Vegging Out
March 13, 2011 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me all ways in which you incorporate veggies into your diet.

I want to dramatically increase the servings and variety of vegetables that I eat on a daily basis. But eating salads and vegetable sides only gets me so far, and it gets boring. I am looking for clever ways to up the ante. I have a blender, so making blender juices is an idea that is attractive to me. I've also thought about starting to make savory muffins with chopped veggies in them.

How else can I sneak vegetables into my diet???

Recipes welcome.
posted by corn_bread to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 147 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Because I eat low-carb, I substitute veggies for the usual carby stuff: I eat pasta sauces or pesto over broccoli florets, sauteed zucchini ribbons instead of fettuccine/spaghetti, sliced/sauteed cabbage in casseroles that otherwise use pasta, roast butternut squash cubes instead of fries and - this is my favorite! - mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. You'd think it would get all watery and yucky, but it really is delicious, give it a try.
posted by The Toad at 11:13 AM on March 13, 2011 [10 favorites]

On problem with juicing is that you lose the fiber, which is one of the chief benefits of vegetables--but there are studies that show juice to be as nutrient-rich as regular vegetables. )If you have thyroid problems, cook the vegetables rather than eating them raw.) We eat a lot, but usually as sides or soups or vegetable stews. I swear by Deborah Madison.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:18 AM on March 13, 2011

Best answer: I puree cauliflower to make a mashed potatoes substitute... it's delicious, and I actually prefer it over taters. I also use pureed cauliflower in soups in place of half and half to make them creamy. It's completely tasty.
I have a different recipe than the one above. No cream cheese, nothing but cauliflower and chicken broth. Just bake the cauliflower for an hour at 350, then add about a cup of chicken broth and boil stove-top for about five minutes. Puree. Delicious!
To use in soups, just add more water to the boiling process.
As for "sneaking" veggies in, you can puree carrots and add them to anything saucy, like spaghetti sauce or vegetable soup.
posted by She Talks To Angels at 11:18 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: When I make pasta (or ramen) I add spinach leaves. For pasta, sometimes I blanch them in the microwave for 30 seconds first, so that they are part cooked before they go in the sauce and finish cooking in the residual heat of the finished dish.

I also make a layered enchilada bake like this: beans (in my case refried pintos plus onions); layer of sauteed onions, mushrooms and spinach; enchilada sauce mixed with more beans; torn up corn tortillas; enchilada sauce. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. You could easily add meat and cheese as desired.

I also serve black beans on mixed/torn up greens and mix them together to eat.

Blender soups are also good -- ginger/carrot; potato/leek; squash; mixed greens. Basically, you saute your vegetables and then puree them in the blender to a velvety texture, then season with spices, oil, cream, butter, cheese, pesto or whatver sounds good to you.
posted by Frowner at 11:20 AM on March 13, 2011

With the aid of a blender, you can sneak a lot of vegetables into curry sauces or pasta sauces.

Roasted vegetables are yummy - sweet potato, squash, aubergine, courgette, peppers.

Stir fries can be mainly or entirely vegetables.

Soups - try making carrot and coriander soup, spicy parsnip soup, sweet potato soup with apple and coconut, watercress soup, spinach soup...
posted by emilyw at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tons of finely chopped zucchini, onions, and mushrooms in pasta sauces, served over veggies.

Mix sprouts, carrots, and celery into tuna/chicken/egg salads.

Extra greens on all sandwiches.

Spinach in my smoothies; you can't taste it.

I eat a lot of soups/stews/stir-fries and always throw a huge handful of shredded carrot and broccoli slaw on top when I reheat it for an extra veggie hit.
posted by anderjen at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2011

Whenever you are microwaving or reheating a meal for about 4 minutes you can throw some frozen peas in with it.
posted by meepmeow at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine always has a bag of washed spinach around, and will add it to just about anything--tomato sauce, casseroles, whatever.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2011

Best answer: Major step: stop thinking of vegetables as side dishes, and think of them as vital, central ingredients.

Consequence: invest in a few good vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. Or, cheaper, blogs.

