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help me out with veggies?


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I have a love/hate relationship with vegetables. Always have. There are ones that I love, but the range isn't very broad. I'm pretty embarrassed about this, really. I want to fill more of my plate with veggies, and I'm looking for suggestions.


I am trying to do two things: 1) broaden my vegetable vocabulary; and 2) find more make-ahead and take to work options. 


I do a lot of roasting- in my current rotation are: sweet potatoes (I could eat them every day. I try not to); cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, beets. I like spinach pretty much any way at all (spinach for salad greens, for example, I prefer to just about any other type of salad). I am trying to make myself love dark green leafies, but unless it's kale chips or collards (or similar) cooked with a lot of seasonings, I can't choke down very much of it.


Can anyone assist? My cooking time is severely limited by my work obligations, so things I can prepare on the weekend and bring with me (and eat for dinner) are key.

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We all have very different tastes, and some of these ideas won't work for you, because I see some omissions in your list that are very common things that you likely don't enjoy.  Without getting into exotics, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus.  When I do salad bar buffet night, it usually takes 3 times longer to do veggie prep than to cook the protein.


Tomatoes: wedges on a salad, diced into a sauce like a scampi

Peppers: cut into large sections, smash/lay them flat on a foil lined sheet under the broiler for 15 minutes, put them in a ziploc for 10 minutes, peel, roasted peppers.  Use the reds, oranges, and yellows.  Not good for green.

Zucchini: zoodles, easy to find cheap tools to make veggie noodles, among many other things goes well with a great scampi, you can even toss them in the pan for a minute or two.  I think I paid $12 for a little hand held gizmo at BBB.

Eggplant: good sized cubes tossed into a hot pan with a lid, no oil, 10 minutes of tossing and they brown and steam.  Add a little oil at the end once they've cooked and you get the same awesomeness with a lot less oil compared to putting them into oil right away.  They're spongy, so all the oil in the pan comes with them.  Mix some with the roasted peppers above, some pureed tomatoes, and some Mediterranean spices for a great cold eggplant salad.

Mushrooms: no real need for oils.  portabello, crimini, and shiitake are most interesting. Shiitake go nice with bok choy, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and a little chicken broth.  Portabello are good for stuffing or slicing and saute.

Onions: I can't list everything I do with onions. They don't need to be cooked too much to suppress them enough to be workplace safe.  Raw red onions in a salad, probably best for a lunch at home.  Nicely burned edges on yellow onions, some roasted peppers, diced tomato and your favorite herbs will turn a reheated protein into something more than just a unit of chicken meat.


Mix your favorite raw chicken sausage, cut into big chunks and not pre-cooked, with sliced onion, green pepper, cauliflower, a trash can lid full of garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and OO, tossed, dumped into a shallow dish with most of the sausage on the top so they get nicely browned, in a 375 oven for about 75-90 minutes.  Watch for the cauliflower to brown at the edges, and the sausages to look awesome.  Stir a few times to avoid major scrubbing, and be generous with the oil, none of the veggies will absorb much and it helps when you're reheating during the week.


You love spinach, get some in your protein.  Michelle Tam's Sliders recipe at nomnompaleo.com is an absolute knockout and they reheat very well.  You can make them with any meat you like.  http://nomnompaleo.com/post/10925485307/green-sliders-spinach-mushroom-and-beef-mini.  I use Rao's Marinara on them.


For the dark green leafies, I agree completely, you have to hit them with something as bold flavored as they are.  I cannot embrace the bitter.  Lemony vinaigrette on kale, cayenne on collards unless I boil them into mush, and watercress needs my avocado chile lime vinaigrette because it just steps all over anything paired with it that has a weak flavor.

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Hey, thanks for the tips! I've just been caught in a rut.


I really like a lot of the veg that you mentioned - many of them have fallen out of favor for lack of an appealing way to prepare. 


I love leeks, shallots, and garlic. Really hate strong onion taste (even red onion juice gets me), but even no-onion me has taken to buying a big bag of sweet onions to cook with. I guess I don't really consider the alums to be actual vegetables? Maybe that's silly. But I kind of write off any of them when I'm trying to tally veggies in my diet. Funny: I can handle hot peppers, but bell peppers do a number on my stomach. Occasional roasted red/orange/yellow, but I have to watch it.


So do zoodles keep? I've only once made them- to make into a "lasagne". I inherited a pretty sweet mandoline, so this should be a no-brainer for me. Thanks for the reminder. 


I will definitely try the eggplant salad. I make the worlds best eggplant parm (not to toot my own horn, but it's damned excellent), so without that as a possibility I kind of forgot about them.


Cold veggie salads. Now that's some place for me to start.


