31 day sneaky vegetable challenge
We could all benefit from having MORE veggies in our diets. According to the CDC on 1 out of 10 adults are getting the recommended amount of vegetables in their diet!
Let’s see if we can boost your daily intake! Do you have a favorite veg dish? Share it below...
Day 2: Spinach
Spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C!
It’s a great veggie to cook with because even a giant bag of the stuff will wilt down into practically nothing, making it super easy to tuck into dishes.
My favorite way to serve spinach to picky eaters is to pair it with cheese and carbs, like pasta. Try folding some sauteed spinach with ricotta and herbs and roll it in lasagna noodles, or layer it with feta and spread it between buttery phyllo dough for a yummy spanakopita appetizer. You can also pulse spinach in a food processor to make a pesto and layer it on top of pizza under your favorite toppings.
Give these recipes a try to boost your spinach intake:
Spinach lasagna roll-ups: https://bit.ly/2idTHfu
Spinach pesto: https://bit.ly/2qKv8a8
Day 3: Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are absolutely delightful… when they’re in season. In off months, the produce section of supermarkets is usually filled with bland, watery tomatoes… which is why tomatoes often get a bad wrap!
When this is the case, save your money and head to the canned aisle. Even in a tin can, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that make for a well-rounded meal.
Aside from spaghetti sauce, there are tons of ways to use canned tomatoes, take a look: https://bit.ly/2F19Muc
The object of this game is to convert someone who hates a certain veggie with your favorite recipe.
In the comments, share what your least favorite vegetable is, and the rest of us will share our favorite recipes for preparing it!
Day 5: Carrots
Carrots are chock full of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and tons of antioxidants!
They’re a great delivery system for your favorite dip and can easily be snuck into sauces, wraps, pasta salads, rice dishes, and sandwiches when in the shredded form!
Day 6: Broccoli
Some people prefer raw broccoli florets with a creamy dip, others like their broccoli cooked.
Do you have a preference?
Mince up broccoli by hand or in a food processor and add to mac and cheese, eggs, pasta, mashed potatoes or rice! Feeling extra ambitious, give these baked broccoli tots a try: https://bit.ly/2EdKque
Day 7: Cabbage
Cabbage is a humble food that we often forget about...but it’s filled with vitamins K, C, B1, and B6 as well as manganese, fiber, potassium, folate, calcium and tons more!
My favorite way to up my intake of cabbage is by stuffing it in a dough...I’m talking pierogi or Chinese dumplings!
Check out the recipes:
Day 8: Onions
Ask any chef, and they’ll likely agree that onions are a necessary base ingredient in most dishes, so they’re hard to escape if you don’t like the taste of them!
If you’re looking for a way to introduce them to your palate in a yummy way, try them caramelized!
Slow cook thinly sliced onions on low until they reach a deep brown color. This could take up to an hour depending on your stove, but it’s worth the wait to enjoy the deep and sweet flavor.
Use your onions on pasta, as a pizza topping, or to make a dip, like this one! https://bit.ly/2vrNT7M
Day 9: Peas
Don’t underestimate peas just because they’re small!
A cup of peas has 8 grams of protein, and they’re also packed with fiber! Because of their mild, sweet taste and cheap price tag, they’re super easy to incorporate into lots of dishes.
Try throwing them in with mac and cheese, potato salad, rice, stews, soups or anything else that could use a touch of green.
Day 10: Cauliflower
Cauliflower has quickly become a favorite in the gluten-free community because of its ability to transform into anything from pizza crust to rice.
On top of its versatility, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, K, and B6 as well as choline, fiber, omega-3, and biotin!
There are thousands of cauliflower recipes on the Internet, but start with these for inspiration: https://bzfd.it/2J7GrAS
Day 11: Celery
Aside from a great delivery mechanism for peanut butter, cream cheese, or your favorite dip, celery’s excellent for adding crunch to lots of dishes. Chop some up and add it to your egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad, or bean salad!
Day 12: Asparagus
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and asparagus season is the BEST season, in my humble opinion.
If you haven’t tried it yet, throw your asparagus in a hot oven (about 425 degrees for 15 minutes) or on a grill, then drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and a generous sprinkling of sea salt.
If you have leftovers (which is unlikely), throw them into an omelet with some cheese the next morning.
Day 13: Cucumber
Nothing says summer like a cool, crisp cucumber on a hot day. These guys are super versatile and bring a nice crunch to anything you’re making.
They also make for a delicious addition to a sandwich and hold up well for pickling.
Test out some of these recipes for new ways to incorporate cucumbers into your diet: https://bit.ly/2Jc27f7
Day 14: Eggplant
Stateside we say eggplant. However, many cultures across the ocean refer to this tasty veggie as aubergine.
For many, the texture of eggplant can be a bit strange and off-putting if you’re not accustomed to eating it. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Eggplant is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B1, and copper-- but unfortunately, it’s not incorporated into many of our diets here in the United States.
If you haven’t been a fan, give eggplant another shot. My favorite way to eat it is layered with other veggies, a hearty tomato sauce, and a generous topping of cheese. You can also try baba ganoush, a Mediterranean eggplant and tahini dip, similar to hummus! I’ll add a recipe below, but store-bought is also fine ;)
Baba ganoush: https://bit.ly/2EYrmyV
Spinach and ricotta eggplant rollatini: https://bit.ly/2F21SRd
Day 15: Bell Peppers
If you don’t like the taste of sweet, crunchy, raw bell peppers, grill, saute or roast them and throw them in a quesadilla or grilled sandwich/panini! You can also toss them into pasta salads, bean salads, or in your morning omelet.
