Lately I’ve been doing all kinds of fun things with my veggies! You know… I’ve got to keep things interesting! And, since it’s a new year, I wanted to find a way to stay committed to eating my beautiful fresh produce and eat healthier. Unfortunately, sometimes this can be difficult when you’re cooking for kids, picky eaters, carnivore partners (AHEM), the meat-potato-only kind of person in your family, you know. Personally, when I cook, I am cooking for at least 2 of those categories and it can be especially difficult to get veggies pass them.
Yup, I want to share with you some tricks that have worked for me and believe me when I tell you that whatever kind of person YOU are cooking for will not even realize they’re having their daily recommended vegetable servings (evil laugh again). They’ll ask you why the big smile (as you watch them inhale their food) and you’ll be so filled with satisfaction that the only thing you can (should) say at that point is: Nothing.
My favorite hidden veggie is a mushroom bacon that I absolutely loved making when I was a vegetarian (and still do!) thanks to a recipe I found years ago by Olives for Dinner. I promise you, it’s crunchy and flavorful just like the real thing. I use it sometimes in pasta or scrambles just to sneak another veggie. You can use any kind of mushrooms, but I do prefer cremini and shiitake. That same liquid smoke I used in my last post is what will give the mushrooms that smoky flavor. The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sesame oil, 3/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke, smoked paprika and salt. I find myself needing more of the oil mixture depending on the mushrooms I use since some absorb more than others, so play around with the flavors as you add more mushrooms. Remember that liquid smoke can be quite potent so if you’re not a fanyou may feel better about using just paprika or less of the liquid smoke. The key to the perfect bite is to taste as you go and make it perfect for your palette! Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until they are take on the color of bacon. Once they cool they will be crunchy and taste like real bacon. Yum! You can make VBLTs (Veggie Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato), add to a pasta dish, add to a scramble, omelet or even have with some pancakes! Don’t do what I do and eat them as they are done before it makes it to the plate. You’ll be tempted to do this just like we do with the real bacon. I get it, we can’t help ourselves!!
Last week I hid broccoli in an omelet and it was never detected. I chopped up the broccoli until it was as small as rice grains and I added about 1/2 to my 4-egg mixture (2 servings). I then took some grilled veggies and created a deconstructed omelet (see photo above). Before I folded the omelet, I sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese and then all my favorite ingredients on top. Plates were wiped clean and broccoli totally flew under the radar! (Score!)
Cauliflower is another great veggie I like to use because it transforms so nicely into…pretty much anything. I’ve made cauliflower pizza dough, cauliflower fried rice and recently attempted to make a cauliflower cheese bread. These cheesy cauli-breads were a great snack as my guests and I waited for dinner to be ready. All I used was rice cauliflower (you can buy it this way or use a food processor to break down the cauliflower). Some Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and an egg to bind all together. I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees until the edges were nice and crispy. Sure it’s no bread, but it’s fun to eat (especially when you can cut down on carbs and have another veggie serving for the day). NOTE: Make sure not to add too much Parmesan cheese to your cauliflower mix or everything will stick to your pan. Also, don’t forget to sprinkle the pan with some olive oil. To be safe, I recommend using a non-stick silicone baking mat.
Good luck with the veggie romance and healthy eating in 2017. Let me know how you get down with your veggies in your kitchen. Remember, keep it clean (the food of course!) #cleaneating