If your first thought of veggies is soggy broccoli and peas your mum used to serve, think again sweet friend. There’s so much more to veggies than a boring side salad with your dinner. I firmly believe if you don’t like a vegetable, it’s because you haven’t had it cooked right! (And hey, if I can get my husband and toddler to ask for kale (which has happened), anything is possible!)
Here’s how I love them.
1. Finely slice veggies and add them to rice paper rolls.
Carrot, zucchini and cucumber work well. I love adding mint too.
2. Swap grains for vegetables.
- Make zucchini noodles instead of having pasta or noodles.
- Swap a burger bun for a large field mushroom.
- Use lettuce leaves as wraps.
- Serve bolognese sauce with steamed broccoli instead of spaghetti.
- Make lasagna with layers of thinly-sliced veggies (e.g. parsnips, zucchini, eggplant) instead of pasta sheets.
- Instead of a normal pizza base, make a cauliflower crust or use slices of eggplant for mini pizzas.
- Top a shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash instead of potatoes.
3. Add a side of sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is rich in vitamins, helps digestion and promotes good gut bacteria. Either make your own or buy a trusted organic brand.
4. Make vegetable chips.
If you haven’t had kale chips yet, you’re missing out. Making your own vegetables chips with everything from eggplant to parsnips is easy, cheap and delicious. If you can invest in a dehydrator that will make things even easier, but even a regular oven (on its lowest temperature) works just fine. You just finely slice your veg of choice, brush or spray them with coconut oil, season with any tasty toppings (sea salt, parmesan, nutritional yeast, shredded coconut, cinnamon, etc) and bake until crispy. Get creative and try combos like sweet potato chips with orange and thyme or zucchini chips with lemon and dill.
5. Host a potluck dinner where everyone brings a vegetarian dish.
You’ll get new ideas + be exposed to new ingredients and recipes.
6. Make skewers and BBQ them.
Barbecues don’t have to be all about meat – pick your favourite veggies and thread them onto skewers. Try eggplant, zucchini, capsicums and mushrooms – which even veggie-adverse men are usually happy to try.
7. Juice them.
Juicing is a fast way to get a big nutrient hit, plus DIY uses up not-so-fresh veggies that have seen better days. My guide to juicing includes my two favourite recipes – carrot, celery and apple juice, and a green juice that has kale, silverbeet, celery, apple, lemon and ginger.
8. Make a big batch of vegetable soup + freeze it in portions.
Then when you don’t feel like cooking, you’ll still have a veggie-packed meal ready to go. Soup also makes a filling lunch during the week if it’s packed with healthy fats (from coconut milk and bone broth) like my yummy Glowing Greens Soup recipe.
9. Choose vegetable-based dips.
Instead of dips based on yoghurt (like tzatziki) or chickpeas (like hummus), try eggplant-based baba ghanoush, roasted capsicum or beetroot.
10. Keep sliced veggies in the fridge.
Like sticks of celery, capsicum, cucumber and carrot, or no-prep-needed cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms and snow peas.
11. Eat veggies for breakfast.
Getting a serve of veg in by breakfast is definitely #winning. I like no-fuss recipes you can make in advance like my zucchini slice or Avocado & Blueberry Power Smoothie (with spinach – that you can’t taste!).
12. When eating out, swap fries for salad or vegetables on the side.
Yeah, it’s basic, and sometimes you just feel like fries. But swap them for steamed greens or a garden salad. (Which does leave more room for dessert..!)
13. Choose veggie-based drinks rather than fruit-based ones.
Fruit-based juices and smoothies can be thirst quenching but they’re a massive sugar hit. Choose drinks with a base of greens like celery, cucumber and spinach instead.
14. Get them delivered.
You can get anything else shipped to your front door – why not vegetables? (Although is there anything better than a shoe delivery?) It’s affordable, you might discover new veggies you haven’t tried before, and you’ll always be eating local, in-season produce. Win win.
15. When cooking veggies for dinner, make double and eat them for breakfast the next day.
Simple! My favourite combination of roast veggies is a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, and a handful of Brussels sprouts (halved). After a liberal pouring of olive oil, salt and pepper, and lots of paprika, roast them at 180 degrees for 34-45 minutes. They’re delicious hot or cold.
16. Hide them in other things.
Ah, the old “hide vegetables in Bolognese sauce” is a classic but a goodie. I add extra celery, onion, carrot or mushrooms to mine. (You just have to make sure they’re very finely chopped or grated). I also add ½ a cup of spinach or a wedge of zucchini to my smoothies – you can’t taste either!
17. Keep a stash of frozen veggies in the freezer.
Then you’ll have no always have them on hand to throw into soups, stews and smoothies. Just dive them first (even onions freeze well), put them in a clear bag and label them.
18. Prep ahead.
I cut and wash my celery then store it in the fridge standing up in a container of water to keep it fresh. It makes snacking on it easy and quick. (Two of my favourite ways are covered in almond butter or cut into sticks with homemade dip.) This is my guide on how to wash and store fresh produce.
19. Shop at farmers’ markets.
It’s always easy to get inspired by vegetables when they’re fresh, local and cheap. Choose what’s in season and create your meals around those.
20. Add them in your baking.
Sweet potato brownies… need I say more?!
If you have any other tips I’d love to hear them. Drop me a line below or tag me on Instagram @jenna.westphal and #jennawestphal if you try out any of this list!