I can not believe my luck, the first book I brought from Amazon on ‘Clean Eating’ and every recipe so far has been amazing. There has only been one so far that I have not blogged and that was more to do with my taste and not that the recipe wasn’t a good one, so if you are thinking about buying a ‘Clean Eating’ book I can highly recommend this one and you may find that the recipes that I have missed out may just be your favourite! Who knows.
This recipe however is the first one in the book that actually took a little time and effort to cook, not that it involved anything complicated, but with so much veg to prepare and cook it just takes a little time, but when you see 11 fresh pieces of produce on your kitchen work top you can not help but feel a little virtuous.
The recipe says to grill nearly all of the vegetables, I couldn’t see, even with my massive oven, how on earth you could do that and cook them all at once, fine if you are making this dish to serve cold, but I wanted it as a hot dinner! I decided to prep all the veg, place is over two massive trays and baked until everything was tender and slightly charred. It smelt amazing as it cooked, caramelising onions always do. This recipe serves 6 and is a huge amount of food, especially if like me you use a whole packed of penne and don’t really measure the vegetables, just use the whole thing or packets that you have. It was gorgeous served warm with my new adapted focaccia recipe and Hubby has a massive bowl to take to work for lunch today. This would be great for a picnic, pack lunches or a side dish for a party or BBQ, its so versatile.
This dish is one of those that bursts to life in your mouth, due to the amount of different ingredients and textures, every mouthful is going to taste different, which I just love, I hate boring food. It is like every other meal that I have cooked from the book so far, healthy, filling, refreshing and I know that I have said it before, but you do feel full, without feeling bloated and you feel fuller for longer. I have found that I am not hungry about an hour after dinner or craving something sweet, which is great.
So I had better go, today the gardener is here, the painters have arrived and have started the massive task of painting the exterior of the house, I find this all rather stressful so Olly and I are escaping to Tunbridge Wells for a coffee, I hope you all have a lovely day.
For the dressing
1/4 cup of Rapeseed Oil
Fresh juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Oregano
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 Aubergine, cut into 1 inch slices
1 red pepper, cut in half and deseeded
1 orange pepper, cut in half and deseeded
1 courgette, sliced length wise into 1/2 inch slabs
1 yellow courgette, sliced length wise into 1/2 inch slabs (the recipe says summer squash, I used butternut squash but a yellow courgette will work just as well, just use what is in season)
2 cups of green beans, halved and blanched
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
500g whole-wheat penne (cooked per packet instructions)
1/4 cup of crumbled feta, low-sodium if you can get it, I must confess I used a whole packet as we love it.
To make the dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, basil, oregano and mustard. season with the pepper and set aside. Or you can pop all the ingredients into a small jar with a tight fitting lid and give it all a good shake.
To make the salad
Preheat the grill to a medium heat.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, onion, aubergine, peppers, courgette and yellow squash (if using), toss to coat.
Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes. This would be great to do on a BBQ.
Let the vegetables cool slightly and chop them coarsely.
In a large bowl, stir together the grilled vegetables, green beans, tomatoes and pasta. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a pretty serving platter and top with feta.
You can serve this dish warm like I did or refrigerate until chilled, then serve.
You can have this as a main vegetarian dish or serve with a nice pork or lamb chop or a big juicy steak.
NB : If doing my oven method, prep the vegetables, apart from the green beans, to bite size pieces and place evenly over baking trays, bake at about 220C until they are soft and slightly charred. I also didn’t add any salt at all to this dish, not on the vegetables or to the pasta cooking water and you could never tell.