One of my main weight loss rules is to eat more vegetables! Typically vegetables aren’t something you’ll over eat, and with all of those vitamins and fiber you will feel so much better inside and out! There are two main rules for getting the most out of vegetables – one is eat lots of different colored veg (not just the green ones) and the other is never ever boil them. Boiling vegetables is a food crime. Besides nuking important nutrients, it also kills off delicate flavours, giving good vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts a bad name.
Lightly steaming (or microwaving) is the best way to preserve flavor as well as nutrients like vitamin C in cooked vegetables. Dietitians rate roasting as the next best way to preserve nutrients, especially if you wrap vegetables in foil. Stewing vegetables – as you might do in ratatouille or in a casserole - is okay too. You might lose some of the vitamin C and the B vitamin folate but most of it will go into the cooking liquid and be part of the meal. Grilling/roasting bright color vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, etc) with a healthy source of fat, like Olive Oil, helps bring out nutrients, such as carotenoids which are awesome antioxidants.
Since it is Fall time and warm meals are starting to sound better and better, I wanted to focus on how you can still get that "comfort food" feel, but still have a plate loaded with veggies instead of a big plate of cheesy pasta. Don't let Fall and Winter be an excuse to abandon you're veggie based meal plan. I've found that you can spice up any dinner and fast, just by grilling up some veggies with some spice! You can even use grilled sweet potatoes or eggplants or portobello mushrooms as an alternative to buns/bread for sandwiches, toast, lasagna, etc.
Fall Grilled Vegetables:
- 3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed (or 2 smaller sweet potatoes)
- 3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
- 3 eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
- 12 cremini mushrooms
- 1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
- 12 green onions, roots cut off
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Place a pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat) if you're still in barbecue weather! preheat oven to 375. Peel and cube the sweet potatoe. toss with vegetable oil & salt and pepper, place in oven spread out on a pan for about 10-12 min. Brush the other vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook the vegetables until tender all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Once tender, remove sweet potatoes from the oven, toss into a big bowl with all the other veggies. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature.
You can just have the veggies alone, or add cooked quinoa or rice and spinach to make it a fuller salad type dish. I added cooked chicken sausage to the picture above, and rice. You can get creative and be very versatile with this!