I'll just pimp the one I love most 101Cookbooks & make a few suggestions to up the ante: soups, pasta, curries, tarts and pies, and really imaginative salads. Oh and these feta and squash/pumpkin muffins come out lovely, although they can carry a much heavier herb load.
posted by AFII at 11:24 AM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Veggies as the main attraction with meat as the condiment -- stir fries, pasta toppings, stews, etc., can all be made with lots of veggies and just a little meat for the meaty flavor -- if any!

It's much easier to get the full amount of veggies are a huge part of the main dish rather than eating veggies on the side.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:24 AM on March 13, 2011

Homemade personal-sized ultra-thin-crust veggie pizza. I got a half-cup of broccoli and 1/4 cup red peppers and 1/4 c. crushed tomatoes in my breakfast today! Yesterday I had peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and crushed tomatoes. :D I use whatever veggies I have around and might go bad, except carrots, because I think they'd be yucky on pizza.

I make a batch of dough (I use budget bytes recipe and double it. sometimes I use honey instead of sugar, and/or substitute some whole wheat flour or add extra wheat gluten flour, if I have it handy), and divide it into 16 portions for the fridge/freezer. Then when I have thawed available, I pull out the dough, roll it out, and preheat the oven while I top the pizza. I could tweak the dough more for a bit more flavor, but it's okay, and I'm lazy.

8-10 minutes @ 450-475, and I have crispy, veggie-filled delight. The hot oven and thin crust keep it from being too soggy.

Budget Bytes also has a recipe for carrot-y muffins here.

I put spinach/creamed spinach on everything--breakfast burrito things, in omelets, in quesadillas, in pasta dishes.

Kale/bok choy/similar greens in peanut sauce over whole-grain noodles.

on preview: you know me? eek.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 11:25 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I made some bitchin' banana pumpkin walnut muffins (completely devoid of any "bad for you" ingredients) a while back. Are you good at baking? I just sort of eyeballed the recipe, so I can't give you exact amounts, but here's the general recipe; adjust as needed:

-3 cups whole wheat flour
-1 cup dry oatmeal
-a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed
-4 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp baking soda
-4 eggs
-1 cup brown sugar
-about a cup of applesauce
-2 bananas
-at least 1 cup of pumpkin, maybe 2 (I used fresh because it was October, but canned is fine)
-salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves to taste
-a couple tablespoons of honey and maple syrup until it tasted right
-as many walnuts as you want (I used a lot)

You may need to adjust the amounts of things until it looks/tastes right. Like I said, I really just sort of eyeballed it. Bake at 350 for about a half hour.

Also, you can put pretty much any pureed/well-shredded veg in there. Carrot and zucchini both bake really well. Spinach is good, too, but will turn them a really unappetizing green color.
posted by phunniemee at 11:27 AM on March 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

lots of soups....
posted by tomswift at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2011

I throw a ton of vegetables into my shepherd's pie - basically whatever is lying around the kitchen. This is a great recipe to use as a base (i use minced beef), I add mushrooms, lentil, more carrot, spring onion, etc. etc. I make two at a time and freeze/refrigerate one of the pies for another meal later.

I also make a lot of lentil soup, which is a very quick and easy way to get a yummy meal with lots of veg. Basically just soften onions and garlic in oil, throw in whatever veg you want (peppers and zucchini work well), put in a tin of tomatoes, pour in some dried lentils and a bit of water, then cover and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Throw in some paprika to spice things up, and voila! Totally yummy meal. If you're feeling like a carnivore add chorizo, it's amazing.
posted by ukdanae at 11:36 AM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a near-constant craving for salt & vinegar potato chips. But I've managed to mitigate this by learning how to make lots of different sorts of quick pickles. Basically, I thinly slice a cucumber and let it sit for a few minutes in some combination of vinegar sugar salt and other flavors. Sometimes I add other things like cabbage, arame seaweed, onions, bell peppers, beets, celery, mushrooms, radishes, really whatever's on-hand.

Instead of crackers and chips for snacks I try, as much as possible, to replace them with crunchy vegetables. Cabbage is good for mitigating crunchiness desires, cauliflower is very good for dipping into sauces. Carrots can be grated and tossed into practically any cooked thick sauce - it adds a little sweetness and body. When I want something sweet I will eat a pint of cherry tomatoes or a bell pepper or some jicama.

