Friday, May 10, 2013

How to eat your veggies, and like it too!

There's one piece of advice that you'll hear from health gurus of all philosophies, whether they espouse Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, or traditional food diets:  Eat your veggies.  So, if it's so universally known that vegetables are the ultimate health food, then why isn't everyone loading up on the greens? 

Vegetables are difficult to make friends with, but is it any wonder why?  We lovingly craft the perfect pie crusts to frame fruits, vegetables' sticky-sweet cousins; we celebrate proteins with customized spice rubs; and we fry grains and other starches for optimal crunch.  These foods are easy to love, so we focus on loving them.  Steamed broccoli just isn't going to cut it.  In order to compete for room on our plates, vegetables just need a little more love.

How to love on veggies

1. Dress up your salads
Once equipped with a variety of simple and delicious salad dressing recipes, you might find yourself making--and enjoying--salads more often.  I know I do!  Here are a few ideas:
  • My brother loves a simple vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar and olive oil, but I prefer a dijon mustard vinaigrette.
  • Play around with different vinegars: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar, balsamic vinegar (have you ever heard of blueberry balsamic?  AMAZING)
  • Play around with different oils: olive oil, toasted sesame seed oil, pure orange oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, and nut oils are all flavorful options.
  • Add other "goodies," like nuts, seeds or spices; Chef Amber Shea's spiced tahini vinaigrette is next on my list of things to try.
2. Dip them in something good
As I write this, I am munching on carrot sticks and a split-pea hummus modeled after the Sunshine Spread recipe from Oh She Glows.  I basically lived off of this recipe during Easter Break!  In order to make it SCD-compliant, I soak the split peas for about 12 hours in water and apple cider vinegar, then rinse and cook them for about an hour. In my new favorite variation, I add a couple of roasted red bell peppers, a few cracks of black pepper, and about twice as much tahini as called for in the original recipe.

3. Sautee with other "goodies"
Here are some of my favorite examples:
  • Chop up half a cabbage into long, skinny strips, and wilt it in a pan with onion, garlic and fresh or dried thyme.
  • Pan-fry green beans with chopped baby portabella mushrooms and pre-cooked chestnuts (which you can buy at Trader Joe's), until the beans are al dente.  The chestnuts add a pleasant, nutty sweetness.
  • I haven't tried it yet, but once I am done with the SCD diet, I will be making the Detoxinista's recipe for sweet potato noodles.
4. Roast it
This is my family's favorite way to eat carrots and sweet potatoes:  sprinkled with Italian herbs and roasted until the edges turn dark and candied.  I have also had pretty good luck with roasting other vegetables, such as eggplant and zucchini.

5. Give it a sauce
Nothing says "comfort food" quite like a rich sauce.
  • In the warmer seasons, I roast a spaghetti squash at least once a week.  We eat it with marinara sauce.  (Eden Foods sells jars of organic crushed tomatoes that make a pretty good sauce when properly seasoned.)
  • A good curry, too, warms me from the inside out.  If you find a good recipe or a jarred curry sauce that you're pleased with, it's great served over cauliflower "rice".

Got more ideas?  I'd love to hear them!  Comment below with your Pinterest name or email, and I will add you to my brand new Veggie Love board.

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday 5/8/13 at Holistic Squid, Whole Food Fridays 5/10/13 at Allergy Free Alaska, Fresh Bites Friday 5/10/13 at Real Food Whole Health, Thank Your Body Thursday 5/9/13 at Thank Your Body, Sunday School 5/12/13 at Butter Believer, Family Table Tuesday 5/14/13 at The Polivka Family, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 5/14/13 at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Tasty Traditions 5/15/13 at My Cultured Palate and Real Food Wednesday 5/15/13 at Kelly the Kitchen Kop