I‘m not a fan of ‘hiding’ vegetables. Even with a toddler in the house who is becoming more and more a fan of the word ‘No’.
Basically I believe that vegetables taste delicious when prepared properly and ‘sneaking’ them into things sends the wrong message.
But recently I was talking to my best mate in Melbourne and she made me reconsider my stance on stealth veg…
About 4 months pregnant, my friend was really worried because she had completely lost her taste for eating vegetables. She knew she should be eating loads of fresh produce but the thought of broccoli, kale or salad was leaving her cold.
Which got me thinking about my favourite ways to eat veg that don’t feel particularly ‘healthy’. I hope you find this helpful next time you have a fussy pregnant lady (or 2 year old) in the house…
5 Stealthy Ways to Eat More Veg
1. Add an onion
There are few nicer smells than an onion sweating down with a generous dose of butter. Apart from adding beautiful flavour, they’re a great source of inulin, a type of fiber that’s brilliant for feeding the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut.
2. Use tomato puree or canned tomatoes
Tomato based sauces can be really comforting. If the acidity is a bit too much for you it’s easy to balance it out with a generous glug of olive oil or butter before serving.
3. Cauliflower mash.
Cauliflower is a wonderful veg to have up your sleeve because even though it looks all white and tastes fairly mild, it packs just as much of a nutritional punch as broccoli. One of my all time fave ‘comfort food’ ways to eat my cauli is pureed into a creamy mash. To be honest I prefer it to potato mash but I may just be the only one in my household who does!
4. Cauliflower ‘rice’ or ‘couscous’.
My other fave ways to use cauli. Cauliflower ‘rice’ is just raw cauliflower grated in the food processor. So easy and so good! For a healthier alternative to couscous see this recipe.
If the thought of using cauliflower straight up is too much for you, you can always substitute half / half with steamed rice or couscous.
5. Include legumes.
Chickpeas, lentils and dried beans all count as a serve of veg. Another reason I choose them over grains (which don’t count as a serve of veg, even whole grains).
What about you?
Got any stealthy ways to include vegetables in your cooking? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Spiced Chickpeas with Cauli Mash
This is pure comfort food for me… A creamy rich mash with spicy chickpeas. But the best bit is there are 4 serves of vegetables! And you wouldn’t know it to taste.
If you’re not familiar with Baharat, don’t worry, I’ve got alternative spices listed in the variations below.
enough for: 2
takes: 30 minutes
1/2 medium cauliflower, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon baharat (see below for alternative spices)
1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1. Bring 2cm (1in) water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add cauli and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until cauli is really tender. (Be careful not to let it dry out and burn – add more water as needed).
2. Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a small frying pan. Add onion and cook over a medium heat until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
3. When the onion is soft add the spice, chickpeas and tomato. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. When the cauli is cooked, drain and return to the pan you cooked it in with the remaining butter. Puree with a stick blender or mash well with a fork.
5. Serve spiced chickpeas on a bed of cauli mash.
different spice / no baharat – Baharat is a lebanese blend of 7 spices and a favourite of mine. The best substitute is to use equal parts ground cumin, ground coriander and smoked paprika. Or try curry powder or garam masala for a more Indian vibe. I also like to use the Moroccan spice blend, ras el hanout
carnivore / paleo – Replace chickpeas with ground (minced) beef of lamb. Brown well before adding the spice and tomato.
more veg – add a chopped carrot and celery stick to the onion. Serve with loads of fresh herbs such as mint, coriander (cilantro) or parsley. Add a handful of frozen peas with the chickpeas. Serve everything on a bed of baby spinach.
vegan / dairy-free – replace butter with olive oil or coconut oil.
different legumes – replace chickpeas with white beans, black beans or cooked lentils (you need about 250g / 9oz cooked legumes).
extra protein – add a handful of cashews to simmer with the cauli.
ps. Is cooking at home something you wished you did more?
Then keep an eye out for the ‘Soupstones Dinner Challenge’ which will be coming in a few weeks.