We all know vegetables are good for us, but it’s not always easy to achieve the recommended five serves per day. That is, of course, unless you build them into the one meal. Remember that most of our immune system is found in our gut, so it’s best to nourish yourself with as many vegetables as you can to help support your general health.
The idea is to include vegetables with significant nutritional value to ensure you’re receiving as many nutrients as possible. For instance, carrots, which are packed with antioxidants and vitamins; and eggplant, which features an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and phenolics. Antioxidants can help counter the effects of free radicals, with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and polyphenols among the most well-known.
It’s also worth remembering that prebiotics play an important role in our health. Prebiotic foods, such as garlic, can feed and encourage useful bacteria to support gut health and fuel the microbiome. Nuts and seeds can further complement our protein intake, while healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, provide a range of vitamins and minerals, which can help process the carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the foods we eat.
While most of us don’t consider these specific health benefits when consuming our meals, it’s worth keeping them in mind when preparing your meals. Or, instead, why not simply adopt another one of our recipes, our warm roasted vegetable salad:
Warm roasted vegetable salad
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
3 whole baby carrots, peeled
500g of sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
8 thin slices of eggplant, salted and rested on paper towels to remove excess water
16 green beans, top and tailed and cut in half
1 large capsicum, sliced into cheeks
1 large red onion, cut into thick wedges
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons of wholegrain or seeded mustard
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano
- Place vegetables in a bowl and season with garlic, pepper, salt and olive oil. Mix well.
- Heat up a skillet or cast-iron grill and season with olive oil.
- Place the sliced vegetables on the grill in batches and cook until softened and slightly charred on both sides.
- Remove vegetables and keep warm.
- Add pine nuts to the skillet and toast until brown then set aside.
- Make the dressing by combining lemon juice, oil, mustard, oregano in a screw top jar. Secure lid and mix by shaking.
- Compile salad by placing spinach leaves, pine nuts and vegetables in a bowl. Pour over dressing and toss to combine.
- Garnish with basil leaves.