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National Eat Your Vegetables Day
All hail the green, the orange, the red, and the white! Sunday, June 17 is National Eat Your Vegetables Day!
And it’s much friendlier and more relevant to us than, say, National Doughnut Day which is the first Friday in June. I’d also like to point out that June 16 is both National Fudge Day and Fresh Veggies Day, so do with that information what you will.
We are here to talk about National Eat Your Vegetables Day.
I know you probably eat your veggies with relish at every meal and snack, just like you should. But just in case, here’s an important reminder: you should be eating about 2 to 3 cups of veggies at every meal. That means about 8 to 10 cups per day. I know, right?! What are we, rabbits?!
In case you’re feeling bored with the veg you’re shoving into your well-deserving mouth, I’ve collected some links to refresh your crisper drawer and your plate. Just pretend you’re this guy; you know he loves veg.
Basic Veggie Cooking
Blanching is a great way to pre-cook veggies in big quantities to you can turn them into sautés, salads, and sides later. A blanched vegetable is still brightly-colored and somewhat crisp, so if you have trouble digesting raw cruciferous vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage – blanching is a great way to compromise. I’ve made cole slaw and Chinese Chicken Salad with blanched cabbage, and it tastes just as good as raw, without the problematic goitrogens.
This is my numero uno way to cook vegetables when I’m doing my weekly cookup. It’s not the sexiest way to make veggies, but it is productive, and sometimes, that’s enough.
I’m learning that just about any veg turns into something unexpectedly good when high heat and grill grates come into play… but I like everything caramelized and borderline burnt. To avoid charring everything like I do, you might try these instructions:
asparagus: place 6 or 7 spears side by side, and thread a skewer through the upper third of the spears; repeat at the bottom. (It makes a sort of asparagus raft.) Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until marked and just tender, about 9 minutes.
eggplant: halve eggplant lengthwise, then cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch wedges. Brush cut sides with olive oil. Grill one cut side down over medium-high heat until golden and marked in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cooler part of the grill (medium heat) and grill the other cut side, about 5-6 minutes. THEN, grill skin side down until soft, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and eat.
yellow squash and zucchini: cut squash lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat, until marked and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
tomatoes: halve tomatoes lengthwise and brush cut sides with olive oil. Place a thin slice of garlic on each cut side. Grill tomatoes, cut side up, over medium-high heat, without flipping, for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
red and yellow onions: cut onions into 1/2-inch thick slices and thread on a skewer horizontally. Brush with olive olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over low heat, with grill cover down until marked and soft, about 15 minutes. Flip and grill ’til cooked through, about 15-18 minutes.
mixed veggie kebabs (zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, etc): Thread the pieces onto skewers and brush with olive oil. Grill over medium heat, turning every few minutes, for 12-15 minutes.
You can browse through all of my vegetable recipes right here and be inspired by the thumbnail photos of yumminess — or visit the Recipes Index and scroll down to Vegetables & Fruits to see them all in a comprehensive list (no photos).
Tip o’ the Day: Download this this PDF of my Coconut-Almond Green Beans recipe from Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love to Eat. Print it out and give it to a friend or loved one who thinks they don’t like vegetables. Guaranteed to make them change their minds!
If you’re really fresh out of ideas for how to get excited about veggies, maybe this list of veggies categorized by color will help you be inspired. Making sure your plate looks like a rainbow is a great way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the produce you eat — and it looks pretty, too.
Happy “National Eat Your Vegetables Day” to you!