Good morning! Happy National Peanut Lover’s day (I love having random “holidays” to celebrate and this blog gives me many new food-related things to look forward to….). I made some pb&j oats to celebrate (since it’s also National Fruit Compote day)…. if you were curious.
Anyway, today I want to discuss something that I could go on and on about for hours: vegetables. I love vegetables. Before you start thinking I’m crazy, hear me out…..
So, like I said, I love vegetables. I love them raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed and baked. I love kale chips, baked sweet potatoes, big salads full of raw and crunchy veggies, and stir frys. When someone tells me they don’t like vegetables, I have an intense desire to force feed them roasted brussel sprouts with maple syrup, sautéed green beans with garlic or roasted sweet potatoes to change their minds.Vegetables are delicious! They are good for you! They are fun! What’s not to love?
Now before I start coming across as a crazy vegetable fan, I’ll admit that I wasn’t always such a lover of all things that are green and come from the ground. Most of my veggie consumption when I was younger came from a can or from the freezer. I knew of corn on the cob in the summer and of mixed green salads before dinner, but I usually stuck to the carrots and celery in the produce aisle when it came to any sort of veggie consumption. The rows and rows of greens were intimidating and looked more like rabbit food than of something I should be consuming. I didn’t even know kale existed until a couple of years ago (the horror!). It was not until I started to delve headfirst into the world of health that I realized the deliciousness that exists in the world of vegetables.
So, where do you stand? Are you a fan of vegetables (maybe certain ones?) or do you avoid them like the plague? What’s your favorite way to prepare them? Any you don’t like?
I honestly believe we can all like to eat our vegetables, it just takes a little experimentation and fearlessness to make it happen. I understand that a bunch of kale can be intimating when you’ve never prepared it or that a rutabaga or acorn squash may not even look edible at first glance, but I am here to help you! I want us all to discover the deliciousness that comes from consuming these good-for-us foods.
Top reasons I love veggies:
- They are delicious
- There is sooo much variety (you can never get bored…there is always something new to try!)
- They are filling (full of fiber)
- You never have to worry about portion control (the more you eat, the better)
- They are colorful and make meals look more appealing
- They make you feel good (they contain essential vitamins and minerals)
- Cost effective (if you buy what’s in season, veggies can be very cheap!) – I just bought a HUGE bag of kale for $2(!)…..this isn’t the case if you’re trying to buy summer squash and red peppers in the dead of winter…..
So, I hope I am getting my point across that vegetables are worth eating. If I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe I can spotlight some of my favorites and my favorite (easy) ways of preparing them? Maybe I can convince you to buy/try something new next time you are at the grocery store?
If you already are on the veggie bandwagon, maybe we can use this space to share our favorite veggie-focused recipes?
To start things off I thought I would talk about one of my favorite vegetables: Kale.
Kale is so good for you (here is some info if you’re curious), and it is also so delicious if you prepare it correctly. Some of my favorite ways to eat kale:
1. Kale chips
These are so easy to make…. if you haven’t done this yet, DO IT! All you need is a baking sheet, cooking spray(or olive oil), kale, and whatever seasonings you’d like (salt and pepper are perfect if that’s all you have on hand)…. I swear they are delicious (I am talking to you, Lindsay)!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Wash and dry kale (make sure it’s completely dry so it will get crispy!)
- Break the kale into little bite-sized pieces (tearing away from the stalk)
- Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray, layer kale into one even layer and spray the top of the kale with nonstick spray
- Add seasonings (i love s+p, nutritional yeast, or adding spicy seasonings, like red pepper flakes)
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (checking to make sure they don’t burn!)
When done, they will be crispy and crunchy and very addicting. They are the perfect snack or side to dinner and taste amazing dipped in ketchup (this may just be a personal preference though….)
2. Massaged kale
Kale can be kind of rough/tough on its own, so massaging it is a great way to wilt it down a little and make it extra delicious.
- Break kale into bite sized pieces (as stated above)
- Put kale in bowl and add in any dressing/marinade of your choice (any garlicy/cheesy dressing is a good choice if you’ve never done this, but I also like to use vinegar-based dressings as well)
- Use you hands (make sure they’re washed!) or a fork/spoon/mixing utensil to distribute the dressing into the kale – hands work best!
- Add in some veggies, a grain, some sort of protein (beans, tofu, chicken, etc.) and fat (nuts, seeds) to make it a meal
3. Sautéed kale
I love sautéing kale and like to use it as an easy green addition to my dinners. All I do is rip the kale into bite sized pieces, coat a pan with a little bit of olive oil, and saute the kale until it begins to wilt and turn a deep green color (usually takes about 3-5 minutes). I then just season with a little salt and pepper and call it a day! It’s so easy. (You can also add other seasonings as well depending on taste/what else you are preparing).
So, those are the top 3 ways I prepare kale, and, as you can probably tell, I am all about easy meal preparation. I never do anything that takes much time and most of my meals come together in 20 minutes or less (so there is no excuse not to eat your veggies!).
If you do want a more “pulled together” or complete meal idea using kale check out these recipes (I have them bookmarked to make soon… they look so good!):
and some more kale recipes/ideas:
Let me know if you eat some kale (or if you have any questions)!
What is your favorite vegetable? What are you favorite ways to eat kale?