Why is it so darn hard for people to eat vegetables? I’ve heard all the excuses: “They rot in the refrigerator before I can get to them,” (How about frozen?), “The kids won’t eat them” (They are much more likely to eventually eat them if they see you eat them!), and the most common one . . . “They take too long to prepare.”
Really?! My response to this one deserves its very own paragraph. Unless you are eating chips out of the bag or nuking a frozen meal, there really isn’t much you can prepare more easily – or quicker – than vegetables. Just cut off the inedible parts and eat them raw or cook them.
Steaming is a breeze, but I realize this can get boring. I actually prefer my vegetables simply steamed when I have something saucy or more flavorful on the plate. Then I just let everything co-mingle. The lasagna or chicken marsala gets lightened up, and the steamed broccoli gets a little more flavor. Win-win!! Everyone is happy.
When I have a simple chicken breast or piece of fish, the same strategy applies. In this case, I like to make a more interesting vegetable to accompany it. If you really have no time, this might mean just tossing it with a little butter, salt and pepper (maybe a little lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs if you’re feeling really fancy) after cooking – simple, but plenty of flavor.
I often make roasted vegetables using any mixture that suits my mood and taste buds. This is really so simple it cannot be called a recipe, but I will include it here to help the less confident cooks among you. Play! This can be fun. Use the leftovers over pasta with a little extra olive oil and Parmesan cheese or in a wrap for lunch.
If you need more reasons to eat vegetables, how about considering a recent LA Times report on studies claiming people who eat more vegetables are viewed as healthier and more attractive-looking? If preventing all kinds of diseases doesn’t quite motivate you, maybe vanity will??
Kim’s Roasted Vegetables
Put roughly chopped vegetables into a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a 400 degree oven for about ½ hour (time depends on the type of vegetables used). Toss once or twice during the cooking time. Here are some of my favorite combos:
Eggplant chunks, purple onion, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms – sometimes I drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar at the end.
Parsnips, carrots, and purple onion – a nice winter medley
Brussels sprouts and . . . more Brussels sprouts – I love them all by themselves; they get a little crispy – mmm!
Make plenty and use them in different ways.
- I like to put the eggplant version over whole grain ziti (or use another shape noodle), sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Sometimes I add mini fresh mozzarella balls and fresh basil. Be creative! You could add some leftover chicken or shrimp for an extra protein boost.
- Roll some of your leftover vegetables in a wrap spread with hummus for a quick sandwich.
- Mix with brown rice. The olive oil in the vegetables is a nice moistener. You may want to add a can of drained and rinsed beans or some leftover chunks of meat.
- Put into an omelet with a little cheese.