Tired of Arugula.
January 27, 2010 12:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm awful at eating vegetables. Any way I can increase my veggie intake to 8 servings a day without eating a bajillion salads? I like soups and smoothies, but I need recipes.

I eat salad nearly every day for lunch, but especially in the winter, when I want warm foods, it's hard to rev up the motivation to eat a chilly meal. I'm considering packing veggies into a smoothie maker, but have no idea what will actually taste okay and what will be gross.

Because I'm cutting out lots of complex carbs and sugar, I need recipes that don't make use of fruit and pasta, which give me cravings for far worse foods like candy and chocolate. I love anything spicy, like V8 with tabasco, and I hate, hate, hate eggplant.

How do you cram in those 6-8 servings when you'd rather just munch on toast instead?
posted by Viola to Food & Drink (58 answers total) 128 users marked this as a favorite
The Green Monster smoothies are actually pretty good. There are a ton of recipes on the site that users have submitted.
posted by kerning at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have any recipes but I'd suggest you get a Vegan cookbook and, when making dinner, pick a recipe that would go well the main part of the meal (meat/fish I'm assuming) and make half a portion as a side.
posted by griphus at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2010

What about steamed/sauteed vegetables? I think broccoli, broccolini, and any leafy vegetable (kale, spinach, chard, etc) steamed or sauteed in a little butter or olive oil is a nice vegetable intake. A little parmesan cheese on top if you must?
posted by jckll at 12:43 PM on January 27, 2010

For snacking, baby carrots are quite good and crispy. Instead of keeping chips at my desk, I'll keep carrots and/or a banana instead. There's also vegetable juice like V-8, if you can tolerate it.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:46 PM on January 27, 2010

Start here.

The Moosewood Restaurant's "Daily Special" is called thus because every day they have a "soup of the day" and a "salad of the day," and the "daily special" is a cup of the soup and a bowl of the salad. So this is nothing but salads and soups.

But don't think "salad" just means "leafy green" or "cold." Sometimes you can have a warm salad (grilled portobello mushroom sliced on a bed of spinach and then tossed so the spinach wilts just a little, for instance), and sometimes you can have a salad that's a main dish (there are more than a few "salads" in here that incorporate beans and grains).

And then there's a ton of soup recipes of every description -- "main dish" soups (ones which incorporate beans and some grains), "side dish soups" (just vegetables and nothing but), "creamy soups" (lots of cream-of-whatever), chilled soups, and seafood soups. And the best thing about Moosewood is that their soup recipes seem to follow the general formula of "start with a soup stock and cram as many different vegetables in there as you possibly can".

There's also a little chapter for various salad dressings, rolls, and suchlike in the back. The idea is that you pair a soup with a salad and then maybe have a roll or something to go with it, and there's a complete meal. Even if you are really strict about cutting out everything with pasta and eggplant, you'll still have a lot to draw from.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Stir fry! If you want it to be really easy, you can usually get bags of frozen mixed veggies specifically for stir-fry at the grocery store. And then add what you want. Pretty easy, yummy, and warm.
posted by greta simone at 12:48 PM on January 27, 2010

Have you tried roasting vegetables? Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, peppers, onions, uh... pretty much anything non-leafy can turn warm, cozy, and earthy-sweet when roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I preheat the oven to 425 before I start making dinner, throw in a pan of, say chopped broccoli and onion or cauliflower and garlic, and in the 25-30 minutes it takes to make the rest of the meal, the vegetables roast. Just keep an eye on them so they don't overcook.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2010 [9 favorites]

Gah, I reread your question and saw that you don't want recipes with fruit. So maybe the green monster smoothies aren't the best idea for you. Sorry about that! But they are remarkably good for something that has 2 cups of spinach in it (i hate spinach)
posted by kerning at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010

As an alternative to steaming, try roasting in the oven. I had a hard time eating vegetables, until it dawned on me that I prefer them crunchy instead of soft. Roasted broccoli with parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice? Mmmm. (And using the oven warms up the kitchen a bit, as a bonus on dark winter days.)

I also second a vegan cookbook, as well as freezing meals that you can just reheat when you're feeling lazy. I'm not too sure on which vegetables do the best in the fridge, but if you go through some OAMC (once-a-month-cooking) websites or blogs, you could definitely find a few.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2010

I wouldn't freak out about how many servings you're supposed to eat. One serving a day is more than most people (including me!) do.

That being said, roasted broccoli/asparagus with garlic and Parmesan is excellent. As are green beans fried in a little olive oil.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:56 PM on January 27, 2010

Sweet potatoes! Much healthier than a regular potato (I've seen it described as the perfect food, somewhere...), very versatile, and so yummy! There was a question asking about sweet potato fries earlier today, as well.

