Vegetables provide plenty of fiber, and a diet high in fiber is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease as well as obesity. Vegetables are also high in antioxidants, can have anti-inflammatory effects, and can help regulate appetite thanks to their blood sugar normalizing properties. It’s no wonder dietary guidelines state that half of your plate should be vegetables. But that recommendation may come as an unwanted one to some who don’t like foods that come from the ground or trees. Let’s be real: sugar, carbs, and cheese are where it’s at when it comes to flavor. You can usually trust kids to be honest and tell it like it is, and what do we know about kids? They think veggies are gross. You have to pull out every stop and try every trick to get them to like vegetables. And there are adults who feel the same and need the same things to enjoy greens and more.
Maybe all of your parents’ tricks didn’t work on you, and you just never came around to enjoying vegetables. Unfortunately, your health can’t afford a veggie-free diet. So while mom and dad’s ploys to cover your broccoli in cheese or dip all of your celery in ranch may not have worked, perhaps you’ll like some of these more grownup recipes that could help you truly enjoy vegetables.
A very colorful pizza
Even if you do eat gluten, you might still like a cauliflower crust pizza. The beauty of these pizzas is that, even if you go with all meat and cheese for your toppings, you’re guaranteed to get servings of vegetables because of the crust. That being said, this veggie cauliflower pizza recipe is loaded with plants throughout, between the asparagus, mushrooms, and peas. Keep in mind peas provide some protein, too, so they can help fill you up. You still get your traditional cheese from the ricotta and mozzarella, and then you get even more green from the basil in the pesto sauce.
A good green smoothie
In addition to being good for you and tasty, this smoothie is also just gorgeous. And it sneaks a tremendous amount of vegetables in it without tasting too green or losing out on the flavor. That’s sort of a miracle for veggie haters. It contains spinach, kale, romaine, collard greens, among other supergreens. But because the fruit portion of pineapple, orange, berries, mango, banana and more outweighs the veggies, it winds up tasting sweet. It also has avocado for some healthy fats and a nice creamy texture without the need for yogurt or ice cream. In fact, there is no dairy in it whatsoever. The liquids are almond milk, coconut water, coconut milk, and regular water, so you’ll get some electrolytes, too.
Roasted veggie lasagna
Once you smother something in sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella, and layer it between pasta planks, does it really matter what’s inside of a lasagna? Anything tastes good with those classic ingredients. So instead of going with ground beef or turkey for your next one, swap in roasted vegetables. This one has carrots, spinach, and zucchini for a bright and colorful dish. Instead of the standard ricotta, it calls for full-fat cottage cheese, which is quite high in protein. However, it’s still smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella when all is said and done, so it should remind you of the one your mom used to make.
Mixed veggie burrito
The most important elements of any burrito are the tortilla wrap, cheese, maybe some guacamole, and rice and beans. Like lasagna, this hot and cheesy comfort food is easy to sneak vegetables into. This recipe isn’t just tasty and filling, but it’s also very affordable to make. The combination of beans and rice should give you complete protein. Then you have tons of vegetables including mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, and cilantro. It has some unexpected spices for a burrito, like oregano and cumin, that really make the flavor pop. Though the recipe doesn’t call for guacamole, it would obviously taste great with it.
While we usually see peppers as the stuffing for something, like lasagna or burritos, it can also be stuffed. If you’re trying to eat fewer carbs, then instead of sloppy joes on buns or burgers on buns, consider stuffing your bell peppers with your favorite mixture of ground meat, rice, and spices. Or you could opt for this fully vegetarian option, which has a south of the border flavor. It has rice, beans, corn, taco seasoning, cheese, and other tasty spices. Prep time is only 10 minutes and after that you can sit back while these bake in the oven.
The nice thing about cauliflower is that it is naturally mild in flavor so it can easily work with all types of seasoning and cuisine. It can even be the filling for your next buffalo “wings” dish. This simple recipe is breaded with panko bread crumbs, which are lower in fat and calories than regular breadcrumbs. They’re easy to make, and when they’re ready, taste just as good with blue cheese and a side of carrots and celery as chicken wings, do. However, if you are trying to cut back on dairy or calories, this vegan blue cheese dip recipe won’t disappoint.
Pancetta Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts have a very strong flavor that’s not for everyone. Even those who enjoy them know how quickly they can stink up a house. These may be one of the toughest vegetables for veggie haters to come around to, but they are very good for you, so it’s worth a try. This caramelized Brussels sprouts recipes uses sun-dried tomatoes to cut the bitterness of these vegetables. Then the salty pancetta adds a nice crisp to the recipe and the shallots make the whole thing pop. Though this recipe doesn’t call for it, consider sprinkling some parmesan cheese on at the end with a dash of lemon juice.
Parmesan zucchini sticks
Parmesan-crusted zucchini sticks are so tasty that you might like them more than garlic bread or French fries – and they’re kind of a hybrid of the two as they can be appetizers or sides. This is another recipe that calls for low-fat, low-calorie panko crumbs, which make the sticks extra crispy when they’re done. Zucchini is very mild in flavor, so you’ll mostly just taste the parmesan cheese and herbs in this one (including Italian seasoning and garlic powder). If you want something to dip them in, try this vegan ranch recipe that uses almond milk and soaked cashews for its creamy base.
Baked veggie chips
Veggie chips are great because they’re versatile. You can make baked veggie chips out of just about any vegetable, from carrots to beets to kale. Each one will bring its own unique flavor, with beet ones being a bit sweet, and kale ones being more on the salty side. If you’ve struggled to enjoy kale in the past, but want to eat more of this superfood, making kale chips is an excellent choice. They’re low in calories, and yet really delicious, so it’s easy to throw back handful after handful, getting in your greens while you feel like you’re snacking on something naughtier. This recipe is easy to make and uses a bit of almond meal to give the chips more structure.
There are few foods more comforting than that soft, crispy dough of an empanada. Even the pocket-like shape of an empanada is comforting and makes it easy to fill with all sorts of ingredients. While you may be used to eating these filled with meat or cheese, they also taste delicious filled with greens. This recipe is actually quite interesting. It has spinach, green beans, and lima beans, so you’ll get some protein from the legumes. Then it has mint, thyme, and garlic for plenty of flavor. Don’t worry, the crust is still buttery and flaky. We never said this recipe was “healthy” – just that it’s full of veggies.