VeggieMedley

Tired of well-intentioned loved ones wagging their fingers at you regarding your less-than-enthusiastic vegetable intake? As unfair as it may seem, corn and potatoes aren’t exactly helping you to earn a nutritional gold star, so you may want to rethink your strategy. For anyone who claims that they’d be more than happy to eat fresh produce – if only it tasted better – this roundup of unexpected vegetable-based recipes will really help shift your perspective of what flavorful garden eats are really all about. Get ready to become a card-carrying member of the veg-head-brigade!

GAZPACHO

Leave it to the ever-cosmopolitan, no-nonsense Spaniards to come up with a wholesome, brilliantly flavorful yet easy-peasy way to get your 5-9 servings of fresh garden goodness a day. Slaving over a hot stove when the mercury continues rising outside is complete madness when you can prepare this classic cold soup simply just by chopping, pureeing and tucking your final slurpable veggie mélange into the fridge for a deep chill.

Normally prepared with the harmoniously delicious quad of cucumber, pepper, onion and tomato, wouldn’t it be fun to take a walk on the wild side by sipping your way through some unexpected blends such as raw vegan avocado-cilantro-lime, celery-apple, cauliflower-cucumber-pine nut-shallot, peach-toasted almond, or radish-buttermilk-beet?

SAVORY PANCAKES

There’s definitely a place for maple syrup and butter-drenched bliss, but if you really want to tuck into a satisfying and versatile taste treat that won’t officially wreck your diet, incorporating assorted veggies into spiced, savory batter is the way to go. From vegan herbed chickpea, Korean zucchini-carrot and sweet potato to beet-potato, dandelion, spinach and pumpkin-sesame combinations, each can easily add excitement to the dinner plate while camouflaging the healthy stuff that we always forget to eat enough of.

CUPCAKES

As with so many foodie trends, naysayers may roll their eyes at the mere notion of vegetables now being integrated into our favorite portable childhood treats. Nevertheless, if we can boost the nutritive value of a not-exactly-good-for-us indulgence, then how is that a bad thing? Great Britain’s Petit Pois Cakes is doing precisely that with unique line of glossy-n-chic eggplant, pumpkin and beet batter cupcakes… and now you too can tinker around in your own kitchen with intriguing garden combinations such as magic fruit-and-veggie, beet, carrot-apple, avocado-chocolate, sweet pea or for savory traditionalists, skip the icing altogether by preparing a batch of tri-color vegetable timbales.

VEGGIE STEW

Crockpot and stovetop cooking are both godsends to the work-weary gourmet, with each technique becoming even more appealing when the summer months descend. Why? From the moment you dump your prepped ingredients into your preferred cooking receptacle, you can pretty much get on with your life and return a few hours later to a toothsome, soul-warming meal – all without heating up the kitchen. The following recipes demonstrate that no matter the actual vegetables involved, they can always somehow come together in a harmonious marriage of flavor, texture and color:

Vegetable-Lentil

French Provençal Ratatouille

Kale-Squash-White Bean

Balinese Garden Stew With Crispy Shallots and Cashews

Persian Celery-Mint-Parsley-Saffron-Lime

Sweet Potato Gnocchi-Wild Mushroom

Moroccan Vegetable

ALCOHOL

We’ve all marveled at the wacky home-spun alcoholic combinations cooked up by an earthy uncle, aunt or grandparent, but it turns out that infusing a clear grain spirit with fresh fruit essence really does boost the good-for-you factor. Imagine just how much more wholesome your shot glass could be if you kicked it up at least one notch by crafting a batch of vodka flavored with fresh basil and tomato, cucumbers, spicy dill pickles, or chili peppers?

BREAD PUDDING

Savory veggie-studded bread puddings in effect serve as the yang to otherwise delectably sweet yin creations. If wrapping your mind around a syrup-free pudding is hard to imagine, test drive just one of the following recipes and I promise… you’ll be a believer. All you really have to do is gather your garden bounty, chop like you mean business and in about one hour, you’ll be rewarded with a sumptuous taste sensation that will seem like a dead-ringer for what you could have ordered at a top-notch restaurant:

Sweet Potato Cheddar-N-Greens

Mushroom Radicchio Gruyere Cheese

Roasted Tomato Zucchini Spinach Green Onion

Fiddlehead Fern Sausage Leek Onion Garlic

Asparagus Fontina Cheese

Artichoke Portobello Sundried Tomato Shallot

CROQUETTES

You like eggs? Check. How about bread crumbs? Hey, we’re on a roll! Basically, this French-derived delectable was born out of frugality – it enables the home chef to hand-form minced leftovers into small little patties which can then be battered and pan fried to perfection. Not quite as diet-friendly as some of the other veggie-inspired recipes throughout this article, croquettes are nonetheless a palate-pleasing way to breathe new life into what emerges from your garden, so how about giving one or two of these recipes a try:

Lentil Garlic Herb

Cabbage Potato Bacon Onion

Indian Pea Potato

Spinach Artichoke

Cauliflower Croquettes With Cheese and Parsley Pesto

 

Image: Wolleydog

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