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The A to Z of Vegetables: Part 1

Vegetables give us important vitamins, nutrients and fibre, but sometimes we need a bit of inspiration to make vegetables the superstars at dinnertime. Look no further than the tips and tricks from the Family Centre's dietitian and diabetes educator Amy Rush in the first instalment of our A to Z of Vegetables! A is for Artichoke Did you know that artichokes are a type of thistle? Buy the delicious hearts already peeled and marinated in oil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and roast them up with diced capsicum, zucchini and eggplant as a great side for halloumi, fish or roast meat. B is for Brussels Sprouts Don’t screw your nose up before you try Brussels sprouts roasted with coconut and smoked paprika. Halve and lightly steam your sprouts, pop them in a roasting pan with a generous amount of coconut oil, smoked paprika and minced garlic, and roast until golden. Served with chopped bacon, this is downright delicious! C is for Cabbage Ever tried barbequing your cabbage? Slice thickly and toss through a generous amount of sesame oil, soy sauce, minced garlic and minced ginger. Cook on the barbeque hot plate, turning, until softened and charred to your liking. D is for Daikon Say what? Daikon is an Asian vegetable, also referred to as a white radish. It looks a lot like a ghost version of a carrot and can be used in any way a carrot would be used. At 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams, it makes a great lower-carb roast vegetable option. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and roast until browned and slightly softened. E is for Eggplant Eggplant loves to soak up sauces, and this makes it a go-to pasta alternative for creamy dishes. Sautee strips in olive oil, then top with your favourite creamy pasta sauce. F is for Fennel The anise flavour of fennel isn’t for everyone but makes it a perfect addition to slow-cooked Asian dishes. Throw in a few slices of fennel, but remove them before serving - the anise flavour will permeate the dish without overpowering it. G is for Green Beans Olive oil, garlic salt, thyme and a quick 10 minutes in a hot oven and you have a crispy, delicious roast vegetable - no steamer in sight! H is for Herbs and Spices Think big with mixed herbs and spices. You can create harissa spiced pork, Tuscan spiced lamb or Moroccan beef in seconds using simple, pre-mixed herb and spice combinations. Prefer squeezing to shaking? Gourmet Garden Finishing Drizzles combine herbs, spices and flavoured oils; cook your vegetables and proteins, plate up and drizzle over your desired flavour, including basil pesto, chimichurri, harissa and salsa verde. I is for If Your Kid Won’t Eat Veggies If your kids turn their noses up at certain veggies, trying serving them the ones they will eat, alongside one you'd like them to try. Next, try and think like your kid! If your child likes things crunchy and raw, don't bother with roasted vegetables - load up their plate with raw veg instead. If they like veggies cooked and soft, think about alternatives to mashed potato and try something different - for example, mashed cauliflower, pumpkin, broccoli or even Brussels sprouts! J is for Japanese Pumpkin Make pumpkin mash by wrapping big chunks of pumpkin in foil, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, and baking for an hour until super soft and caramelized. Then dig out the cooked flesh, add cream or cream cheese and mash with a potato masher or stick blender. Don't throw the skin away - pop back in the oven until it's crispy and you have a deliciously crunchy chip! K is for Kalette Initially called the 'Flower Sprout', a Kalette is a hybrid vegetable created from crossing kale with Brussels sprouts using traditional methods, not genetic modification. They are super cute, resembling mini frilly cabbages, and super tasty when roasted in olive oil and garlic salt. You can buy them in winter from supermarkets and farmers markets. L is for Lettuce Lettuce is so much more than a base for salads - it can be the star of the show! Drizzle baby cos lettuce halves with macadamia or walnut oil and grill cut side down for a few minutes on the barbeque - the slightly charred, soft green lettuce is yummy served with a creamy sauce or pesto. M is for Mushrooms Add a splash of olive oil, some crushed garlic and thyme and roast in a hot oven until they are deliciously browned and caramelized. Serve with a dollop of clotted cream and some crushed walnuts for an indulgent side dish.  The A to Z of Vegetables will continue next month - stay tuned! Image credit: Medical News Today.

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