ROAST, PILAF OR SOUP YOUR VEGGIES TO HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR!
Even veggie lovers get bored with salads and steamed veggies. Unless the veggies are just picked from your garden or the farmer’s market they usually don’t fall into the “craveable” category. With these 3 cooking techniques you will find yourself and everyone at your table asking for more. They are not difficult to prepare and for extra help you can check out page 134 in my cookbook where I have technique tips to help you cook like a chef.
Roasting vegetables can happen at the same time your oven is heated up for some other cooking task such as roasting chicken, meat or fish. The key to success is to cut the vegetables into uniform sizes so they cook evenly. Put them into the oven in stages so the dense ones like carrots have more time to cook before lighter vegetables like bell peppers go into the oven. Tossing them with a little vegetable oil and seasoning with some dried herb or spice mix and a little salt and pepper takes them from good to great. Roast double the amount of veggies you think you need since they shrink in size and they are delicious left over either warmed up by adding them to a cooked grain or served cold as part of a sandwich.
The Pilaf method of cooking grains involves cooking some diced aromatic vegetables such as onion, celery, carrot in a little bit oil before they are mixed with dried grains and simmered in a flavorful broth or water. Chop up 1 – 2 extra cups of these vegetables and cook them in the pan you will use for the grain, until they start to brown slightly. Use a little bit of flavorful oil such as olive oil and add any dried herbs and spices if desired while the veggies are starting to soften and turn a light golden color. This flavorful vegetable mixture can be used to extend a small portion of starchy grains without adding a lot of extra carbohydrate to the dish. I love using lots of celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, diced fennel and even diced cauliflower to bulk up a ½ cup portion of cooked grains.
Souping your vegetables means adding them to a flavorful, low calorie, low carb broth or soup. Zucchini and summer squash are great for this along with long vegetables like carrots and daikon radish. I use a julienne peeler to get long “spaghetti” like strands that blend in with a little bit of pasta for a very filling meal in a bowl.
Try adding one or more of these non-starchy vegetables to your meals or snacks. I call them the Fabulous Flavorful Fifteen because they are low in carbohydrates and calories so they make weight loss and blood glucose management easier. In addition, they are on my must try and keep on hand list because of their flexibility in recipes (mushrooms, celery, cucumbers), ability to hold well in the refrigerator (cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, fennel), or they are packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants (arugula, broccoli rabe, bell peppers, kale) and they taste great.
The Fabulous Flavorful Fifteen Vegetables
Bell peppers– green, red, yellow or orange
Cabbage—green or savoy
Sugar snap peas
Photo: Ben Fink, The Diabetes-Friendly Kitchen (H.M.H. 2012)