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Trying to work veggies into my diet (and my family's) SUGGESTIONS WELCOME ^_^


BlamedCat

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Hey guys and gals and robots, BlamedCat here!

I recently struck up a conversation with a few of you in my challenge thread about veggies. One of my goals this 6 week challenge is to incorporate veggies into at least 4 dinners a week.

So that brings me to this thread. Do you have any awesome veggie creations or nerdisims to share for side dishes, etc? I think we could all benefit from all the creative mixes of veggies suggestions.

I'm going to toss up the ones that were already suggested to me by other users.

From Loden

I love your goal about adding more vegetables to your dinners. What kinds of veggies are you planning to eat? I'm a big fan of roasted broccoli.
(I'm still waiting for a recipe from them on this one) ^_^

From Laureleye

Take fresh asparagus, snap the “white†end off, and snap into 3â€-4†pieces. Cut up zucchini into like-sized pieces and toss them in. Drizzle with some olive oil (I like a tiny bit of garlic infused olive oil + plain olive oil). Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Microwave 2-4 minutes depending on amount. TaDa! BTW, I've found that I like raw salt much better than processed salt. Trader Joe's has it & it comes in its own grinder. Taste is much stronger & more interesting, so you don't need as much.

From Avalonna

Roasting veggies transformed them into vegetable candy. Seriously. My favorite is roasted cauliflower, but I often eat roasted broccoli cooked the same way:

Cut up your cauliflower or broccoli (fresh, I have never tried this with frozen veggies) into large-bite-sized pieces and put in a mixing bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil; add salt and pepper. Spread the veggies out on a cookie sheet - don't crowd them or pile them! Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes for broccoli, 20-25 minutes for cauliflower, stirring once in the middle. They are done when they are getting just a little bit brown.

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This one is a summer to early-fall dish, but the ingredients are still available in my area.

Take onion, green pepper, maybe some yellow or red peppers, cut them into rough chunks. Shake them in a container with a liberal amount of olive oil, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a glass baking dish. Chop up an eggplant and gently shake it in the leftover olive oil, again transfer it to the dish with a slotted spoon. Put a quartered tomato into the glass baking dish and drizzle any remaining oil over them. And I can't remember the roasting times and temperature, the glass makes it take longer than a cookie sheet.

Goes well with Italian-seasoned chicken. Can go with pasta or garlic bread if you're not having a primal night.

Frozen stir-fry with a home-made sauce is a decent standby. I don't have a recipe, I just throw honey and vinegar into the pan and hope for the best.

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Mentally, I divide veggies into 'requires prep time,' and 'doesn't require prep time."

For the latter,

-take a bag of baby spinach, put it on a plate, microwave for 2 minutes, stir. Eat (with salt if desired)

-rinse off a pepper and eat it like an apple

-baby carrots

-celery stalks

-rinse broccoli, chop off the ends, and eat.

For the former,

-Green beans, mushrooms, bit of balsamic vinegar, bit of salt, bit of pepper. Roast.

-Chunks of sweet potato. slather with olive oil. roast

-cherry tomatoes. drizzle olive oil, put garlic, salt pepper, and roast

-Kebobs - red onion, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms - then grill

I'm fond of low-effort recipes, which is why you don't see things like "sliver the almonds then toss with 1 tsp of the spice mixture you made in step 1" in here. I don't think I'd bother with any of those for anything other than a special occasion.

And there's the always-popular stir fry:

chop up a bunch of veggies. start with onion & garlic in a bit of olive oil, and then add veggies according to how long they take to cook. When done, toss a bit of white wine and some spices on the mixture and let simmer for a few moments. Then eat.

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Cut up raw veggies and serve with ranch for dipping (my kids like ranch so they'll eat just about anything dipped in it).

My son likes tomatoes so I cut those into wedges sometimes too.

You can put all sorts of veggies into pasta sauce and no one will be the wiser. Either dice them and toss them in to cook or puree them first.

I like broccoli stems better than the heads, just slice them. Peel them first if the outer part is tough (my rabbits love the tough parts).

You can stir fry anything. Fajita spices and a tortilla, or teriyaki sauce and rice. Yummy. :D

I do baked veggies a lot, usually when I'm cooking a chicken or a roast. I just stick them in the same pot, but you can drizzle oil on them if you like them crispy. Baked onions are wonderfully sweet.

Winter squash is good baked. Cut one in half, scoop out the innards, brown some ground sausage, stuff the sausage into the squash cavity, then bake until the squash is done. Top with cheese in the last 5 minutes if you want. (toast the seeds with some oil and salt in the oven until they're browned for another treat!)

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ROASTED BROCCOLI! Most weeks we have it at least twice.

