Top five seasonal budget-friendly vegetables

One of the best things about the change in seasons is the shift in groceries available. Whenever a new season approaches, a colourful and nutrient-dense range of fruit and vegetables follows. The wonderful thing about eating according to the season is that you can get huge amounts of budget-friendly fruit and vegetables. So it actually becomes really cheap and easy to live healthy on a budget. Here in the summer season, I have a few of my favourite-budget friendly vegetables and lots of tips on how to use them.

Fennel

This beautiful and rustic looking vegetable is one of my absolute favourites. Not only can you eat the entire thing from root to top – it also has the most wonderful liquorice flavour. You can use a mandolin to slice it thinly and use it in summer salads; here apple and pears go really well with the fennel flavour. You can also add half fennels to the grill, marinate them with oil, spices and honey and serve them as a side dish. My absolute favourite way to prepare fennel is to caramelise thin slices on a hot pan with a little bit of maple syrup, butter, salt and fennel seeds.

Summer carrots with top

Carrots are a stable in our kitchen throughout the year – but, oh boy, when those sweet crispy summer carrots appear, I start eating them all day long. I love that you can use the top as a herb and, for example, make pesto out of it. I often slow roast these new carrots in the oven or on the grill and enjoy them as a main dish with a portion of lentils, a little goat cheese and a big dollop of top-pesto. You preserve them best by cutting of the top as soon as you come home and then store them in a bag or container in the fridge.

Cauliflower

This vegetable is one of the most versatile I know. Grate it and use it as ‘raw rice’ instead of regular rice. You can also use the ‘raw rice’ to make colourful couscous salads with seasonal fruit and vegetables, or you can add it to baked goods like buns and get a very moist and delicious dough. You can even make pizza crust or patties out of it – the possibilities are endless.

Zucchini

This has become my new kind of spaghetti. I simply use a julienne peeler or spiralizer slicer to cut the zucchini into spaghetti. I also tend to grate zucchini and make patties – here you just mix 2 eggs, 2-3 tbsp of flour, salt and pepper with 2 grated zucchinis. Mix well together and form small patties which you fry up until golden. But grated zucchini can also easily be used in sweet or savoury loafs or muffins. In the summer, I often grill zucchini slices that have been cut length-wise. After grilling, I roll them up with hummus or tzatziki and serve them as a side dish.

Rhubarb

This glorious vegetable makes tasty compotes, jams and chutneys. It furthermore tastes amazing in all baked goods from pies to muffins. But you can also place your rhubarb stems on the barbeque and grill them until tender. Drizzle with honey and serve with ice cream. Rhubarb can also be added in stews or stuffed inside a whole chicken baked in the oven. And one of my favourite rhubarb summer stables is thinly sliced rhubarb, marinated in apple vinegar and honey – these can afterwards be added to all kinds of summer salads or used as a condiment.

Find more inspiration for cooking with these seasonal ingredients on my blog A Tasty Love Story.

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