Why not eat the rainbow and make the most of autumn harvests by transforming them into delicious vegetable-filled salads! Here are 4 brilliant recipes, plus a tasty muffin one using some unusual ingredients!

Guest Blogger, Stephanie Hafferty is famed for creating the delicious lunches during Charles Dowding’s gardening courses with affordable, seasonal healthy food . She has now kindly put together some colourful recipes for the Mr Plant Geek website. They offer a colourful way to add variety to your meals, boost your immunity with fresh ingredients, reduce air miles and make the most of all of the gorgeous food that is in season in the UK!

“I grow in my home garden and at an allotment. Make the most of your local growers and farmers’ markets for any ingredients that you don’t have. Some of the recipes use home-saved vegetables and fruit such as dried beans, squashes, onions, garlic (with a few imported ingredients that are tricky to grow here – e.g. limes, lemons, olive oil). These salads are very economical; I often make meals of 15 dishes for around 50p a head (for 20 people). Enjoy!

All measurements are standard US measuring cups – 1 cup = 236 ml. Often I am making 14 or more different dishes for lunch; cup measures really help to speed things up, far quicker than weighing.

Gardening Tip for 2018: this winter, buy seeds for Uchiki Kuri squash, borlotti and czar beans, ready for next year. All are easy to grow in the UK, delicious, versatile and very prolific.

Roast Squash and Borlotti Bean Salad

1 medium sized squash, peeled if necessary and chopped into 3 cm pieces
4 medium sized onions, quartered
½ medium cabbage, chopped into 5 cm chunks
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups cooked and cooled home grown dried borlotti beans (or a tin of bought red beans)
small bunch parsley, finely chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas mark 4
Put the squash, onions, cabbage and garlic in a large baking tin, drizzle on the olive oil and season (if you want to). Put in the oven for about 30 minutes, until everything is cooked. Allow to cool. Add the borlotti beans, mix and put in a dish. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.

The flavour of the homegrown veg here is so delicious it really doesn’t need a dressing, but if you do want one, a maple syrup salad dressing is lovely.


Raw Beetroot and Apple Salad

2 cups peeled and grated raw beetroot
1 cup grated apple
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and chervil
4 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the vinegar, oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt/pepper together to make the dressing. Put the grated beetroot and apple in a bowl, add the dressing and mix carefully. Sprinkle the fresh herbs on top and serve.


Zingy Raw Parsnip Salad

1 cup parsnip, peeled and grated
1 cup carrot, grated
1 cup finely chopped onion – spring, white or red
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 chilli (or more if you want) finely chopped
zest and juice of 2 organic limes
¼ cup light oil
½ cup chopped fresh coriander, parsley and chervil – equal quantities of each to make ½ cup
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the limes, oil and herbs. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and whisk.
Put the vegetable in a dish, add the dressing and mix thoroughly.
If possible leave for a couple of hours before eating.

Roast Squash Hummus with homegrown Czar Beans

My favourite for this is Uchiki Kuri squash, which can be roasted with the skin on and is such a vibrant colour. Use whatever squash you have for this recipe. Czar beans are a kind of runner bean which produce white beans rather like butter beans. In the spring, broadbeans are delicious in this dish too.

330g/12oz/2cups cooked czar beans (or use tinned white beans)
240g/8oz/2cups diced roasted squash
Some water
4 tsp tahini
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon (3.5tsp)
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp olive oil
chopped parsley and/or coriander to decorate

Put the beans, squash, tahini, garlic, lemon juice. cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and half the oil in a blender. Mix, adding a little water if necessary until it is smooth and your desired consistency.
Spoon into a dish, sprinkle with paprika and drizzle the rest of the oil over. Decorate with finely chopped fresh herbs.

Yellow Beetroot  Gardener’s Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
½ cup white self raising flour
½ cup porridge oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup soft brown sugar
1 cup peeled and grated raw yellow beetroot
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup grated apple
½ cup sunflower oil (or melted butter)
½ cup sultanas
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 large eggs, beaten (or 2 vegan ‘flax eggs’ – 2 tbsp ground flaxseed (linseed) mixed with 5 tbsp cold water, leave for 5 minutes before using)
a little milk, water or plant milk if necessary
12 hole muffin tin, lined with paper cases.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas mark 4
Mix together the flours, oats, baking powder and cinnamon. Combine the eggs and sugar in another bowl.
Add the grated veg and fruit, seeds and sultanas to the flour, mix carefully. Next, add the egg/sugar mixture and carefully fold everything together, adding a little liquid if it seems to dry.
Divide mixture equally between the 12 paper cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

These are very filling, ideal with a mug of tea on a cold autumnal day at the allotment”


Stephanie is an organic, no-dig kitchen gardener, author, speaker, teacher and plant based cook – specialising in really seasonal food. At home, she grows as self sufficiently as possible in a smallish garden and at an her allotment, preserving and making sustainable potions for the home too: often known as small scale homesteading. Stephanie’s gardening work, writing and photographs have been published widely including Gardens Illustrated, Permaculture International and GIY’s Grow magazine.

The No Dig Organic Home & Garden book, written in partnership with Charles Dowding, was published in April 2017 -and has been referred to as “the bible for every home grower”. The book has been a great success and has recieved glowing reviews.

Stephanie is currently working on two further books: a recipe book and a gardening book. her website NoDigHome offers advice on no dig gardening, recipes, potions, tips and ideas, whilst her own website gives more information about the courses and talks Stephanie offers.

Follow Stephanie on twitter here, and Instagram here.

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