lunch/ quick + easy/ salads/ savoury

Warm salad of pan-roasted vegetables – fennel, silverbeet, cabbage + fetta

Warm salad cabbage fennel rocket recipe sweetpea darlingheart salad-closeup-recipe-sweetpea-darlingheart

Having a vegetable patch means even when you think there’s nothing to eat, hopefully you can make yourself some kind of proper meal. The cupboards or the fridge might look pretty bare, but if you’ve got something green growing somewhere, then you can toss up a quick salad at the very least. I am a big fan of having something growing in the yard or in pots, fresh herbs are just the most excellent thing in the entire universe and fortunately one of the easiest things to grow. The rewards are multifaceted. Not only do you almost always have something fresh to eat, there is something about being outside in the air, tending the plants, that can fill your soul when you need it the most, or can’t quite figure out what to do.  Any feelings of frustration can be worked out by a good frenzy of weed pulling, and there’s nothing like a gardening session to tire you out in a really satisfying way.

We keep chickens in our backyard and have done for years; not only do they give us eggs, but they are my ultimate little composter allies. Any food scraps or leftovers (that have been leftover for a bit too long) go to the girls who dive upon them with relish. I chuck in paper towel and paper bags too. Whatever they don’t eat they trample into the ground and do their ‘business’ all over. This may sound gross, but if you are a gardener it is music to your ears! Free, amazingly enriched compost. You pay a pretty penny for this from the nursery, and end up with lots of plastic bags at the end of the day. Once every couple of months, when the door to the chicken hutch no longer wants to close and the compost has built up nicely, I put on my old gardening gear and get digging. I scrape the top layer which hasn’t yet composted to the side, and dig out the rich dirt from underneath. The girls think this is great! Digging in their hutch opens up all kinds of lovely little bugs and worms and dirt that were hidden under the strata. They scratch around to their hearts content, like they have a whole new home.

Some more experienced gardeners than I may say that I would be best to continue to compost this rich earth for another few months, to let the chicken ‘business’ mellow a little. But I’m too impatient; I just sprinkle it around the garden and I tell you, the garden loves it.

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I guess it’s a bit of a hipster way of working the land. Living in the inner city, keeping a few chickens and having a small veggie patch. Making our own compost, not throwing away any green waste. I wouldn’t know a hard day’s work on a farm if it hit me; I have a great deal of respect for the people out there who grow food on a large scale. But I love what we can do with the amount of space we have, and for our little effort we are richly rewarded. Flowers, fruit, eggs and veg. A workout without stepping into a gym. And a good boost of mind-clearing fresh air.


After a somewhat skittish week the fridge was looking pretty random… odds and ends of things, but not really too much of anything. I dug around the freezer too, but there was nothing to be found there either. What I did have was one piece of marinated fetta cheese, half a small fennel and a little wedge of red cabbage – a couple of things that were all looking rather lost.

I love to roast fennel and red cabbage, but didn’t have time to roast them for lunch, and thought it would be a waste of energy to put the oven on just for that. So I grabbed out a big frying pan and scorched them on their sides. It really brought out the sweetness of the vegetables – the radishes became mild and the fennel juicy. While it was charring, I ran out to the garden, picked some baby silverbeet leaves, a few radishes, some dill and a handful of rocket. There, was lunch.

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Warm salad of pan-roasted vegetables

Red cabbage, fennel, silverbeet, radish and dill + rocket and marinated fetta

I really do love to eat bowls like these; they’re fast and easy to make and super filling and not only are you eating lots of veggies, it feels like you’re eating a proper meal too. I often make something like this if I’m at home for lunch, and I’m always happy if I do.

And after watching a documentary about our gut-biome, I have been thinking about the importance of fibre in our diets. So, the ends of the silverbeet stalks which I usually cut off because they look a bit stringy, I left on, for the sake of the biome! They cooked up really nicely and weren’t stringy at all, which was a pleasant surprise.

Adding a chunk of fetta at the end is optional but very delicious; if you’re avoiding dairy adding a hard-boiled egg instead of the cheese would be a good idea, as would be a few slices of pan-fried tofu and some toasted seeds, if you’re keeping it vegan.

I guess this isn’t so much a recipe as an idea of a great way to eat – take some veggies, throw them in a hot pan so they sizzle and top them as you please. Eating this way is infinitely variable, depending on what you have on hand and what appeals to you. Another version of one such bowl I made this week had fennel, broccoli, cauliflower and silverbeet, topped with parsley, lemon, chilli flakes and tamari roasted pepitas – it was one of the best weekend breakfasts and powered me through until well past lunch time.

Warm salad of pan-roasted vegetables

Serves 1

drizzle of olive oil, for the pan
one wedge of red cabbage
1/2 small fennel
3 radishes, chopped into wedges
a handful of dill fronds
two large handfuls of silverbeet (chard) leaves, or spinach, roughly chopped
salt + pepper
one large handful of rocket
drizzle of balsamic vinegar + olive oil
a chunk of fetta, or a boiled egg, or toasted nuts and seeds

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.

Roughly chop the cabbage and fennel into wedges a couple of inches thick.

Drizzle the pan with olive oil and add the cabbage and fennel. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes, turning every so often until the edges are starting to caramelise.

Add in the radish wedges, and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add in the dill and roughly chopped silverbeet plus a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook just until the silverbeet is just wilted.

Pop the rocket into your lunch bowl. Add the roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle the whole lot with a little balsamic vinegar and extra olive oil.

Top with the fetta and enjoy.

warm-salad-rocket-radish-cabbage-fennel-fetta-recipe-sweetpea-darlingheart


Warm salad of pan-roasted vegetables

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • drizzle of olive oil, for the pan
  • one wedge of red cabbage
  • 1/2 small fennel
  • 3 radishes, chopped into wedges
  • a handful of dill fronds
  • two large handfuls of silverbeet (chard) leaves, or spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt + pepper
  • one large handful of rocket
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar + olive oil
  • a chunk of fetta, or a boiled egg, or toasted nuts and seeds

Instructions

1

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.

2

Roughly chop the cabbage and fennel into wedges a couple of inches thick.

3

Drizzle the pan with olive oil and add the cabbage and fennel. Cook for 5 - 8 minutes, turning every so often until the edges are starting to caramelise.

4

Add in the radish wedges, and fry for another 2 minutes.

5

Add in the dill and roughly chopped silverbeet plus a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook just until the silverbeet is just wilted.

6

Pop the rocket into your lunch bowl. Add the roasted vegetables on top. Drizzle the whole lot with a little balsamic vinegar and extra olive oil.

7

Top with the fetta and enjoy.

Notes

• vegetarian • quick + easy •

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