Roast butternut squash with whipped tahini, pickled onion and mint by Joe Woodhouse

Your Daily Veg: 3 elevated roast vegetable side dishes to make now

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Looking for ideas to elevate your boiled veg side dishes at your next dinner party? These three recipes from British chef Joe Woodhouse’s newest cookbook will become your favourites.

Naturally, the dinner party host in us always wants to impress. It’s why we spend hours slowly cooking that succulent leg of lamb, marinating that chicken or carefully curating the perfect ingredients for crispy seitan. 

As a result, when it comes time to prepare a vegetable side dish, we’re spent for time and ideas. What are we left with? Boiled *insert veggie here*. You can practically hear your need to impress cower. What every great home cook needs is a few recipes in their locker that instantly elevate veggie side dishes to make them worthy of your main event.

Making the best out of vegetables is something British chef and photographer Joe Woodhouse knows all too well. A vegetarian since the age of 10 and chef at Vanilla Black and Towpath Cafe, he’s had plenty of time to experiment, and crucially deduce how to rouse out as much flavour from veggies as possible. Luckily for us, he’s recently pooled all of his expertise into one easy to understand cookbook Your Daily Veg (Kyle Books, £22), which is already receiving praise from contemporaries Nigella Lawson and Anna Jones.

Your Daily Veg by Joe Woodhouse
Your Daily Veg by Joe Woodhouse

Your Daily Veg is all about one key idea – bringing seasonal vegetables to life in an easy way for the home cook. Music to your ears, right? Throughout his experience in kitchens, Woodhouse has honed in on the ethos of simple being effective, starting with using ingredients that aren’t tampered with too much and presented in simple ways.

Making things easy, we’ve hand-picked three veggie side dishes to give your dinner parties a new lease of life. 

First up, for those who love a texture-giving feast, Woodhouse’s roast sweet potato, white beans and crispy sage with quick pickled red cabbage is a must-try. Think creamy, satisfyingly crunchy textures that melt in your mouth. Plus, it’s a photogenic dish you’ll want to have on your Insta feed immediately.

If you have a penchant for sweet and spicy flavours, Woodhouse’s roast carrots with chilli flakes, fennel seeds, goat’s curd and marjoram will hit the spot. Plus, top with any other soft herbs and you’re in for a flavour sensation.

Lastly, for a side dish worthy of a main anyday, Woodhouse’s roast butternut squash with whipped tahini, pickled onion and mint is sure to impress. This dish has it all; the creaminess of the squash, squirts of zesty lemon and tort pickled onion. What’s not to love?

  • Roast sweet potato, white beans and crispy sage with quick pickled red cabbage

    Roast sweet potato, white beans and crispy sage with quick pickled red cabbage by Joe Woodhouse
    Roast sweet potato, white beans and crispy sage with quick pickled red cabbage by Joe Woodhouse

    Joe says: There is something special about serving things quite simply, letting the individual flavours and ingredients stand up for themselves. The creamy beans in their broth help tie everything together. I often cook a big batch ahead of time to eat in different meals during the week. They are better for it and it makes this dish quick to pull together. Using jarred or canned is fine if you are pushed for time, the method below brings them up to speed.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 2 onions, roughly diced 
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
    • 5 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
    • 2 sprigs of rosemary
    • bunch of sage, leaves picked, stalks reserved
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 250g white beans (cannellini, haricot and coco beans are all
    • good), soaked for 6 hours, or 2 x 400g cans
    • 1 small red cabbage (around 600g)
    • sherry vinegar, to taste
    • 4 sweet potatoes (about 600g)
    • 100ml neutral oil (such as groundnut or sunflower), plus extra for roasting
    • sea salt flakes

    Method

    If using dried beans, fry the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for 12 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic, rosemary, sage stalks and bay. Follow with the beans and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1–2 hours until tender.

    If using canned beans, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and gently soften over medium heat for 12–15 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage stalks and bay leaf, then the beans with their liquid. Heat through for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and set aside to infuse.

    Finely shred the cabbage. Place in a bowl, sprinkle in some salt and a decent glug of vinegar. Turn over the cabbage to combine everything and set aside.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7. When the beans are approaching the finish line, wash the sweet potatoes, cut into 2.5cm thick slices, lay on a couple of baking trays and coat with around 4 tablespoons of neutral oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn them over and roast for a further 15 minutes, or until golden on each side and giving to the touch.

