Thursday, June 23, 2011

What to do with veggies

One of the unexpected benefits of my paleo research of late has been related to vegetables. Not only am I simply eating more fresh veggies, but a greater variety and in different formats. Especially now that I'm back at work, including an adequate portion of veggies with our meals has to be efficient.  I've already posted about kale chips, but there are a few other easy veggie ideas worth sharing. In no particular order...

Cauliflower is the kind of vegetable I like to prep in advance, even the day before or right after buying. It saves time in the supper rush, but also ensures it's good and dry come time to cook. Pureed cauliflower can be mashed potato-like (though not according to Tim). Simply steam until soft, but not mushy and then take a hand blender or regular blender to it. I've been adding a bit of coconut milk, salt and pepper to ours. You want to be careful that it's not too mushy/watery, so that it turns into a soup. This is the kind of recipe you can go almost anywhere with - garlic, herbs, curry, who knows? Last night we had cauli-coco puree with pork chops. Yummy and simple.

Again, simple. Run your cauliflower through a food processor (or use a grater - though be warned, you will get cauliflower bits EVERYWHERE) briefly until it kinda resembles rice. From here, you can cook it for a couple minutes in the microwave, throw it in a veggie hash of some kind or whatever you like. I've cooked up meatballs, added a side of uncooked cauli-rice and popped them in the freezer for lunches. Just defrost and nuke in the microwave - delicious. You can also just stir-fry, adding fresh herbs, ginger, other veggies, whatever flavours that tickle your fancy. Stick it under a coconut curry dish. The list goes on...

Ground beef, cauli-rice, shredded brussel sprouts
Veggie stir-fry with nuts
Especially while I was home, I did a lot of random stir-frying whatever veggies I had on hand. This often included bell peppers and asparagus. A great way to add a bit of extra fat (aside from whatever you're cooking in) and flavour is to throw in some nuts, like walnut pieces.

Chips or fries
I've learned you can pretty well make chips or fries out of any root-or-the-like vegetable: parsnip, turnip, sweet potato, etc. Just slice them up (again, this is probably one you might prep in advance when you have a few minutes), drizzle/mix them generously with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes I use a plastic bag for this, or just a large bowl. There are a few keys to the success of making chips/fries...
Sweet potato chips
  • Cut them as uniformly as you can, and for chips as thinly as you can.
  • Lay them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet so that they aren't overlapping or touching.
  • Bake them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, flip 'em, and put them back in until they look done (e.g. crispy, but not burnt).
  • Keep an eye on them. Like the kale chips, it may take a few tries to get it just right for your oven and your taste.

Turnip fries prepped

Finished sweet potato fries

Throw them anywhere!
I made a tomato sauce dish tonight with sausage and zucchini. I remembered we had some organic, frozen spinach looking to be used, so I tossed that in. (Even better is throwing in greens that are approaching that "I'm totally not eating those" phase.) A great addition, worked well. Toss some greens in your smoothie. Add extra veggies to your sauces. Go wild.

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