I love veggies, but eating organic fresh veggies can be difficult and expensive. Especially in the winter months when non-seasonal veggies are in high demand! So here are my top 10 ways to easily incorporate easy to find veggies into delicious meals.
1) Wrap It Up – Recently I’ve become obsessed with wrapping my food. Yes, wrapping it. Like my spiced lamb burger wrapped in a blanched (boiled quickly then submerged in an ice bath – store in the fridge for up to a week). collard green leaf with red onion and this AMAZING tzatziki dip/sauce. That sneaky wrap is full of added nutrients, and adds a delightful texture and crunch. Use collard leaves to wrap ANYTHING, from chicken, to tuna salad, it’s easy, healthy and delicious. Bonus – Last week I wrapped a salmon filet in paper thin zucchini before pan sautéing it in garlic, olive oil and spices. It was crispy, sweet and salty – see the main image – served it over roasted tomato & onion organic orzo. YUM!
2) Smoothies – Spinach is a great source of phytonutrients and vitamins, it’s also a super easy way to “healthify” a smoothie. Add a handful of spinach to pineapple, avocado, lime juice and coconut water to make my Favorite Smoothie! Don't forget your Arbonne protein powder for an added boost!
3) Sneaky Mama™ – My kids will easy a few veggies without a fight, but for some reason the basic peas and carrots are like kryptonite for them! Spring peas & carrots are so fresh and full of flavor, I love using them to sneak nutrition into my kids food. Try my recipe for easy Pea Pesto, or put a carrot or two into the pot of boiling pasta, then remove (with some of the water) and puree and add to the tomato sauce before dressing the pasta.
4) Salad ON Everything – Got a carb craving? Why not try salad on pizza or a crostini? I love a nice arugula salad with shaved fennel and parmesan on organic flat bread with a lemon garlic oil drizzle. Don’t stop there, put salad on top of fish, chicken and pasta. Spinach and arugula are the best toppers. Add in tomatoes, fresh herbs, mushrooms, onion, and avocado for an extra boost. Try grilling a piece of chicken, slice, and top with a chopped tomato, onion, basil, arugula and avocado salad with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Super easy. Super delicious.
5) Juice & Pulp – I love to juice veggies (and herbs) – beets, carrots, zucchini, squash, spinach, ginger, cucumber, etc. Some veggies leave behind usable pulp after juicing. Try juicing a skinned beet, zucchini, apple and carrot. Take the pulp and make delicious Morning Glory muffins (I love to use GF pancake mix as the base and add protein powder to the mix for an extra morning boost). You can also juice zucchini and/or beets and use the juice and pulp in brownie mix. It will help keep the brownies moist, and you’ll never know the extra veggies are in there! Drink the juice with your muffins and double down on veggie goodness. My favorite Juicer…
6) Roast the Skins – After you peel carrots, turnips or potatoes, what do you do with the skin? Most people throw them away… I toss them in a little avocado oil, salt & pepper, and roast them up (400 degrees for ~11 – 14 minutes). Makes a great snack, or a crispy topper to any meal (salad, soup or main dish!). Save the skin, add nutrition, make it deliciously crispy. Win, Win, Win.
7) Grill Everything – People think I’m crazy when I tell them I grill everything… I love to grill. I love the flavor, and how the grill helps to hold on to the nutrition in food. It’s also an excuse to get outside and breath some fresh air. So what do I grill? Everything from sweet potatoes to apples & pears, to watermelon, pineapple, zucchini, squash, carrots, asparagus, leeks, onion, fennel, mushrooms, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers and corn. Try everything. Toss savory veggies in light avocado oil, salt and pepper before grilling. Add garlic or cayenne pepper for added flavor. For apples & pears, try tossing in coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt before grilling for a sweet and caramelized treat with no added sugar! Get outside and get grillin’.
8) Mix Up Stir Fry – Don’t get stuck making the same old stir fry over and over again. Try new ingredients. Make an Asian mix with snow/snap peas, mushrooms, bok choy, grated garlic & ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha and add in some shrimp or chicken for a full meal. Sometimes I make Italian stir fry with cubes of pancetta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, spinach, and toss it with cubed chicken or even cubed pancetta (vegetarian). Mix it up. Think outside the box and use what you’ve got!
9) Mama Mia! – Who said pasta is BAD for you?! Use an organic semolina pasta, or brown rice (lentil, chickpea and organic corn/potato works too) and mix with sautéed garlic, onion, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, carrots, and fresh/dried Italian herbs for a nutrient dense Pasta Primavera! The more veggies the better. Quick tip: Add the kale/spinach or other leafy greens at the end so they don't get too over cooked.
10) Dip It – A few years ago I had the amazing experience of eating a 7 course meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The first course was a trio of raw veggies. Yeah, I had the same thought, “this is all I get for $200 a plate?”… but then I realize these tiny morsels were sprayed with a light salt water before be being served. They also brought out some sort of caramelized vegan onion dip that blew my mind. Carrots, radishes and asparagus were transformed into a 5 star appetizer before my eyes. Let’s try it at home! I love this Tzatziki recipe that highlights the anti-inflammatory rock-star veggie: cucumbers. For those of you in warmer climates, eating raw veggies with a cool dip is an easy and healthy way to cool & soothe.
Follow Small Hinges @smallhinges on Instagram and me, @LindzONeill to share what you're making! Enjoy
Love & yum,