When I can spread something on a vegetable instead of a slice of bread, I try to. So, peanut butter, hummus, guacamole, miso, meat sauces, chicken salad, gefilte fish - all of that can go in cabbage or lettuce leaves, roasted eggplant, celery, a bed of spinach, inside a cantaloupe, a pepper, on a sweet potato.

Breakfast consists of at least one kind of veggie-like thing, be it tomatoes or fry-up mushrooms, kimchi in a rice bowl or carrots sticks.
posted by Mizu at 11:40 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

I drink V8 and cheerfully ignore protests from people who tell me it doesn't count as vegetables.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:41 AM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yes I drink v8 too, often with breakfast. Who says it isn't vegetables? It's eight of them!
posted by Mizu at 11:43 AM on March 13, 2011

Best answer: When I make chili, I sautee 3 cups of carrots, celery, zucchini etc. in olive oil, then throw them in the food processor and grind them completely. None of my children has ever noticed.
posted by francesca too at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

Major step: stop thinking of vegetables as side dishes, and think of them as vital, central ingredients.

This. Buy a vegetarian or vegan cookbook and be vegetarian a couple of days a week. It will change the way you look at plant food. I recommend the Veganomicon as the best of the many vegetarian cookbooks I own.
posted by something something at 11:51 AM on March 13, 2011

Agree with all of those above who say that vegetables are not an afterthought; they're the meal. Nearly all of my favorite dishes are about half vegetables. For example, I love pasta. Here are my two favorite ways to prepare it:

1) 8 oz pasta (I like whole wheat penne, but use what you like), 10 oz sliced mushrooms, 1/2 lb spinach, 6 oz cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese. 1 cup alfredo sauce. Boil pasta until tender. Sautee mushrooms and spinach in butter or oil with salt, then add sauce to the pan. Simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, halved. Cook about 2 mins, then add pasta. Top with parmesan cheese. Eat. Makes 4-6 servings.

2) 8 oz pasta, 1 can black beans, 1 can pumpkin, 2 cups frozen peas. 1 cup chopped onion, cumin, red pepper flakes, any other spices you like. Boil pasta until tender. Sautee peas in olive oil and spices until warm. Add onions (and any other vegetables you like. Cook about 2 minutes, then add black beans. Cook about 2 minutes, then add pumpkin, a cup of water, and red pepper. Cook until water is absorbed. Add pasta. Stir. Eat. Makes 4-6 servings.
posted by decathecting at 12:10 PM on March 13, 2011

Seconding soups.

I keep boxes of broth around (low-sodium, good ingredients) since I like the vegetables to be more prominent and still have colour and texture and flavour in the soup, not always just to make stock.

A few times a week, I sautee an onion in butter, add a little clove of garlic, and then start adding in whatever vegetables I have in the fridge to sweat in order of how long they take to cook. Then, I add broth, and simmer until it's soup. If I have left over-meat, beans, or rice, in it goes. Sometimes I make noodles; sometimes I beat an egg and add it in. I grate parmesan over the top, and eat huge bowls of it for dinner and lunch.

There's never a recipe, it's just what I have left in the fridge so it doesn't go to waste. On garbage day/Tuesday I make stock from the wee bits of everything left - rubbery carrots, wilty celery, tired parsley, cheese rinds, chicken carcasses that live in the freezer until then and such.

Some excellent combinations:

Kale/Spinach/Baby Bok Choy with white beans and tomatoes (and sometimes sausage)

Celery, onions, limes/lemons, a pale beer and the usual vegetable guys with black beans and whatever salsa's left in the jar, served with fresh chopped onion, dried oregano and avocado slices and stale tortilla chips

Spinach, parsley, beaten egg and parmesan with chicken and lemon

Apples or pears and parsnips (or squash, or carrots, or sweet potatoes)

Roasted Red Peppers and (sweet potatoes, squash, mushrooms, potatoes)

Potatoes with leeks, cheddar and Guinness
posted by peagood at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My breakfast is either two or three of those steam-in-the-bag veggies or veg and meat quiche. With the latter, use just enough egg to bind everything together.

Snacks are always veg + dip (or cookies.)

Veggie stir fries are awesome, and there's so much variety there. I find vegetables pretty boring by themselves, but douse them in a strongly flavored sauce and I'm sold.