Day 16: Lettuce
Not a fan of lettuce-based salad? Wrap up your lettuce and dip it, or use your lettuce in place of a wrap! Check out these recipes:
BLT Spring Rolls: https://bit.ly/2HeFEBs
Lettuce Wraps: https://armagazine.com/2HEy0zR
Day 17: Kale
Kale gets a lot of flack nowadays for being the trendy new health food, but its gained recognition for good reason, it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! A single cup of raw kale contains:
Vitamin A: 206% of your recommended daily allotment (RDA)
Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA
Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA
Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA
Manganese: 10% of the RDA
Calcium: 10% of the RDA
Copper: 10% of the RDA
Potassium: 9% of the RDA
Magnesium: 6% of the RDA
All that in just 33 calories!
So how do you eat it? It doesn’t have to be in a salad or green juice. Check out these recipes: https://bit.ly/2vsTz1D
Day 18: Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts- once hated, but finally making a comeback and receiving the recognition they deserve in the culinary world.
If you grew up hating brussels sprouts, it was probably because whoever prepared them for you boiled or steamed them, then served it to you soggy, overcooked and under seasoned. My friends, those days are gone!
Brussels sprouts are popping up on menus everywhere because we’ve finally discovered that roasting them is DELICIOUS! If you haven’t tried them yet, please do. It’s as easy as slicing the sprouts in half, tossing them with oil, salt, and pepper, and sticking them in an oven (around 350) for 25-45 minutes (check on them every once in a while).
If you’re not into that, steam them, then saute with bacon, a pat of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a swig of vinegar. You can thank me later.
If you’d really like to hide the green, cover it in cheese. Try this gratin: https://bit.ly/2qJOmgT
Day 19: Zucchini
Have you tried zucchini bread? As strange as it may sound, zucchini is delicious is sweet baked goods, because it brings tons of moisture. Try these recipes out to sneak zucchini into your breakfasts and desserts: https://bit.ly/2Ja8GPc
Day 20: Leeks
Leeks are a distant cousin of onions, with a mild, sweet taste and delicate flavor. You might not be used to cooking with them, but you should start now because they’re delicious. Check out these recipes for ideas: https://bit.ly/2vwOsNO
Day 21: Swiss Chard
1 cup of swiss chard has 44% of your daily allotment of vitamin A, along with a healthy dose of vitamin C and iron. If you haven’t cooked with it before, think of it like kale. It tastes similar, only with a little more bite. Use it in soups, pasta, or layered in a gratin: https://bit.ly/2qLwGkd
Day 22: Artichokes
Artichokes are easy to forget about but they deserve more attention! Give them a starring role in your meal by testing out some of these yummy recipes: https://bit.ly/2nIQx0r
Day 23: Parsnips
Parsnips are related to the carrot and have a slight celery-like fragrance with a sweet, peppery taste. Test them out on your dinner table by mashing them like you would potatoes. Here’s the recipe: https://bit.ly/2HPaDB6
Day 24: Butternut Squash
Nothing says fall like roasted butternut squash.
After roasting, throw it in a blender with warm spices and stock, or simmer it with chilies in coconut milk for a yummy curry.
If you’ve never cooked with butternut squash before, think of it like a sweet potato. These quirky-shaped gourds are filled with vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium and magnesium, so get your ovens hot!
Check it out for yourself: https://armagazine.com/2qJpNk2
Day 25: Pumpkin
Pumpkins pair fantastically with sage and parmesan, use that as a base for a cream sauce, ravioli, soup, or anything else you can think of!
Check out these recipes for inspiration: https://bit.ly/2Hf4jpO
Day 26: Beets
Beets can seem ugly and intimidating, sitting there in the produce section covered in a brown, rough, skin. But don’t shy away! Beets come in several gorgeous, jewel-toned colors and bring bright color and sweet taste to lots of dishes.
Ready to dive in? Start with these recipes: https://bit.ly/2HKTecQ
Day 27: Jicama
Have you tried jicama? It looks like a potato, is crisp and juicy like a pear, but tastes like a mild, starchy apple.
It’s probably the most exciting vegetable that you’re not eating: https://bit.ly/2J6RwSQ
Day 28: Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a staple in many countries due to their high levels of nutrients and delicious, sweet taste.
My personal favorite way to eat sweet potatoes- Roast them, whole and unpeeled, until caramelized sugar starts oozing out from the crispy, charred skin. I eat them hot or cold, they’re just as delicious either way and taste like CANDY. I highly recommend it!
For more ideas, scroll through this page of recipes: https://bit.ly/2vu1dZt
Day 29: Mushrooms
I love mushrooms for their earthy, savory flavor. Especially when paired with white wine and parmesan for a nutty, buttery risotto. But mushrooms can come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. To boot, they’re a great substitute for meat.
Play around and find your favorite way to prepare mushrooms! Start here: https://bit.ly/2GZdyGq
Day 30: Avocado
Avocados are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, they also provide tons of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation!
If you’re not already a fan of avocado toast, give it a try! Just use a fork to press slices of avocado into a toasted slice of your favorite bread and top with hot sauce, salt, and lime juice, a fried egg, or anything else you think is yummy!
Avocado can also provide a creamy texture for smoothies and a great base for creamy salad dressings.
If you’re feeling really fancy, try whipping up some avocado fries! They deliver the perfect mix of crunch and cream and make for a delicious snack: https://bit.ly/2DZ29YE
Day 31: Jackfruit
Jackfruit is relatively new to the Western world, but it's naturally sweet yet mild flavor and flaky texture have made it a favorite staple in the vegetarian and vegan diet.
But even if you do still eat meat, jackfruit can be a great substitute and a fantastic way to pack in vitamins, electrolytes, fiber, and protein.
One of the most popular ways to prepare jackfruit is to make it into a pulled pork style dish. Learn more about jackfruit and check out this recipe for BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches: https://on.today.com/2kZHuvg
Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter so you don't miss out on any tips and tricks!