6.14.2013

5 Ways to Add More Vegetables to Your Meal Plan


I am lucky to have a family that LOVES vegetables. 
But if you are looking for ways to get some more veggies in your families tummies, here are a few easy switches! 
Best thing about all of these is that they are 'whatever' recipes. 'Whatever' recipes are my favorite, because you just use whatever vegetables you have on hand! This is perfect for the summer months when you have a plethora of fresh produce in your garden or from the farmer's market. You can never have to much, just chop those veggies up and make these easy dishes!

1. Lasagna

Lasagna is a dish that is just begging to be loaded with vegetables. 
Basic lasagna=boring. 
Veggie lasagna=awesome!
I like to go for a skillet lasagna, as layering fragile noodles is not my jam. I take the basics from Annie's Eats Skillet Lasagna and twist it a bit to make it vegaliscious. Just take out the pound of sausage and add 2 cups of diced vegetables, whatever you have on hand! Alternately, do 1/2 a pound of meat and 1 cup veggies. That'll trick 'em:)

 If you wanna squeeze even more vegetables into a pan of lasagna, you really MUST try Pinch of Yum's 'Veggie Alfredo Lasagna.' She gets sneaky by making Alfredo sauce from cauliflower.
Shut the front door.
I made mine with zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and onion.


2. Chili

Chili thats not loaded with veggies just feels blah to me. Meat and beans and tomatoes? That's it??
Not around here! I use this recipe from 2 Peas and their Pod for the base, and then toss in whatever other veggies I have on hand. If your not ready to go meatless quite yet, just sub out half the meat in your normal recipe for an equal amount of chopped veggies. Peppers, zucchini, squash, celery, carrots, and eggplant all work well.


3. Spaghetti Squash

I have never meet someone who didn't like pasta. Pasta+marinara sauce+cheese is comfort food at it's finest. 
But I have meet lots of people who don't like to have a huge ass, and that, unfortunately, is what eating pasta does to you. But swap those carb loaded noodles for spaghetti squash, and you can eat to your hearts content, guilt free. My favorite way to fix it is a spaghetti squash bake. 
Cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, then bake, cut side down on a baking sheet for 40 minutes at 375. Meanwhile, dice up whatever veggies you have (I usually go for onions, lots of zucchini, squash {squash on squash on squash? I know, I'm crazy}, spinach, bell peppers). Saute your veggies with a little olive oil over medium heat until tender. In a large bowl, mix veggies, about half a jar of marinara sauce, and about a 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Once the squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes, then use a fork to scrape the flesh (i.e. noodle) from the inside and add to the bowl. Mix it all up, put it in a greased baking dish, and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
SO good.

4. Veggie Fried Rice

Chinese food is usually pretty heavy on the veggies, fairly easy to fix, and full of flavor. Fried rice is a great way to use up any vegetables you have that are about to go bad.
My easy peasy recipe:
Start with 4 cups precooked rice (it works best to use cold rice, so make it early in the day, or refrigerate it before adding to your stir fry0. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 beaten eggs and cook until they are just starting to scramble, and set aside. Add a little more olive oil to the plan, and sauté your veggies until tender. Try it with bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, green onions, or green beans. And don't forget to season with garlic and ginger! Once veggies are fork tender, add your cold rice and cook until its heated, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce with 2 teaspoons sugar. Pour sauce over veggies and rice, the add your cooked eggs. Stir fry for couple more minutes, then drizzle with a little sesame oil just before serving.

5. Veggie-ful Grilled Cheese

Because why not put a ton of sautéed vegetables in the middle of your grilled cheese?
For this one, I pan fried some sliced red and green bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I used sliced Colby Jack cheese, and made a grilled cheese as usual, with a healthy heaping of vegetables added to the middle. It's not subtle, but it is delicious. Lincoln like his with just cheese and sliced zucchini, and I'm ok with that too.


What are the ways you use up your summer vegetables?
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7 comments:

Bethany said...

Love these! Everyone needs more veggies!

Sarah @ ImSimplySarah said...

Came over from Making the World Cuter Mondays! Love your idea about the Spaghetti Squash....I've yet to try it but will have to soon. Everyone says its fantastic. Come visit me sometime at imsimplysarah.blogspot.com

Virginia Megin Gallagher said...

Great ideas! I love the veggie cheese sandwich ~ that's gotta be a new dinner for me.
I'm visiting today from CRAFT. I hope you get the chance to visit my blog, linkup and leave a comment, too!
~ Megin of VMG206
Link Up Sat thru Friday @ DIY Showcase Link Party

BeBetsy said...

Both of us are always looking for ways to incorporate more veggie's in our recipes-thanks.

So glad you linked up with us at the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Link and Hop.

We'd love it if you would link back to BeBetsy at the bottom of your post. http://bebetsy.com

Have a great week~xo
Sharon and Denise!

Nicole@nicole-southerncharm.com/ said...

What great ideas! This look great!I am new from southern charm. I would love for you to check out my blog and hopefully follow me back! Nicole

Jane Droll said...

OMG these are good ideas! the last one? the grilled cheese w/sauteed veggies? YES, PLEASE!

i live on my own, so i don't have to trick myself to eat veggies. well, not usually. my super easy/lazy thing is to chop up all sorts of bright peppers, plus onions, and mushrooms, and to drizzle w/a little olive oil plus some garlic salt, then roast at about 400 for 20 min or so. it is so good. SO GOOD. as a meal, as a side dish, added to an omelette, as a bruschetta, whatever. it works!

Shauna Smart said...

Wanted to stop by and let you know that your awesome recipe was a Fabulous 5 Feature at this weeks The Weekend re-Treat Link Party! Check it out here: http://thebestblogrecipes.com/2013/06/fabulous-5-features-from-link-party-21-22.html

Hope you'll stop back by this weekend and link up to the party that just went LIVE!

Shauna
http://thebestblogrecipes.com/