Monday, January 10, 2011

Creative Ways to Add Vegetables to Your Meals

Are you tired of that same old salad or boring side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower? We all know we should eat a wide variety of vegetables to get our complete daily dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut, eating the same veggies, prepared the same way, over and over. Here are a few creative tips to help spice up your meals with extra veggies.

  • Roast Vegetables: The deep, rich flavor of roasting brings out the sweetness in many vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, butternut squash, red onions, fennel, artichokes and many others. Coat diced veggies with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and roast in a 425 degree oven until golden brown and delicious.
  • Mash and Puree Vegetables: Think beyond mashed potatoes; many different vegetables are delicious when mashed or pureed.  Cook vegetables in water or stock until tender and then mash or puree in food processor with creative additions like fresh herbs, cheeses (such as goat cheese or parmesan cheese), and butter or extra virgin olive oil. Try a blend of cauliflower and celery root, peas and mint, or butternut squash and fresh ginger.
  • Add Extra Vegetables to Sauces, Casseroles and Soups: When you make one-pot meals, think about adding extra vegetables with your usual sautéed onions or garlic to boost both the flavor and nutrition content of the dish.  For example, add a little bit of chopped celery and carrot to your marinara sauce or load your lentil soup or chili with a variety of colorful veggies, like kale, spinach, peppers, squash, zucchini or corn.
  • Sneak Vegetables into Baked Goods: Think about carrot cake.  Delicious, right?  Try sneaking grated carrot or zucchini into many of your baked goods for added moisture and a hidden serving of vegetables.

Use these tips to add variety and interest to your meals.  Who knew vegetables could be so good?

- Lisa Arose, BS, MBA, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University

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