Side Dishes

Blanched vegetables tossed with butter and herbs Blanched vegetables tossed with butter and herbs

A plate of vegetables bursting with colors, textures and shapes is a visual delight. Your eyes feast on the wonderful vision, signals are sent to the brain that the veggies must taste good because they look good, your brain sends signals to your digestive system and demands that you dig in, and… Well, that’s the thing about food having a visual appeal. Home cooking requires you to make good on that positive first impression because the food will actually be eaten. Not a concern with magazines and their food stylists because the food they deal with just has to look good to sell one brand or another.

This side dish which I served with lamb chops a couple of weeks ago looks AND tastes good. The vegetables are cooked just until done but still lightly crisp, the butter adds flavor and coats each piece of vegetable with a subtle shimmer, and the herbs provide the aroma that, coupled with the signals that your eyes send to your brain, tells you that you must have a huge portion of those gorgeous mixed veggies.

For best visual appeal, choose vegetables with different colors, textures and shapes. Leafy vegetables are not recommended for this dish.

Recipe: Blanched vegetables tossed with butter and herbs


  • mixed vegetables, each variety trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • butter, melted (1 tbsp. for every cup of veggies is a good ratio)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped herbs, whatever you prefer (I used parsley and thyme)


  1. Fill a pot with water. Add salt. Bring to the boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.
  3. Blanch the vegetables separately if each requires a different cooking time (see post on blanching). How long each needs to stay in the hot water depends on the size of the pieces, the maturity of the vegetable and the amount of vegetables you put in the pot in proportion to the water.
  4. As each vegetable finishes blanching, scoop out and dump in the bowl of iced water. Scoop out and drain.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the vegetables. Note that you may have to replenish the ice in the bowl to keep the water cold.
  6. When all the vegetables have been blanched and drained, place in a large bowl.
  7. Drizzle the butter over the vegetables, add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently. Taste a piece. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  8. Tip: You can make this vegetable side dish a few hours before needed. Prepare, cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge. Take out and allow to reach room temperature about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the amount) before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: about 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): variable

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