Have you ever been told to eat fewer vegetables? Probably not. They are a necessary component of any healthy diet.
There are easy ways to eat vegetables more often than you ever have before–all you need to do is replace grain-based foods with veggies! Soon you’ll be over your reliance on pasta, rice and bread.
Here are 10 creative ways to think outside the box when it comes to vegetables. The more you begin thinking like this, the more fun veggies will suddenly become. Many of these ideas are great gluten-free and paleo options as well.
1. Zucchini Noodles
Use a vegetable peeler to shave zucchini into ribbons. Layer on a baking tray with some oil and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve this anywhere you’d regularly serve pasta or buttery noodles.
2. Cauliflower Rice
You’ll be amazed at how well grated cauliflower works in place of steamed rice. This is much quicker than boiling rice and good for soaking up curry sauces. Like its cousin broccoli, it’s chock full of nutrients.
3. Carrot Spaghetti
Shave thin carrot ribbons with your vegetable peeler. Simmer these in boiling water, like pasta, until just tender. Drain and serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
4. Cauliflower Couscous
Cauliflower is one of the most underrated vegetables. The lack of green color means it doesn’t at first appear as “healthy” as other greens. However, this can be a benefit if you’re looking for a “stealth” veggie to serve those who might shy away from the goodness of vegetables. Just grate or chop raw cauliflower in a food processor and sauté it in a little oil until soft. You can use this anywhere you’d usually serve cooked couscous.
5. Baby Spinach Pasta
If you’ve got a ragu or hearty pasta sauce, just substitute pasta for a bed of baby spinach leaves. It’s a light dish and quicker too, since there’s no need to boil any water for the pasta. It’s also great with tofu instead of rice.
6. Shaved Cabbage Vermicelli
Shave white or savoy cabbage with a mandoline until you have what resembles vermicelli. Serve with a stew or a pasta sauce. You can also toss the shaved cabbage in lemon juice and olive oil with parmesan cheese for a lovely main course salad.
7. Cauliflower Rice Krispies
Try finely chopping cauliflower and serving with your favorite Greek yogurt and granola. This is great for breakfast and will add a bit of snap, crackle, pop to a normal granola bowl.
8. Lettuce Wraps/Sandwiches
Your favorite sandwich filling is delicious, right? So why not just wrap it in crisp iceberg or cos lettuce leaves?
9. Kale Chips
If you’re craving potato chips but would really like a healthy salty snack replacement, try kale chips. Just toss dry kale leaves in a little oil and bake on a tray for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Salt them after you take them from the oven. These are also wonderful with grated parmesan cheese.
10. Eggplant Lasagna
Similar to the Greek moussaka, replace the pasta sheets in lasagna with grilled or pan-fried eggplant slices. Your eggplant lasagna doesn’t have to be vegetarian, so feel free to add protein like Italian sausage.
Featured photo credit: cauliflower ‘couscous’-3/Jules Clancy via flic.kr