Roasted veggies as well are so much better than boiled. I hate cauliflower, but actually really like it roasted. Crank the oven up to 425, toss the cut up veggies in a little olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, and throw then in the oven for 25-35 min, depending on the veggie. They're supposed to be a little black, trust me.
posted by cgg at 12:56 PM on January 27, 2010

Seconding stir frying. There are all kinds of different sauces, and things are quick to make and hard to mess up. You can put in just a bit of rice or egg or rice noodles to make it more substantial without being too carb heavy. Plus, you can make them as spicy as you want. (which for me is not very...)
posted by ropeladder at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2010

I throw a handful of spinich in a blender with frozen strawberries, milk, and a banana for breakfast every morning. Can't even taste it.
posted by jasondbarr at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2010

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Stew

about 300g of smoked bacon
one large coarsely chopped onion
one half a head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
one can of chicken broth
four to six (depending upon size) coarsely chop tomatoes
one quarter of a cup of brown sugar
one half a teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
one tablespoon lemon juice (I use three as I like strong flavours)
one tablespoon garlic (I generally use three, sometimes more)
two small cans of tomato paste

to taste
Freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan bring chicken broth to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, add tomato paste, lemon juice, paprika, allspice, brown sugar, pepper, salt and tomatoes. Keep warm until needed. Meanwhile, cook bacon until done but still stringy (not crisp). Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are translucent. Drain if you like (I never fully drain) then add this mix to to chicken broth / veggie mixture, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Stir every five to ten minutes, adding more spices and sugar if needed. Makes four servings, can scale up easily. I've made this without chicken or bacon as well; sub a very nice vegetable or fish stock and coarsely chopped bell peppers.

Drop the sugar if you like - I've run out before this dish has still gone down a treat.

Very good with brown bread and butter on the side.

Just made it for Mrs Mutant this evening ... all gone and she's a fussy eater.
posted by Mutant at 12:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

How about making a batch of vegetable chili, which you can re-heat and eat with something healthy, like whole wheat pita chips (or you can eat it on its own)? You can pack a lot of veggies into chili - plenty of legumes, and carrots, tomato, bell peppers, onion, garlic, maybe even some chopped spinach or other greens?
posted by raztaj at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2010

I try to sneak spinach into everything: eggs in the morning, a roast beef tortilla rollup for lunch, etc. Instead of cheese & crackers I have cheese & celery. I just try to sneak veggies into everything.
posted by Doohickie at 1:06 PM on January 27, 2010

Tomato juice? An 8-ounce glass has three servings of veggies....
posted by miyabo at 1:06 PM on January 27, 2010

You know those recipes and ideas for sneaking veggies into food so toddlers eat them? I do that for myself. Things like this. Ground spinach or carrot or parsnip disappears into almost anything. I make casseroles quite often in winter and you can throw in all kids of veggies cut up small (even leafy stuff that's going to wilt away like bok choy), use less meat than normal and make sure it has a tasty sauce of some kind to cover the veggies (barbeque sauce and a tin of beans works well in a crockpot, lots of herbs and garlic and tomato works will when going in the oven). Actually beans are a good addition in general, they go very well with hearty winter food. Or I make pizza and sneak things like asparagus and capsicum on there along with the pepperoni and cheese.

Otherwise I just make lots of stirfry. You can just stirfry the vegetables themselves with some thai chilly sauce (get the kind with garlic and ginger) as a side dish or you can go crazy adding whatever else you like.

Oh and vegetarian chilli, made with beans and corn and bulgar wheat. So good. I can post a recipe for that this evening. There are a bajillion types of vegetable soup, I can look up my favourite sweet potato soup recipe when I find the chilli one. Cook a big batch ahead of time and freeze in aliquots to heat up later.
posted by shelleycat at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2010

Get Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody or Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. You can get either one online for about $25, which will quickly pay for itself if it encourages you to cook at home rather than go to restaurants. Each of them has a vegetables section in the middle of the book with a few pages devoted to each vegetable, in alphabetical order. You get general advice on how to choose/store/cook the vegetables, followed by recipes that feature them. Try some of the recipes. (Most of them don't rely on pasta.)

But don't just try the recipes as written; adapt them. You can combine multiple recipes to have more vegetables. For instance, I'll automatically add asparagus or portabello mushrooms or tomatoes or canned artichokes to a vegetable-based recipe because I like eating them, they're versatile, and I often have them around. Maybe you don't like some of those vegetables, but once you start using recipes you'll get more of a feel for which vegetables you prefer to cook.

Another example: perhaps the most famous vegetarian, non-pasta, non-salad recipe that consists of lots of vegetables is ratatouille. You might see the recipe and reject it out of hand because it has eggplant in it. Well, if the recipe has eggplant + onions + garlic + tomatoes + bell peppers + zucchini, there are enough other vegetables in it that you can take out the eggplant. The rest will be fine on its own. "Ratatouille" is more a method than a specific recipe: roast or saute lots of vegetables mixed together with spices and olive oil. You could use more zucchini to compensate. Or add squash, mushrooms, leeks, carrots, asparagus...