We usually do one head of broccoli per person. Cut the "trees" off the head and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper (enough oil to put a VERY light coating on all the pieces). Bake in oven at around 400 for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to get blackened around the edges. It's important to cook it at a pretty high heat to get that delicious roasty flavor. A few times we've cooked it at lower heats and ended up with something that tastes more like steamed broccoli, which has its place but isn't as good without some sort of sauce. You can eat it plain straight out of the oven, or toss it with whatever else you're eating. It's pretty quick and easy, super delicious, and super healthy. My husband identified as a broccoli-hater until we started eating this, and he loves it.

Full disclosure: I got the idea from this blog post.

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Pasta sauce! You can put just about anything in a tomato sauce. I add grated carrots and/or finely-chopped red peppers. The tomato flavor overpowers them and their textures blend really well with the sauce, so they can be good for veggies that you or your family don't necessarily love. And they kick the sauce up a notch, in my opinion. You can try it with some spaghetti squash, too!

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My current favourite veggie is sautéed cauliflower. I put about 2 cups of cauliflower florets and 2tbsp of butter in a pan, and sauté over med-low heat until the cauliflower is starting to caramelize. I add some minced garlic, cook another 20 seconds or so, and eat!

I also squeeze extra veggies in by making zucchini "noodles" - made using a julienne peeler (like this one). Topped with bolognese sauce, it's delicious (and healthier than pasta!)

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Wow, there's a lot of great ideas on here! Thank y'all for sharing! ^_^ Let's keep them coming if you hear about anymore. I've tried the roasted broccoli and cauliflower. WOW! I was floored how it tasted.. and the STEMS... that's something I didn't think I'd like, but it ended up coming out with the consistency of what I could best describe as how fried okra's texture is... soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.

I've heard of making 'mashed potatoes' with cauliflower. Has anyone tried that?

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I've heard of making 'mashed potatoes' with cauliflower. Has anyone tried that?

I've done it! SUPER yummy! Just steam the cauliflower until it's fork-tender, then add butter, cheese, garlic/garlic powder, chives, or whatever you like in mashed potatoes. Combine using a stick blender, in a food processor, or put through a potato ricer.

Also delicious: brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon. (Don't say you don't like brussels sprouts until you've tried 'em like this!). Also zucchini chunks sautéed with bacon.

Another favourite around here is diced apples and yams (about a 1cm dice) sautéed in coconut oil, with a dash of cinnamon tossed in at the end. You just throw it all together and cook until soft. I have also done this with butternut squash in butter to excellent effect.

Actually, I think I just like any veggie sautéed in butter or with bacon. :D

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I'm going to have to try roasting broccoli and cauliflower.

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My family have always been big fans of steamed veggies with a bit of butter, pepper, and sometimes some parmesan cheese. You can either use a vegetable steamer, which is a sieve-like thing that keeps the veggies above the water, or use broccoli stems in place of a steamer (chop the stems, put them in the bottom of the pot, fill it so the water just reaches the top of the stems, and pile the floret parts of the broccoli and other veggies on top. Boil with a lid on for 5-10 mins depending on how done you want them. The stems, which are tougher, are cooked more my boiling, while the stuff on top is steamed. Yum!) This is also great because it's fast. 10 mins or less once the water boils is all it takes.

I'm personally a fan of barely steamed veggies, like for 5 mins or less. I don't like a lot of veggies raw, but steaming them takes some of the bitterness out of them while still leaving them crispy. This method works for root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage (though the cooking time on cabbage is longer than most others), leafy greens (again, a bit longer cooking time). I don't recommend doing this to peppers, they turn a bit mushy, but then I usually just eat peppers raw.

Stir-frying is another quick cooking method that allows you lots of options for flavour. A bit of olive oil in a pan, throw in veggies (start with the tougher ones, end with the softer ones like peppers to keep everything crisp), and whatever herbs/spices suit your fancy. There are also a lot of easy stir-fry sauce recipes out there, and if you cook chopped meat before the veggies, then add it all together with sauce, you've got a whole meal in a pan (to be served over rice or not according to your preference. I prefer not, my family prefers with).

And, of course, there's salad. Despite what Homer and Bart say, salad is my absolute favourite way to eat veggies. You can chop things like broccoli and cauliflower in to tiny pieces into it, grate carrot, use spinach and other field greens along with the lettuce (romaine or leaf is better than iceberg, iceberg doesn't have much in it besides water and crunch). There are recipes for warms salads out there too, though I mostly just eat a good old garden salad with oil-and-vinegar dressing. And making your own dressing is the easiest thing in the world (assuming you have a mason jar) and gives you endless opportunities for flavour and experiementation. And, as a bonus, you know exactly what's in it and can choose ingredients to suit your preference and dietary needs.

