If you’re like me, you don’t eat enough vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, which nutritionists say are the healthiest. The problem is that vegetables are pretty boring, and I don’t know what to do with most of them. Here are some cool ways to incorporate them in recipes often without even noticing, so the pickiest eaters in your family will be happy:
Make savory oatmeal
Oatmeal is usually eaten sweet, but it’s way healthier when it’s savory. Cook oats in water and then mix in steamed or sauteed veggies, like spinach, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, or all three. Season well with salt and pepper. For a really dressed-up breakfast, lunch, or dinner (because you can eat savory oatmeal any time), add a poached or fried egg and Parmesan cheese.
Add spinach to spaghetti
One of the easiest ways to eat more spinach is to add it to your spaghetti. If you dislike the green taste, the stronger flavors of tomato and garlic will mask the spinach. Just add the greens raw and stir into the sauce; the heat will wilt the leaves.
Blend up greens into smoothies
A fan of smoothies? Blend a handful of spinach or kale into your favorite recipe for a quick serving or two of vegetables. There will probably be little flecks of green, which you may not love at first, but you’ll get used to them. Odds are you won’t even taste the greens either, especially if you’re using stronger flavors like bananas, berries, and/or nut butter.
Mix veggies into mac ‘n cheese and other casseroles
Mac ‘n cheese is an ideal vehicle for vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and more. All those ingredients taste really good coated in melted cheese, and they add much-needed nutritional value to the classic meal. Veggies also go really well in casseroles, especially shredded zucchini and other squashes. They add fiber and when shredded finely, they cook really fast and won’t change the casserole’s original bake time. Squash will probably add moisture, so be sure to squeeze them really well or adjust the other liquid ingredients.
Add veggie purees to soups and chili
Need to thicken a soup or chili? Add pureed vegetables. A blend of tomatoes, greens, and cooked carrot or squash has the necessary heft to thicken up chicken soup or any chili without radically changing the taste. It’s also way healthier than trying to use flour or cornstarch for thickening.
Blend up burgers with veggies
If you have some mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, or spinach lying around, stick them into ground beef and make a burger. They’ll help the patty keep its shape while also adding more nutrients. If you’re adding raw shredded zucchini, just remember that particular veggie adds a lot of moisture, so dry really well before blending with the meat.
Experiment with baked goods
You’d be surprised by the number of veggie brownie, muffin, and bread recipes available Spinach and zucchini are probably the most popular green to add to baked goods, especially chocolate ones, because the strong cocoa flavor masks the vegetable taste. The veggies also add moisture, so brownies in particular are deliciously moist. Even if you have family who won’t eat any of the other recipes, try adding greens to baked goods. They won’t be able to tell.
Why is spinach so healthy? Click here to find out.