If I told you that you could make a filling nutritious family meal using just one oven dish, a knife and a chopping board, I am sure you’d be begging me for the details. The trick is to add the ingredients to the oven tray in an order that caters to their individual cooking times. In other words, the ingredients that take the longest to cook go in first, and each remaining ingredient gets sequentially until the last one goes in 5 minutes before the meal is served.
This method can be used with all sorts of vegetables, chicken and fish, however in this meal I made a vegetarian bean tray-bake. Firstly you need a large oven dish with sides. When I made this the first time, I used a flat oven tray and the ingredients were toppling off the sides!
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºc and prepare the vegetables. I added the ingredients to the oven dish in the following order, but you can adapt to suit your family’s tastes:
50 minutes before dinner time: 1 butternut squash (peeled and diced) or 2 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and diced). Drizzle with a little olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of paprika. Mix it well and put in the pre-heated oven
40 minutes before dinner time: 1 courgette (diced), 1 red pepper (diced), 1 aubergine (diced), about 100g mushrooms (quartered). Give everything a good mix and return to the oven
30 minutes before dinner time: 400g tin of haricot beans (drained) and 325g tin sweetcorn (drained). Mix again
5 minutes before dinner time: Remove the dish from the oven and make 4 wells in the vegetables. Pour a raw egg into each well. I used one egg for each person, but you can use more or less eggs. Return to the oven until eggs are just cooked. If you don’t like poached eggs, you can leave out this step.
This dish makes enough to serve 5-6 people.
This dish contains 7 plant-based foods – 5 vegetables and 2 types of bean. A variety of plant-based foods may help to promote a healthy gut microbiota, the population of beneficial bacteria that live within all of us. The beans and eggs in this dish provide protein, and the different coloured vegetables provide a plethora of vitamins and minerals.