Veg Up Your Meals
We all know plant based foods (like vegetables, fruit, beans, chickpeas and lentils) are so good for us, but sometimes they just aren’t as appealing or convenient as other foods. Here are some ideas on how to get more of them into your day!
• Grate carrot or zucchini and add it into mince sauces or into meat dishes. You can also add more finely diced veggies like fresh tomato’s, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, without really tasting them too much!
• Use lentils, chickpeas, white/red/black beans instead of meat in your meals sometimes! They taste great in stir-fries, salads, casseroles, stews etc.
• Halve the amount of pasta you use in pasta dishes and add corn, peas, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, or grated carrot or zucchini to bulk up the meal. Top with your favourite pasta sauce.
• Process or grate some cauliflower, fry it up in a fry pan, and add it into your cooked rice. Or you can use it as a rice replacement!
• Chop up and boil your favourite veggies, and top with a fresh pasta sauce
• Make vegetable kebabs to cook with your BBQ
• Boil cauliflower, parsnip or pumpkin in with your potatoes when you are making mash (using less potatoes and include some of these other veggies)
• Spiralise vegetables like carrots, zucchini and pumpkin to use instead of pasta! Or you can use as noodles or to make salads more interesting
• Make salads more tasty by adding your favourite roast veggies, some nuts, chickpeas/beans/rice/quinoa and drizzle with a little olive oil
• Instead of wraps or tacos, use vegetable leaves to wrap food. Like lettuce or cabbage leaves, and fill them with rice, lentils, kidney beans, grated veggies and some avocado or salsa.
• Make a quick salsa by cutting up tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs and serve with vegetable sticks.
• Use less beef or chicken in a stir-fry or meat dish, and bulk up the dish with some veggies instead. Cubed zucchini, chopped mushrooms, stripped capsicum, cubed eggplant, cubed pumpkin, diced broccoli make a great substitute.
• Make savoury muffins using half the amount of flour and add more vegetables like grated onion or carrots, corn, spinach, zucchini or pumpkin. Even better, make vegetable frittata muffins, using vegetables and eggs for added protein. www.Taste.com has some great recipes
• Cut up raw carrot, celery, cucumber, capsicum, zucchini, long beans as veggie sticks and enjoy with natural hummus or tzatziki dips (check my recipe section for a hummus recipe)
• Puréed peas, or pureed canned beans also make a great dip.
• Instead of flour, use pumpkin, potato or lentils to thicken a casserole dish.
• Instead of using pastry for the top of a pie, use mashed potato to top it.
• Fill your own sushi with finely sliced carrots, capsicum, cucumber, strip zucchini, avocado and home cooked rice/quinoa. Avocado or tahini will help stick the sushi together.
• Use less processed meats in sandwiches and add more freshness! Beetroot, grated carrot, fresh tomato, cucumber, avocado etc.
• Use avocado as a spread instead of butter or margarine.
• Chop up banana, kiwifruit, apples, pears, oranges or strawberries into bite size pieces and make fruit kebab sticks. Serve with a plain yoghurt dipping sauce.
• Sprinkle cinnamon and some oatmeal on apples, pears or bananas and bake them for 15-20 minutes for a healthy dessert.
• Instead of the usual cakes or muffins, make fruit platters for morning, afternoon tea or for any celebration. Chop watermelon, pineapple, kiwi or orange wedges, grapes, bananas, strawberries, berries or any fruit that is in season.
• Make a vegetable and fruit smoothie. Recipe here Fruit, Veg & Protein Smoothie
• Freeze grapes for a summer treat, or for fun ice blocks
• Add sliced banana, berries or grated apple to porridge or oats
Try a new vegetable every week to see if you like it! Google recipes which use the new vegetable, and give it a go. I never knew that I loved eggplant until a couple of years ago when I tried it in a casserole dish.