The simple white vegetable cauliflower is everywhere we turn these days. It’s being made into low-carb crusts, pizzas, pies, being used in place of dairy in dips, mashed like potatoes, and even being baked into crispy bites to eat in place of chips, Buffalo wings, and popcorn! We know cauliflower is amazing — there’s no denying that. Nutritionally speaking, it’s a powerhouse of fiber, anti-cancer nutrients, B vitamins, and is low in calories while being rich in water. And it’s surely a handy veggie to use in the kitchen for multiple food hacks. However, despite all this buzz around cauliflower, there’s no need to neglect other healthy vegetables that are awesome for you too. So for those of you that are a little cauliflower-ed out, take a look at these five veggies below that are healthy for you and also have a few hacks of their own!
Asparagus is one of the best vegetables you can eat, one of the easiest to cook fresh or frozen, and it can be used in everything from wraps to soups, stir-fries, and even in casseroles or raw dishes of many kinds. It’s also one of the healthiest veggies out there and perfect to enjoy in the spring and summer. Asparagus is great to use in dishes where you want both a slightly sweet and a savory flavor. You can use them in place green beans, snap peas, or other similar longer veggies that cook up quick. Try some of these recipes using asparagus: Stuffed Mushrooms With Lemony Asparagus and Pistachios, Saffron Risotto With Roasted Vegetables, Super Simple Sesame Drenched Asparagus, or Spiced Indian Tempeh With Vegetables and Quinoa.
2. Sweet Potatoes
These hearty root vegetables are packed with flavor, not to mention they can stand in for a variety of animal-based foods in a recipe. For instance, you can use sweet potato puree in place of eggs and butter to add a hearty, thick texture and plenty of moisture. They also help bind baked goods together as well. Use 1/4 cup sweet potato puree for either 1 egg or 1/4 cup butter for recipes like muffins, pancakes, or even cookies. You can even turn them into pudding and hummus! Sweet potatoes can also be used in many entrees such as casseroles, lasagna, veggie burgers, or can be mashed like regular white potatoes. You can even slice them into strips either lengthwise or into rounds and enjoy them as fries and potato chips. Here are some other unique recipes to try: Curried Hashbrowns, Nori Wraps With Sweet Potato, Avocado, and Miso Dressing, Rainbow Lentil Veggie-Fried Rice, Sweet Potato Nachos, and Sweet Potato Bread.
These hearty veggies are well-known to be a meat-stand in in burger recipes, while the larger varieties such as portobello also make for excellent bun replacements instead of highly processed bread-based buns. Mushrooms are also great for adding a complexity to a variety of dishes, whether it be a sauce, stew, soup, a pizza, or even a grilled veggie sandwich. Try some of these recipes: Restaurant Style Mushroom Biryani, Chickpea Omelets With Mushrooms, Greens, and Vegan Swiss, and Garlic and Thyme Pan Seared Mushrooms.
Another “smart” veggie to use in your kitchen to make your recipes healthier is zucchini. It’s full of vitamin B6, potassium, has more vitamin C than many fruits, and is very low in calories and starch, making it a lighter veggie to utilize more often. Zucchini can be used in place of starchy noodles, can be used in bread recipes in place of butter thanks to its moist nature, and can be grilled to use on sandwiches or burgers for a hearty filling. It also makes for a great snacking recipe for dips like salsa and hummus, or can be coated with flaxseed and baked into healthy fries. Try some of these creative recipes with zucchini: Fettuccine Alfredo With Zucchini Pasta and Cauliflower, Vegan Zucchini Cakes, Zucchini and Tomato Lasagna With Cashew Herb Cheese, and Gluten-Free Carbonara Spaghetti With Zucchini Noodles.
5. Butternut Squash
Think butternut squash is just for fall and winter? Think again! This veggie intimidates many people due to its hard rind, but it’s actually one of the easiest to use and cook with in the kitchen. Butternut squash is full of many of the same nutritional and cooking benefits that sweet potatoes have. It can be used as a substitute for mashed potatoes, fries, chips, and added to a root vegetable mix or soup. Butternut squash, however, is lower in starchy carbs than potatoes, which makes it great if that’s a concern you might have. Much like pumpkin, it’s also lower in sugar and makes for a wonderful baking ingredient in muffins, pancakes, biscuits, waffles, or cookies. Full of vitamin A, fiber, water, and potassium, plus B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, butternut squash is one everyone should give a try. Not sure how to cook one? Just bake the whole thing in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, slice it open and scoop out the flesh — it’s that easy to cook!
Next time you’re tired of cauliflower or other veggies, or just looking for some healthier options to refined grains and meat, give these a try instead. Not only will it help you eat healthier, but also show you just how many ways you can prepare different vegetables. What’s your favorite veggie to cook with that helps you eat healthier?
Lead Image Source: Sundried Tomato Zucchini Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Corn, Beans, and Spinach