Easy Peasy [Tastier] Veggies
I live with two guys who are very into the gym, and very into “clean” eating. Generally speaking, this means there’s a lot of lean, plain-er meats every week, plain vegetables, and a plainish carb like rice, quinoa, or potatoes.
Now, this is great, as we cook all the time and I know the food I’m eating is balanced and good for me.
But I don’t eat a lot of the carb (white rice doesn’t sit too well 5 days in a row), instead sticking with more of the meat and veggies. Let me say – MAN does plain steamed broccoli, or plain green beans, or plain roasted carrots (all of which I love!) start to get boring week after week.
I ADORE food, and I like cooking, so fairly often I get a little experiment-y. Veggies are SO good when they’re good, so they deserve a little more love than just being steamed every week, am I right?
Here are 5 recipes I’ve been rocking that have me excited for the veggies on my plate.
Since the boys already make their own clean carb, you’ll notice all of the below are grain-free (I LOVE a grains + veggie salad, but unfortunately they’d rather count their carb macro separate).
Note – I make all these in bulk, and they all keep well!
***Click the titles for recipe links! ***
Okay, this salad knocks it out of the park.
The recipe calls for craisins, which I’ve just substituted for grapes, blueberries, or cherries (basically whatever fruit is on sale). And if you’re feeling cheap or lazy, it doesn’t even need the almond topper since the dressing is nutty enough.
I can’t recommend this one enough, although I definitely crank up the quantity of broccoli as I find the recipe otherwise makes too much dressing (I’m not into extremely saucy broccoli salad).
Go ahead and do the shorthand way of making the cashew milk – just soaking cashews in boiled water for 10 minutes. It works perfectly fine for this recipe.
You will want to eat 12 of these at once, but you DO have to be careful with this one because it’s actually very calorie-dense given that it’s primarily held together by almond flour. But MAN are these tasty. I’ve been using them as a breakfast substitute some days since they are a pretty hearty snack.
The nice thing is that these use broccoli stems – a part of the broccoli I find always gets thrown out, since most people only eat the crowns.
Making broccoli go further and taste delicious? Sounds good to me!
Personally I just grind up almonds in a blender to make the almond flour, as I always have a Costco pack of almonds on hand.
Olive Oil, Balsamic, Tomato, Basil, and Salt (or, kind of a Caprese Salad)
I grew up surrounded by Italians, so this was actually a fairly normal lunch.
This one doesn’t even need a recipe really, but I’ve linked one in case you’re keen.
Why bother adding to the list if it’s so simple? Because it’s DELICIOUS. And so easy. And keeps well in the fridge.
Italian food is made or broken on the quality of the ingredients, so if you’re going to make it don’t fuss with jazzy additions and just make ABSOLUTELY sure you use 1) a good extra virgin olive oil and 2) fresh sweet Italian basil. Thai basil is more pointy in appearance and tastes more like black licorice, so go for the sweet.
If you really want to crank up the delicious, use fresh tomatoes (hello summer farmers markets), crumble chunky fresh sea salt flakes over top, and for a treat go ahead and add ricotta cheese, bocconcini balls, or mozzarella.
Personally I like this way more than a Greek salad, but I’m a basil fiend…
While the boys like this as a side, I often use it as a super healthy flavour and texture pop on our protein of the week in a wrap or taco.
Cabbage is really good for you, and, once again, this is SO easy to make. I would advise attempting to shred the cabbage and carrots into small pieces, as they’re both quite hard veggies and will stick out awkwardly in a wrap.
The nice thing about cabbage slaws is they can be pretty diverse in flavour depending on what kind of sauces and ingredients you use (apple, mango, tangy Asian sauces…).
I’ve put a link to a super basic one that I find works perfectly fine – no fussing or fancy required. I don’t add the olive oil, and often leave out the coriander.
I’m a sucker for those sweet-chili-heat style Asian dressings. This recipe does not disappoint, but the part I like about it? No sugar.
They do add a teaspoon of honey, but that’s a far cry from the loads of brown or white sugar that often gets tossed in those oh-so-yummy sauces.
And, yes, I lied – puy lentils are a higher carb item that the boys would eat separate (they’re super high in fibre legumes though, okay), and they are present in this recipe. I usually make it without them, purely because I don’t have them on hand often, but they are DELICIOUS and you should definitely try it with them as well.
Sidenote – when the recipe says “season”, salt and pepper is fine. Don’t you let them make you feel bad at cooking with their fancy, nonspecific lingo.
- I’ve got a hankering for sesame, so I have added just a little dash (~1/2 teaspoon) of sesame oil before. Sesame oil has quite a strong flavour though and can overpower the dressing a bit, so be careful. I reduce the amount of olive oil as well.
- I’ve also left out the red chili for a ½ teaspoon to full teaspoon of chili paste called Sambal Oelek. You will find it in the international section of the grocery store. It’s got a great, kind of smokey flavour and adds a mild heat in small doses.
So there you have it! None of these recipes take an exceptional amount of effort, I promise.
What they do offer: a really tasty alternative to basic steamed or roasted veggies, when you’re needing a break.