How to include more veggies in your diet

Ways to eat more vegetables (and fruit)

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Before adopting a plant-based diet, I ate mainly, well – plant-based.  BUT that doesn’t mean I ate healthy. One major difference between my diet then and now is that today I eat waaaay more veggies than I used to.  Before I wasn’t really sure how I could cook them, the flavor and texture possibilities they could offer, and if they could even be a main player in a dish.  Now I have no problem getting enough servings of fruits and veggies in per day!  Here´s how you can too:

Vegetables

What ways are there to prepare and eat vegetables and fruit?

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Raw

eating the vegetables as-is, straight from the store or farmers’ market!  Just be sure of two things: to always buy organic, as pesticides are a nasty business, and to wash them (even if they are organic!) Ways I love eating vegetables raw…ah, let me count the ways.

  • I enjoy cut-up veggies such as carrots, celery, radishes, peppers, and cucumbers with dips or hummus
  •  finely slicing and grating veggies into salads
  • Slicing greens such as spinach and chard into my sandwiches and soups.
  • Using a spiralizer (which I don’t have) or a grater to get vegetable “noodles”.  This works especially well with zucchini, sweet potato

(Picture of different ways to cut vegetables-grated, sliced, mandolin, )

Steamed

Using hot water (steam) to cook them.  To steam vegetables, there are a few options.  You can buy a steamer, use a more traditional bamboo steamer (see below), or even just use a pot of boiling water with a covered colander above it.  Steaming vegetables –does it leave in more nutrition? Be sure to not steam veggies for too long-you don’t want to overcook/kill them.  Vegetables I especially like to steam are zucchini and cauliflower.

(Picture of my steamer)

Boiled

Boiling vegetables is one of my least favorite ways to prepare them, for a couple of different reasons.  1. It can leave the vegetable with a mushy texture that breaks them up when left in too long, and 2. it is the method that most removes the vegetable’s nutrients (true?). That said, I do have a few vegetables that i will sometimes boil, such as potatoes (skins left on and removed after), fresh peas, and asparagus (which are then blanched…see below)

Blanching

Blanching a vegetable involves boiling it first and then throwing them into an ice cold bath.  This method is highly recommended if you intend on freezing a vegetable, and if they’re intended to be eaten right away, it gives the vegetable a nice, bright color.  My favorite vegetables to blanch are peas and asparagus for when I use in dishes such as risotto or tarts, whenever I want them to have a nice shine and bold color.  The Kitchn has a nice article on how to blanch veggies.

(Picture of finished product?)

Roasted

This is my favorite way to prepare vegetables, and what I find myself doing most often.  It’s basically cutting up the veggies, throwing them in some oil (melted coconut is my go-to because of its high-smoking point), and laying them out on a pan or tray that has a sheet of non-bleached parchment paper on it.  Then adding a little salt and pepper.

Always cut the veggies into similar-sized pieces so that they all finish at the same time.  Depending on the veggie, the time in the oven will vary.

(all at 425F/218C):

Carrots, beets, and potatoes:  30-45 minutes

Squash: 20-60 minutes

Onions: 30-45 minutes

Tomatoes: 15-20 minutes

Lighter vegetables (green beans and asparagus): 10-20 minutes

Broccoli and cauliflower: 15-25 minutes

Picture of pre and post-roasted veggies

Glazed

A semi-new technique I learned and am loving.  Glazing means to reduce the cooking liquid until it turns into-you guessed it-a glaze.  You can glaze any vegetable, really, but my personal favorite is carrots.  Just chop up some veggies, add them to a pan, and fill the pan up til it halfway covers your veggies with a liquid of some sort.  (Think water, broth, orange juice, wine…). Add a bit of coconut oil, some spices and herbs, and bring it to a simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the veggies are tender.  See my  favorite recipe for glazed carrots here.

(Picture of glazed carrots?)

Grilled

Grilling isn’t just for meat.  Veggies (and fruit!) taste ah-mazing on the grill.  My personal favorite veggies all charred up are corn (duh), peppers, mushrooms, onions, cherry tomatoes, which taste oh so yummy when you slide them all together on one skewer!

How can I use vegetables as the main in my meal?

There are many different ways that veggies can be added to your meals – that’s right, they don’t have to be just a typical boring addition!  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Vegetable pizza crusts
  • Pasta sauces
  • Smoothies – my carrot cake smoothie?
  • Cheese
  • Pasta noodles
  • Pancakes – my chickpea flour
  • Hummus/dips

And if you happen to have a picky eater in your house when it comes to vegetables, I’m betting they would never even notice/realize that there were vegetables in the recipes above if you didn’t tell them.  Just saying.

Fruit

Now I don’t eat that much fruit, but if you’re looking to incorporate more fruit into your diet, my favorite ways are raw, in smoothies, salads, sometimes even on pizza.  Sliced peaches, oranges, and apples can all taste great in different types of salads.

Picture of my peach pizza and my peach salad

What’s your favorite way to get your daily fruits and veggies? Do you have a particularly yummy recipe featuring veggies as the main attraction?  Let me know in the comments below!

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