I also recommend non-leafy salads (if you check my question history, you'll find a question about salads that I asked a while ago. I'm still working through the suggestions, but my vegetable consumption went way up because of that post.)
posted by punchtothehead at 12:13 PM on March 13, 2011

Major step: stop thinking of vegetables as side dishes, and think of them as vital, central ingredients.

This is what I was going to say too. Not just going vegetarian though - it's still too easy to make pasta or pizza or quesadillas be the 'main course' in your head. (Although with the veg-heavy pizza recipe above that might be okay).

But definitely go with vegetarian cookbooks, because they'll have ideas on how to do things that are beyond what you might be familiar with from your ordinary cuisine. Going for cuisines other than your usual can also help (American food isn't good on the veggies really). Cooking vegetarian Indian food has been an eye-opener on the uses and flavors of tomatoes, greens, and lentils for me, and cooking stir-fries regularly gets a pound or more of vegetables into me+my partner every dinner (without having to tell ourselves it's 'for our health').
posted by Lady Li at 12:14 PM on March 13, 2011

I don't have a specific advice on how to sneak vegetables into your diet, but I have ideas on how you could not consider them boring:
Learn how to properly steam and roast vegetables. Experiment with different vinaigrettes, flavoured oils, herbs, buy good vinegars.
Buy only in season. Go to farmers' market. Experiment with strange vegetables: artichokes and asparagus, garlic scapes and fiddlehead ferns. Go to woods and pick young nettles, you can prepare them as you would spinach. Eat raw peas straight from their shell. Sauté beet greens with garlic. Grow a tray of microgreens on your windowsill. Eat ripe tomato sandwich.
You don't need elaborate recipes. Vegetables in season are already perfect as they are. Don't blend them into mush, that's really boring.
posted by leigh1 at 12:30 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A dirt-simple way to eat a lot of veggies in a satisfying meal is to do pasta and veggies. Mix equal parts short pasta and fork-sized cooked veggies, mix with a bit of fat (butter or olive oil) and top with grated cheese (parm, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, whatever you like). You can do almost anything you want here--I've used broccoli, brussels sprouts, eggplant, chopped tomatoes, peas, green beans, spinach, kale, chard, zucchini, shallots, red onions, summer squash, green peppers, butternut or acorn squash....this works with root vegetables and beans, too, although that may be more starch than you want.

I think it's extra delicious with roasted veggies. You can roast almost anything (if you roast tomatoes, use cherry or grape tomatoes and keep them whole, or use very meaty, not juicy tomatoes cut into large chunks). Cut the veggies to a little larger than bite-size (they will shrink), toss in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at about 400 for 15-20 minutes, or till they're done. For extra deliciousness, throw some cloves of garlic in there, too.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:32 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You don't have to sneak veggies into your diet. Just... eat them.

I'm a big fan of the following:

Roasted root vegetables as a one-dish meal, especially when the weather is cold. Obviously this is something you can do with potatoes, and you can definitely have them as a starchy component (especially if you're dubious about other root veggies). But add turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, sunchokes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, and any other wintertime root vegetable that strikes your fancy. I also like to throw in some thickly sliced onion, cloves of garlic, herbs if I've got 'em, and lots of salt. Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 350 until tender.

Pureed vegetable soups. I got a hand blender for Christmas, what can I say? Start by sauteeing some onion and garlic in oil. Then add the vegetable of your choice, finely chopped so that it cooks down well. I love the potato/leek combo (though some carbophobes would tell you that's "not really a vegetable" because obviously there are more potatoes than leeks in the soup), as well as tomato, mushroom, carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower. But the sky's the limit (I find that greens don't puree that well, though they can be a great extra ingredient for a soup like this). Beans work, too. Continue to sautee until tender, then add some stock, broth, bullion cube + water, whatever you prefer. Season as desired and let it simmer away until everything is incorporated nicely and the veggies are tender enough that your blender can handle them. You can add milk, a dollop of cream, or some cheese, but honestly the pureed quality of the soup is going to make it plenty creamy.
posted by Sara C. at 12:37 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Roasting. Like others have said, roasting veggies is awesome. When I'm feeling lazy, I chop up a bunch of random veggies - anything I have in the fridge, really. Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus - really, anything! Toss with olive oil and spices (or you can even just spray with PAM), and I bake them at 450 for 30 minutes, turning every 10.