    Meanwhile, heat the neutral oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. In batches, carefully add the sage leaves in a single layer; you don’t want to overcrowd them. Cook for 2 minutes, turning once, until they stop bubbling, which means the moisture has evaporated. Remove and drain on some kitchen paper, not too clustered together, to soak up any excess oil and help crisp them.

    To serve, spoon the beans onto a platter or individual plates. Top with the sweet potato and the sage leaves. Toss the red cabbage, taste a bit to check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve alongside the sweet potato and beans and a drizzle of olive oil.

  • Roast carrots with chilli flakes, fennel seeds, goat’s curd and marjoram

    Roasted carrots with chilli flakes, fennel seeds, goat’s curd and marjoram recipe by Joe Woodhouse
    Roasted carrots with chilli flakes, fennel seeds, goat’s curd and marjoram by Joe Woodhouse

    Joe says: I really love this way of cooking carrots; it intensifies the flavour and is super simple. The crunchy fennel seeds and heat from the chilli work really well with the sweet chewiness of the carrots and the refreshing sharpness of the goat’s cheese. Go big on the herbs if you like; it’s hard to overdo them. Feel free to use other soft green herbs; basil, coriander, oregano or mint would all be great but most work well.

    Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a light lunch

    Ingredients

    • 600g carrots, stalks and leaves trimmed
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
    • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
    • 125g goat’s curd or soft goat’s cheese
    • handful of oregano, marjoram
    • leaves or other soft herbs
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • sea salt flakes

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 6. Toss the carrots in the oil in a baking tray with a liberal pinch of salt. Roast them in the oven for 45–60 minutes, turning occasionally to help get all the sides well cooked, until they are very soft.

    When they are almost done, or 5 minutes before the end, add the chilli flakes and fennel seeds. Give the tray a shake to roll the carrots in the spices a little and coat with the oil. Once the spices have become aromatic, remove the tray from the oven.

    Arrange the carrots on a serving plate or platter, trying to leave behind the cooking oil in the tray. Spoon on teaspoon-sized scoops of the goat’s curd or break teaspoon-size pieces of the soft goat’s cheese over the top. Add the oregano, marjoram or other soft herbs.

    With the help of a spatula, place the leftover cooking oil and spices from the tray into a mixing bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and mix with a pinch of salt if needed. Spoon this over the carrots and serve.

  • Roast butternut squash with whipped tahini, pickled onion and mint

    Roast butternut squash with whipped tahini, pickled onion and mint by Joe Woodhouse
    Roast butternut squash with whipped tahini, pickled onion and mint by Joe Woodhouse

    Joe says: This recipe works well with any roasted vegetable really, so feel free to sub in what you have on hand. Some yoghurt stirred through the tahini sauce is a welcome addition.

    Serves 4 as a side

    Ingredients

    • 1 butternut squash (around, halved, de-seeded and cut into rough large chunks
    • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as groundnut or sunflower)
    • 1 red onion, finely sliced
    • glug of red wine vinegar
    • 200g tahini, or more to taste
    • squeeze of lemon juice
    • handful of mint leaves
    • good-quality olive oil, for drizzling
    • sea salt flakes and black pepper

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 220°C, Gas Mark 7. Place the butternut squash in a baking tray with the oil and a healthy pinch of salt, then mix to coat the squash. Roast in the oven for 25–35 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, place the red onion in a mixing bowl, separating the slices into strands. Add a pinch of salt and a healthy slug of the red wine vinegar. Mix thoroughly to coat all the onion, then set aside to macerate. Give it a turn whenever you remember to help keep everything moving along.

    In another mixing bowl add the tahini with 125ml cold water and a pinch of salt. Stir gently with a whisk at the beginning to start to combine. Once the mix is smooth, check the seasoning, add more salt if needed, then add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Depending on the tahini and your taste you can add more tahini if you want it thicker or more water to loosen it a bit.

    Once the butternut squash is soft and nicely caramelized, remove from the oven. Spread the tahini sauce on a plate or serving platter. Top with the butternut squash. Drain the onions, which should have a nice vinegary bite and lovely pink colour, then add on top of the squash. Tear over the mint leaves and finish with a flourish of the olive oil and some cracked black pepper.

Your Daily Veg: Modern, Fuss-Free Vegetarian Food by Joe Woodhouse (Kyle Books, £22) is out now

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Photography: Joe Woodhouse

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