Tips and Recipes for Using the Last of Summer Vegetables
Each year the UK throws away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste and nearly three quarters it is food that could have been eaten.
Recent research shows that almost three-quarters (73%) of Britons are increasingly aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment. Thinking about sourcing ethical products and reducing food miles are just two sustainable eating habits that are becoming part of our daily routines.
Gousto’s expert chefs are on a mission to fight waste, sending in precise ingredients that save an average of 2kg of household food waste per box. This summer, they’re championing three seasonal veggie heroes and shared their top tips on how to use up every last bit. So here’s your new zero waste summer-inspired delivery.
Make tomatoes the star of your barbecue
Large, round, juicy tomatoes are then this season and make the perfect barbecue companion, whether roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with lemon zest or sautéed in a sweet and savory salad with avocado, watermelon, tamari and feta cheese. The summer months are the best time of year for one of the most versatile fruits in the bowl (keep your tomatoes in a fruit bowl for maximum ripeness and umami!)
If you really want to impress your guests, we recommend roasting pink tomatoes as a deliciously juicy centerpiece – try them in a warm Mediterranean vegetable salad (recipe below).
Not only are tomatoes delicious, but they’re also good for you. They contain lycopene and chlorogenic acid – two antioxidants – and vitamins A and C, helping to keep your skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage healthy.
Roasted tomato salad with pink beef and Mediterranean vegetables
1 yellow bell pepper
40g aged cheddar
20g of seasonal salad
1 pink beef tomato
1 ciabatta bread
15ml red wine vinegar
15g slivered almonds
1 clove of garlic
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C (fan)/425F/gas 7. Seed the yellow pepper (scrape the seeds and deseed it with a teaspoon) and cut it into thin strips. Trim, trim, then cut the zucchini into bite-size pieces. Cut the green stems off the eggplants and cut them into bite-size pieces.
2. Add the chopped vegetables to a baking sheet with a very generous drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything well and put the tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and tender – these are your roasted vegetables. Tip: Remove the tray halfway and give everything another good mix.
3. While the vegetables are roasting, remove the green stem from the pink tomato. Cut the pink beef tomato in half, horizontally. Add the tomato halves to one side of a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and place the sheet in the oven for 15-20 min or until it is soften.
4. While the tomatoes are in the oven, peel the garlic and roughly chop. Grate the cheddar cheese.
5. Add basil, minced garlic, grated cheese and slivered almonds to a food processor. Add 3 tbsp olive oil and 3 tbsp cold water and whisk until a smooth paste forms – it’s your homemade cheddar pesto.
6. Cut the ciabatta into large pieces. After the tomatoes have cooked for 10 minutes, add the torn ciabatta to the other side of the tray and drizzle with olive oil. Return the baking sheet to the oven for 5 minutes or until the croutons begin to crisp.
7. Meanwhile, mix the red wine vinegar with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper – this is your dressing. Wash and drain the seasonal salad. Divide the roasted vegetables between plates and toss with the washed seasonal salad. Drizzle with dressing and top with roasted tomato halves. Garnish with a dollop of homemade cheddar pesto.
Make zucchini your favorite and versatile dish
If you’ve ever tried growing zucchini, you’ll know how difficult it is to grow one or two. Here are a few ways we recommend using an abundance of this versatile seasonal staple.
Depending on how you cook them, the flavors and textures of a zucchini can vary. For a lighter twist on a summery lasagna, use the skins and outer flesh as delicious low carb pasta sheets. Tilt the zucchini away from you, toward a cutting board, and slide a peeler through the skin to create even slices. Layer the skins and chop the rest of the zucchini into the Bolognese sauce topping – no waste and a dinner full of veggies!
For something a little more indulgent, cut your zucchini in half, core it and stuff it with sausage meat and herbs, top with cheese and roast in the oven. *Chiefs kiss*.
Another favorite way to prepare zucchini is to roast slices in olive oil and serve them with figs, goat cheese and couscous. The sweet and honeyed taste of figs goes perfectly with goat cheese and zucchini. Remember: Don’t use too much oil, as zucchini is super absorbent and will soak up anything you throw at them.
An abundance of zucchini is nature’s cue to incorporate them into your diet. Rich in vitamins A, B, and B6, zucchini promotes good eyesight, critical brain development, a healthy immune system, and even helps regulate blood sugar. So take this versatile vegetable wherever you can.
Make every part of the cauliflower the star of the show
Cauliflower is the gift that keeps on giving. When ready to harvest, this super versatile vegetable serves as the foundation for so many delicious flavor pairings. Try sizzling cauliflower steaks served with zesty lemon wedges or simply roasted in a drizzle of olive oil and paprika before generously dipping in hummus. Take a look at the recipe for Cauliflower Steak with Herbed Bulgar and Warm Harissa Dressing below.
Sophie Nahmad, chef at Gousto, defends the underdog – the cauliflower leaves. She says, “Often thrown away, cauliflower leaves are a surprisingly delicious ingredient that can be used in so many ways, giving you an extra nutrient boost. My favorite way to prepare them is to ferment them to make kimchi. Packed with probiotics and gut-friendly bacteria, salty kimchi is perfect for broths or served with rice and fish to pair the flavors of the sea.”
Cauliflower Steak with Herbed Bulgur and Warm Harissa Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
1 live lettuce
20g harissa paste
30g diced apricots
15g slivered almonds
10g parsley & mint
1 red pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C (fan)/gas 7. Cut the cauliflower into 2 1-inch steaks (use the middle part as it is larger!). Tip: keep the extra bouquets for another recipe! Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet, brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with ras el hanout, season with a pinch of salt and bake for the first 15 minutes.
2. While the cauliflower cooks, boil a full kettle. Deseed the red pepper (scrape out the seeds and pit with a teaspoon) and cut into thick strips. Top, tail then cut the zucchini into rounds. Add the bell pepper strips and zucchini rings in a separate tray with ½ tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix well, then set aside for later.
3. Add the bulgur and diced apricots to a pot with plenty of boiled water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 7-9 minutes or until tender with a light bite. Once cooked, drain and return to the pan.
4. Once the cauliflower steaks have had an initial 15 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and flip the steaks. Return the cauliflower steaks to the oven with the bell pepper strips and zucchini rings and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and tender – these are your spicy cauliflower steaks and your roasted vegetables.
5. While the vegetables cook, heat a large, dry, wide-bottomed skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the slivered almonds and cook for 2-3 minutes or until toasted and golden. Tip: Watch them like a hawk to make sure they don’t burn! Once grilled, transfer to a plate and reserve the pan.
6. Strip the mint leaves from their stems, then chop them finely and discard the stems and finely chop the parsley, including the stems. Add most of the chopped parsley and mint (save the rest for garnish!) to the cooked bulgur and mix well – it’s your herb bulgur. Remove the base from the live lettuce, then wash the live lettuce under cold running water, cut out the core and pat dry with paper towel. Tear live lettuce leaves off the stem until you are left with a pile of leaves.
7. Return reserved skillet to low heat. Once hot, add the harissa paste (can’t stand the heat? Take it easy!) and 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan and mix. Squeeze the juice from ½ a lemon and season with a pinch of salt and pepper – it’s your hot harissa dressing. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges. Serve the spicy cauliflower steaks with the herbed bulgur, roasted vegetables and shredded lettuce on the side. Drizzle with warm harissa vinaigrette. Garnish with the toasted slivered almonds, a lemon wedge and the remaining chopped parsley and mint. Enjoy!
Recipes from Gousto, the UK best value recipe box, offering 75 meals a week from £3.14. Visit gousto.co.uk for more information and recipe inspiration.