the cabbage. (Taken from the 8 week Blood Sugar Diet by Clare Bailey.)


1 tblsp of olive oil.

1 garlic clove crushed

½ tsp chilli flakes

½ tsp dried oregano or thyme

8 cherry tomatoes halved

100grms of cannellini beans drained and rinsed.

200grms of spring greens finely shredded.

Squeeze of lemon juice.


1. Heat the oil in a pan with a lid and add the garlic, chilli flakes and herb, followed by the tomatoes, beans and greens. Then add ½ tblsp of water and lemon juice.

2. Put the lid on and cook until the greens are cooked about 2-3 mins or just wilted.

3. Add the beans which will warm through quickly in the heat. Stir through.

4. Serve.


What about the humble cauliflower. Always available and so versatile. Plain roasted or spiced roasted or made into rice and used in so many different ways.

To plain roast it simply cut into florets, spread on a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven 180’C till charred slightly, this should take about 30mins depending on the size of the florets. I usually give it a stir half way through.

To pep this up a bit I mix spices with the oil before putting over the cauliflower. A mix of ½ tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of cumin, a good pinch of paprika and a little salt.

One of my favourite things is to turn the cauliflower into cauliflower rice. This has become very popular as people are trying to reduce their carbohydrate intake. It is in lots of books

To make the Cauliflower Rice

1. Use cauliflower florets and either grate them or put them into a food processor and process until the cauliflower resembles rice. Do not over process or the cauliflower will become too fine. Just keep an eye. It will only take a few seconds.

2. In a large pan gently melt a table spoon of coconut oil and heat gently. Add the cauliflower rice and heat through stirring to coat in the oil. Add approximately 2 tbsps of hot water and put the lid on the pan. Give it a gentle shake and leave for 2 minutes.

3. Check that it is not catching and add a little more water if necessary but the finish should be quite dry and the cauliflower should still have a little bite.

4. This can be used instead of rice.

Spicy cauliflower rice. Serves 4. (My invention)

1. As above but when you melt the coconut oil add some spices and a finely diced onion. I like ½ tsp of turmeric, 1tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of garam masala and a good pinch of salt. You can of course experiment.

2. Then add the cauliflower and follow as above.

I have this with 2 hard boiled eggs for a lunch meal. Just my choice.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh. (serves 4). (My invention although I am sure there must be recipes for it somewhere.)


1 large cauliflower made into cauliflower rice.

1 bunch of spring onions finely chopped

4 large tomatoes chopped

2 large handfuls of freshly chopped parsley

1 handful of freshly chopped mint

Juice of I lemon

3 tblsp of olive oil.



1. Take the cauliflower rice and allow it to cool. Add the other ingredient and mix thoroughly.

2. Serve. It is good with some toasted cashew nuts or pine nuts or use it as a salad to go with some cooked salmon or an omelette or chicken etc.

Finally, a recipe for Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables. This recipe is absolutely typical of the Mediterranean/Rainbow diet, rich in colour and phytochemicals to support the immune system and to protect cells. It serves 4 and you could use any leftovers the next day for lunch with some protein added in the form of beans or fish or eggs etc to make a main meal.


3 cloves garlic crushed

3 tblsps olive oil

2 coloured peppers deseeded and quartered

1 aubergine diced

1 courgette sliced or diced

1 fennel bulb sliced

3 tomatoes quartered

1 red onion sliced

Sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)


1. Pre- heat the oven to 200’C. Mix the garlic and a little seasoning into the olive oil. Spread the vegetables onto a roasting tin evenly spread out.

2. Scatter over the herbs and drizzle with the oil. Bake 30-40mins turning half way through the cooking time.

I hope that you try some of these as they do illustrate how 8-10 portions can be incorporated into the day.


Blog originally written by Caroline April 2017 - checked 2021

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