Of course, those Bittman and Madison books have lots of soups -- a very nutritious way to get lots of vegetables. As Bittman notes, this is a good type of recipe to start with because it involves a lot of basic cooking principes, but it's also very forgiving. Here's an amazing and healthy soup recipe (I made it this past Christmas as part of our holiday dinner and it was a big hit -- try adding nutmeg).

Another idea -- though this doesn't technically solve your problem of wanting recipes free of complex carbs, I wonder if substituting quinoa for pasta might be useful. It's more nutritious, but it serves a similar function of giving something to organize the veggies around. If you're interested, it's really easy: simmer 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water (or vegetable stock) for 20 mins. Meanwhile, cook some veggies, and mix everything together in the end w/ seasonings.

Since you like spicy foods, a tip: when a recipe involves sauteing, you can almost always add crushed red pepper while you're heating the olive oil even if the recipe doesn't call for it. Tabasco sauce, as you mentioned, can go in just about anything at the end. Cayenne pepper is also useful if you want something in powder form. You might also want to get some curry powder and look for vegetable-based Indian recipes.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:14 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just realized you're not necessarily on a vegetarian diet, so this sentence -- "Another example: perhaps the most famous vegetarian, non-pasta, non-salad recipe that consists of lots of vegetables is ratatouille" -- should not have the word "vegetarian." All the rest of my advice -- including the advice to get vegetarian cookbooks -- still applies.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2010

2nd-ing roast vegetables. Any combo of sweet and/or white potatoes, squash, carrots, onions, and add some chopped, partially cooked bacon as the cooking fat. Toss occasionally a sit roasts. Brussel sprouts roasted with bacon is my current potluck favorite.

V-8 juice

Bloody Marys

For lunch I had some garbanzo, chorizo and kale soup. Tasty. Kale is fantastic in soups.

I roasted a turkey breast and didn't have a roasting pan, so I laid the turkey breast on a bed of carrots. best carrots ever. Now I roast carrots in concentrated chicken broth and a little olive oil.

Raw veggies and dip. Cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper, cabbage, carrots, etc., dipped in salad dressing, usually ranch because it's not too messy.
posted by theora55 at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2010

(1) Here is a quick, very easy, spicy, warming, veggie-filled lunch or light dinner that we've been eating a lot lately:

Per person

- 1 cup light veggie broth -- you can use the kind from a box, or bouillon, or miso
- about a teaspoon of minced ginger
- 2 baby bok choi, both white and green parts, cut into 1"-2" pieces
- 1/4 medium onion, sliced very thin
- about half a cup of chopped protein of your choice -- cooked chicken, tofu, whatever
- a hearty squirt of sriracha or glob of chili-garlic sauce
- some chopped cilantro

Heat the broth and ginger in a covered pan while you chop the bok choi, onion, and protein. Toss them in, re-cover, and let cook just a couple of minutes. Take off heat and stir in the hot sauce and cilantro. Eat.

(2) We, too, eat enormous quantities of roast vegetables, and I think they are a great way to add a vegetable side dish to any meal. Often I'll roast an assortment of vegetables and make some kind of grain (quinoa is handy if you're trying to avoid overdoing it with simple carbs), mix them together, and dress the whole thing up with a sauce. This could be a spicy peanut sauce like you might use for peanut noodles; or something with lemon, olive oil, and harissa; or something tomato-based; or whatever.
posted by redfoxtail at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Like others have said, roasted veggies are awesome, especially when it's cold out. The only difficult part is trying to get the veggie pieces cut in roughly the same size. You can roast everything: potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts (they're SO much tastier prepared this way!), asparagus, squash slices, beets. The recipe is easily adaptable for seasonings and glazes, too, if you like. Sesame seeds, parmesan cheese, and nuts are also good to try with various things (be aware that nuts will need to be toasted separately; they'll burn in the oven at those temps.) They'll likely need more salt than you expect.

My favorite veggie right now is roasted sweet potato fries: Cut them in 1/2" wide sticks. I soak them in water for about 10 minutes to get some of the starch off and to encourage crispness; some recipes say 30 minutes. Drain them really well, and then toss with olive oil, salt, a healthy dose of oregano, and chili powder or red pepper flakes. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for ~30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. If you cut them thinner, keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Serve with mayo (I like to add minced garlic and chopped cilantro to mine, and let it chill while the potatoes roast).
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Veggie "fries".

Standard procedure is:

Preheat to 350F.
Cut vegetables up in to fry-sized sticks.
Toss with a bit of olive oil and any seasoning you want on them.
Bake, stirring ocassionally, until they reach an appropriate level of done.

For wetter veggies (ie: zucchini), you can coat them in bread crumbs after tossing them in olive oil.