Delicious. I either eat them as is, or chop 'em up and eat them over rice, or in a burrito, over pasta... totally versatile.
posted by ORthey at 12:39 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I make casseroles or egg muffins for breakfast - this is one of my favorites. Getting veggies in the morning makes my day go a lot better.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:49 PM on March 13, 2011

You can add vegetables like onions, peppers, courgettes, peas and tomatoes to things like chillie, curry, pasta sauce as a matter of course - perhaps not all options to all the above dishes but you get the idea. I made a curry tonight and it had at least as much veg in it as it had chicken...

You can add spinach to homemade fruit smoothies - they will look green but the spinach is basically tasteless in this context.

Vegetable soupe rules. Any and all left over vegetables are fair game for this, even left over vegetable dishes. I used to work in a vegetarian restaurant and they would use some of the vegetable side dishes they had left over from the previous day as basis for the soup of the day the next day....
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:33 PM on March 13, 2011

I have the same problem. Here's an here's an awesome healthy recipe for Black Bean and Corn salsa that actually tastes delicious and has lots of good veggies/beans. You could definitely up the red pepper.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:47 PM on March 13, 2011

I'm going to nth picking up (or flipping through) a vegan cookbook. Veganomicon is a great one, as recommended above, but I'm currently enjoying Isa Chandra Moskowitz's most recent cookbook, Appetite for Reduction. There are a lot of interesting and creative salads and veggie-heavy dishes and it's pretty light in terms of tofu/seitan/tempeh stuff and also fairly supermarket friendly. You can probably add cheese/eggs/meat/whatever to some of these recipes, but I know it's given me idea of fun things to do with veggies.
posted by darksong at 2:53 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

My cheap, good, quick, and veggie-centric go-to dinner is one frozen steam-bag of veggies (usually Kroger's Fiesta blend or something mixed w/ lots of broccoli) with a big spoonful of fat-free refried beans, 1/2 cup black beans, garlic power and pepper, and lots of salsa. The refried beans make it creamy, and the salsa flavors everything. You could add an egg for even more protein to make a veggie huevos rancheros. Yum.
posted by shortyJBot at 3:33 PM on March 13, 2011

I trick myself into eating vegetables, thanks to my keen sense of when I'm paying attention or not. When I'm working on projects I tend to go into this trance-like state where I will mindlessly eat pretty much anything within arm's reach of my desk chair.

Baby carrots, obviously. But a fellow Mefite recently turned me on to these frozen "steam in the bag" vegetable assortments. You pop the whole bag in the microwave for 4 minutes, then dump it in a bowl, add a fork, and go to town.

Some of them have sauces. Others - which are better for you - are just plain veggies. I add a splash of sriracha if I'm feeling virtuous, or a handful of shredded cheese if I'm not.

Then I go back to my project, and the next thing you know, there's an empty bowl sitting at my desk. How did that happen?
posted by ErikaB at 4:10 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

for snacks, i make myself ziploc baggies of cut-up veggies. right now in the fridge i have baggies of mixed carrots, celery, snap peas and red pepper slices. they're all cut up and ready to go; i just grab a bag out of the fridge each morning on my way out the door. it takes me about 20 minutes to cut up a bunch of veggies and put them in the bags on a sunday, and i'm good for the week!
posted by andreapandrea at 4:21 PM on March 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

vegetarian sushi rolls. just buy a bunch of shitake mushrooms, carrots, arugula, avocado, cucumber, scallions, fresh ginger, bean sprouts etc and make all kinds of combinations until you find the one that tastes the best.
posted by any major dude at 4:30 PM on March 13, 2011

Best answer: Mom of a picky eater here.

I buy frozen spinach that comes in cubes. It's easy to drop a cube or two into spaghetti sauce or whatever.

Pumpkin puree also works well for this. You can put pumpkin in all kinds of things and never even notice (I steam my own pumpkin but if you buy it canned, make sure it's not pumpkin pie filling!)

I make lots of quick breads--pumpkin, zucchini, carrot.

For myself, I roast a big pan of chopped veggies then pour some eggs and cheese over it and put it back in the oven for a breakfast casserole.

