I don't mind vegetable...but I just don't always want to have a mound of brussel sprouts and steamed spinach with my baked chicken. Luckily, it's super easy to disguise in other forms in many tasty, delicious ways. You won't be disappointed.
1. For Breakfast: Healthy Carrot Zucchini Mini Muffins
These are a great way to use up that extra zucchini. Sweet from the carrots and maple syrup, with little nuggets of raisins and spiced from the cinnamon, these will be a breakfast go-to.
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
- 1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in the center of the oven, and coat a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, maple syrup (or honey), egg, and vanilla extract.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir together until just barely combined.
5. Add the zucchini, carrot and raisins and stir gently until just distributed.
6. Fill each cup in the mini muffin pan approximately ¾ full (I use a small cookie scoop slightly overfilled).
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Get the full carrot zucchini muffin recipe here.
2. Marinara Sauce with Hidden Vegetables
Everyone loves a good marinara sauce. Great on pasta, great for dipping, #noms. What people don't know, though, is that with a food processor and a little imagination, it's a great base to hide a ton of super healthy veggies.
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 packed cup of grated carrot
- 1 ½ packed cups of grated zucchini
- ½ of a medium onion, cut into chunks
- 3-4 celery ribs, cut roughly into chunks
- 4 - 5 garlic cloves
- 1 can of whole, peeled or diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree (optional)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1. Place the carrot, zucchini, onion, garlic cloves and celery in a blender. Process until you have pureed the vegetables together.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When it's hot, add the pureed vegetable and cook until the moisture has evaporated and it starts to caramelize and turn brown.
3. Add the tomato to the vegetables. (Note : if you're using whole tomatoes, crush them with your hands, or pulse them in the blender to help break them up).
4. Add the tomato puree, vinegar, sugar, cayenne pepper and a generous pinch of salt and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the oregano and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Season to taste as you go.
6. You can store the marinara sauce in a bottle in the fridge.
Get the full vegetable marinara sauce recipe here.
3. Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Did you know that you could basically substitute cauliflower for gluten-ful carbs? It's an excellent vehicle for many things...especially cheese. :)
- 2 pounds frozen cauliflower florets
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon powdered garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the cauliflower florets according to the package instructions.
2. Bring the cream to a simmer. Use a whisk to stir in the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
3. Stir in 6 ounces of the shredded cheddar cheese. Save the other 2 ounces for later. Mix until the cheese melts into the sauce.
4. Add the Dijon mustard, turmeric, powdered garlic, salt, and pepper. The sauce will become a smooth yellow color.
5. Make sure that the cauliflower is drained, then add it to the cheese sauce. Evenly coat the florets with sauce.
6. Sprinkle on the remaining 2 ounces of cheddar cheese, then stir until mostly melted.
Get the full cauliflower mac and cheese recipe here.
4. Baked Green Bean Fries
Because everything is better in fry-form.
- 1 cup Panko
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine Panko, Parmesan and cayenne pepper; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
3. Working in batches, dredge green beans in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat.
4. Place green beans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
5. Serve immediately.
Get the full baked green bean fries recipe here.
5. For Dessert: Triple Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies
Okay okay okay...just hang with me here. Sweet potatoes add a little sweet and a lot of moisture. These brownies will need a spoon and a lot of napkins.
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into pieces
- ¼ cup creamy almond butter
- 1 cup sweet potato mash/puree
- ½ cup organic coconut palm sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao
- 1 tbsp organic coconut flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp fine grain sea salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
1. Have all your ingredients at room temperature, measured and ready to go before beginning. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a square 8" baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt together the unsweetened baking chocolate and almond butter, stirring, until smooth, then remove from heat.
3. Stir in the sweet potato puree, coconut sugar, and vanilla and beat well. Then, beat in the egg and egg yolk until creamy.
4. In a separate small bowl, combine the cocoa powder or cacao, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet (still in the saucepan) until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
5. Finally, stir in the dark chocolate chips. Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan using a rubber spatula to scrape all the brownie batter into the pan and spread evenly.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, being careful not to overbake. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan completely (2 hours) before cutting into squares and serving.
7. Optional - make a drizzle with ¼ cup dark chocolate morsels and 1 tbsp coconut butter and microwave in a small bowl to melt, then drizzle over the brownies to serve. Enjoy!
Get the full chocolate sweet potato brownie recipe here.
6. Honey Garlic Ginger Chicken Carrot Noodle Bowls
Spiralizers have changed the "pasta" world forever. But zoodles are so yesterday. Try these carrot noods instead.
- 1 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – cut into bite sized pieces (roughly 1- 1 ½’’ cubes)
- ½ tsp Salt , plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper , plus more to taste
- ½ Cup Cornstarch
- ¼ Cup + 1 TBS Vegetable Oil (can substitute Canola) - divided
- 5-6 large Carrots – peeled, ends trimmed & spiralized
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes , to taste
- 8 Cloves Garlic – minced
- 6 TBS Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
- ¼ Cup Sake
- ½ Cup Honey
- ¼ Cup Fresh Ginger – grated
- 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ Cup Scallions – thinly sliced
- Sesame Seeds , to taste
1. Prepare a 8x11’’ baking pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. For the Chicken: Place the chicken pieces, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake the bag until the chicken is well coated in cornstarch.
3. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary to not crowd the pan*, and sauté until lightly browned, turning to cook all sides, about 2-3 minutes. (chicken will be raw on the inside) Transfer to prepared baking pan and spray the top of chicken with cooking spray.
4 .Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
5. Meanwhile: Wipe pan of excess oil and reduce heat to medium high. Add 1 tablespoon clean oil to the pan. Add the carrot noodles and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
6. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until sauce in thickened. Turn heat off under skillet.
7. When chicken is done cooking add it to the sauté pan and toss to coat. (Alternatively, pour the sauce over chicken in the baking pan and toss to coat. Or, toss both noodles and chicken with sauce)
8. Serve chicken over carrot noodles. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds and additional red pepper flakes.
7. Mini Cauliflower Pizzas
Cauliflower back at it again with the carb substitutions...this time as pizza crust.
- 1/3 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup pepperoni minis
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
For the cauliflower crust
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
2. To make the cauliflower crust, add cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground, yielding about 2-3 cups.
3. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and place into microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened; let cool.
4. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain cauliflower completely, removing as much water as possible.
5. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Stir in egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, spread cauliflower mixture into a circle for each pizza and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
7. Top each cauliflower round with marinara, mozzarella and pepperoni minis. Place into oven and cook until the cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes.
8. Serve immediately, sprinkled with basil, if desired.
Full post mini cauliflower pizza recipe here.
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