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4 Hot Veggielicious Sides

Posted by Didi Gorman on

Hello vegetable lovers!

And welcome to you too, the not-so-big-on-vegetables reader!

Whether veggies are your thing or not that much, today I am aiming to win you over with 4 delectable hot veggie sides.

And I totally understand if now that we’re into Thanksgiving weekend, and a week-long of prepping and cooking is finally over, you just want to kick back a little. Sure, why not?

Let me entertain you while you sit back and relax, coz’ the first item on our list is not only a steamy flavorful delight, but also a good story all on its own!

And just for the sake of clarity:
This post is not strictly intended as vegetarian, although it is definitely about vegetables. I do mention chicken stock and bone broth a few lines down.

Now that we’re clear on that, let’s see what veggie-centric goodies we have lined up for you today!

1. Garden Harvest Soup

It all started with a funny turn of events. Or a silly mistake. You be the judge.

One rainy morning a few months back, I was going to make chicken noodle soup for dinner. (Recipe coming soon, I promise!)

With a confident step I walk towards the freezer to retrieve my beautiful, organic, free-range, much-anticipated chicken, only to find… Oh, no.

Please tell me I’m wrong…

What I took to be a chicken in a bag, turned out to be..... a..... bag..... of..... compost.....

Who in the world put the compost in the freezer???!!!
(And I’ll keep that story for another time…)

I sink into the couch. A little panic attack. I can feel it coming.
I kind of promised them my chicken noodle soup.
I can’t believe it.

Now what?

Oh, well. No time to indulge in self flogging. I need a quick plan B. I can’t just sit here and waste my time like a couch potato.



That’s it!

I storm into the pantry.
The potatoes are there, beaming at me. Yes!

What about the onions? Yup! All there!

I rummage through the fridge.
Carrots? Check!
Celery? Check!
Parsnips? Zucchini? Parsley? Check, check, check!

(Yeah, definitely a vegetable fan…)

Alright! I think I’ve got this!

Come to my rescue you precious little beauties, and save my gloomy chicken-less day!

I quickly hustle the veggies out of their various hiding spots  -the fridge, the counter, the baskets-  and lure them into the bubbling pot…

Long story short, I make a rich vegetable soup, spice it the same way I do chicken soup, and hope it delivers.
And deliver it did!

A few useful tips:

  1. Depending on the type of liquid used, this soup can be entirely vegetarian or meatier in flavor:

    For a vegetarian soup, use only water.

    For a meatier flavor, use  chicken bone broth / turkey bone broth / beef bone broth / homemade chicken stock / or simply add a few chicken bones -or any other chicken parts- to the water (which is what I did)

  1. You will probably end up with more stock than you can handle.

    Good for you!

    Keep it in the fridge/freezer as a base for a wonderful future soup, for a richly flavored rice, a stew, or a quick homemade ‘cup a soup’ together with corn and peas.


  • Making: about 25 minutes
  • Cook time: about 50 minutes

Serves: 10-14

You will need:

  • 4 potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 parsnips, sliced into rings
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into thick rings
  • 4 carrots, sliced into rings
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 6-7 celery ribs, diced (even better if some of the leaves are still on)
  • 1 leek, sliced into rings
  • A handful fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 5 chicken bones (preferably organic)
  • 3 bay leaves, ripped in half
  • Water (or broth of your choice, or a combination of water and broth)


  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Ground turmeric to taste
  • Crushed dried dill to taste

How to make it:

  1. Combine all ingredients, without seasoning, in a big pot. Cover with water (or broth of your choice, or a combination of water and broth).
  2. With the lid on, bring to a gentle boil, stirring from time to time.
  3. Reduce to medium-high heat, and season generously. Stir.
  4. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender. Stir from time to time.
  5. Switch off, but leave covered for about 30 minutes to let flavors blend.


2. Super Simple Home Fries

We LOVE potatoes.

They satisfy a need for carbs, and are both gentle and comforting at the same time.

There’s no need to go overboard with seasoning, either. Salt and pepper - that should do it.