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Quesedillas! My favorite version right now has me sautee sliced onions until browned, then wilt a bunch of spinach in the same pan. Then add the onion/spinach mix to some tortillas spread out and covered with cheese. Fold, heat until cheese is melted, and you're done! Can also add peppers, shredded carrots, or other yummy things.

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Obax and SpiralGalaxy - Thank you for the input. There's a lot of ideas here that I'm looking forward to trying. I will say that I have done the spinach & onion quesedilla, VERY tasty!

I'd love to get into making my own dressing. My wife, actually wants to get into doing her own jams and jellies and canning.

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For making your own dressing, the general rule is 1 part acid to 3 or 4 parts oil (depending on your taste). I prefer 1:3 myself. The acid can be anything from wine to vinegar (any variety) to lemon juice to whatever. I tend to use olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed, from Italy or Greece if possible. More pricey but worth it), but any other oil will work also (though I'd tend to stay away from the less flavourful varieties like canola, it's just not as fun). Then just salt and pepper to taste, and whatever other spices/herbs you fancy. One of my favourites is olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (and fresh garlic if I'm feeling fancy).

Another good one (a bit more complex) is olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, fresh garlic, dijon mustard. This is from a recipe for couscous salad that I make regularly, but I've used it on a lettuce salad and it's just as good, as well as in lentil patties as the flavouring (yum).

Really, once you know the ratio you prefer, the possibilities are endless. And if you just use a tiny mason jar, you can experiment all you want and not have to worry about having a giant jar full of homemade dressing that tastes nasty stuck in the back of your fridge.

Also, if you try this, you might want to research a bit how long homemade dressings keep, and judge how much you want to make at a time based on that. I usually make only 1-2 servings at a time in a wee jar, so it's never around for longer than a day or two and I've never bothered to find this out. I do know the shelf life is much shorter than commercially produced dressings, for the obvious reason that you're not adding any chemical preservatives, but I feel like they'll last at least a week or two, vinegar isn't the most friendly ingredient for bacteria and mould.

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Not a recipe suggestions, but I thought I'd toss this out there since it's still on the veggie topic:

 

Try every veggie raw at least once.

 

Two reasons for this: 1. (Obviously) Raw vegetables generally have a higher nutrient count than those that are cooked, so if you try something raw and realize you actually like it that way, you're usually getting a 1 UP! to vitamins and minerals in it, 2. If you've never had it raw before, you probably don't really know what it actually tastes like. If you're someone like me who adores spices, this is a good way to broaden the ones you cook with because you have a new understanding of the veggie's flavor and how it might taste with things you probably didn't consider expirementing with before.

 

Edited to add: Please note that some vegetables are poisonous in their raw state, and must be cooked before they are edible to humans.

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I haven't bothered to read everyone's posts because of a time crunch so I apologize if I am repeating someone's suggestion.

 

I take all the veggies I usually like on my pizza ( onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes) and cook it witih tomato sauce on the stove and add some salt, pepper, and cheese. Tastes just like a healthy pizza or pasta. YUM!

 

 

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For making your own dressing, the general rule is 1 part acid to 3 or 4 parts oil (depending on your taste). I prefer 1:3 myself. The acid can be anything from wine to vinegar (any variety) to lemon juice to whatever. I tend to use olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed, from Italy or Greece if possible. More pricey but worth it), but any other oil will work also (though I'd tend to stay away from the less flavourful varieties like canola, it's just not as fun). Then just salt and pepper to taste, and whatever other spices/herbs you fancy. One of my favourites is olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (and fresh garlic if I'm feeling fancy).

Another good one (a bit more complex) is olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, fresh garlic, dijon mustard. This is from a recipe for couscous salad that I make regularly, but I've used it on a lettuce salad and it's just as good, as well as in lentil patties as the flavouring (yum).

Really, once you know the ratio you prefer, the possibilities are endless. And if you just use a tiny mason jar, you can experiment all you want and not have to worry about having a giant jar full of homemade dressing that tastes nasty stuck in the back of your fridge.

Also, if you try this, you might want to research a bit how long homemade dressings keep, and judge how much you want to make at a time based on that. I usually make only 1-2 servings at a time in a wee jar, so it's never around for longer than a day or two and I've never bothered to find this out. I do know the shelf life is much shorter than commercially produced dressings, for the obvious reason that you're not adding any chemical preservatives, but I feel like they'll last at least a week or two, vinegar isn't the most friendly ingredient for bacteria and mould.

