• Justine Scofield's Penne with zucchini crema (Plum Books / Jeremy Simons)Source: Plum Books / Jeremy Simons
Looking to bump up your green veg count? Healthy isn't boring with these ideas from Justine Schofield.
1 Apr 2019 - 10:03 AM  UPDATED 9 Apr 2019 - 10:53 AM

No more over-cooked watery broccoli! If you're looking to up your weekly intake of green vegetables and leafy greens - which are great for our health - there's a world of inspiration out there, rrom Italian pasta to cheesy bakes to the European palate-cleansing salad. 

"A lot of my recipes will say, 'serve this with a fresh, crisp green salad,' because I just think it's super important to add as many vegetables as possible," says keen cook and television host Justine Schofield, who has just released her latest book, The Weeknight Cookbook. Her other tricks are to keep a few staples - such as frozen spinach and eggs - always on hand, so you can make a meal even if you haven't had a chance to go shopping.

For example, she says "if you don't have broccoli in your fridge today to make my broccoli, pea and cheddar tart, don't worry. Hopefully you'll have some frozen spinach in your freezer. Nothing's better than fresh spinach but I always have some frozen spinach on standby because it's better than not having any greens. So turn it into a spinach, pea and cheddar tart."

The freezer is your friend when it comes to stand-by greens, she tells us. 

"I would never use frozen broccoli because I find it too wet and mushy. And beans get really soft. However, spinach is absolutely okay to use and broad beans and peas are completely fine, and edamame. 

"Ideally you can get fresh produce, but in emergencies when you cannot, there's still going to be that delicious green there for you to add to your dishes."

To give you some inspiration for upping your green veg, deliciously, here are six recipes from Schofield's brand-new book. 

Leftover chicken and soba noodle salad

This is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken - and whatever vegetables you have to hand. "I use snow peas, edamame and spring onions in my recipe but change it up depending on what you love and have on hand," Schofield says. 

Spinach and cheese gratin

"This is my take on the old-fashioned creamed spinach. I love turning it into a decadent gratin that is made even more delicious with the addition of béchamel. It’s the perfect side to roast chicken or fish," says Schofield.

Broccoli, pea and cheddar tart

If you don't have broccoli in your fridge to make this tart, don't worry. Use frozen spinach or more peas. And you can use frozen pastry sheets, or use Schofield's easy recipe to make your own shortcrust, which can be done by hand or in a food processor. 

If you've got some broccoli in the fridge, use it in a cheddar tart.

Penne with zucchini crema

Looking for a vegetarian meal everyone will love - and that's easy to make? "This is a much-loved pasta dish in my repertoire. The zucchini are cooked until very soft and creamy, making this super light yet very moreish," says Schofield. 

Justine Scofield's Penne with zucchini crema

Spinach gnudi

The secret to these light-as-air spinach dumplings is to chill them before cooking - but the great thing about them is that they can be made a day or two ahead. Simply cover the gnudi on the tray with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. Or they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

Split pea and cauliflower curry

Another trick for eating more greens - and cutting food waste - is to have a dish that serves as a base for you to add whatever you have on hand, such as this curry. "Essentially this is a dhal, but I’ve put my own stamp on it by bulking it out with cauliflower. You can use this as a base for other vegetables, too. I love to add leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, or zucchini and broccoli. Make it your own and take the opportunity to use up any veggies in the crisper so they don’t go to waste," says Schofield.

Recipes from The Weeknight Cookbook by Justine Schofield (Plum, $34.99), Photography by Jeremy Simons. Watch Justine Schofield's new show Outback Gourmet, with double episodes screening 7.30pm Sundays on SBS Food Channel 33 from 31 March, and then available on SBS On Demand

We're giving away five copies of her brand-new book right now! Enter here.

Eating well
How to fight your bad mood with food
Longing to feel joy? Try these food-based happiness hacks to help boost your low mood.
High-protein wattleseed is nuttily delicious and good for you too
Wattleseed is a low-GI, high-protein bush food star that adds flavour to everything from a 'wattlecino' to damper.
Michael Mosley’s plan for killing your cravings
How to keep cravings in check and boost your mood - plus great recipes.
The truth about what really happens to your body when you cut carbs
An honest look at the pros and cons of cutting carbs from your diet, including potential short-term weight loss and long-term kidney damage.
Happy news: Your brain really does want you to eat more fruit and veg
A world-first trial showed depression is reduced after just three months following a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, fish, lean red meats, olive oil and nuts.