Root vegetables make good veggie fries. Sweet potato, yam, celeriac, parsnip, etc.

Also: search the internets for "kale chips". Tasty things, those.
posted by burntflowers at 1:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, you can get water out of the "wetter" veggies that burntflowers mentions by slicing and salting the veggies. Let them hang out in a colander for a bit to drain. You'd do this to sliced zucchini if you use it as a substitute for pasta in lasagna, or to cabbage before adding it to potstickers.
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2010

Why not pile whatever veggies you like into a crustless quiche? I use all sorts of different vegetables, lightly sauteed or steamed if they contain lots of moisture, whatever odds and ends I have of cheese, then pour on 1 cup of evaporated skim milk mixed with one cup of eggbeaters. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the temperature to 300 degrees for another 30-35 minutes. Leftover quiche is delicious reheated in a microwave.
posted by DrGail at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't want to undermine all the helpful info here, but I have heard it said (from various experts in various contexts) that, with the exception of potatoes in general, carrots and (maybe) spinach, pretty much every vegetable is more nutritious when served raw.

Learn to love that daily salad, loaded with nuts, fruit, good cheese, maybe some leftover meat (it doesn't have to be boring).
posted by philip-random at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2010

with the exception of potatoes in general, carrots and (maybe) spinach, pretty much every vegetable is more nutritious when served raw.

Even if that's true, that doesn't mean it would be more nutritious for the OP to stick to raw vegetables. If eating cooked vegetables is much more enjoyable for her, then she'll eat more vegetables that way, which is more nutritious than unenthusiastically eating the occasional salad because that's supposedly what's good for you.

Anyway, this website details the health benefits of specific foods, with veggies listed first. They give recommendations for how to prepare each one, and many involve cooking. Personally, I don't worry about these details -- I mostly figure: the more veggies, the better. But you can look at that site if you're concerned about the nutritional effects of cooking. For instance, here's the rundown on cooking garlic:
Crush then cook garlic cloves lightly for the most health benefits, say Agricultural Research Service scientists. Garlic's heart-protective phytonutrients-its allicin and thiosulfinates- help lower blood pressure and break up clumps of potentially artery-clogging platelets in the bloodstream. Until now, most researchers assumed eating raw whole garlic bulbs would provide the most phytonutrient activity, but when they boiled (3 minutes), baked (200 degrees C) and microwaved both crushed and uncrushed garlic cloves, they discovered that crushing, which frees garlic's beneficial compounds, is responsible for most of its health benefits. Although cooking for 10 minutes completely suppressed garlic's phytonutrient actions, lightly cooking garlic was no problem-except for microwaving, which almost entirely stripped garlic of its blood-thinning effects.

posted by Jaltcoh at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding or whatever, roasting vegetables, in particular, broccoli which 1000 times better than broccoli in any other state.

WBB (World's Best Broccoli) by JLM named by CBM (now age 9)
Preheat the oven to 450

Cut up a head of broccoli into florets. Peel the thick stem and cut it in quarters.

Spread them out on a cooking tray with a lip.

brush everything with olive oil - no need to over do it, you don't want it too wet.

sprinkle kosher salt over broccoli.

cook for 5-6 minutes. Take out, turn over, cook for another 5 minutes.

Delicious. Even delicious cold. Bet you could eat the whole bunch yourself.
posted by nnk at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I've been trying to sneak more vegetables into my own food lately. We try not to eat much pasta either, but I still love tomato sauce, and steamed (or even nuked, I like it mushy) cauliflower makes a perfect replacement pasta. For that matter, I like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and spinach cooked into my tomato sauce now. If you object to the chunkiness, go after it with an immersion blender. You can do the same with chili (steam and mush the vegetables separately and then add if you don't want the chunks).

I make asian-ish chicken (soy, ginger, sriracha) and serve with vegetables over shredded cabbage instead of rice. I love raw cabbage and will snack on it, but you can lightly steam yours if you want a softer base. In a pinch, I use bagged cole slaw (or broccoli slaw).
posted by Lyn Never at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2010

Roasted vegetables are really yummy. I didn't see my favorites listed above, but parsnips and rutabagas in particular get very sweet and delicious.