Thank you so much for the advice!  I can't wait to try this out :)

 

Not a recipe suggestions, but I thought I'd toss this out there since it's still on the veggie topic:

 

Try every veggie raw at least once.

 

Two reasons for this: 1. (Obviously) Raw vegetables generally have a higher nutrient count than those that are cooked, so if you try something raw and realize you actually like it that way, you're usually getting a 1 UP! to vitamins and minerals in it, 2. If you've never had it raw before, you probably don't really know what it actually tastes like. If you're someone like me who adores spices, this is a good way to broaden the ones you cook with because you have a new understanding of the veggie's flavor and how it might taste with things you probably didn't consider expirementing with before.

 

Edited to add: Please note that some vegetables are poisonous in their raw state, and must be cooked before they are edible to humans.

Oooohh.. hmm, I never thought about really doing that.  I just go "oh yum!" and eat it.  My sister n law has a problem with eating cooked veggies, but I like eating veggies raw, steamed, stewed, roasted, whatever :)  However, I did NOT know about the poisonous aspects of raw veggies/fruits... O_O... VERY good to know.  Thank you.

 

I haven't bothered to read everyone's posts because of a time crunch so I apologize if I am repeating someone's suggestion.

 

I take all the veggies I usually like on my pizza ( onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes) and cook it witih tomato sauce on the stove and add some salt, pepper, and cheese. Tastes just like a healthy pizza or pasta. YUM!

That's okay, no one has really tossed up this idea yet, thank you for just contributing :D  I like that idea, gets all those tasties in there without it being on bread. :)  ty

 

On another note, I ended up getting a Paleo cookbook for slow cookers.  (just linked an ebook version) It's chalk full of neat ideas for veggies :D

Current Challenge: BlamedCat's Rebirth: From Porkins to Poe     Tracking via spreadsheet

 

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15&16)

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Some great (and very tasty) looking stuff here.  I do like my veggies, just forget how much sometimes. 

 

One other idea is to make a slaw, like coleslaw, (here are some ideas http://pinterest.com/cmaewilson/veg-slaws/)

 

I have a hand held blender that I use for soups etc but I also have the fitting, the mini-bowl, which I was originally just using to make hummus but now I throw all sorts in there, use it to make dressings etc.

 

one of the simplest for me that I really like is a mix of carrot and pickled beetroot, give them a quick whirl and I don't find I need dressing as the carrot is so sweet and beetroot so tangy.

 

And last night i chopped some fresh spinach, diced some sweet red pepper and then over to my mini blender bowl, threw in some fresh cauliflower florets, a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce, tsp olive oil, fresh tomato, some fresh basil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice and blitzed it.  Then threw it over the spinach and pepper, it was so tasty!  And with the slaws you can keep it fresh but make it very tasty while keeping your dressings light or none at all.  And it's an opportunity to use more of those green veg we need to eat more of.

 

I've also started making bruschetta on sweet pepper instead of bread ( here's a basic bruschetta recipe, just throw the mix on a pepper instead of bread http://www.instructables.com/id/Bruschetta-Recipe/)

 

buena suerte

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Throwin my 2 cents in on the veggie topic since I've been working on this same thing in my house.

 

Yes, mashed or riced cauliflower in substitute for mashed potatoes.  Even baked on top of a "shepard's pie" or pot pie as the crust instead of mashed potatoes or a bicuit crust.

 

Sauteed chard.  Heat up some olive oil and minced garlic in a pan.  Remove stems in chard and cut leaves into manageable strips, put in oil, add some salt and pepper and stir.  Sautee until its your desired level of done.  For spicy fans, add in some crushed red pepper while cooking.  For kids, sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top.

 

Put things in bell peppers in bake them.  I put lots of things in bell peppers - sausage, quinoa, eggs sauteed mushrooms.  That way you're eating at least half a bell pepper with everything.  Check out: http://www.happystove.com/recipe/458/Oven+Baked+Red+Bell+Peppers+Stuffed+with+Eggs/ for eggs baked in bell peppers.

 

"Slaw" finely shredded carrots with finely shredded cabbage and some Italian dressing, or just olive oil and some vinegar.

 

Hope some of these help your family!

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Chop up a slice or two of bacon and put it in a pan.

When it's mostly cooked, add some chopped/minced garlic. 

Chopped/minced ginger works well here too.

 

Take any kind of leafy greens- spinach, kale, collards, chard, mustard, beet, etc.  Put the greens in the pan on top of the bacon and garlic and ginger.  Cram it in, because it cooks down a lot.  Cover for a few minutes to help it cook faster.  Take off the cover for a few minutes to let some of the excess water evaporate. 

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