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Best Summer Veggies

May 31, 2012 2:00 PM

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(credit: Hyacynth Worth)

(credit: Hyacynth Worth)

By Hyacynth Worth

We walk a thin line with vegetables in our house; so much so that I’ve submerged myself in vegetable experimentation to help our young boys reside more on the love side of that line and tread less into deep waters of disgust on the other (nobody hates veggies more than I do when they become part of the wallpaper!). Picky eaters may still have a hard time with these recipes, but we’ve found them to be successful more times than not. And with all of these vegetables making a massive resurgence now that summertime is descending upon Chicagoland, they are easy to find, easy on the wallet and easy on the pallet.

Asparagus

(credit: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Parmesan-Sprinkled Asparagus

I know, I know. By the title, this recipe seems like the old trick of coating broccoli with heavy dollops of the unsavory meltable orange cheese from a box. But really it’s so much more: with the cleansing properties of the asparagus and the anti-septic, liver-enhancing lemon added, the cheese is only a side-show star to the main nutritious ingredient.

Ingredients:

1 bundle of asparagus
1 whole lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan brick
Sea salt

Directions:

Rinse and wash the asparagus. Lightly oil a sheet pan and place the asparagus on it.

Squeeze the lemon juice onto the asparagus. Drizzle a light amount of extra virgin olive oil over the stalks. Sprinkle a bit of salt over the contents of the dish and bake at 450 until tender (about 10 -15 minutes). Five minutes before pulling the pan from the oven, sprinkle as much or as little Parmesan cheese as you’d prefer over the asparagus and place the pan back in the oven to ensure melting.

75391590 Best Summer Veggies

Even Star Wars characters love smoothies! (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Berry Spinach Smoothie

The beautiful thing about combining blueberries and spinach is the lovely way the blue of the berries helps alter any shades of green, so as to leave not even a hint of veggie apparent to small searching eyes. Be assured, too, that while you can’t taste the spinach, it’s adding much-needed doses of calcium to the body in a most delicious way.

(Makes 3-4 smoothies)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of whole leaf fresh spinach
1 frozen banana
3 large frozen strawberries
1/3 cup of vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey – depending on how sweet you’d like it

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

Carrots, a liver rejuvenator, and cauliflower are not early summer harvest crops, but you’ll want to remember this naturally sweet soup that’s so brightly orange in color it’s reminiscent of macaroni and cheese. Chances are the littles will devour this ultra-cleansing, nutritious veggie soup from Body Ecology before a complaint likely crosses their lips.

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 medium sweet onion
4 cups of chopped carrots
1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter
3 tablespoons of dried tarragon
Sea salt or Herbamare

Chop the onion and sautee it in the butter or coconut oil until it’s translucent. After chopping cauliflower and carrots, simmer each one until tender. Toss onions, cauliflower, carrots and tarragon into a blender or food processor adding the water from the carrots as needed to make a medium thickness, creamy soup that is a little more dense than tomato soup. Add sea salt of Herbarmare to taste.

purple cauliflower Best Summer Veggies

(credit: Thinkstock)

Mashed “Potato” Cauliflower

It’s even tough for adults to tell the difference between mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower; the kids probably won’t even question the dish when served with some extra coconut oil melted atop. Packed with more nutrients and quality calories than potatoes, this low-carb mock dish is a perfect way to sneak more veggies onto the plate during dinner or lunch. Aside from loving the taste, as a mom, I love this cruciferous veggie for its quality amounts of vitamin k, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Market.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil
Sea salt or Herbamare
Pepper
Optional: grated parmesan to taste

Directions:

Cook cauliflower until tender in a large pot of boiling water for about eight to 10 minutes. Save about 1/4 cup of the water used for boiling and add that along with the cauliflower and oil to a food processor or blender and puree until the mixture is smooth. Add salt, pepper (and cheese, if that’s how you roll) to taste.

tomato1 Best Summer Veggies

(credit: Hyacynth Worth)

Tomato Chips

When the tomato vines are thick with ripe tomatoes and producing more than we can handle, we turn to the dehydrator for a bit of help. Simply, the kids would eat these chips alone or dipped in hummus, dressing or an olive-oil-vinegar mix all day long if we let them.

Ingredients:

Tomatoes
Optional: salt or herb seasonings

Directions:

Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices (add salt or seasonings) and place in the dehydrator for about 8-10 hours at 135- 140 degrees.

When she’s not daydreaming ways to sneak more vegetables onto her children’s plates, Hyacynth Worth writes almost daily about motherhood, faith and healthy living at Undercover Mother.

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