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Covert Cooking: Clever Ways to Sneak in the Extra Veggies

by • January 1, 2015 • 2015, Cooking & Dining Out, Food, Home Life, January 2015

The dawn of the new year brings with it the promises of health, fitness and family resolutions, most of which include something along the lines of eating out less, packing healthy snacks and coming up with resourceful ways to sneak extra vegetables into everyday meals.

You can sneak nutrition into almost any dish with a little creativity:

• Sneak grated zucchini into your Saturday morning silver dollar pancakes or envelope it in the rich flavor of chocolaty brownies.
• Exchange regular noodles with “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) to boost the nutritional value of your pasta dinners.
• Mix steamed broccoli into either your breading or puree for chicken nuggets
• Cover up cauliflower in the dense cheesiness of macaroni and cheese
• Wrap thin slices of steak around an asparagus
• Blend spinach and carrots in with applesauce
• Swap flour with chickpeas next time you make chocolate chip cookies!

Here are some tasty favorites that would fool the family and please Popeye.

 

FRUIT SMOOTHIE PLUS

Were it not for its green color you would never know that several handfuls of veggies are under this refreshing fruity breakfast or snack. Added almonds pack a protein punch.

Ingredients:

• 1 banana
• 1 tangerine, peeled
• 6 strawberries
• ½ cucumber, cut into small pieces
• ½ cup blueberries
• ½ tsp. cinnamon
• ½ cup kale
• ½ cup spinach
• ½ cup crushed ice
• 1 cup almond milk

What to Do:

Place everything but the spinach and kale into a blender. While blending, carefully open the blender’s lid and add the spinach and kale. Blend until creamy. If desired, add a handful of almonds in the last 30 seconds of blending for crunchy, nutty goodness. Serves two.

 

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

Next time you pack the kids’ lunches, try replacing the usual potato or corn chips with these zucchini chips. Their light and crispy crunch work well by themselves or served with salsa, cheese or hummus for an afterschool snack.

Ingredients:

• 1 zucchini
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• Salt and Pepper to taste

What to Do:

Preheat oven to 450°. Slice a zucchini into very thin slices. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread the slices out onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and serve, or save the chips in a baggie for later use. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before baking the zucchini for a cheesy twist!

 

BROCCOFLOWER MASH

This broccoli and cauliflower mash masks its true vegetable identity and successfully poses as the carb-rich, but undeniably beloved, mashed potato. The dish’s creamy texture easily pairs with a myriad of entrées.

Ingredients:

• 1 head of broccoli
• 1 head of cauliflower
• 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (add more if necessary)
• Garlic salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
• Cayenne (optional)

What to Do:

Steam cauliflower and broccoli until very tender. (Use two pots if necessary). Drain water from the pots and combine both cauliflower and broccoli into one pot. With an electric mixer or hand masher, mash the steamed veggies until well combined. Mix in the mayonnaise, garlic salt, pepper and cayenne. Serve up! M

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