In my last vegetable makeover, I explored ways of making vegetables more interesting. This time, I’m not only trying to beat vegetable boredom, but also trying to find healthier, veggie-packed alternatives to heavier fare. Luckily, there are some brilliant food blogs and recipe resources out there making it easier than ever to do just that — whether you are on a plant-based diet or just trying to make your meatless Mondays a little less routine.
Burgers are the hallmark of culinary Americana, and while fries are the usual accompaniment, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who would turn down a nice batch of golden, crispy tater tots. HellaWella has already gifted readers with a roundup of 15 potato-less tots, but I feel it’s my duty to throw one more your way: Broccoli and Cheese Tots. Gina Homolka at Skinnytaste, who created the genius Cauliflower Tots featured in HellaWella's roundup, has managed to turn broccoli into crispy, salty, cheesy nuggets of deliciousness that stand up to any typical tot. They also hold up to a good ketchup dunking.
Still craving the crunch of fries? Try these Spicy Green Bean Fries from Slender Kitchen. According to Self, green beans will give you plenty of necessary nutrients, including B vitamins such as riboflavin and B6, vitamin C, iron and fiber. The spicy breading, which is light and crisp, takes these green beans to the next level, and the green beans themselves have a wonderfully satisfying crunch. These are way healthier than most typical snack options and just as tasty.
You can serve these tots or fries with any burger, but if you are going full-veggie, you must try this Veggie Burger recipe from Everyday Food. This patty gets its meaty texture from a mix of bulgur wheat and beans and a hint of crunch and sweetness from a secret ingredient: carrots. According to the USDA, one carrot contains 200% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, and they are available year-round.
Spring vegetables are delicious and nutritious, and with a little ingenuity, they can be the star of many dishes. Start with this beautiful Glowing Green “Pasta” Primavera from Oh She Glows. Carrots are (once again) the secret to this recipe, this time stepping in for pasta. Draped in sautéed asparagus and peas which have been tossed in a zesty pesto sauce, carrots take on a whole new character. My “noodles” were various widths. I rolled with the rustic appearance and really enjoyed the texture. (Read: I was too lazy to julienne. The dish did not suffer.) This meal is the epitome of plant power. According to Cooking Light, green peas contain zinc and B vitamins, while asparagus provides vitamin C, and both veggies provide iron and fiber. In the time-honored tradition of making do with what I have, I modified the pesto, omitting the hemp, replacing basil with spinach and using a splash of apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon. While the pesto recipe is very adaptable, I strongly suggest you add the acidic component, either from citrus juice or vinegar, because it really livens up the whole dish. There are protein add-in recommendations at the recipe, but this meal goes with just about anything. Use what you have! If you’re craving meat, grilled chicken is a no-brainer. This dish is light and lovely as is, but the components also make a great base for other dishes, so get creative with your leftovers! Inspired by this Grilled Flatbread recipe from the Food Network, I piled my veggies onto some naan, made using the Instant Naan recipe from my takeout at home series. Cheese lovers, you could sprinkle with some sharp cheddar or feta and chow down, but the pesto is so flavorful and lush you don’t really need it.
Transform your primavera leftovers into a delicious breakfast. Just add a scrambled egg to the greens and enjoy. If you have leftover naan, this would be a great place to use it up. If you don’t but still want a little more substance, serve with roasted potatoes. As for the carrots, throw them into a breakfast smoothie with mango, milk of your choice — I used coconut milk — and a banana for a healthy, fancy breakfast in no time flat.
These dishes are so delicious you will find yourself looking forward to getting your daily dose of vegetables. Put your own spin on them and let us know how they turn out!