Also, green beans are good roasted. This recipe looks about right except I use garlic salt instead of plain. I can eat an entire cookie sheet of these for dinner, they are so good.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:40 PM on January 27, 2010

i stole this soup from gordon ramsay.

fresh broccoli
cut the crowns off
put them in a pan of already boiling water, add salt
cover and boil for 3-5 minutes
put broccoli and the water in the blender/food processor, puree it
add some pepper (ramsay adds goat cheese, walnuts, and olive oil too)

it's the simplest and tastiest damn soup in the world. if i want something a little heartier, i add a baked potato to it. sometimes i'll also put in onion and garlic with the boil and blend it with the soup.

to give you a break from the salads (and you can prepare a lot of it ahead of time so you can just grab it out of the fridge for lunches) - couscous tabouli - it's also totally customizable for the veggies and proportions you like.

make couscous (start with 2-3 cups dry) - refrigerate it until it is cool - not in the pan you cooked it in - you'll want to fluff it first.
throw a bunch of parsley in the food processor (i buy a prebundled bunch at the store and use 1/2-2/3)
add 1-4 cloves of garlic (we go for 4)
give it 3 or 4 spins around
deseed a bell pepper or two, put in the food processor
chop an english cucumber into 4 or 5 pieces, put in the food processor
another 3 or 4 spins
2 or 3 stalks of green onion/scallion (i cut these first with just a pair of scissors straight into the processor)
a bag of on the vine cherry tomatoes (or any kind of tomato, really - but you want ones that you can smell - most grocery store tomatoes taste like almost nothing and are too watery)
chop up the whole mixture to your desired consistency (i make mine like a chunky salsa)
add to the couscous
either make a tabouli dressing (1/2 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup olive oil, pepper, any other spices you like) or do what i do and just buy a vinagrette at the store that you like.
add the dressing to the couscous/veggie mixture. i use probably less than a quarter of a cup, but some people like it more dressed than that.
let sit in the fridge for at least and hour.
before you serve, add a little feta and/or shaved parmesan and a little pepper

-all that sounds more complicated than it is - basically, make and cool couscous, chop the fresh veggies you like, mix it all together with a little dressing, cool, eat. it's really, really delicious.
posted by nadawi at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2010

Soups are great, especially if you don't like salads.

One I do a lot:

Cream of broccoli with no cream:

saute an onion, leek, or even better a bunch of scallions
add a clove of garlic
add a splash of white wine
simmer for a bit
add a small sliced potato and a bunch of chopped up broccoli, reserving one of the florets
Add canned chicken broth or bouillon
Cook for half an hour, add salt, pepper, nutmeg
Chop up that little reserved floret and stir it in and heat for a brief period (the little bits are going to make it look prettier

One thing that will improve your soups is garnishing. Little garlic croutons, a swirl of hot sauce, a pat of butter, a few pieces of bacon -- all of it makes the whole thing more appealing.

As for roasting vegetables, which is mentioned above and is both easy and great: if you roast broccoli, a mixture of half rice vinegar and half soy sauce is really nice to have on the side.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:40 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Another thing in the 'simple garnishing makes things much better' category is compound mustard butter. I know! It sounds complicated. But it's not.

You let some butter get soft, you mix it with with a little mustard to taste, a pinch of garlic, some parsley, and black pepper. Over almost any vegetable, but especially broccoli (I don't know why I keep invoking broccoli) it's lovely. A teensy bit of lemon juice in there might be good too.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:43 PM on January 27, 2010

A lot of the recipes on Tastespotting are vegetarian, and it's hard not to get inspired by the beautiful photography. I like it because the recipes come from all over the internet, so you're not just stuck leafing (pun intended) through one person's blog if you don't fancy their particular tastes.
posted by carlh at 3:51 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a huge and vocal fan of A Veggie Venture's Alphabet of Vegetables, which taught me what to do with veggies. For pretty much any vegetable in the world, just look it up and she's got a bunch of recipes for it. Super handy!
posted by ErikaB at 4:36 PM on January 27, 2010

As a vegetarian, I have sympathy for your problem. Eating the same vegetables the same way night after night kills any desire to eat them at all. Salad drives me crazy. What ended up working for me was taking inspiration from cuisines that are very vegetable heavy. Asian food in general, and specifically Indian, Thai, Korean, and some Japanese and Chinese dishes do a lot of interesting things with vegetables.

You might have good luck with curries in particular; just go easy on the side of rice if you're watching carbs.

As for recipes, I've had really good luck with Madhur Jaffrey and the Complete India and Complete Japan series. Madhur Jaffrey's book is useful in particular because it is organised by main ingredient, making using up whatever you have laying around pretty easy.
posted by zug at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

with the exception of potatoes in general, carrots and (maybe) spinach,pretty much every vegetable is more nutritious when served raw.

Scientific American says that aside from vitamin C content, not really.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2010

I was going to mention frittata, essentially what DrGail suggested. Or saute vegetables and add them to an omelet (don't know how well this keeps if you're packing it for lunch).

