YOUR VEGGIE’S BEST FRIEND – Part 1
I love how the good news of health and healing can spread. Years ago, I spent a lot of time encouraging clients to eat more veggies. For many, it was a new and novel idea.
Now, they come to me already assuming they want to eat more veggies. Instead they ask, “How can I incorporate more veggies into my meals? I get bored easily!”
I love this question and there are SO many ways to create variety when menu planning.
Remember that lonely veggies love good company. Besides being great “naked,” veggies also love to be seasoned with interesting oils, spices, herbs, and dressings.
And, don’t forget that they love to share your plate with friends such as dips, sauces, salads, and tasty side dishes. We’re more likely to feel full, satisfied, and nurtured when our meals feature delightful combinations of tastes, textures, and flavors. While there are thousands of varieties of veggies to try, I like to also encourage experimentation in what to eat WITH the veggies. Side dishes, dips, sauces, etc. can make all the difference.
Personally, I love to peruse recipes online, in magazines, and in the newspaper. Then it’s up to me to customize them (they rarely make it to my table as printed). I typically substitute healthier ingredients and of course, adjust to what ingredients I have on hand. I vary every recipe to meet my own dietary interests.
The following is a result of combining two different recipes that I recently found. One featured black beans and another brown rice. I switched out the brown rice (preferring easier-to-digest quinoa), and put the two recipes together.
This great-tasting summer salad is nutrient-dense while adding a bit of variety to the status quo. It goes great served over spinach, kale, spring greens or rolled up in larger leaf lettuces such as Swiss chard. Don’t miss the suggestion options listed after the recipe.
Quinoa Black Bean Salad
3 Cups Quinoa, (cooked – use your favorite variety, brown, red, black, etc.)
16 oz Black Beans (cooked – rinse well if using canned)
*1 each, Red, Yellow, and Orange Peppers (chopped – or use whatever you have on hand)
*5 – Green Onions (chopped)
2 TBL Flat-leafed Parsley or Cilantro (depending on your preference)
¼ C Lime Juice
1/3 C Avocado, Almond, or Olive Oil (or healthy nut oil of your choice)
Sea Salt / Pepper (to taste, or use your preferred spices)
Directions – mix all ingredients except for the last three. In a separate shaker/jar, mix the oil, juice and desired seasonings. Pour dressing over salad and serve.
Tip: makes a great presentation served in an avocado half.
Optional substitutions or add-ins: red onions, asparagus, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, toasted nuts or seeds, avocado, grapes, blueberries, mangoes, etc.
*If peppers, onions or any other ingredients are problematic, make substitutions as needed.
Next week, we’ll look at some dip recipes. For now, experiment and share your favorite add-ins in the comments below!