We all know that eating fresh veggies is fantastic for our health and our waistlines but it can be difficult to get in enough servings every day. Luckily, there are many ways fresh vegetables can be added to unexpected recipes to improve their taste and nutritional content. Including fresh vegetables in these recipes is also a great way to experiment with veggies you’re unsure about or are just getting acquainted with. Use these simple tips as a springboard for your own creative ideas and you’ll find vegetables becoming an important part of your eating routine!
Make a mean mac and cheese: Cauliflower edition
Love a cheesy bowl of macaroni and cheese but balk at a bowlful of simple carbs, cream, and cheese? Try substituting steamed or lightly roasted cauliflower in place of some or all of the pasta for a rich and still-satisfying version of the comfort food classic. Use Greek yogurt in place of the cream for extra protein and choose stronger cheeses such as parmesan, aged cheddar or even a small amount of bleu to add plenty of flavour without going overboard.
Befriend butternut squash
Butternut squash is one of the most versatile veggies around, whether they’ve been roasted, steamed, puréed or spiralized. Use a mandolin or sharp chef’s knife to slice butternut squash into thin strips and then used as noodles for a delicious low carb take on lasagna or manicotti. Roasted or steamed butternut squash can be added to pasta sauces, soups, and curries.
Discover the excellence of eggplant
The humble eggplant has a long list of uses in cuisines from all over the world. Char a whole eggplant over a gas burner or in a hot oven until entirely collapsed and withered. Scoop out the flesh (discard the skin) and whip up until creamy. The pulp can be combined with tahini, nonfat plain yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, and fresh mint for a super-tasty dip or stirred into curries and lentil soups.
Up your salad green game
Bored with your salad green routine? Make it a point to branch out from the bagged spinach or romaine lettuce you normally reach for when making a salad and explore the vast world of leafy greens available at most grocery stores. Baby kale, parsley, endive, chicory, arugula, butter lettuce, radiccio, and baby beet greens are just some of the options to be found. Experiment with bitter, sweet and savoury flavours, and dressings and you’ll never have to face another lackluster salad.
Use mushrooms to bulk up meatballs
Finely chop up mushrooms, sauté with herbs and kosher salt (which will help leech out excess moisture) and use in place of a third or half of the meat next time you’re making homemade meatballs or hamburger patties. Portobello, cremini, and shitake mushrooms have an especially pleasing flavour and are virtually undetectable when paired with ground meat and seasonings.
Poach eggs in a vegetable nest
Sauté a generous portion of your favourite veggies and greens together in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and season with plenty of herbs and spices. Make small nests in the vegetable mixture before adding the eggs and covering with a lid. Let the eggs cook for a few minutes until the whites are set and enjoy.