The mighty vegetable ranks high on the healthy food pyramid, and you do your job to make sure you get a nice quantity. Salads have served you well so far, but now you're ready to venture outside your routine and live on the edge a little. Well, we like your enthusiasm and that's why we won't let your love for the greens wilt away before trying these uber tasty ways to get crafty with your veggies!
It has been said that you should eat your fruits and drink your veggies. Consuming the fiber of a fruit helps to slow down the absorption of the natural sugars, which is great because you want it to be released slowly. With veggies however, the removal of the pulp actually helps the nutrients to be absorbed straight into your body without any barriers. Since they have very little sugar content, you can drink the equivalent of a pile of veggies in just one glass, getting the maximum nutritional benefits. Also, because juices are raw, the nutrients and enzymes remain intact and get used up by your body to deliver plenty of energy for your daily adventures.
After you juice, you can use vegetable pulp as a bulking agent in recipes so nothing goes to waste. You can use it to make dehydrated veggie crackers, put it in muffins (carrot ginger, hello!), breads, crackers, and even veggie burgers.
3. Green Smoothies.
These usually entail the use of one-part fruit, one-part liquid such as almond/coconut milk or juice, and one-part greens (a HUGE handful of baby spinach usually works great). If you're using a sweet fruit such as bananas, you can easily incorporate vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini and celery without disturbing the taste. A pear cucumber smoothie makes a great mid-day snack.
4. Cultured Veggies.
Aha! We knew we'd catch you off-guard with this one. Packing a good-gut-bacteria punch, this is actually a well-kept secret of digestive gurus. Culturing is the simple process of chopping up your veggies, pounding them down to let them marinate in their own juices, and sealing them in an airtight glass jar for several days. This is a great way to get your probiotic kick, sans supplements.
5. Replacement of Standard Food Items.
Tougher vegetables, particularly zucchini and other squashes, can be used to make standard food items such as pasta and noodles. You can purchase a spiralizer (they retail for about $40), get a julienne slicer, or even cut thin strips with a knife. Just throw them in a bowl with some peanuts and a creamy sauce to make an Asian-inspired pad thai, or a hearty tomato sauce to make your favorite pasta dish. You can also make rice out of parsnips by putting it in a food processor and rolling it up into sushi.