In my article ‘The 7 basic rules to achieving balance in your main meal of the day’ I mentioned using vegetables to make your meal more nutritious, more interesting AND more filling. Vegetables are high in fibre so the effort of chewing and digesting them keeps our bodies busy helping us feel satiated.
I frequently get asked how to make meals that use 5 vegetables. Here are my top five. PSSSSSS – I used the word creative in the title but these five are not very creative – they are just common sense. I find that with creativity comes TIME which most of us don’t have – so bin the creativity and start with these options.
The obvious veggie rich meal is a stir fry. The obvious ‘sauce’ for a stir fry is soy sauce (or tamari for the GF healthy version). For the veggie part of the stir fry, try garlic, cabbage, carrot, zucchini, celery, Asian greens (any kind), kale, beetroot, been sprouts, capsicum, in fact any other crispy veggie (but not root veggies like sweet potato and pumpkin). Ensure you chop the veggies up into small pieces (sticks in the case of carrot and beetroot) and fry until they are as tender as you want them. Add the sauce in at the end or on top on your plate. You can also add ginger (grated and fried with the garlic) to add flavour. Afterwards sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds and coriander.
My second option is a curry-like dish using eggplant fried first and then simmered in the sauce, garlic, carrot (chopped up small or pre-boiled), celery and cauliflower (again can be pre-boiled). After frying the eggplant and other veggies add in a tablespoon of a Indian curry sauce that you like, fry until fragrant and then add a tin of drained brown lentils and a tin of tomatoes. Simmer on the stove top until you are happy with the softness of the veggies and then serve over a bed of spinach leaves.
Another obvious option is to make yourself a Thai red or green curry. Find a pre-made paste you like (or better still make your own if you have time) and ensure you have coconut milk in the cupboard. Prepare veggies like onion, green beans, carrot, sweet potato, mushrooms, Asian greens, tin of corns or water chestnuts, bean sprouts, small florets of broccoli and when they have been fried to your liking add the Thai paste and then the coconut milk and simmer to bring out the flavours.
For a different slant on veggies prepare yourself a quinoa salad. Pre-cook your quinoa and allow to cool. I used a recipe from my organic veggie supplier which can be found here but essentially you add kale (not even cooked!), cooked pumpkin, crumbled feta and pumpkin seeds as well as a yummy dressing to the quinoa. Because I want more veggies with every meal you could also add roasted capsicum, chopped up fresh mushrooms and raw shallots.
My last veggie option is one that even my husband can make and religiously does so every Saturday lunch. A large (and I mean large) bowl of this salad always fills even this 6 foot 5 inch giant! You need a green leaf base so use whatever you have such as crisp cos lettuce, spinach leaves or roquette. Add avocado pieces, tomatoes, cucumber, raw zucchini batons, raw mushrooms and some crumbled feta cheese. We also add a large tin of tuna. Our favourite and easy dressings are lemon juice & olive oil or olive oil and caramalised balsamic but feel free to go wild with your own. In fact, add anything raw and tasty to this salad to keep it creative and varied for yourself.