Making Veggies Delicious!

As a dietitian, and food lover, I love vegetables.  But I understand that not everyone is interested in eating their leafy greens (or oranges, or reds, etc etc).  Which is a shame!

Think about the plate method we discussed in the previous post.

Quick!  What’s supposed to be on a healthy plate??

…………………..

What’s that I heard you say?  1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 plate starches, and 1/4 lean protein?  You are correct!!

And noooooo, I’m not saying you can use this method on a filled 12″ plate.  Still stick to a small dinner plate 🙂

Anyways, I digress.  Back to the veggies.  If you’re not a fan of vegetables, it may seem darn near unappetizing to make them 1/2 of your lunch and dinner meals.

Fear not! I have a method that brings out the best in lots of veggies:  roasting!!

Roasting vegetables brings out a ton of flavor, it’s super simple, and clean up is a breeze.  Just set your oven to the specified temp, lay some foil onto a baking sheet, place your cut up veggies with some olive oil, salt, and pepper…and roast away!

First, I’ll share some tips for roasting veggies.  Then, we’ll take a specific look at roasted butternut squash, one of my favorites.

Tips: Roasting vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven.  Seems self-explanatory, but the oven needs to be quite hot for roasting.  Minimum of 375 F, but I tend to settle between 400 F and 425 F depending on how delicate your veggie of choice.  Total baking time can range from 20 minutes to closer to 1 hour.  Might do a bit of research for your vegetable.
  2. Line your baking sheet, and might want to spray with nonstick spray.  You do NOT want your veggies to stick! And Lining the baking sheet ensures easy clean up.
  3. Cut all of your vegetables to be the same size.  Why?  Because if they’re the same size, they’ll cook in the same amount of time.  You don’t want tiny pieces that burn by the time your big, chunky pieces are tender.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.  One thing you may want to do is put your veggies in a mixing bowl and drizzle with oil, then toss with your hands until coated evenly.
  5. Go easy on the oil!!  Yes, olive oil is a healthy fat….but it’s still a fat.  You don’t want to negate the “healthiness” (is that a word??) of your veggies by drowning them in oil.  Also, the extra oil will sizzle and pop/burn in the oven.  And that’s how house fires start, my friends.
  6. Season.  I like to just use salt and pepper.  The salt helps draw out the moisture in the veggies and gives them a nice flavor.  The salt and pepper are a nice contrast to the sweetness brought out by roasting.
  7. Stir halfway through cooking.  This way, everything browns evenly.

And now, for a recipe!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

 

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 medium butternut squash (2 cups of peeled and cubed pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Peel squash and cut into cubes. You need a sharp knife for this!! You’ll also need to remove the seeds.  Click here for a tutorial.

Place cubes onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper onto squash. Stir with hands until distributed.

Roast 20-25 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through the baking time.

Estimated nutrition information (per 1/2 cup serving):  64 Calories, 3.6g Fat, 0.5g Saturated fat, 253mg Potassium, 8.5g Carbohydrates, 1.5g Fiber, 1.5g Sugar, 0.8g Protein, 149% DV Vitamin A, 25% DV Vitamin C, 3.6% DV Calcium, 3.6% DV Iron

 

If you think you’re not a veggie fan, please try roasting them!  Especially if you like sweet flavors.  This method brings out the sweetness in the veggies.  Yum!

 

This is also a great way to introduce veggies to kids if they’re not fans of boiled or raw veggies.  Start healthy eating habits young, folks! It will set up healthy lifelong habits.

 

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