Today we are talking about VEGGIES.
There is just nothing else out there that can naturally compare to the amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that good ole veggies can give us. I like to aim for at least five servings of vegetables a day because I know that when I have a lack of veggies going on, my energy drops. A lot. I simply don’t feel as good as I do when veggies are a priority in my diet: my sugar cravings are up, I’m uber tired, I don’t feel as strong in the weight room, and overall I feel bloated and blah.
We all know that vegetables are good for us, but that doesn’t make it easier for some people to get their servings in. One simple tip I recommend for incorporating more veggies in your diet is to just stick with the vegetables you actually LIKE. It sounds so obvious, but I know sooooo many people who try to force themselves to eat certain veggies that they don’t really care for because it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing. Keep it easy for yourself: if you like green beans, spinach, and peppers, build your snacks and meals around those. If you hate zucchini, though? Don’t prep zoodles just cause it’s the hot thing. Hate mushrooms? Totally fine. Set yourself up for success.
Of course, I am also a huge fan of trying new foodie things, whether it be participating in a CSA program, picking up something funky or new to me at a local farmers market, or just trying out a new cooking method. If you aren’t an adventurous eater, maybe this doesn’t sound that appealing to you, but I find it fun. If something is not for me after I try it once or twice though, I won’t force it beyond that. For example, last year Tim and I got a lot of turnips during one of our CSA seasons. I tried roasting those things a million times in a million different ways, and they are just not for me. They are okay mashed, but you don’t see me buying turnips much around here. No biggie.
The most ginormous turnip I have ever seen!
For those of you who have a hard time getting your veggie servings, today I’m providing you with a list of vegetable prep ideas. These are some of the most common ways that Tim and I like to get our veggies ready for the week. You can simply wash and cut, roast, braise, blanch, grill, throw in a food processor, spiralize… you name it!
Twenty Veggies: Different Ways to Prep Them to Get Your Servings
Wash and trim off the asparagus stem ends, and then braise, grill, or roast to use as a side dish for main meals during the week. I love asparagus as a side for fish, as a salad topper, or as a pizza topper. You can also use a veggie peeler to cut the asparagus into thin strips if you prefer that to the bigger asparagus stalks.
Wash, de-seed, and slice the peppers to eat raw as a snack with hummus or a dip. Use in salads, as part of egg bakes or scrambles, stir fries, or with other roasted veggies such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms. We prep bell peppers almost every week because they are so versatile, can be thrown into a lot of different meals, and they pair well with almost any protein. For example, we love this crispy chicken thighs with collards and bell pepper dish!
Wash and chop broccoli to eat raw as a snack with hummus or a dip. Use in salads or throw together food bowls, egg bakes, stir fries, or amongst other roasted veggies. Another way we like to prep broccoli is to shave the stems in a box grater. This helps eliminate waste, and the stems make a great addition to a cole slaw!
Cut Brussels sprouts in half and remove the any loose leaves before roasting with some balsamic vinegar. I love slicing Brussels sprouts thin and using in big salads with other greens like in this shredded Brussels sprouts, kale, and quinoa salad. They also make a great roasted side dish, and I always enjoy them in throw together food bowls, especially with roasted sweet potatoes.
Cut off the top and bottom of the squash, and peel off the skin with a sharp knife or veggie peeler. Cut the squash in half the long way and de-seed. Roast in the oven or puree into a butternut squash mash. We love prepping this in the fall and winter and using in soups, side dishes, pizza, casseroles, and more.
Remove the outer layer of the cabbage before chopping or slicing thin. Use in salads or as a taco or quesadilla topper. Cabbage also does well in stir fries and slaws. Another way we like to prep cabbage is by braising it in a pan with spices and stock and using as a side dish for meat or chicken.
Wash, peel, slice, and eat raw with hummus, dip, or nut butter. You can also use raw carrots by dicing them up for soups or chilis or using the box grater to shave thin for salads or carrot muffins. You can also roast them up for a yummy side dish!
Wash, chop, and eat raw with hummus or a dip. Roast the cauliflower in the oven with other veggies or just enjoy as a side on its own. Cauliflower can also be mashed by putting it in the food processor after roasting, and this makes a great substitution for mashed potatoes. You can also throw raw cauliflower into a food processor and turn it into rice for stir fries, or use it for a grain free pizza crust!
Wash, slice, and eat raw as a snack with hummus, dip, or nut butter. Dice up for salads, food bowls, soups, and chilis. Celery adds a great crunch to a lot of dishes.
