This week on the blog I’m doing something slightly different, as this isn’t a recipe as such, more of a build-your-own guide.
I’m a big advocate of planning your meals around what’s currently in the fridge/cupboard and minimising waste. And that’s why it didn’t feel appropriate to write up a recipe in this case, because – in my kitchen, anyway – the point of a vegetable hash is to throw in whatever you’ve got to hand! No two hashes should be the same.
I love this meal for a number of reasons. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it makes use of whatever you’ve got lying around, can be made a hundred different ways, uses just one pan, and it’s quick, cheap and super simple. But most importantly, it’s delicious, and a really easy way to pack in a tonne of veg!
Step 1: select and prep your ingredients
The beauty of a vegetable hash is its versatility and how it makes use of whatever you’ve got in. This is where I’ll use that half of a red pepper sitting in the fridge, the wedge of cabbage I’d nearly forgotten was there, and those parsnips that might be starting to go a little soft. Throw in some protein in the form of beans, veggie sausages, or tofu, for example, and then fry it all up with a spice mix, add some toppings and you’ve got yourself a seriously good meal.
I always have potato and carrots in the cupboard, so those form a base for the hashes I make. If using root vegetables chop them into roughly 1 inch pieces (or smaller) so they don’t take too long to cook.
Step 2: create your spice mix
This is where you bring the flavour.
My go-to spice mix is Mexican-inspired and includes: garlic granules, onion granules, cumin, smoked paprika, paprika, and a mix of chilli powders/flakes like cayenne, chipotle, and guajillo.
You could give it a Middle Eastern flavour with za’atar or harissa paste, create an Indian spice mix like you would for a curry, go Mediterranean with a more herby mix, use up leftover Thai Red curry paste – your options for seasoning are pretty much endless and trying different ones out keeps things exciting and different each time!
Step 3: cook
My trick to a quick veggie hash is a little bit of pre-cooking before anything goes into the frying pan. I give the root vegetables I’m using a quick blast in the microwave first to speed things up and avoid having to use a considerable amount of oil when frying.
Once you’ve given your root vegetables a few minutes in the microwave, heat a little oil of choice in a frying pan and add them in. When they’ve started to brown a little this is where I’ll add in other vegetables that don’t take as long to cook, like red pepper or cabbage, along with the beans or some pre-cooked veggie sausage, the spice mix, and a splash of water. Here is where you’ll add your salt and pepper, and I like a little squeeze of lemon juice too.
Cook for about five more minutes, adding splashes of water here and there to avoid burning. Test your veg for done-ness using a knife, and when it’s ready it’s time to serve up.
Step 4: serve and add toppings
Toppings make everything better, so don’t skimp on them here.
I’ll usually add some cheese, like crumbled feta or halloumi. Egg in any form – boiled, fried, poached, or scrambled – works great. Some avocado, pickled red onion, and chopped tomato are all tasty options too.
You can also add some dressings or sauces for even more flavour. Frank’s Hot Sauce or Sriracha often end up on my vegetable hashes, but try a tahini dressing if you’re going Middle Eastern, raita if Indian, or salsa to pair with Mexican flavours.
Basically, as has been the case in every other step, just use what you’ve got. Make it as simple or as complicated as you like. Have fun with it!