Granny Mouse making vegetarian dishes interesting

Vegetables—we all know that we have to eat them. But for those who really don’t like them, it can be really difficult to incorporate them into your daily servings. We’ve all heard it before, “eat your greens because they’re good for you” (thanks, mom!).

But how exactly are they good for us? Vegetables are excellent sources of various vitamins and nutrients that the body needs. Many have actually been labelled as super foods. Examples are carotenoids and folates. But, that’s not all that they’re important for. Vegetables are a rich source of fibre which is extremely important for gut health and the gastrointestinal tract as well as promoting the growth of good gut bacteria in our bodies.

Making vegetables appetizing to those who are not naturally convinced of their goodness can be tricky. Rather than relying on butter, cheese, and sugar — which can make anything taste good but are not necessarily very good for one’s health — it’s best to embrace the techniques that maintain the nutritional integrity of vegetables. Some of the best tricks include using veggies in meat-centric dishes to replace the meat, so that the overall dish is familiar and appetizing, as well as seasoning and preparing vegetables the same way you would meat.

To help make sure that you hit your veggie intake, culinary artist Theo Mannie of Granny Mouse Country House and Spa shares some of his best vegetarian recipes. Even if you profess to be a carnivore who hates “rabbit food”, we are certain that you will be converted and, most certainly, come back for more.

Roasted Butternut Salad

300g butternut, peeled and chopped into bite sizes
20g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 large sticks of cinnamon
10g pistachio nuts
100g cream cheese
20g mixed micro herbs
20ml Italian salad dressing


Place the pistachio nuts in a food processor until the end result resembles dust. Pour in the cream cheese and blend for another 30 seconds. Place in a piping bag then chill.

Place the butternut into a roasting tray together with the cinnamon, cover with foil and bake at 100ºC for 21 min.

In the meantime, lay the micro herbs in the centre of the plate. Sprinkle on the toasted pumpkin seeds. Pipe scatted dots of the cream cheese. Do the same with the salad dressing. Randomly place the butternut over the micro herbs.

Spicy Tomato, Mushroom and Olive Penne

1 red chilli, chopped
300g button mushrooms, sliced
100g pitted black olives
1 can chopped tomatoes
200g penne
15g garlic, crushed
20g butter
1tsp sugar
1tsp vinegar
150g feta
20g fresh rocket
Salt and pepper


Boil the pasta, strain and cool before setting aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter on high heat. Add the mushrooms and olives. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until the mushrooms become golden brown.

Pour in the tomato and garlic and continue to sauté for a minute before reducing the heat. Pour in the vinegar and add the sugar. Once the tomato has cooked out, add the pasta into the sauce. Cook for a further 3 minutes and season to taste.

Once plated, scatter both the rocket and feta over the pasta

Serves 2

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