And yes, save all the ugly bits for stock. I keep a box in my freezer for this.
posted by wallaby at 6:04 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

One could easily turn wallaby's breakfast casserole idea into savory bread pudding with the addition of cubed stale bread. Add a bit of ham if you do that sort of thing, and heaven in a baking dish...
posted by Sara C. at 6:13 PM on March 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Green monster smoothies. Pumpkin/Kale/Banana and Iced Pineapple are current favorites in my house, but it's hard to make a bad one.
posted by ThatSomething at 6:58 PM on March 13, 2011

My favorite tomato soup:

2 cans diced tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted kind)
1 onion
2 or 3 stalks celery
1 tbsp Better Than Bullion (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup half and half OR creamed cauliflower (see my earlier post)
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Medium saucepan, medium heat. Add olive oil.
Chop the onion and celery into tiny bits and add to pan. Stir until those are browned, then add tomatoes and BTB. Simmer for five minutes or so, then throw it all into a blender, blend. Add cream, blend again. Simmer again for a few minutes... yum!

I love roasted veggies, and I'll chop up a bunch of different ones, toss them in a big bowl with olive oil, and then roast or refrigerate for later! Today I happened to not have an onion to chop up for soup, but there were onions in my veggie mix, so I just tossed a few handfuls of that into the pan instead of chopping up onions and celery. Worked like a charm and tasty to boot!
posted by She Talks To Angels at 8:27 PM on March 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

madhur jaffrey is your friend.
posted by talldean at 7:07 AM on March 14, 2011

Best answer: Every Sunday this year, I have been turning on my oven and roasting most of a week's worth of veggies - carrots, turnips, squash, beets, cauliflower, whatever. This was it's really easy for me to have a variety of veggies at each meal. Like, I probably wouldn't want a "side" of two cups of cauliflower. But I love to have a bit of cauliflower, a bit of carrot, and some beets or squash. The veggies are just as important to the meal as any other part. I will usually have two or three different veggies with each meal, and a veggie snack at mid-morning.

Basically, for me, the key to getting myself to eat more vegetables was all about variety (over the course of the day, not so much over the course of the week... I do eat the same five or six veggies all week - all winter, really!).

Oh and Sara C is right, savory bread pudding is THE FOOD OF THE GODS, and makes any vegetable palatable. Like, when I've bought too much kale, and I think, "God damn it, I never want to see kale again ever in my life!" I put all the leftover kale into a bread pudding (with bacon if possible) and all of a sudden the kale is 1) delicious and 2) gone.
posted by mskyle at 7:43 AM on March 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What AFII said. At the moment I'm doing Joel Fuhrmann's 'Eat to Live' diet in an attempt to get on top of some joint problems*, and it has me eating giant salads as main meals every day. I was very, very herbivorous before doing 'Eat to Live', but now I'm even more vegetable-oriented. I often snack on green beans, sliced capsicum and hummus when I'm working, and sliced tomato on pumpernickel is a common mid-afternoon pick me up.

But, yes, the main thing is to stop thinking of vegetables as things you have to 'sneak in' to meals. If you aren't vegetarian, try to give yourself a couple of vegetarian days a week. Read vegetarian food blogs and buy vegetarian cookbooks. I can't recommend Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty' enough, and Deborah Madison's 'Everyday Vegetarian' is an essential.

One of my favourite veg-oriented comfort food meals is kale and black bean tacos. I slice an onion and cook it down with a slug of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium-low heat until caramelised, usually for as long as it takes me to remove the stems from a bunch of kale and slice it into ribbons. I stir in a drained tin of black beans, 2 heaped tsp of cumin, a fat pinch of oregano and the kale. I cook it, covered, stirring every now and then, until the kale is wilted and tender. I pile that into warmed corn tortillas with crumbled feta and salsa (I have a killer roasted tomato chipotle salsa). Incredibly filling and satisfying.

* thing I've learned about my arthritis: if my body composition changes, ie if I put on more fat than usual, I get joint problems, so I'm in major fat loss mode at the moment.
posted by nerdfish at 7:54 AM on March 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

I add all kinds of vegetables to things like pasta sauces, soups, stews, chili, meatballs, hamburger patties, omelettes, sandwiches.

Obviously, mince veggies in things like hamburger patties and meatballs. Everything else, chop as big or small as you like.

