During our pre-workout chit-chat this morning, one of my gym buddies said he needs new veggie recipes to help him get the ol’ diet cleaned-up again. This lead to a general commiseration about how we love Paleo/Primal/Dino-Chow/Real Food/Clean Food… but the amount of vegetable chopping that’s required is sometimes overwhelming. Plus, there are tons of delicious recipes out there that transform veggies into something special (like eggplant f’armesan), but sometimes you just need to eat.
Here’s my secret for keeping a stash of delicious, satisfying veggies ready-to-go in the fridge with minimal fuss. Ready?!
Go to the store or farmer’s market – or sign up for your local delivery service – and pick out some kickass veggies. (Can I get a hell, yeah for Farmhouse Delivery?! Find your local favorite here.) You’re going to want a lot.
Like, A LOT.
Like, more than you think.
If you’re following the Whole30 guidelines (and really, you should be), that means approximately 2 cups of cooked veggies at every meal, give or take, based on your size, activity level, and the veggie.
But to keep it simple, figure it this way:
(1 cup X 2 different veggies X 2-3 meals per day) + (veggies for snacks)
See? That’s a lot of veggies.
For variety and to keep myself from going bonkers, I usually make raw veggie snack packs* for snacks and cooked vegetables for dinner. Then sometimes, when I’m feeling really frisky, I SWITCH it. Very exciting!
OK. Back to shopping for veggies.
Need ideas? Try these on for size – aren’t you tempted by their beauty and brains?! (And if these don’t inspire, check out my previous post Taste the Rainbow.)
Wash veggies under running water, then cut into 1/2-inch dice or 1/4-inch slice, depending on your mood and taste buds.
Lightly steam/saute the veggies individually until just-tender. Do not cook them completely or you will be sad.
Don’t know what I mean by steam/saute? I throw the just-washed-so-still-kinda-wet veggies into a hot saute pan, crank the heat, throw on a lid, and let the residual water make them wilt a little. Let ‘em sit for about 3-4 minutes, remove the lid, and give ‘em a vigorous stir. Keep the lid off and saute to desired just-wiltedness. If they stick or start to get too brown, add a tablespoon of water to continue the steaming process.
Place each veggie in its own container and place in the fridge. Put them in hot – cooling at room temperature allows bacteria to grow. Um… ew. I usually reserve the bottom shelf of my fridge for the containers of hot veggies.
When it’s time to eat, heat a saute pan, add 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite fat (mmm… coconut oil), and let it get hot. Then throw in a cup of your prepped veggies and seasonings of your choice. I usually just go for sea salt, garlic powder, and pepper. But you can get creative if you like. Or use some of my previously recommended spice blends. Remember to repeat this activity for 2 vegetables per meal.
Dig in. Feel smug and satisfied.
*As a balance to my cooked veggies at meals, I have raw veggie snack packs for at-work snacks that contain a mix of the following: pepper strips, cucumbers, snap peas, jicama, and occasionally celery. Throw in olives for fat and some leftover meat from dinner… done!
Super secret inside tip: frozen veggies. I always have frozen chopped broccoli and frozen chopped spinach in the freezer. You can treat it exactly as above, without the pre-cooking step, just defrost it in the fridge overnight… awesome in a pinch when stir-fried with protein – or thrown into a pan with some eggs for an anytime omelet.
See, veggies are easy!
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