  • Making: about 15 minutes
  • Cook time: about 20 minutes

Serves: 4-5

You will need:

  • 7-8 potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 by 1 inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Avocado oil


  • A large skillet (with a lid)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat skillet with avocado oil.
  2. Place potatoes in skillet, season, and sauté, alternating between covered and uncovered, occasionally stirring and flipping over, until potatoes are crisp on the outside, and tender on the inside.

    (Using a knife, pierce one of the larger pieces to check if they're ready)

3. Steamed Veggies:

So what’s the deal with steamed vegetables?

In a nutshell, steamed vegetables retain many more nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as a much livelier texture, color, and flavor than cooked vegetables.

Almost any vegetable suitable for cooking can be steamed:
Carrots, potatoes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, leeks, green and yellow beans, celery ribs, celeriac, - just to name a few.

I have included instructions for carrots to be used as a guideline, but feel free to experiment with any other vegetable (or combo) of your choice.


  • Making: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15-25 minutes

Serves: 2-3

You will need:

  • A steamer basket
  • A sauce pan/cooking pot big enough and deep enough to contain your steamer basket
  • 3 carrots, sliced into rings (or any other vegetable cut into small bite-size pieces, enough to fill up your steamer basket)
  • Water

How to make it:

  1. Fill sauce pan with water, up to about half an inch lower than steamer base.

    Water shouldn’t really touch the bottom of your steamer, or your bottom veggies will cook in boiling water rather than steam…

  1. Place vegetables in steamer, and cover with a lid.
  2. Steam on high heat until vegetables are tender. Check water level occasionally. Add some water if necessary to avoid burning.

4. Veggie Medley with Cheese Sauce

Can you believe that this dish actually started as a gratin?  

No, eh?

But it sure did!

So how did it end up as a veggie medley, you’re asking? Good question!

I guess at some point, someone said: ‘Hey, let’s try it with the cheese sauce separate’, from which point the road to making it with no cheese sauce at all was short.

Excellent with or without a hearty creamy cheese sauce, this dish is great as a side dish or a light main course.


  • Making: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 5-6 people

For the veggie medley you will need:

  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1 by 1 inch cubes (keep separate)
  • 7 carrots, cut into rings (keep separate)
  • 3 zucchini cut into thick rings (keep separate)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped (keep separate)
  • 1 leek, sliced into rings (keep separate)
  • Avocado oil


  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A pinch ground turmeric
  • Optional: parsley flakes to taste
  • 1 ½ cup water

For the cheese sauce you will need:

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 4 ½ tbs. organic sprouted whole wheat flour (or any other flour)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, diced
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to make the veggie medley:

  1. Preheat skillet with avocado oil.
  2. Add onions and sauté until translucent, stirring from time to time, and covering occasionally to enhance cooking.
  3. Add carrots, mix, cover for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add potatoes, mix, cover for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and leeks, mix, cover for a couple of minutes.
  6. Now let’s prepare the seasoning:
    Into a wide-mouth glass jar add water and generous seasoning. Stir well, and pour evenly on top of the vegetables. Stir and cover.
  1. Stir from time to time until veggies are tender.
  2. Let sit for a couple of minutes off stove, covered.

How to make the cheese sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add flour and stir constantly until butter is completely absorbed and bubbles have formed. Continue stirring for another minute.
  3. Add milk and cheese. Stir.
    (If you really like it salty or spicy add a pinch of salt and black pepper, but don’t overdo).
  1. Stir from time to time until all cheese has melted.
  2. Let sit for a couple of minutes off stove, covered.
  3. Serve while sauce is still hot and liquid, or it will firm up.

I’ve read somewhere on Facebook that STEAMING VEGGIES is ranking quite high nowadays on some hard-core foodies’ bucket lists.  (Or was it ‘steamy Vegas’ that I misread?)

Well, in case of the former, this post comes at exactly the right time!

Check out other posts on our blog for more awesome recipes!

Enjoy your weekend!

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