Sides Galore!

January 2, 2017

I know most vegetarians complain that around the holidays they’re often stuck eating side dishes, but I’m actually a firm believer that sides are the best part of a meal. At restaurants I’m sometimes secretly happy when they don’t have any vegetarian mains, and get to order 4 sides… Holidays are usually the time to shine and whilst most people just think of roasted vegetables when they think of side dishes, I get really really into making something special. SidesFThese three sides might just be the most perfect trio of sides out there- something comforting, something green, and something fresh. The pumpkin dish could easily be the definition of creamy and has the most incredible texture- it’s roasted with maple syrup and topped with crushed roasted seeds and blows my mind every time I have it. The broccoli is first seemed and then tossed with a little chilli and garlic and topped with an incredible nut sauce. Last but not least, the fennel dish. It’s not your average run of the mill roasted veg dish – it’s roasts in the oven with red onion,lemon peel, sage and balsamic vinegar and emerges out of the oven with a really delicious caramelised flavour. These have been on repeat in my kitchen for the past couple of weeks and really are my favourite dishes at the moment. Also, because of Christmas, essays and being sick, I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks, so hopefully giving you the three recipes for these glorious sides will mean that all is forgiven!
Sides Galore: Ginger Glazed Pumpkin, Chilli Sautéed Broccoli, Lemon and Sage Caramelised Fennel 
Ginger Glazed Pumpkin:
1 Kabocha Squash (really creamy and nutty, but any pumpkin will do), cut into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 inch grated ginger
1 tbsp maple syrup/honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200˙C, toss the squash/pumpkin with the olive oil, grated ginger, maple syrup and salt and cook for about 30-40 minutes.
20 minutes in, toss the sunflower seeds with the maple syrup and salt, spread on a baking sheet and place in oven with the pumpkin for the last 15-20 minutes.
Serve the roasted pumpkin topped with the sunflower seeds – either crushed or whole, they’re both delicious.

Chilli Sautéed Broccoli:
1 head broccoli, florets chopped off of stem
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, chopped with seeds removed or 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp nut butter (I’ve tried cashew, peanut and almond and they all work)
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
1-2 tbsp water to thin (to your liking)
Steam the broccoli until tender. Heat up oil over medium-high heat, add in the chopped garlic and chilli, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the cooked broccoli and salt, and toss it around the chilli garlic oil on the heat for 5-6 minutes, until golden and crispy.
While the broccoli cooks, add the nut butter, coconut milk and tamari to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes until combined and creamy. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if you want it on the runnier side!
Serve broccoli topped with a generous amount of nut butter sauce!

Lemon and Sage Caramelised Fennel:
3 fennel bulbs cut into wedges
4 tbsp olive oil
10 sage leaves
Peel of 1 lemon, cut into strips with vegetable peeler
2 red onions, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pre-heat oven to 170˚. In one bowl , toss the fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil, the sage leave, lemon peel and some salt and pepper. Spread on a lined baking tray.
In a separate bowl, toss the onion with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper. Spread on a separate lined baking tray.
Place both baking trays in the oven, and cook for about 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes or so, until both are golden and caramelised.
Toss the vegetables together while warm and adjust the seasoning. They’re delicious both hot and at room temperature.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and hope you’re having a happy and healthy start to 2017. Hopefully these side dishes get you inspired to do something great with those wonderful vegetables sitting on your shelves! It may seem like a little bit of a hassle to cook some things separately, but it really makes a difference- enjoy!

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