Much More Veg

It takes some doing, this losing plastic, eating fresh and organic. We’ve gone up a notch lately, buying our fruit and veg from a farm that delivers us a jumble of produce each Friday.

All the fruit and vegetable boxes are plastic-free. The sturdy cardboard boxes are collected each week, along with any of the paper bags that are still intact. Not all the produce is grown on the farm – some is imported – but it is all organic and some of it does come with the soil from the west of Ireland still clinging to it.

I was curious to see how we’d fare with not choosing our own vegetables and fruit. Although I would buy turnips, parsnips, kale, leeks, beetroot and cabbage in the past, I certainly would not have bought it so often that I would be googling “what to do with kale when you have four weeks’ worth”.  Celeriac, fennel, purple sprouting broccoli, other leaves that we’re not sure about exactly are all being eaten – and enjoyed. In the autumn we were on a bit of a kale marathon (one of our favourite ways of using it up was massaging it in oil, and covering our homemade pizzas with it five minutes before the end of cooking time) but now we are into the red cabbage, trying to keep track of which one we’ve had the longest. Current best for that is grated into a coleslaw with apple, maybe some beet, and carrots, sprinkled with sunflower seeds. I’ve also grated broccoli stem into our coleslaw – made with red, white or green cabbage – and last week we added some grated parsnip. I’m wondering why we haven’t done that all along.


It helps that with one of our first orders we received Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook River Cottage Much More Veg, which has everything from hearty mains, salads, side dishes, smoothies and blitzes.

But all this freshness takes a lot of chopping, and occasionally peeling. At least there are multiple choppers in this household – I’m so glad I put a vegetable peeler into the hands of my eight-year-old those years ago, who loved the new tool from the start.

One day I grated three carrots, an apple, a parsnip, a beet and a third of a red cabbage for that night’s cole slaw (and the next day’s, for that matter). At the time, someone had stepped in to peel the 2 1/2 kilos of potatoes – being careful to rinse the Galway soil off them – for the shepherd’s pie for which I’d already chopped an onion and four cloves of garlic, and grated four carrots, another parsnip and a sweet potato that needed to be used (a fantastic recipe with brown lentils, nutritional yeast, smoky paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg, amongst other ingredients).

I’m pretty sure it was that meal prep that made me renew my commitment to my food processor: the ‘pulse’ option makes perfectly fine coleslaw.

A bonus that I didn’t expect was that our overall food spend has decreased, even though we are paying slightly more than we were for our produce. My theory is that this is partly due to a higher percentage of vegetables on our plates, and partly because we are shopping slightly less often.

How else to make this vegetarian lifestyle work?

  • On weekends or days I’m not in work, I make meals that produce leftovers which are great for evenings when not everyone is home, or lunches for those who take them to work/school.
  • We all help out, and though I enjoy working in the kitchen listening to the radio, it’s nice to have someone else there.
  • Use any and all kitchen gadgets!
  • If it’s going to be grated, does it necessarily need to be peeled? If it’s going to be blitzed, does it need to be chopped finely?
  • A friend uses frozen and pre-prepped vegetables in order to create homemade meals for her family; she’s learned that with her busy schedule she can’t do everything, and it’s vital for her to provide healthy food for her family.
  • This is not the time for vintage cookbooks! Contemporary publications or online are your best bets for tasty and veg-rich.
  • And your tips? Leave them in the comments below!


We get our vegetables from Green Earth Organics.



3 thoughts on “Much More Veg

  1. So I’m just getting around to reading this now!!! I’m so slow with emails these days. And even slower with my blog!
    But I love this blog! I’ve been doing food prep every weekend. Getting all those veggies prepped sure makes having a healthy meal easier. I also broil my chicken breasts. Some I shred for quesadillas etc…, some I chip for casseroles etc. If I find ground beef on sale , I precook it and quick freeze on cookie sheets and then keep in freezer in a big ziplock. No excuses to drive through anymore.
    I love that you found a farm to have the veggies delivered!!!! That is amazing!!!
    Miss you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The chickens and the rabbits get the leftover veg bits, and their excitement (and the knowledge that it is healthier for them, and the eggs are in turn healthier for us) helps to motivate me to do the extra work. My most recent grocery shop change is to buy milk in cardboard cartons instead of plastic jugs, as our recycling takes the cartons now. It is a bit more expensive but since I don’t have to buy for a large family it isn’t too much and I feel it is worth it.


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