Where My Veggie People At?
Updated: Jun 18
Before the Maldives, Kalo and I opted for a veggie heavy diet. In doing so, I discovered some awesome new recipes and loved how they made me feel. Ya feel me?
I know that all too often healthy means boring or bland but it can also mean colourful, hearty and indulgent.
If you follow HFL on Instagram you know that #shreddingforthehoneymoon was my hashtag of choice for the entire start to 2020. (mind you this was pre-honeymoon and pre-quarantine) Kalo and I decided to dramatically but not traumatically change how we ate by reaching for the greens and cauliflower instead of potatoes and rice. We didn't deprive ourselves of all the foods we love rather we simply made smarter choices. And truthfully it was a really fun journey. By going veg-forward, I got to experiment with more ingredients than I have in years plus I got to fuel my totally healthy recipe hunting addiction. Winning.
Ultimately, my goals were to eat greener, get stronger and feel absolutely fabulous in my swimsuits. Check, check and CHECK! Now, I'd love to share some of the yummy recipes I've found, starting with Ree Drummond's Very Green Orzotto. First, I just like the word orzotto. Second, this dish contains 5+ vegetables full of vitamins. Third, it doesn't require babysitting the way your typical risotto does. Bright, vibrant and luscious are some other words that come to mind. I say luscious because the toasted orzo miraculously soaks up all 6 cups of broth and you're left with a dreamy, creamy sauce. I also love this recipe because the customisation possibilities are endless. For example, I hate cooked zucchini (too mushy) so I left it out and I subbed in baby spinach for kale. You all just gotta make it and most importantly make it your own!
But wait we're not done. I know that all too often healthy means boring or bland but it can also mean colourful, hearty and indulgent. Below, I've spotlighted a few more recipes that, in my opinion, deliciously celebrate the veg:
Alternative Pizza Crusts
Cauliflower, chickpea even egg white pizza crust. I tried them all. And found Katie Lee's Chickpea Crust to be my favourite. I liked the nutty, toasty cracker-like flavour and the crunchiness holds up to any toppings you prefer. Fun fact, this recipe doesn't have all the cheese that other alternative crusts do, although you can certainly add some (wink wink).
Do a Veg Swap
I went completely rogue one day and made a Primavera Pasta Salad without the key ingredient...the pasta. It had all the flavours of the dish we know and love piled on top leafy lettuce. Talk about a revelation and to my delight it's now on my Top 5 salad list. BTW you can totally do this with any recipe like antipasti, Mexican pasta salad, Asian noodle salad, etc.
On a similar note, I put together CookingLight's Chicken Stroganoff but instead of pasta my stroganoff sat on top roasted broccoli and cauliflower. You see, don't get bogged down by a recipe's list of ingredients or instructions. Wing it, swap it, pull it, bop it. (haha remember that game?) Anyway my motto is rules, shmules.
Eggs & VEGetables
Eggs and vegetables are a match made in heaven any time of the day. Spinach and Feta Frittata makes for such a beautiful, sophisticated breakfast. Quick tip, the recipe instructs you to roast your own red bell pepper but whyyy do that when they come in a jar and are perfectly delicious. Also, try tossing in a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a little kick.
The other egg and vegetable dish I fell in love with was Egg Foo Young. It's a funky Asian omelette served with a sweet hoisin sauce. To pump up the veg factor, I added edamame, shiitake mushrooms and peppers to my mixture. FYI don't let the wok scare you, I don't have one either and just used a wide flat skillet.
Stuff it With Veggies
Whether you are stuffing pitas or tortillas, use veggies and beans instead of meat and fats. Falafel from Skinnytaste, is a the perfect example of this. It doesn't get much easier than throwing all the ingredients in a food processor. I recommend following your taste buds and messing with the quantities of herbs and spices. Oh and if you don't have an air fryer, don't sweat it. On the stove, I pan fried my falafel in a little olive oil. Problem solved.
If you haven't tried any of Molly Yeh's recipes now is the time to do so. She's adorable and her cooking is very approachable. Her Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I did take one genius (if I do say so myself) short cut. The recipe calls for a can of tomatoes and tomato paste, but I say don't bother, just use your favourite jar salsa. Genius, right?
veg out on Soups
Smooth Tex Mex Butternut Squash Soup is now one of my favourite soups of all time. It has so much body and depth of flavour without a carb in sight. The drizzle of crema adds richness and tang but the pomegranate seeds are the star. They burst with sweet to cut through the heat.
Lentils anyone? A couple months ago, I discovered my love for these tiny nuggets. They have a magical meatiness and are so freaking good for you. Spinach Lentil Soup from Delish, is the best winter soup. No tips or tricks needed for this one.
Ahhh we've reached the end and all I have left to say is where my veggie people at? Woop woop. Vegetarian or not I hope you're inspired to shake things up and eat a bit lighter. These dishes will leave you feeling energised and comfortable in your own skin. Enjoy HFL fam.