Since March is celebrated as National Nutrition Month, I thought of posting a few simple recipes to help you get more veggies on your plate, & in a jiffy. Here is stir-fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Bok Choy , Stir-fried sweet bell peppers, and Spiced stir fry of green beans, carrots & green peas.
Leave a comment to let me know if you already knew about the National Nutrition Month and what’s the one new step you have taken towards healthy eating! 🙂
Last time, I posted 3 very simple recipes with Kale, that you could easily use for cooking other leafy greens! Let’s see how easy it can be to get the other veggies on our plates on a daily basis. You get to choose what you like! 🙂
Eating vegetables can be easy as most of them don’t require long time to cook or can be enjoyed raw. Let’s make sure that we are eating enough, and, on a regular basis.
TYPE OF VEGGIES
Vegetables can be broadly classified as:
- dark green vegetables (include leafy greens, broccoli, leeks, bok choy, spinach, fenugreek, mustard, collard greens etc.)
- red & orange vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, sweet potato, red/yellow/orange bell peppers etc.)
- starchy white/ cream colored vegetables includes (corn, potatoes, jicama, plantain, taro (arbi), cassava (sago))
- other vegetables (eggplant, okra, cucumber, onion, mushrooms, avocado,
I prefer to classify pulses/legumes as a separate group rather than club them under vegetables, given how important they are in our diet. More details on health benefits, menu planning tips, cooking techniques, and recipes coming up in my Educational Cookbook.
WHY ARE VEGGIES IMPORTANT?
- Low in calories and nutrient dense.
- Important sources of beta carotene (pro-Vitamin A), vitamin K, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins (folate, B6), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium.
- Compared to beans, cereals & fruits, they have lower fiber content. But, are still a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Some vegetables like lettuce, spinach, cucumber etc are low in fiber.
- Phytochemicals in vegetables can exert anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory properties. They are also valued for their potential in lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol and glucose.
HOW MUCH TO EAT?
Well, the more the better… and, eat a variety…
For details on how much and how often to eat, menu planning tips, please check out my soon to be published Educational Cookbook.
Here are some ways to enjoy veggies as sides. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.
Raw side salads/dips – koshimbir/kachumber/raitas
This is an easy way to incorporate veggies in our meal, especially when we don’t want to cook! Or, when we want to add some freshness to our fancy curry or an elaborate meat or chicken or seafood dish. Outsource the task of preparing a fresh salad to a family member – that makes for a collaborative and educational activity!
- Wash, peel (wherever applicable), cut and toss the veggies/ fruits into a bowl
- Drizzle one of your fave dressings or just salt and pepper & lemon juice/vinegar.
- Garnish with herbs, ground nuts or a tempering with spices!
- Add yogurt to take it to the next level!
Main Course Salads
Stir fried veggies
Stir fried veggies can compliment just about anything – whether it’s your stir fried chicken or sautéed marinated shrimp or pan fried fish or tofu or beans. They work well especially when it’s cold outside and you feel like eating something warm, or shall I say a warm salad.
- Dice some veggies that you can get your hands on.
- Heat oil in a pan, toss the veggies and sautée for 2-3 minutes, simply season with salt and pepper and serve as a side.
- Add some chili flakes for some heat, make it Mediterranean with garlic and dried/ fresh herbs, or transform it to East Asian with garlic & soy sauce.
Let’s heat up a pan/wok and start our stir-fry, shall we?
Stir- fried Bok Choy & Shiitake Mushrooms (ready in 15 mins)
Very flavorful side served in East Asian restaurants. I love the flavor of Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms. These are my fave mushrooms because they are so flavorful and aromatic, you really needn’t add anything else.
Bok Choy is a cruciferous vegetables and can exhibit anti-cancer properties.
Read more about the benefits of cruciferous vegetables in this post.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
3 whole Shiitake Mushrooms
2-3 small bok choy heads or 1 large bok choy head
Oil 1 tbsp
Salt, black pepper, red chili flakes to taste
Discard the stem of the Shiitake mushroom as its not edible, and slice the heads.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the mushrooms on medium heat with a lid, till golden brown on both sides.
While the mushrooms are cooking, cut the round, woody base of the bok choy. Then, cut it longitudinally into half or quarters.
Run water through the leaves to make sure all the dirt is removed. Separate the leaves, if necessary.
Then, slice horizontally to separate the green leaves from the stem. I prefer to cook the leaves later to preserve their nutrients as the stem takes a bit longer to cook.
By now mushrooms might be ready. Season with salt and ground black pepper & transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, add the bok choy stem and a small amount of water. Cover and let it cook for a minute or two. Then add the leaves and cook for another minute. Season with salt, black pepper & some chili flakes for the extra kick.
Per serving: 90 Cals | 3 g protein | 7 g total fat| 2 g fiber | high vit C & pro-vit A
Stir fried Sweet Bell Peppers (ready in 5-10 mins)
This is a great side for your pasta or quinoa or to add into a wrap with tofu, or some low fat cheese and leafy greens.
Sweet bell peppers are a very important source of vitamin C (& phytochemicals). Add 1-2 of these on your weekly shopping list!
Check out other vitamin C rich foods here.
Ingredients (serves 3)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1 tbsp oil
salt, ground black pepper, dried herbs to taste
garnish with crumbs of feta cheese or chopped parsley/cilantro or basil.
Wash, deseed and dice the bell peppers.
Heat oil in a non-stick pan and toss them in. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
Season with salt, ground black pepper and dried herbs.
Garnish and serve.
Per serving: 65 Cals | 1 g protein | 5 g total fat | 1 g fiber | very high vit C
Spiced Stir fry of green beans, carrots & green peas (ready in ~15 mins)
This stir fry is for the Indian palate that is accustomed to enjoying ground spices! Very flavorful, I bet and it’s easy.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 cups green beans, remove the ends & cut into halves
1 large carrot, peeled, and sliced into medium thick juliennes
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1/2 medium yellow onion or 2 small red onions
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
Wash and prepare the vegetables.
Heat oil in a pan and sprinkle cumin seeds.
Once they sizzle, add the onions and saute till light brown.
Then add all vegetables, spice powders, mix and cover. Let the vegetables cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or so, till they are slightly tender yet firm. They should not become soft all the way.
Season with salt and serve with a garnish as a side or filling for a roti wrap.
Add tofu to the mix and make it a complete subzi/ wrap, balanced with protein.
Per serving: 90 Cals | 3 g protein | 4 g total fat | 4 g fiber | good amount of pro-vit A