But sometimes when we think of them, the memories of soggy, bland veggies on our plates come to mind. We can change all of that. Below are a few of the sweetest, most flavorful vegetable recipes I have discovered while trying to replace “green grime” with gourmet goodness.
The ingredients you will need for these recipes can be found in your garden or at your local farmer’s market. They are: beets, ginger, virgin coconut oil, honey, carrots, peas, onions, virgin olive oil, spaghetti squash, sugar snap peas, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper and zucchini.
Beets reduce inflammation, but sometimes their flavor is lacking. Well, I’m confident that this recipe will make your mouth water. These are great paired with barbeque chicken and spinach.
- Put a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil into a pan.
- Slice two fresh medium beets and add them to the pan with two tablespoons of ground or chopped ginger.
- Cook at medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until soft.
- Serve warm with a tablespoon of honey on top.
How about carrots? I know plenty of people that like carrots, but I didn’t until I tried this recipe. Carrots are known for improving eyesight, and one of my friends is convinced that carrots cured his prostate cancer. This is a recipe for sumptuous peas and carrots, based on a recipe taught to me by a friend from France. These are delicious paired with grilled steak and mashed potatoes.
French-style peas and carrots:
- Put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a pan.
- Chop 1 onion, 3 large carrots and add them to the pan with 2 cups of frozen (or fresh) peas and a dash of salt.
- Cook at medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.
- Serve warm with a pat of butter on top.
3. Spaghetti squash
When I was about 16 years old my dad tried serving spaghetti squash in the place of pasta one night. I don’t blame him, as spaghetti squash has only half the calories and far more nutrients than pasta. But I didn’t like it at all. It was crunchy. Crunchy spaghetti was just not right. But now I have figured out a way of cooking it that makes me say “no” to pasta without batting an eye. At least once a week, my husband and I indulge in a wonderful pasta dish without worrying about high calories or low nutrients. Spaghetti squash is good paired with anything you would pair with regular pasta.
Scrumptious spaghetti squash:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut top off squash and slice down the middle length-wise.
- Scoop out seeds and discard.
- Lay the two halves on a baking sheet, open side up, and spread about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on top of squash. Sprinkle on about a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Bake for an hour or until squash comes apart easily with a fork.
- As you pull the squash out of its skin with a fork it will turn into strings like spaghetti.
- One of my favorite ways to top my spaghetti squash is with butter, Italian herbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
4. Sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas are high in vitamin C. I personally love them so much I snack on them fresh. Growing up, my dad taught me that they make an awesome stir-fry. Stir-fry is a great meal on top of spaghetti squash, or just by itself. Here is the recipe for the delicious nutritious meal I enjoyed almost every night in college.
- Put a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil into a frying pan or wok.
- Add 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped or ground ginger, 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Turn heat on low.
- If desired, chicken breast, steak or cashews can be added at this point but are not necessary, as the sugar snap peas have protein.
- Chop 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, one-half cup of broccoli, a handful of mushrooms, and one-fourth of a red pepper.
- Add chopped vegetables and 1 cup of sugar snap peas to pan and cook at medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until carrots are soft, stirring occasionally.
- If ingredients stick to the bottom of pan, add a tablespoon of wine, oil or water.
- Serve hot with chopsticks.
Zucchini is high in protein and magnesium. But I never liked zucchini until I tried this recipe, once again inspired by my French friend. This has a flavor and consistency that makes me think of buttery pasta. I enjoy this paired with cod and fresh greens.
Zucchini and mushrooms:
- Put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a pan.
- Slice two large zucchinis and a handful of mushrooms and add them to the pan.
- Cook on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until soft.
Vegetables are the main dish toward better health. Often, we are too busy focusing on how many nutrients and health benefits are in coffee or chocolate to remember that veggies are the most nutrient-dense and balanced foods available to us. They have protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, healthy carbs, healthy fats … and the list goes on.
Incorporate these recipes into your weekly meals and I guarantee that not only will you be enjoying the way your food tastes but you will also be enjoying the way your food makes you feel.
What are your favorite “gourmet vegetable” recipes? Share your thoughts in the section below: