A foundational pillar of a balanced diet, vegetables provide us with a long list of nutritional benefits. But many of us think of boring salads and bland raw vegetables as the only ways to eat this essential food group. However, eating a balanced diet packed with produce can be as delicious as it is colourful.
Apart from cooking veggie-filled meals, getting more vegetables into your diet is easy with these tips from the produce experts at Sobeys:
• Use the weekend to prep and portion easy grab-and-go veggie snacks.
• Add a handful of spinach or kale to your smoothie, soup, omelette or pizza — the mild-tasting leaves blend right in.
• During your weekly grocery shopping trip, pick up a vegetable that you've never tried before and find a fun way to prepare it.
• Don't forget about frozen or canned vegetables. They're inexpensive and are convenient for days when you'd rather not clean, peel, and chop.
Here is an appetizing veggie-packed side to help you get started.
- 2 large sweet red peppers, halved and seeded
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
- 1 cup (250 mL) eggplant, diced
- 1 cup (250 mL) zucchini, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) jarred tomato salsa
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) frozen or canned (drained) corn kernels
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili powder
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Cheddar cheese
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 3 min., stirring, until onions are translucent.
- Stir quinoa into saucepan mixture. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 min., or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Add eggplant, zucchini, salsa, corn, oregano and chili powder; continue cooking, stirring gently, about 5 more min. until mixture is moist but not runny; season with salt to taste.
- Stuff each halved pepper with quinoa mixture. Set in lightly oiled ovenproof dish. Sprinkle cheese. Bake about 25 min., or until peppers are tender-crisp. Broil briefly to brown cheese.
Find more veggie inspiration and recipes online at betterfoodforall.sobeys.com/veggies.