Also, I take all the "leftover" parts of the veggies (stems, leaves, skins, etc.) and put them in a big pot of water with salt, pepper, spices, and boil the crap out of them for a couple of hours. Strain. And voila, homemade veggie broth with all the veggie nutrients.
posted by iNurtureTheOdd at 10:30 AM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I also will carry a little bag of baby carrots in my coat pocket. I don't love carrots, but when I'm hungry midday, chomping carrots makes me feel like I'm eating (although the actual calorie count is about 10 per ounce... miniscule), gives me a ton of fiber and other excellent vitamins and minerals, and holds off blood-sugar psychosis until dinner time.
posted by She Talks To Angels at 11:53 AM on March 14, 2011

Hunt down a copy of the Moosewood "Daily Special" cookbook. (So names because at the Moosewood restaurant, they have a couple "soups of the day" and a couple "salads of the day," and their daily lunch special is a serving of one of the soups and one of the salads.)

This is full of a huge variety of soups -- both rich and stewy, and light and delicate -- and a huge variety of salads, some of which can be a meal in themselves; and both their soups and their salads are absolutely crammed full of vegetables. Using one of their soups and salads as a side dish -- or pairing a soup with a salad, the way they do in the restaurant -- is definitely a way to go.

What I sometimes do, in fact, is make up a couple different kinds of their soups and just keep them in the fridge, and then for dinner during the week all I have to do is pick up a roll or some bread at the local bakery and set some salad greens on a plate, then pick which one of the soups I want and heat up a bowl. Bread, soup, and salad makes a fine supper. And don't worry about whether their soups are filling enough -- believe me, they've got plenty filling soups. (Particularly their minestrones.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:05 AM on March 15, 2011

I recently got into eating kale, which is supposed to be one of those "superfoods". This is my favorite kale salad:

1. Mince kale (actually - if you get tired and leave them too large, the salad sucks).

2. Lots of lemon juice - to the point that lemon juice pools at the bottom.

3. Sprinkle dried cranberries.

posted by scottelkin at 4:19 PM on March 15, 2011

Wow! Learned so much just reading all the comments.

I like to try to keep my diet 80/20 in favor of raw. Not always so easy. I do try to avoid the 3 white "poisons"...sugar, flour, salt, (white potatoes too, particularly processed/enriched. I substitute pasta with zucchini peeled completely with a carrot peeler. I also make a "killer" vegetarian lasagna with zucchini instead of pasta as well as an unbelievable Mock Apple Pie (using those HUGE zucchinis nobody knows what to do with). Nobody has ever known that it wasn't APPLE. I've begun using my dehydrator to "cook" vegetables (dehydrating a temperature under 105 deg. F. is considered raw or uncooked). Sometimes I'll dehydrate them to the point where I can put them in the food processor to make a vegetable "flour" to use in granola bars, gravies, or hot or cold soup. Instead of salad, just experiment with drizzling different kinds of vinegars over fresh organic tomatoes (ever notice how the organic just sweeter). Options are pretty much unlimited in making salsas. . Then of course there is juicing. If you have a centrifugal juicer you can use the pulp in baking or making granola bars in the dehydrator. Just experiment...get creative. You'll find in many cases that it's the spices that make the difference!
posted by Debbee at 7:10 PM on March 15, 2011

Wow, nerdfish, I just want to say that I made your black bean & kale tacos last night on the spur of the moment (I had beans, kale, corn tortillas sitting around) and they were AMAZING. My boyfriend kept saying how he couldn't believe they didn't have any meat in them. We also had a can of corn & one of diced mild chiles; we heated those up too and piled it on with some diced raw onion. DELICIOUS.

(Although I remembered the recipe as 2 tablespoons, of cumininstead of teaspoons ... haha. I thought that much be a bit much so I put a single tablespoon only. Pretty dang good!)
posted by alleycat01 at 7:46 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

A lot of my meals are simply stir-fried veggies over rice. Always onions and bell peppers first, and all kinds of other possibilities like carrots, mushrooms, pineapple, cabbage, olives, bok choy, bean sprouts, etc, and sometimes beans, tofu, or meat for protein and to make it more filling. Cook for a few minutes only so they stay crisp and tasty. You can experiment with different sauces and spices for variety. Also, soups and stews, or chili, with very similar ingredients.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:55 PM on March 17, 2011

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