The Surprising Kitchen Hack That Transforms Vegetables
By: Amelia Noel RD, LD
Riced veggies are all the rage – cauliflower, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and whatever else we can easily cook, cool and mince. Since most of us are spending more time at home lately and cooking a lot more frequently, it is the perfect opportunity to get creative with our vegetable consumption and try out recipes made with ricing. Whether you’ve purchased a ricing tool and are doing it yourself, or you’re buying pre-riced vegetables, these tips and accompanying recipes will help you fit riced veggies into your existing family meal routine.
Tip #1: Go Half & Half
Most of us love the comfort of whole grains (brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, oatmeal, to name a few), however, sticking with the recommended portion size can be tough to do. In order to add more volume and quantity to our whole grain servings, but not feel like we are skimping out by decreasing our portion size, it’s a good practice to add an equal portion of riced veggies. Going half and half with a whole grain and a riced veggie means we don’t feel deprived, and we also get to sneak in a serving of vegetables. This can be done for so many meals like stir fry, fried rice, oats, and grain salads. Check out one of our favorites below:
Meatless Monday Burrito Bowl:
- ½ cup brown rice or quinoa
- ½ cup of riced cauliflower (or your favorite riced veggie)
- ½ cup no salt added beans
- ½–1 cup cooked peppers and onions
- ¼ cup salsa
- Avocado, optional
- Plain Greek yogurt, optional
- Shredded low-fat cheese, optional
Tip #2: Blend It Up
Steamed, then frozen, vegetables make for a great smoothie addition. By blending with other ingredients, the vegetable doesn’t hold onto its distinct flavor, and it can go relatively undetected. Vegetables can add a creamy base to your smoothie, while also providing fiber and the whole host of nutrients found in the various vegetables.
Frozen Veggie Smoothie:
- ½ cup steamed then frozen riced veggie of choice
- 1 banana
- ½ cup frozen or fresh berries
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- Liquid, to taste
- 1 Tbsp. flax seed, chia seed or hemp hearts, optional
Tip #3: Mix In with Meat
Riced vegetables form small crumbles or flakes, like ground meat. By mixing in riced veggies with ground meat, you will boost a meal with additional fiber that’s hardly detectable. This can be especially useful if vegetables are not widely accepted by all at the dinner table, be it kids or adults alike. Next time meatloaf, ground meat tacos, or a skillet of some sort is on the menu, mix those riced veggies right into the meat (after the meat has been drained, but before seasoning so the vegetables take on the flavors of whatever spices are being used).
There are countless ways to use riced veggies. Try getting creative in the kitchen and see how else to incorporate this trendy ingredient. We are always looking to add more fruits and vegetables into our daily eating routine, so the more ways, the better. If you or a family member is struggling with finding ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables, sign up for a telenutrition appointment with one of our dietitians. We’re happy to work with you to provide nutrition solutions that work for you.