There's always fajitas, too, in high-fiber, low-carb wraps.
posted by lakeroon at 6:11 PM on January 27, 2010

Peel and Dice Carrots and saute them in a bit of butter and add some thyme. They will be delicious I guarantee. You could even add a touch of say lemon juice or a few drops of chipotle Tabasco as well.
posted by mmascolino at 6:52 PM on January 27, 2010

Minestrone soup! Here's how I do it:

Fry some garlic and onion until slightly brown
Dump in some veggie broth (store-bought)
Add in potatoes
Add in carrots and celery
Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 mins
Add in zucchini and tomatoes
Add in kidney beans (I use canned)
Add in dried oregano and fresh basil (or dried, if not available)
Simmer until the potatoes are soft
Add pepper, salt to taste

I cook it in a big pot on the weekend and then I have my lunch for the rest of the week. Prepare all your veggies first (e.g. chop, peel, mince, etc.). This takes about an hour to prepare, cook and simmer. I get a carton of veggie broth and put in about half. I add water if it seems like there's not enough liquid. Liquid will come out of the veggies too.
posted by foxjacket at 7:54 PM on January 27, 2010

I, too, am avoiding pasta. Soup is good, but it's nowhere near the texture of pasta. You want something to chew! Here are some suggestions that sort of mimic pasta, but you won't miss the carbs if you season well.

Cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half, add a tiny drizzle of olive oil, coarse salt, and pepper. Stir it up and then wait for a while, maybe ten minute. Stir again, pour off any oil at the bottom (or not), and add some basil (or not). If you want warmth, then throw the into a pan for a minute or two.

My number one suggestion, since you like spicy: Slice up a head of green cabbage and throw it in a pan or pot. Add a can of chicken soup and maybe some water. Cook it, adding water or stock when necessary, until it's done. At some point, loosen up a little (try 2 tablespoons) flour with some hot water. Basically, make a paste that won't clump up. Then throw it in. Finally: add profuse amounts of white pepper (better than black). Stir, stir, cook until cabbage is tender and the "sauce" is nice and thick.

Make a chunky tomato sauce without the pasta. Throw some tomatoes into a big pot, maybe with a little oil or butter. Onions or garlic if you have the time. Cover the pot (important) and cook medium-high until it looks nice. I throw a can of tuna, some chopped olives, and a little bit of shredded cheese to make a nice warm dish.

Cook some green peas or edamame. When they're done and soft, put them in a bowl and maybe mush them up a bit. Add cheese (ricotta is great with peas, with edamame I like parmigiano-reggiano). Then get some tasty greens like escarole, mint, shiso. Tightly roll a handful, then slice with a knife or (easier) scissors. Add pepper and salt.

Learn how to quick-pickle vegetables. Thinly slice 4 cucumbers into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well, then come back later. Maybe 30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and enjoy, or refrigerate. If you want more flavor, add hoisin and sriracha. Also good with a fried egg.

Experiment with olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt to find preparations of broccoli, kale, and spinach that suit you. You could also learn how to make a tiny bit of roux, then throw that into spinach or chard to thicken it a bit.
posted by acidic at 8:00 PM on January 27, 2010

Nthing the roasted veggies - but add that you should take the veggies out five minutes before they are done and drizzle some balsamic vinegar on them, then put them back. Sooo good. Jack Bishop (from Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen) has an Italian vegetarian cookbook that I've been pretty happy with, and he roasts fennel, carrots and red onions in the above manner.
I also really like wilted spinach salads (with some goat cheese, dried fruit and nuts) or goma-ae. Both are really yummy ways to eat a rather large quantity of spinach.

Also, this corn chowder recipe is one of my favorites - it's rather time consuming to prepare as there are a lot of veggies to cut (celery, onion, carrot, peppers, potato, sweet potato...) but it's really tasty, and if you read the comments, it's a very adaptable recipe (I always throw in more peppers, carrot and celery when I make it, and use 1 cup less broth. If you have time to blacken - toast? Cook it in a dry pan til it starts to blacken - the corn before you add it to the soup, it's worth it.) It's so good we only get four servings out of it.
And if you like tahini, this recipe is really tasty, much better than it sounds.
posted by queseyo at 8:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I second ErikaB's recommendation of A Veggie Venture. Every day for a year, she cooked a vegetable in a different way. The Alphabet of Vegetables is fantastic, but the recipes are also cross-categorized in other fun ways. See her Recipe Box for more info. The ones under 'favorites' are a good place to start!
posted by inkytea at 8:30 PM on January 27, 2010

I agree with those above who suggest green smoothies (I pack nearly 3 cups of raw spinach into mine and you really can't taste it) and also roasting vegetables.

