By Michele Robert Poche
We’re all adults here, right? So maybe we don’t actually have to sneak vegetables into our meals anymore. But who wants to eat a bowl of steamed greens every day? (Not me.) Let’s take a look at some different ways to incorporate them creatively into our favorite recipes to boost our daily intake of nutrition, vitamins and minerals.
Smoothies. Love smoothies but don’t love the idea of a green beverage? No problem. Slip two handfuls of spinach into a fruit smoothie containing blueberries. Not only do the sweet, fruity ingredients mask the taste of the spinach, the dark pigment of the berry also masks the color.
Chocolate cake. Pumpkin puree is very versatile in that it can be used both as an all-natural alternative to egg (1/3 cup pumpkin = 1 egg) as well as to butter (3/4 cup pumpkin = 1 cup butter). Plus you’ll save on fat and calories while also infusing your treat with vitamins and fiber.
Tacos. Finely chopped onions or shredded zucchini (peeled first if you need to disguise it) can be mixed in with the ground meat, spices and sauce. It steps up the nutritional value of the meal while also stretching the ingredients.
Pizza crust. (1) ‘Rice” a head of cauliflower and remove any excess moisture. (2) Add an egg, goat cheese, oregano, basil and salt then spread ¼-inch thick on baking sheet. (3) Cook at 400 F for 30 minutes, flip and cook another 10 minutes.
Meatballs. Shredded carrots and finely chopped mushrooms both mix very nicely with the ground meat and spices used to prepare meatballs. Feeling especially adventurous? Serve your veggie-laced meatballs over spaghetti squash “noodles.”
Cauliflower is a great low-carb substitute to mimic pizza crust, mashed potatoes, rice, breadsticks, mac’n’cheese, tortillas, hummus, rolls, chowder, casseroles, tots, bread, couscous, hash browns, fritters and more. It does take a little time to achieve the right texture and consistency, but once you do, you’ll never go back to refined carbs again.
Hint: The secret to success with many of these suggestions is cooking the vegetables until softened for easier blending with other ingredients.