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Vegetable and Cauliflower Cheese Recipe to Reduce Food Waste

I used to work in my family's restaurant and helped run it. I love good food, and I've cooked family meals for over 60 years.

vegetable-and-cauliflower-cheese-recipe-to-reduce-food-waste

It's not always easy to judge precisely what quantity of vegetables to buy when doing a weekly or fortnightly shop, as opposed to shopping every two or three days and only buying what you need immediately.

Too Many Fresh Veggies in the Fridge?

I don't always know what veggies I'm going to use in the coming fortnight. Sometimes it's just bad planning or no planning at all on my part.

Circumstances can change, and I might be cooking for extra people, or I am unexpectedly eating out or getting takeaway, all of which could mess up the calculations.

On other occasions it's because I have needlessly bought a lot more than I can use. For instance, this might be because supermarkets tempt me to buy a kilo of carrots at a low price, and I do so because there's no alternative, even though I really only wanted about four carrots, which would last me ten days. Or maybe I order some broccoli online, and when it is delivered I find it has a really short shelf life and starts turning yellow within two or three days.

Picture the Scene

There comes a time when the old food in the fridge and vegetable rack needs to be cleared out to make way for the fresh food coming in. Leaves are beginning to wilt and turn sludgy or a bit yellow and floppy, tomatoes and peppers are starting to wrinkle, carrots drying out, potatoes turning green and sprouting and spring onions and herbs drooping.

I've seen it all, a bit too often, I'm afraid.

But all is not lost, and it's still possible to rescue many of these vegetables rather than throwing them away.

Great Recipe for Using Up Vegetables Before They Go Off

The important thing to note is that the the ingredients can be varied according to availability, your needs and taste. The ingredients set out below are suggestions for you to work with. I have not included any root vegetables or legumes, as I designed this recipe to be a variation on cauliflower cheese, with a similar texture but slightly stronger flavour.

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Cauliflower and vegetable cheese

Cauliflower and vegetable cheese

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

4-5 servings

Ingredients

Main Ingredients (use this list as a loose guide):

  • Cheese sauce mix, follow instructions on container, using the vegetable water
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, sliced into small florets
  • 1/2 small head of broccoli, sliced into small florets
  • 1/2 leek stem, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 celery stem, chopped into small pieces
  • Handful red cabbage leaves, thinly sliced into small pieces
  • Handful green cabbage leaves, thinly sliced into small pieces
  • 1/2 small courgette, thinly sliced and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 red, yellow, or green pepper, chopped into small slices
  • Handful spinach leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Handful kale leaves, torn into small pieces

Optional flavourings:

  • Fresh garlic, finely chopped, or use bottled or powder
  • Sprinkling of cinnamon and/or chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sprinkling of any herbs, to taste

Bisto Cheese Sauce Granules

Note: If You Use Red Cabbage, It Has an Interesting Effect

When the red cabbage is boiled, it turns the water dark red. The greens add a dark green colour to the water, and when this coloured water has the pale cheese powder added to it, the resulting mixture is verging on mauve, which is covered up by the grated cheese on the surface, but is a bit of a surprise when you serve it out on a plate.

Cooked vegetable mixture with red cabbage

Cooked vegetable mixture with red cabbage

Instructions

  1. Wash the vegetables before chopping them up. Put the chopped vegetables that take the longest to cook (e.g., red cabbage) into a large saucepan, cover them with water and boil for 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Continue to chop the rest of the vegetables and add them to the saucepan. Add a little more water, just enough to cover them and boil for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Take all the vegetables out of the water and lay them flat in one or two baking dishes. DON'T THROW AWAY THE WATER as it will be used to make the cheese sauce. Heat up the oven on Gas Mark 6 (400 degrees F).
  4. Follow the instructions on the cheese powder container, basically mixing the powder into the hot water until it thickens (use the vegetable water for this purpose.to gain extra nutrition). Then add the flavourings and spices of your choice. Stir them in and then pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables.
  5. Lightly sprinkle some grated cheese over the top, covering any bits of vegetable that are sticking out of the sauce.
  6. Place on top shelf of the oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Check whether the cheese topping is brown and crispy enough to your liking and cook a little more if necessary, but take care that it doesn't burn.

How to Make Your Own Cheese Sauce

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