Top Rated Ways to Wake-up Your Vegetables
By Sarah Curole, RD CNSD
If you’re looking for an easy way to make your meals healthier and more delicious, don’t push veggies to the side. Make them center stage and you can prepare dishes that are a delight for your eyes and your palate. Plus, it’s a bonus that vegetable-rich meals are high in fiber which makes the meal more satisfying! And you can easily make a few substitutions in your recipes without compromising the flavor of the dish. At first, vegetables may seem like an unlikely treat, but soon you’ll learn that they can masterfully add excitement to your meal. In the recipes listed below, vegetables are the stars. You should start with pre-washed and cut vegetables (or prepare them on weekend when have more time). This can be the base for countless meals. Here are a few options to try:
Stir-fry: heat olive, canola or coconut oil in skillet; add a mixture of your favorite chopped vegetables, protein like chicken or fish, small amount of low-sodium sauce and top with a few chopped cashews. Optional: serve with quinoa or brown rice (keep it interesting by adding some coconut milk and Thai curry paste).
Vegetable and Egg Frittata: toss vegetables in some olive oil and seasoning, place in a skillet coated with nonstick spray, cook for few minutes until start to brown, scramble an egg or two and pour over vegetables, tilt pan to spread eggs evenly, put back in oven for a few minutes. Top with salsa or few slices of avocado!
Roasted Vegetable and Bean Salads: Toss vegetables in olive oil and spread in one layer on large roasting pan, cook in 425 degree oven, turn with spatula once, remove and cool. Use all week as side dish, add some balsamic vinegar and sundried tomatoes for more flavor. Add rinsed canned beans for more protein, fiber and flavor. Crumble small amounts of feta or goat cheese for a real treat.
Instead of roasting, you can also grill vegetables to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Similar to roasting, just place vegetables on sheet of aluminum foil, toss with olive oil and seasonings, wrap them up and toss on the grill with your favorite protein.
Raw Vegetable Salads with the “Yum” Factor: Think outside the basic salad box. Try making a variety of salads on weekends and have left-overs all week along with a protein of your choice. Try taking a bag of shredded broccoli slaw or carrots; add roasted sunflower seeds, lemon juice, salt and your favorite seasoning or herb. You can have bag of pre-washed greens like arugula available to add in at the last minute. Cabbage and kale salads last well and can even be better after they sit for a while!