Whether you like veggies as much as I do or not, eating more of them is something everyone (no matter what diet/lifestyle/program you are following) can agree on. Vegetables provide so many of the essential nutrients we need to thrive; eat the rainbow, as we say!
I enjoy having a variety of vegetables, prepared different ways throughout the week to keep things interesting. However, as prepping and cooking veggies is generally what takes up most of my time in the kitchen here are 5 Veggie hacks to help you reach the veggie portion goals of 2.5-3 cups a day.
Greatest time saver EVER. Every supermarket has pre-cut vegetables that make meal prep so easy. Roast them, sauté them, throw them in soup or a salad. My favorite pre-cut veggie is butternut squash. It’s my favorite vegetable, but one of the most difficult to prep.
Pre-cut veggies are more expensive, so save the splurge for things that are harder to prep (like butternut squash or beets) and save the easier stuff for do-it-yourself.
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in vegetables. This for sure is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to get your family to eat them. Cut everything into uniform pieces, toss in extra virgin or avocado oil and roast at 400° until veggies are soft and slightly browned. Our favorites are sliced Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, carrots, and baked buffalo cauliflower bites (see recipe below). Why is this a hack? Because you can get the rest of your meal ready while your veggies cook themselves!
Make a Veggie Pancake
Or a fritter or a “patty,” whatever you call it. No recipe needed; just shred your veggies, squeeze out the excess liquid, and combine them with an egg, a little flour or almond flour, salt, and pepper, and mix together. If it seems too wet, add a little more flour. Too dry? Add another egg. Pan-fry over medium-high heat until brown, flip over and repeat. This is a delicious way to eat more veggies, and they freeze really well and can be microwaved for later.
Spiralizing is so much fun, and a great way to get kids involved too. It only takes 30 seconds to turn zucchini into “zoodles”. You can use a spiralizer tool to make veggie noodles, riced veggies to mix with cooked whole grain pasta or microwave brown rice. If you don’t own a spiralizing tool, you can also find veggie zoodles or spirals in both the fresh produce aisle and frozen section in your supermarket. You can spiralize most any vegetable, as long as isn’t hollow in the center, or too mushy. Sweet and golden Potatoes, zucchini, carrots, beets, cucumber, apples, pears, or plantains are all great places to start.
Chopped Salad Kits
Chopped salads provide crunch and variety of colored and nutritious veggies that can appeal to even the iceburg only salad eater. The smaller pieces are attractive and can be easily eaten. Other leafy greens and colored cabbages are often included with great dried fruit toppings. Roasted seeds and even quinoa toppings can offer nutty flavor. Salad kits include dressings that can be familiar or exotic and with just the right amount of dressing to flavor 2 side salads.
Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
1 (2-lb.) head cauliflower, cored and broken into 1-1/2″ florets
6 Tbsp. hot sauce, such as cayenne pepper sauce (Frank’s RedHot)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
- Place a rack in center of oven and heat to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat lightly with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup flour, the baking powder, and garlic powder until combined. Add water and yogurt and whisk until mixture becomes a smooth, stiff batter.
- Add cauliflower to a second bowl with remaining 1/2 cup flour and toss to coat. Use hands to transfer cauliflower to bowl with batter, leaving excess flour behind; stir to coat cauliflower completely.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove cauliflower from batter and place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, leaving a little space between each piece. Spray cauliflower with cooking spray and bake until batter hardens and begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Flip with tongs and continue to cook until cauliflower is crispy, about 10 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine hot sauce, melted butter, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add baked cauliflower and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, return cauliflower to baking sheet and bake until crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to a platter, sprinkle with chives, and serve with blue cheese dip (search for Easy Blue Cheese Dip on Hannaford website for our recipe).
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, January – February 2019
We can’t forget about these 2 fruit hacks
Whenever my customers ask me for “better for you” sweet treats I share this recipe with them. However, I may not suggest it only from a spoon; instead grab frozen banana, fresh pineapple chunks or fresh strawberries. This is a nutritious variation on a chocolate frosting.
Chocolate Avocado Frosting
Frosting: Combine the following in a blender until smooth: 2 ripe avocados, 1/2 cup date paste or baking dates, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and 1/8 tsp. salt. If the frosting is too thick, thin with a bit of unsweetened almond milk.
Nutrition Info: serves 8
Calories: 130; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 1.5 g; Sodium 45mg; Protein 2g; Dietary fiber: 6.5 g
Adapted from Guidingstars.com
Chai-Spiced Banana-Almond Nice-Cream
Number of Servings: 4.5 (129 G)
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- 3 over-ripe frozen bananas, peeled
- 6 Tbsp. All-Natural Creamy Almond Butter
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
- 3 Tbsp. honey
Blend all ingredients together in food processor until smooth. Freeze until ready to serve.
Nutrition Facts 4 servings per container Serving Size 129G (~4.5 oz)
Amount Per Serving: Calories 270; Total Fat 12.5 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g ; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 505 mg; Total Carbohydrate 39 g: Total sugar: 25g; Added Sugar: 13g; Dietary Fiber 5.5 g, Protein 6 g