By Guest Dietitian, Dr Joanna McMillan

It can be hard to keep your veggie intake up in winter, especially if you’re accustomed to thinking about vegetables in the form of a salad. But when it’s cold outside, a salad doesn’t really cut it (although I must admit, I still love my salad alongside my hot meal at night) – so we need ways to incorporate veggies into more winter-warming meals.

Silverbeet is one of my favourite vegetables at this time of year. Pushed out of the limelight by its famously healthy cousin, kale, silverbeet is the quiet achiever. It’s packed with carotenoids – beneficial antioxidants that help to prevent some forms of cancer – that can be converted to vitamin A in the body; and others that have their own benefits including a key role in eye health. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamin C (although some will be lost in the cooking process) and a solid source of plant iron. Here are three ways to use it:


What you’ll need

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Several slices of prosciutto (or lean bacon)
  • 1 bunch silverbeet, sliced
  • 1 can borlotti or cannelloni beans

What to do

Step 1: In a non-stick frying pan heat some extra virgin olive oil; add a chopped red onion and a couple of garlic cloves and sauté for a few minutes over a moderate heat, being careful not to burn.

Step 2: Add a couple of slices of prosciutto and fry until a little crispy.

Step 3: Add sliced silverbeet (removing the leaves from the thick white, which can be a little bitter) and a can of borlotti beans.

Step 4: Stir fry for a few minutes until the leaves just wilt and the beans are heated through. Serve with grilled fish or chicken.



What you’ll need

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 bunch silverbeet
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Fresh parsley


What to do

Step 1: In a soup pot heat a little extra virgin olive oil and sauté a diced onion and a finely chopped clove of garlic.

Step 2: After a few minutes, taking care not to burn the veggies, add a diced carrot and 2 sliced sticks of celery.

Step 3: Sauté for a couple more minutes and then add 500ml of good quality chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is always best but there are some good bought varieties – look for one with less salt)

Step 4: Add ½ cup red lentils and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Step 5: Add half a bunch of silverbeet – stalks removed and leaves roughly ripped. Simmer with the lid on for a few minutes until the leaves are wilted.

Step 6: Transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Step 7: Season to taste and serve topped with a dollop of thick natural yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.



What you’ll need

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g chicken thighs, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Capsicum
  • Carrot
  • Mushrooms
  • Sliced chilli
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Sherry or white wine
  • 1 bunch silverbeet, sliced
  • Sesame seeds


What to do

Step 1: Heat a wok, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Step 2: Add sliced chicken thighs and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Drizzle a little more oil and fry sliced onion, garlic, ginger, capsicum, carrot, mushroom and any other vegies you have in your fridge. If you like a kick add a sliced chilli.

Step 4: Return the meat to the wok and flavour with soy sauce, a drizzle of honey and splash of sherry.

Step 5: Add the sliced silverbeet leaves and stir fry until they just wilt.

Step 6: Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately. It’s particularly delicious served with brown rice or soba noodles.


Want to get more out of every ingredient in your pantry? Try Dr Jo’s take on our own Rice Flakes in three delicious recipes.