Wash, slice, and eat raw as a snack with hummus or a dip. Cucumbers can also be incorporated INTO a dip such as tzatziki. Cukes are another veggie like bell peppers that we prep almost every week and add to salads, burrito bowls, and more as needed. I’m also a big fan of using leftover cucumber slices for flavoring my water. Or alcoholic bevvies. You guys know cucumber drinks are my fave. 😉
Wash, cut off the ends, and eat raw for a snack with hummus or dip. You can also use raw green beans for salads such as three or four bean salads or this shrimp nicoise salad. We’ll often blanch green beans to give them a little extra crunch. You can also saute for a stir fry or ca dish like these Greek green beans. Like asparagus, I love green beans as a side for fish!
Cut off the stems of the kale and remove the ribs before washing, chopping, and massaging. Use the kale leaves for salads or food bowls during the week, saute for side dishes, blend into smoothies, cook into soup, or bake as chips.
Prep lettuce by washing, spinning dry, and storing in a Ziploc bag or container with a paper towel at the bottom to absorb moisture. Aside from its most common use as the base for a salad, you can shred lettuce into smaller pieces for tacos or burrito bowls.
We cook with both yellow and red onions aalllll the time. You can prep ahead of time by slicing or dicing for any of the meals that call for onions you might eat later in the week. You can also roast bigger pieces of onion with other veggies or even make onion soup. The most common way I food prep with onions, red ones specifically, is by making my own version of pickled red onions. Just slice up a red onion, put the onion slices in a pot, and add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, a heavy pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp of honey. Cover, bring to a boil, and then remove from heat and leave covered for ten minutes. I use these to top so many things throughout the week and bring an acidic component to a dish for better flavor.
Wash and cut off the two ends of the radish. Cut into matchstick size pieces to add an extra crunch on a salad. You can also roast bigger pieces with other veggies.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast for a substitute for pasta! Whenever I prep spaghetti squash like this, I’ll make a double batch of meatballs of some sort and freeze the second batch to have on hand for another week. Spaghetti squash also cooks well in casseroles.
Prep spinach in the same way you would lettuce by washing, spinning dry, and storing in a Ziploc bag or container with a paper towel at the bottom to absorb moisture. Aside from being the base of salads, I love blending spinach into my smoothies, sautéing with garlic for a quick side, and cooking into meals like burgers, meatballs, or meatloaf as an extra way to sneak some greens in.
Sweet potatoes are quite possibly my favorite food besides pizza and cheese. 🙂 We mash them by washing, peeling, and bringing to a boil before putting them in a food processor. We’ll peel and cut into cubes and roast in order to eat the sweet potato as a side dish, as part of burrito bowls, or in a sweet potato hash. We will also bake them whole to have a baked sweet potato side or stuff them! You can also slice them up before roasting them in order to bake sweet potato fries. Yum.
Tomatoes are soooo versatile and can be used in salads, anything caprese, egg bakes, as a raw snack, etc. We often will add a little tomato at the end of cooking something for some color and freshness. If we are snacking on them raw, we’ll salt them for a little extra flavor. We also often use tomatoes to make homemade salsas! I included tomatoes in this list because they are so common, but it’s actually an ingredient that I won’t prep ahead of time because it’s so quick to do as you go. The flavor just doesn’t last as much and the tomatoes won’t taste as fresh.
Wash, chop the ends off, slice, and eat raw with hummus or a dip. You can also use a box grater to bake zucchini into breads or muffins, spiralize for zoodles, or slice into zucchini ribbons. We also love using zucchini for no pasta zucchini lasagna and zucchini boats!
Again, this list just covers the veggies I felt I prep the most often. There are so many more out there, so pick your favorites! Many of the veggies I listed can also be steamed or boiled, but I barely ever use those cooking methods because I don’t like the taste of vegetables if they are only steamed or boiled. Bleh. They don’t taste as good to me, so that’s another good example of using what you know you like and don’t like to set yourself up for success.
You’ll see many can be used as both a snack and other meals. This way when I buy an ingredient, I can make sure I use it up and not have waste toward the end of the week. I do mainly prep veggies at the beginning of the week to save time on weekdays, and most prepped veggies last a week when stored in sealed containers in the fridge. Even if you do some of the washing and chopping on the weekend, the veggies are then ready to go during the week which decreases the amount of cooking time necessary on weekdays AND the amount of hours in the kitchen on Sundays if you don’t want to wait for everything to cook in one night.
I’m interested in hearing your favorite ways to prep veggies. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me what your go to vegetables and cooking methods are!
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