Asparagus: I have tried to cook them in a few ways, and they are always gross. I love other people's asparagus, so clearly it's an execution problem. Is there a method that's foolproof in terms of avoiding mush? If I roast? Mushy. Sautee? same. 

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The secret to making kale taste good.... cook a handful of chopped onion with salt and garlic powder in coconut oil or ghee. Add a bunch of kale cut or chopped into bite-size pieces. Dust with salt and garlic powder. Splash generously with apple cider, balsamic, or champagne vinegar. Add a handful of dried cranberries. Cook covered until the kale is soft. Eat and enjoy. If you do not add vinegar, I agree that kale does not taste good. 


An alternative... you can cook kale with chopped onion in diced tomatoes where there is more tomatoes than kale. The acid of the tomatoes will deal with kale to the point that eating it is tasty.

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I saute a handful of asparagus on medium high heat in a fat that can take the heat:  coconut oil, ghee, or bacon grease.  Doesn't take much, you just want something that distributes heat into the food quickly.  Prepare a 1/4 cup of broth with a few of your favorite herbs, maybe a little minced garlic, maybe even pre-toasted sliced almonds.  When the asparagus are deep green, dump the brew into the pan.  Once the steam and commotion dies down, take the pan off the heat and let them sit a minute.  Ready to serve.  Take them out of the pan if you're going to pack them for a future weeknight.  You can use more broth and take the asparagus out while you make a reduction to pour over them.  They'll have enough moisture to nuke at work just fine without.


Heat and speed make for good asparagus, same basic rule as a boneless chicken breast, heat and speed.


Even though you don't like red onions, which commonly go into balsamic tomatoes, you can just soak some tomatoes in balsamic vinaigrette.


One thing about the bell peppers in that casserole, by the time that's cooked, they are very mellow.  You could mash them.  If the reds treat you better, switch it up.  It won't make the dish too sweet.  Dice up a few serranos if you like a kick.


Not sure how well zoodles would keep, it depends what's keeping with them.  Alone, I think they'd dry out, even in a good fridge.  I think they could keep for a few days in something not too acidic.  You must be very skilled with a mandoline to be able to make zoodles, I use a gizmo to get mine to come out as long as noodles.

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Kale and other dark leafies (collards, mustard, etc):  They're braising greens, not sautéing greens like spinach or chard which sauté beautifully.  I have noticed that a lot of folks are so eager not to overcook veggies that they sometimes swing to far the other directions and undercook them.  This especially true of braising greens. So, start with onion and garlic and crushed red pepper sautéing in your compliant fat of choice.  Add your torn or chopped greens and let them wilt a bit.  Then add a liquid e.g. beef or chicken broth, water.  Bring liquid to a bubble, turn down heat and cover.  Simmer the greens at least 30 minutes to fully cook them.  Salt and pepper to taste, drizzle of cider vinegar before serving.


Another good trick is to "sneak"greens into other dishes, like a soup or a meatloaf.  I wilt finely chopped greens to broth-based soups all the time.  By the time the soup is cooked, the greens look like flakes of herbs floating in the broth, but they are adding a ton of nutrients to the soup and you're getting another serving of veggies.  Win-win!

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Since you're already roasting, try to branch out.  Here's some more things that are yummy roasted:



green beans



butternut squash






other than roasting in large quantities, sometimes I'll make a huge pot of veggie soup with a mix of at least 6 of the above ingredients and/or the one's you've already mentioned.  Then I compliment with my protein of choice at meal time.  Add fat too of course!

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  • 5 weeks later...

One of our favorites: saute approved sausage (we're lucky and have a local option). Slice cabbage, green peppers, etc. I've put in zucchini, kale, carrots, onions, etc. Add veggies to sausage, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, and cook until the veggies begin to soften.


I also like carrot coriander soup as a veggie option. I don't follow a set recipe, but it's pretty fail proof! Put a variety of chopped veggies in a pot or crock pot (I used carrots, leeks, banana squash, onion, garlic, turnips, cilantro, potatoes, and parsnips last time I made it). Make sure you use garlic and onions and cilantro really does make it better! Add water and bone broth to cover. Cook until the veggies are all mushy. Put all of it through the blender until there are no lumps. Put back into the pot or crock pot. Add salt, pepper, and ground coriander to taste. The original recipe calls for cream, but I put in a can of coconut milk with the same result. A bowl of this is FULL of veggies! I haven't tried it, but I imagine it would freeze fairly well.

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Susan B ~ quick way to make non mushy asparagus.  Lay on a foil lined baking sheet (after snapping the woody ends off). Drizzle w/ a bit of oil of choice (you don't need much...too much makes mushy) and roll them around so they are all coated.  Sprinkle with rock salt.  Place under the broiler setting of your oven but  leave the oven rack in the normal middle position.  Broil for about 5-6 minutes.  Done!

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