Also, I just got a spiralizer and I LOVE it. I now have a zucchini every day cut into spaghetti-ish strands. I usually eat it topped with pasta sauce or chili, and it's just like eating spaghetti, only much healthier. I thought zucchini was one of those vegetables I didn't like, but it turns out I just don't like it cooked. I LOVE it raw and spiralized. The spiralizer also works with any other veggie (beets, carrots, etc) so you can make "pasta" from lots of different things.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 8:46 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

We've make roasted veggies with (quinoa or buckwheat) every week for a couple of years now and never grow tired of it. Some tips we've worked out along the way:
  • Boil the hard vegetables and you can cook them faster AND use the cooking water for broth (or cooking grains in).
  • Don't throw away the broccoli stem; chop and it up and cook it too.
  • Tossing with some oil and flavoring is essential. We pretty much always use: salt and pepper, oregano and rosemary ground to power, minced garlic, lemon juice and zest (you could substitute some minced sorrel leaves if you didn't want fruit), and olive oil. After they're roasted splash some more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Skip the dressing and throw it all in a crockpot, with the grains and water and some spices. Makes more of a stew or savory porridge (think Indian-style upma), but it's still tastes wonderful.
  • Kale
Advanced tips
  • Buy those weird looking vegetables you're always seeing at the farmers' market and try roasting them.
  • Try those vegetables you think you didn't like (I swear I thought I'd never eat brussels sprouts again, now I can't get enough of them!)
  • Try different dressings; any Asian, Caribbean, African, or whatever flavors you're interested in this week.
  • Themes. One time we only used vegetables that were blue or purple. Called it "Food Indigo" and while I feel sure it really looked awesome, I ate it too fast to get a good look.
  • Seaweed (dulse, nori, hijiki, wakame)
Starchy substitutes
  • Some high protein, low starch grains are quinoa (light fluffy, nutty, rinse first), amaranth (corny, dense), buckwheat (fluffy, nutty, not really a wheat), millet (slightly corny, thick, we use it instead of couscous with tomatoes and green onions and hummous), teff (still working with this one).
  • daikon radish and celeriac both survive better in soups than potatoes do.
  • Turnip and rutabaga were what they ate in europe in the middle ages before the discovery of potatoes (still working with these)
  • spaghetti squash

posted by wobh at 11:39 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Cauliflower is a great versatile vegetable that can be used basically anywhere potatoes would be. For example, you can make mashed cauliflower the same way you'd make mashed potatoes, and it's way better for you. Oven-roasted cauliflower is also good. I've even made cauliflower parmesan.
posted by albrecht at 6:59 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

A lot of people have mentioned roasting your vegies: go one better and have a roast vegetable salad, just to get in another vegetable.

Cut into chunks and roast at least 3 of these: parsnips, carrot, cauliflower, capsicum, sweet potato, potato, red onion, garlic (I don't actually eat the onion or garlic, it makes the rest taste good though). I've also tried broccoli (can only handle 10 mins roasting), and am going to try brussels sprouts and turnips sometime. About 40 minutes should do it, but you don't have to stand there and watch them, they're fine as long as you've got a timer.

While they're cooling a bit, rip up some leafy things and pile them up on a plate: lettuce, spinach, rocket, whatever. Make a dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wholegrain mustard. Pile the vegies on the salad, drizzle with dressing, toss to combine.

A little soft feta or parmesan, or some croutons, make a nice addition. It keeps ok in the fridge overnight if you leave the dressing off, but longer than that and the leafy stuff looks pretty tired. If it's not filling enough, you could grill a chop or a bit of chicken to go on the side.

If you've got a little more time, chop some beetroot into quarters, wrap it in alfoil with a drizzle of olive oil, and chuck it in the oven 20 mins before you roast the rest of the veg, leaving it in for the whole time. The skin should slip off when it's done, but it's a bit messy and you might end up with pink fingers. But it tastes so damn awesome that it's worth the effort.
posted by harriet vane at 7:15 AM on January 28, 2010

Thirding stir fry.

I lightly sauté broccoli with a bit of fresh crushed garlic & fresh sliced ginger and it's delicious. The trick is to not use a lot of oil & not cook it too long. You don't want your veggies to get limp and soggy.

I do this in a wok, but I'm sure doing it in a frying pan would work

You could also work in servings of veggies by getting a Juicer. Cucumbers (technically a fruit) and celery are very water and make for a good base & cut down on the bitterness of any leafy greens you may put in. Again, fresh ginger will give it a spicy kick, which I'm sure you'll like.

And keep the pulp that comes out of the juicer - you can use it as a soup thickener & the fiber is good for you.
posted by MesoFilter at 7:30 AM on January 28, 2010

I'm surprised no one has offered up powdered vegetable mixes. 1 tablespoon is equivalent to a vegetable serving. You can mix it with juice or protein powder or something. V8 drinks are bogus because the vegetables they add are of dubious nutritional value.

There are many different brands, but my favorite is New Chapter Berry Green. It's a mix of 20 or so fruits and vegetables, so you are getting nutrients that you won't get in a vitamin pill.

The downside is that it is expensive if you buy it at a healthfood store, so get it on amazon for half the price.
posted by SouthCNorthNY at 8:21 AM on January 28, 2010

V8 drinks are bogus because the vegetables they add are of dubious nutritional value.

