y now, everyone knows that eating five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day is key to a balanced diet and a healthy life. According to the World Health Organisation, eating 400g of the good stuff a day lowers our risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
However new research shows that just one in 10 adults in the UK only eat vegetables once a week or less, and fewer than half eat them every day.
When it comes to feeding our notoriously fussy children, we’re a bit better, with sprogs eating vegetables one to three times a week (34 per cent). Parents cite a lack of time (19 per cent) and their children’s refusal to eat their greens (30 per cent) as the main barriers to serving them vegetables more frequently. Over a third say they have to get cunning and hide vegetables in their kids’ meals otherwise they won’t eat them. We all know a few of those…
The data from Tesco shows we have some work to do. With that in mind, and with nearly a third of British adults stating that quick and easy recipes would be the best thing to get more veg in their diet, enter: Tesco health ambassador Jamie Oliver with helpful little nudges for getting your five a day and three delicious recipes to get you started.
Each one contains at least two of your five a day and take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare, so you literally have nothing to complain about.
Get an egg start
Give fried eggs a boost with a handful of sliced mushrooms and half a tomato fried until soft. Crack in your eggs, season and cook to your liking. Lovely served on a warmed tortilla and topped with slices of jalapeno, avocado and a little crumbled feta.
Grate an apple or pear into a bowl. Add 50g porridge oats, 30g of dried fruit and 200ml of milk. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Top with yoghurt and fresh fruit in the morning.
Get organised by batching up your oats and keeping it in the fridge for up to three days, or go vegan by swapping out the milk for unsweetened and fortified nut or oat milk and using plant-based yoghurt.
Add slices or segments of peeled citrus fruits (oranges, clementines, mandarins) to a bag of salad or use tinned fruit in natural juice for a cheaper and more convenient option. Speed peel a carrot, crinkle cut some cucumber and toss with extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
We’ve all got peas in the freezer, but try expanding your frozen veg horizons with broad beans. Use them in salads, smash onto toast with herbs, good oil and feta, or add a handful to soup and salads.
The sweet spot
Scrub and prick a sweet potato, then cook in the microwave for 10 minutes, or until soft. Cut into chunks and squash into fajitas or quesadillas or stir into chilli con carne.
Give ragu a veg boost
Get more from your mince in bolognese sauce by browning finely chopped courgette, butternut squash, peppers or fennel with the onion, celery and carrot mix, and add a drained tin of lentils in with the mince. Use in lasagne, pasta bakes and a good old spag bol.
Cheat’s mushroom pizza traybake recipe
So simple and so delicious, this super-easy method gives you tasty pizza in a flash. Topped with a garlicky tomato sauce, roasted mushrooms and creamy mozzarella, this traybaked number is a total crowd-pleaser.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 35 mins
Nutrition: 481 calories per serving
250g chestnut or large flat mushrooms
4 garlic cloves
1 small red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
400g self-raising flour
320g frozen spinach, defrosted
400g tin plum tomatoes
125g grated mozzarella
30g fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220C, fan 200C. Peel and trim the mushrooms (save the stalks for soups) and place on a 35 x 25cm flameproof baking tray with the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion, break into petals and scatter onto the tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and bake for 20-25 mins until soft.
2. Meanwhile, mix the flour, a pinch of sea salt and 240ml cold water into a dough, then knead on a flour-dusted surface for 2 mins, adding a little extra flour if needed. Carefully place the mushrooms, onion and garlic on a board. Squeeze any water from the spinach, then toss in the tray juices.
3. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil onto the tray and lay in the dough, pressing and pulling it to fill the corners and up the sides. Drain the tomatoes (reserving the juice) and scrunch them over the dough, season, then sprinkle over the spinach, onion and mozzarella. Leave whole, chop or tear the mushrooms, then scatter on top, squeezing over the roasted garlic, to taste. Pour a little tomato juice around the mushrooms, then place the tray over a high heat until the base starts to sizzle. Bake on the highest oven shelf for 15 mins or until golden and crisp. Pick over the basil leaves, drizzle with balsamic, if you like, and serve.
Tip: To make the most of mushrooms roast them with garlic as in the recipe and use in meals for today, tomorrow and into next week. Stir into a risotto, or turn into a pasta bake with tomato sauce and some grated mozzarella or keep for longer and blitz with chicken or vegetable stock to make soup and freeze.
Spring veg linguine recipe
Every ingredient gets to sing in this delicious one-pan pasta dish. Simply cooked fresh veg with a creamy, lemony sauce and fresh herbs – it’s a winner.
Makes: 4 as a main or 8 as a starter
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins
Nutrition: 360 calories per serving
300g fresh linguine
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
30g fresh mint
320g frozen peas
30g Parmesan cheese
2 x 90g bags of fresh rocket (optional)
1. Snap off the bottom third of the asparagus (save for soups), roughly chop into 3cm pieces at an angle and cook with the peas and linguine in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes, until tender.
2. Meanwhile, finely grate the lemon zest into a large jar with a lid, and squeeze in the juice – you need roughly 2 tablespoons. Drizzle in 5 tablespoons of oil and finely grate in half the garlic. Screw the lid on tightly and give it a good shake until thick and creamy. Season to perfection with sea salt, black pepper and extra lemon juice, if needed.
3. Pick and finely chop most of the mint leaves, reserving the baby ones for later. Drain the linguine and veg, reserving a mug of the starchy cooking water, then tip back into the pan. Pour over the lemony dressing, grate in most of the Parmesan and add the chopped mint. Use tongs to toss everything together so each strand of pasta is coated in the dressing, loosening with splashes of the cooking water if needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and extra lemon juice, if necessary. Divide between serving bowls, grate over the remaining Parmesan and sprinkle with the baby mint leaves. Delicious served with a peppery rocket salad in the sunshine.
Tip: To make the most of lemons shake up a batch of the lemony oil as above and use in meals today, tomorrow and into next week. Use it to brush over meat, fish or veg before grilling, roasting or barbecuing. Or, keep the jar of lemon oil in the fridge for dressing salads, or dipping bread into.
Go veggie: Swap out the Parmesan for a vegetarian hard cheese.
Roasted tomato and feta toasts recipe
Brilliantly simple, these crunchy toasts can be prepped in minutes, and are a total celebration of flavour, colour and texture.
Makes: 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 2 hrs
Nutrition: 453 calories per serving
1 yellow pepper
360g salad tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
50g feta cheese
1 small baguette (200g)
1 clove of garlic
A few sprigs fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Deseed and thinly slice the pepper. Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side up in a roasting tray (25 x 30cm), poking the pepper in around them. Season with a small pinch of sea salt and black pepper, sprinkle with the oregano and rub with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Break the feta into large chunks and add to the tray, then roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes and pepper are sticky and soft.
3. 10 minutes before the cooking time is up, slice the baguette in half lengthways and then again widthways and place directly on the bars of the oven to toast.
4. Transfer the toasted baguette to serving plates or a board and rub with the cut side of the clove of garlic. Spoon over a little of the cooking juices, then top with the roasted tomatoes and peppers, crumble over the feta and pick over the basil leaves. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, if you like, and serve.
Tip: Roast a load of tomatoes as above and use in meals for today, tomorrow and into next week. Mix them with jarred or homemade pesto and stir into cooked pasta or freeze for up to three months. Defrost and stir through a risotto, or blitz into a pasta sauce.
For more quick and easy high-veg recipes, as well as deals and discounts, visit Tesco Real Food