Weeknight veggies can be exciting and tasty – plus quick and easy; no boring sides allowed. We’re going way beyond steamed broccoli today…
“We need some new ideas for vegetable side dishes. It seems I’m always serving steamed broccoli or salad; and my kids only eat salad if I add croutons and bacon,” lamented a friend recently.
I get her dialema. Weeknight veggies have to be quick and easily adaptable to a variety of main dishes. They should also be kid- (or husband-) friendly. Here are my favorite ways to wake up the weeknight veggie routine:
1. Beans count. They count as both a veggie and a protein. No recipe needed. Just add a can of drained, rinsed beans to almost any salad, pasta or mixed dish. Or cook up a big batch of beans on the stove or in the slow-cooker; freeze in meal-ready portions.
2. Serve soup. For anyone with veggie-phobia, this is a favorite. Puree any vegetable-laden soup into a creamy concoction and offending veggies just ‘disappear.’ Don’t forget soup-toppers to add sparkle – like Deanna’s Frazzled Onions on this Carrot Soup or my Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons.
3. Consider the casserole. Spaghetti squash is casserole-friendly because it can replace pasta in any baked noodle dish. Or check out this Cozy Casserole Round-Up.
4. Rediscover cabbage. Even this dietitian gets sick of salad – but I never tire of cabbage. And neither do my kids. The trick to appreciating this under-appreciated veggie (Prediction: It’s the next cauliflower!) is: Always add a bit of sweetness.
- Winter: Roast in the oven until caramelized; or sauteed with butter and apples
- Summer: Make simple slaws with maple syrup vinaigrette; or coleslaw with Praline Bacon.
- Fall salads: Toss in dried cranberries + nuts; or make an Asian dressing with sugar, lime and fish sauce/Worcestershire sauce.
- Spring: Buy 2 heads; it’s on sale for St. Patricks Day. Then check out 7 Ways to Enjoy Leftover Cabbage.
5. Work backwards.
When meal planning, instead of starting with the main dish, start with a seasonal veggie – like asparagus. Pick up what’s on sale in the produce department and search (right there on your phone) for a main dish incorporating that veggie.
6. Pasta or Rice + veggies = A meal.
Rice or pasta is the perfect template for a meal. Use whatever leftover veggies + proteins you have. One of the most popular veggie pasta dishes on our site is: Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo
Would you try any of these weeknight veggie ideas? How do you get beyond steamed broccoli?
Bean Bytes 134
Monday 30th of March 2015
[…] ideas: How To Eat More Greens via Food Confidence 6 Ways To Wake Up Weeknight Veggies via Teaspoon of […]
Katie @ Mom to Mom Nutrition
Friday 27th of March 2015
#5 is my favorite!! Especially now that it's Farmers' Market season... I always plan meals around the freshest veggies! Loved this post!
Sunday 29th of March 2015
Yay to Farmer's Market season Katie! Happy Spring!
Friday 27th of March 2015
So may helpful tips, Serena! I especially love tip #5 because it allows for the inspiration for a dish to come from a vegetable. A great $$ saving tip too ;). I used to eat a lot of cabbage in the form of kimchi but we haven't really been eating a lot of Koran food lately. I def need to rediscover my love affair with it ;)