Uh, not quite.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2010

(I'm assuming you mean V8 itself, which is basically tomato juice + other vegetables like spinach and beets. That's delicious, convenient, and reasonably nutritious -- though, as the link explains, not ideal. If you're talking about V8's line of fruit drinks, I would agree they're not very nutritious.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:35 AM on January 28, 2010

Nthing roasted cauliflower. It's one of my favorites. Toss with a little sauteed butter and garlic after.
On the whole, I'm not a fan of frozen vegetables, but I like a lot of the Green Giant varieties. That might be something you can zap quick in the microwave at work.
Campbell's makes a pretty decent lentil soup (nice with a little tobasco). Vegetarian chili is good.
posted by iceprincess324 at 9:42 AM on January 28, 2010

for a good canned lentil soup, i'd go with progressive over campbell's. i'd also use cock sauce instead of tabasco.
posted by nadawi at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2010

I find substituting white beans for pasta in soups & salads & such gives me that satisfying starchy/creamy mouthfeel thing.

Also, a really great raw kale recipe (the citrus "cooks" the kale, like ceviche):

Kale, Blood Orange and Hazelnut Salad

1 1/2 lbs Tuscan Black Kale, or regular kale, stems and ribs removed, leaves shredded
4 blood oranges, segmented, juice reserved (you can use any kind of citrus)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine kale, oranges, and hazelnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil, and reserved orange juice; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
posted by judith at 9:56 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I didn't love-love vegetables until I discovered roasting all of them, particularly the cruciferous stuff. Sooo much better than the standard steamed and doused in heavy cheese sauce deal I knew growing up, and better for you to boot. You get the crunch and the flavor and yes, most importantly, the heat during those cold months. Here's a curried example from eGullet:

Curried Roasted Cauliflower with Red Onion and Chickpeas

1 head cauliflower, white or green
1 red onion, quartered and sliced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Olive oil
Kosher or fine sea salt
Curry powder and garam masala

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a cutting board, slice cauliflower top to bottom into 1/4-inch slices (most of it will crumble, which is ok). Place cauliflower pieces in a large bowl with red onion slices and chickpeas and toss with plenty of olive oil and some salt (you want everything to have a thin coating of oil, to seal it). Sprinkle curry powder and garam masala--amount to your taste--and toss lightly again. Place mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet (or two baking sheets if it seems crowded; you want this to roast, not steam, and giving each piece ample space helps) and roast until golden, about 25 minutes.

You can also do the same roasting method--slicing and time- and temp-wise--and then dress it with salsa verde. Or any flavors you like really.

You can do the same for broccoli (I like Ina Garten's version, with Parmesan and pine nuts that get toasty too), carrots (best with simply lots of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, mm), all manner of things.

Soups are, as you mention, an easy way to stuff yourself with vegetables. That's limited only by your imagination--quick homemade soup tends to follow a structure, where you parcook any difficult veggies or legumes (potatoes for example), if you're including meat you brown it first then set it aside while leaving the drippings in the pot, wilt your onions or whatever in said drippings, fry up your aromatics, add stock or water and chopped veggies of your choice, bring to a boil then simmer partially covered, add any additional seasoning and thickeners if necessary, and voila. You can also add chopped leafy greens towards the end, cooking just long enough to wilt 'em, for an extra veggie boost. Really good especially with beans. Your veggies can be anything you like--bell pepper, sweet potato or squash, root veggies including carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, green beans, spinach, kale, escarole, whatever. Tomatoes too, when you add the stock.

You can wrap things--beans, meat, rice, whatever--in either raw or parcooked whole cabbage leaves instead of tortillas, bread etc. for an extra boost. Like people do when they eat larb, or cabbage rolls.

If you're getting tired of salads, chopped salads are a nice direction for a change. I know I've said it so much on AskMe before, but Cook's Illustrated did 4 different chopped salads last summer and gosh, they were delicious--pear and cranberry with toasted pistachios and bleu cheese, apple and fennel with toasted walnuts and feta, orange and radish with toasted pepitas and manchego, and a standard olives-etc. Mediterranean one. Soo good.
posted by ifjuly at 8:30 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

My favorite way to prepare kale is sauteeing it in 1/2 c of veg broth, 1 clove of garlic, and a sprinkle of crushed red chili peppers and nutmeg, just until the leaves wilt.

Kale Chips

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and de-stem an entire bunch of kale. Tear into bite size pieces. Dry the kale using paper towels or a salad spinner. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle a tbsp of olive oil and sea salt (add other seasonings/cheese if you want). Bake for about 7-10 mins. Watch them carefully because they burn easily.
posted by cm young at 11:22 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Salads are what omnivores think vegetarians eat. Vegetarians and vegans answer this question everyday, so I'd start by poaching their best cookbooks.

Isa Moskowitz wrote several vegan cookbooks that would definitely point you in the direction of more interesting ways to serve veggies. Vegan with a Vengeance is where to start, or the Veganomicon; her brunch book is also good. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is good. The Moosewood books are full of winners; seconding that one.
posted by talldean at 8:57 PM on February 3, 2010

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