I know I’m getting a little late start on my Meatless March recipes series (because I just couldn’t wait to share my taco stuffed cornbread muffin recipe!), but this is a goodie, and worth the wait, I promise. However, before we dive into this recipe of all things Chinese and deliciousness, I have a little treat for you!
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t always love vegetables as much as I do now. Today I’m sharing some things I’ve learned along the way about how to make veggies work… and maybe even fall in love with them!
How to Fall in Love with Veggies
Step out of your comfort zone
The first step in giving veggies a try is getting away from what you’ve always done. Before I began eating more vegetables, I bought everything canned. It lasted forever, was easy to heat up in a pot, and I honestly didn’t know any better! But the minute I began buying it all fresh, everything changed. It takes a little more prep work to cook fresh vegetables, but I’ll take those extra minutes to save on the high sodium counts, BPA, preservatives and lower nutritional value of their canned counterparts. And let’s face it, fresh veggies taste WAY better!
Another way to step out of your comfort zone is trying things you never would have tried before. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl who craves brussels sprouts, gets excited over a bunch of kale, or who looks forward to cooking up some squash. But when I took that step and just tried them, I realized that all I had done was hurt myself by sticking to only what I was used to.
Try this autumn veggie salad for a fun twist on your regular grub.
Make small changes
This is a biggie! If you’re not a big vegetable fan, don’t make yourself switch completely over to veggies from one day to the next. Not only is that going to backfire before you can say butternut squash, but it will give you an even more negative perspective on veggies. Instead, try replacing one side dish a week with a new vegetable, and slowly find ways to incorporate it into your diet. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and you’ll find yourself actually enjoying them, rather than grumbling through it!
This sweet potato breakfast hash is a great way to sneak in some veggies first thing in the morning.
When in doubt, roast!
Most of the time, when people say you need to eat more vegetables, the first thing that comes to mind is a salad. While salads are packed full of nutritional value, I will be the first one to say they aren’t my favorite thing in the world. Salads have their time and place, but most of the time I prefer my veggies cooked rather than raw.
And y’all, I LOVE roasting my vegetables. That’s honestly how my love affair with them began. Roasting is one of the easiest ways to prepare veggies, and the results are so delicious. If you’re ever at a loss for how to prep your vegetables, just chop them up into 1 inch pieces, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle on some salt, pepper and dried herbs, and roast at 350 for 30 minutes. You’ll be surprised by how yummy they turn out!
And pro tip: turn the broiler on high for the last 5 minutes to give your veggies a nice crispiness you will LOVE.
This tasty autumn veggie bowl is full of roasted veggies and chicken sausage.
Let go of what others say
I think the biggest thing holding me back from falling in love with veggies was the fact that I took others’ opinions to be my own. I thought “well if they don’t like it, then it must be nasty” (I’m lookin’ atchu brussels sprouts!). I was so bad about doing that growing up… just ask my mom! But a few years ago I decided it was time to start making my own decisions, and I am so glad I did. I never would have been introduced to the yumminess of parsnips, the earthiness of bean sprouts, and the decadence of eggplant. Now some of my favorite recipes and meals include those vegetables that I swore I’d never eat! Once I let go of what others said, I realized that I was only holding myself back, and I fell in love with this awesome food group.
You will love this Italian Eggplant Veggie Sauce! I never thought I’d like eggplant, but now I can’t get enough.
It’s easy to get stuck in a food rut. You automatically turn to what you’ve always done, and it gets boring. Y’all… no one wants boring food! That’s one of the reasons I love my blog- it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone so I can bring you a creative recipe every week. Pinterest is also a HUGE help when you want to try something new, or I highly recommend my two current favorite cookbooks: Against All Grain by Danielle Walker and Skinnytaste (Fast and Slow) by Gina Homolka. Both cookbooks have some amazingly delicious recipes that can be whipped up in a jiffy (or thrown into a crockpot), and the recipes showcase all your favorite vegetables in ways you may have never tried before! I make a recipe from one of them at least once a week, and haven’t found one I haven’t absolutely loved.
This week I decided to get creative and try my hand at a healthier, veggie filled egg roll. And y’all… they are seriously MOUTHWATERING. I had one the other day after school and had to stop myself from eating the entire batch. That’s how good they are! Best of all, they are much lower in sodium than their traditional fried versions, and stuffed full of some of my favorite veggies. It’s a keeper, that’s for sure!
Baked Veggie Egg Rolls
Any other Chinese food fans out there? I LOVE me a huge plateful of sesame chicken, a couple of decadent fried egg rolls, some delicious lo mein, and a big bowl of fried rice. So so good, amiright? The other day Isaac was at his night class, it had been a long day at work, and the last thing I felt like doing was cooking something for dinner. So I channeled my inner Gilmore and ordered some Chinese delivery. After burying my face in the orange chicken, lo mein, egg rolls and fried rice, my body caught up to my stomach. And let me tell you, it was NOT happy with the food I decided to eat. I had forgotten how salty and heavy Chinese food is!
So as I was downing my fifth glass of water of the night, all I could think of was how I could make a better (but just as delicious) version of my all time favorite Chinese food- egg rolls. And so this recipe was born!
Isaac picked me up some egg roll wrappers from a local Asian grocery store, and I stuffed them with zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and cashews. I baked them instead of frying, and the result? Some of the most delicious egg rolls I’ve ever tasted! They are great on their own as a quick afternoon snack, or as a meal with a side of cauliflower fried rice or homemade ramen (recipe coming soon!!).
- 4 egg roll wrappers
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 zucchini
- 1 small onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut the veggies into thin 3 inch long slices.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, then cook the veggies with the garlic until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
- Once cooked, scoop 1/2 cup of the veggies into the center of the egg roll wrapper and line them, all going the same direction. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of cashews in each egg roll.
- Roll the egg roll like a burrito (I recommend you watch a video if you don't know how to do this!), and wet the closing flap with some water to seal.
- Place the egg rolls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the egg wrapper is golden brown.
- Eat immediately or keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. To reheat, heat in the oven or a toaster oven until thoroughly warmed.
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
What are your feelings towards vegetables?
Have you ever tried making a healthier version of one of your favorite foods?