You know the formula for healthy eating: seasonal vegetables, whole grains, and a wide variety of flavors and textures. This month, we’re exploring creative new ways to incorporate more vegetables and nutrients into your everyday meals without sacrificing flavor — in fact, you may find that better-for-you foods pack a bigger flavor punch. Read on for a few fresh techniques, tools and tips to try now.
|Turn vegetables into pasta
Change an ingredient’s texture, and you can also alter its flavor and uses. Use a spiralizer to create long ribbons of carrots, cucumber and zucchini, and you’ll have a lightened-up pasta dish that also packs in nutrients.
Try it: Zucchini “Pasta” with Butternut Squash
|Give risotto a whole-grain boost
Replace traditional Arborio rice with whole grains like quinoa, farro or barley, and this comforting dish becomes much more nutritious and satisfying. Incorporate whole grains into breakfast cereals and pasta dishes, too (think steel-cut oats and buckwheat noodles).
Try it: Butternut Squash Barley Risotto
|Rethink the wrap
Greens aren’t just for salads. Use the natural shape of Butter lettuce and cabbage leaves to create individually sized cups to fill with braised meats, seafood and more. It works for baked dishes, too; try Asian-inspired cabbage rolls instead of enchiladas for a lighter dish.
Try it: Ginger-Sesame Pork Lettuce Wraps
|Make snacks work harder
Potato chips are delicious, but they aren’t contributing much in the nutrition department. Instead, try chips made from vitamin-rich root vegetables or even kale. Same goes for French fries — you can bake thinly sliced sweet potatoes or carrots into similar treats.
Try it: Beet and Sweet Potato Chips
|Meet a new kind of steak
We love a steak, cut into thick slabs and perfectly caramelized at the edges. So why not try the same technique with other ingredients? “Steaks” of hearty cauliflower, eggplant and portobello mushrooms make an elegant presentation for a meatless meal, over greens or alongside a grain salad.
Try it: Cauliflower Steaks with Caper-Anchovy-Garlic Sauce
|Give new greens a chanceTraditionally, lettuces were used for salads, hearty greens like chard and kale were cooked, and herbs were for sauces and dressings. These days, unexpected greens are taking center stage in all kinds of dishes. We’ve all seen the popularity of raw kale salads, but there are other trends, too: greens in pesto and salsa verde, fresh herb leaves in salads, and wilted collards in pasta.
Try it: Chopped Chard Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette