As the weather cools it is tempting to have plenty of delicious comfort food, however for some of us we can over indulge or so many carbohydrates might slow us down. For a lighter option of a home favourite I add carrots and cauliflower to the mash, getting enough of the essential micronutrients in our diets is a huge daily challenge so making every dish a contributor is a great way to achieve greater nutrients status.
As you may well know carrots, and most things orange, have something called beta carotenes in them, this is a fat soluble precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A has a number of roles in the body but a key function lies in the synthesis and differentiation of immune cells including secretory cells. When our body create immune cells they are often just “an immune cell”, they haven’t decided what they are going to be when they grow up. Will they be macrophages, eosinophils, neutrophils? They just don’t know yet. It is vitamin A, along with a number of other factors, that helps them decide and gives them purpose and therefore gives us a functioning and efficient immune system where certain cells specialise in different jobs. Vitamin A’s role as a career advisor is essential and without that input we can develop all sorts of issues from simply getting a cold more often than we ought to to disease processed far more sinister.
Below is a delicious way to get a little more of that wonder in your daily food intake whilst enjoying a traditional favourite.
Ingredients – serves 4
500g organic minced beef
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 handfuls fresh tomatoes, cherry or chopped larger variety
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil or similar
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag of raw spinach or a 6 frozen balls of spinach
½ cup frozen peas
For the mash
1 head of cauliflower
large knob of butter or olive oil if you prefer dairy free option
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. mustard
Sautee the onions in a little olive oil until soft, add the garlic and stir a few times before adding the minced beef. Cook through until done then add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and season to taste. Reduce until you find a good consistency, meanwhile boil the cauliflower and carrots in salted water. Whilst still hot, roughly mash adding seasoning, butter and mustard. Arrange in a dish or a couple of dishes a layer of the meat followed by the spinach, then peas and top with the mash, you might chose to add a little cheese if that floats your boat. For a dairy free option you can grate a little butternut squash on top OR try my shockingly simple cashew cheese recipe (coming soon). Pop in the oven at 180C for 40mins or until golden on the top.
Tip: Leave the mash with peaks and troughs to get a little of it more cooked than other parts for a lovely texture.