Friday, January 14, 2011

Veggie Recipes Galore

In all of my reading and efforts to steer our diet in a more healthy direction, one thing has become abundantly clear:  we don't eat nearly enough veggies in this house.

I suspect that this may be true for most households in this country -- except the vegetarian ones, although I've known a lot of folks who lived on microwave mac and cheese who called themselves vegetarians, too, who wouldn't have known a rutabaga from a radish.

So I've been trying to come up with some great and easy ways to add veggies into our meals.  Thus far?  I've been rather successful with a few tricks that I thought might be worth passing on to all of you:

-- When I make meatloaf, I add rolled oats (good fiber from a whole grain), and then a mix of veggies that I grind up small in my food processor -- onion, carrot, zucchini, sometimes a little spinach or Swiss chard, and a cup or so of salsa for flavor kick.   The salsa spices things up nicely, and thus the ground up veggies go relatively unnoticed by my veggie averse brood, especially if I top said meatloaf with some ketchup while it bakes.

-- I do the same with spaghetti sauce.  You of course want onion and garlic for flavor along with basil, oregano, marjoram, and parsley (which add wonderful antioxidants because herbs are full of them), but you can add in some extra grated carrot, zucchini, spinach, too.  I take a page from Remy in Ratatouille and just tell The Peanut that I "got fancy with the spices," and she gobbles it up if I've added some turkey meatballs to the mix.

-- Whenever I make soup, even if I'm just opening a can or two to heat up, I always toss in some extra veggies:  canned petite diced tomatoes or freshly chopped tomatoes depending on what I have on hand, diced green onions, shredded carrots (that I buy at the store conveniently already shredded because that is too awesome as a time saver for me), or mixed veggies that I buy in the frozen section that are ready to toss in which is beyond easy because they come in mixes like a standard mirepoix (small dice carrot, celery and onion), or cajun blend (small dice onion, celery and green pepper), or chopped spinach (or chard or other greens or broccoli), or three pepper blend with onion, or...well, you get the idea, but buy the veggies that have no sauce on them so you aren't adding icky chemical fake sauce crap to your soup -- you want just plain old frozen veggies for this.  Usually, I'll saute them first in the bottom of the pan with a bit of olive oil, and then add soup and let it simmer for a while to meld all the flavors.

-- I have a "go to" roasted veggie recipe that works great for a side dish, stirred into brown rice as a pilaf or as a topping for baked fish or chicken.  I take cherry tomatoes, zucchini that has been quartered and cut into bite-sized chunks, some chopped onion, and sometimes green beans, sometimes chopped red bell pepper depending on what I have int he fridge.  I roast this at 400 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes after tossing with some olive oil, and some fresh thyme and/or rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper.  When it finishes roasting, I add some chopped fresh parley and a squeeze of lemon juice and...voila!  You can add this to a packet of the microwaveable brown rice and you have a fantastic and really easy side dish.

You see where I'm going with this.

Since I started trying to find extra places to add some more veggies to the mix, it's become sort of second nature for me.  The best part is that no one has really seemed to notice much of a difference -- at least, there hasn't been a lot of complaining, especially since I've just been adding them into some of our family favorites that were already on a healthier track with leaner meats and broths and such.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share links of some things I've flagged for us to eat as well.  These are recipes that incorporate more veggies, beans, and other wholesome veggies combos that sound like food even my 7 year old will try, and that are better for Mr. ReddHedd and I as we forge ahead with trying to be healthier together.

As you can see, I've pulled a lot of recipes.  There's also an emphasis on recipes for things that are more portable, because I've been trying to find things that Mr. ReddHedd could easily take for lunch and/or snacks, too, as well as lots of ideas for salads and side dishes.  Here's hoping some of these sound good to all of you as well:

-- Edamame Hummus
-- Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomato and White Bean Dip
-- Spinach-Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
-- Veggie Crudites With Easy White Bean Hummus
-- Chopped Greek Salad
-- Baked Grouper With Chunky Tomato Sauce
-- Braised Kale with Bacon and Cider
-- Winter Minestrone
-- Multi-Bean Salad
-- Marsala-Glazed Winter Vegetables
-- Roasted Red Pepper and Cannelini Bean Dip
-- Veggie Fried Rice
-- Creamy Feta-Spinach Dip
-- Avocado-Yogurt Dip With Cumin
-- Asian Pasta Salad
-- Tortellini Pepperoncini Salad
-- Chicken Pasta Salad
-- Creamy Zucchini Soup With Mixed Herbs
-- Grilled Heirloom Tomato And Goat Cheese Pizza
-- Quick Tomato-Basil Soup
-- Slow-Cooked Collard Greens
-- Roasted Winter Vegetables
-- Honey-Glazed Carrots
-- Roasted Vegetables
-- Cider-Glazed Carrots
-- Pumpkin-Sage Polenta
-- Thai Coconut Shrimp and Veggies With Brown Rice Pasta
-- Red Pepper Tabouli
-- Raw Beanless Zucchini Hummus
-- Avocado, Endive and Apple Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
-- Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Artichoke Dip
-- Couscous with Seven Veggies
-- Coconut Cardamom Sweet Potatoes
-- Hot and Sour Swiss Chard
-- Baked Parmesan Tomatoes
-- Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
-- Roasted Eggplant Dip
-- Tzatziki Cucumber Dip
-- Chopped Salad Al Tonno (I think I'd add more tomatoes and some chopped roasted red peppers to this, too.)
-- Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Veggies
-- Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad
-- Shrimp Cobb Salad
-- Middle Eastern Chickpea Platter
-- Green Goddess Salad
-- Spicy Green Salad With Soy And Roasted Garlc Dressing
-- Rainbow Chopped Salad

Plus, lots more from past posts:

-- Thanksgiving and Holiday Recipes
-- Greek Rice Salad
-- Burrito In A Bowl
-- Tailgating and Potluck Recipes
-- Crockpot Recipe-O-Rama
-- Is It Soup Season Yet?
-- Crockpot Dal, Exotic Spicy Veggie Variation
-- Just Add Avocado
-- Squashed?  Zucchini Recipe Round-Up
-- A Caprese Revelation
-- The Deliciousness Of Summer

(Photo via Martin Cathrae.)


musicsleuth said...

Yum. Thanks for sharing the recipes! I've been working on a similar goal for adding more veggies in the family diet. Our CSA helps, but it ends in November and doesn't start up again until April. Roasted veggies are really versatile -- I often make a roasted vegetable soup where I add some chicken broth after roasting fall veggies with lots of garlic. I'm also reminded of Alton Brown's roasted veggie cream cheese recipe.

Another thought -- and it works for portion control, too -- are bento boxes. Portion control is my biggest weight loss challenge, and bento cookbooks and blogs have been a great inspiration -- especially when I have to eat on the run. Saves money and much healthier than the fast food options. You also have to love cute food :-)

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Portion control is really a tough one for me as well. One thing that I've found helpful is to eat most of my meals off the salad plates instead of the humongous regular dishes -- the appropriate-sized portion doesn't look so dinky that way.