All Entries For vegetables

Tap into the Potential of Taproots This Fall

By definition, a taproot is the single root of a plant that extends deep into the soil to supply the above-ground plant with nutrients.  My definition of a taproot is YUM! It is such a shame these vegetables are grown below ground because many are just too pretty to hide.  Maybe that's their plan: to hang out underground and develop earthy flavor notes and then when plucked from the earth it's like a walk down the red carpet showing off their textured and colorful skin. Taproots such as parsnips, beets, carrots, and celery root have been around for ages and still shine as cooler weather favorites. 
I love what a little cool weather can do to sweeten up parsnips and how a hot oven will transform the  flesh into to a golden sweet vegetable dish. 
Look for different varieties of taproots at your local market and follow the guide below to incorporate them into all your fall and winter meals. 
Posted 10/8/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 16 comments   12,937 views
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Get Kids to Eat Veggies by Offering More Veggies

My young kids like to be in control.  Whether it’s what they are wearing, which toy they play with or what’s for lunch, they like to make decisions.  Although it can get frustrating at times (“I’m sorry honey, we aren’t going to wear winter boots today because it’s 97 degrees outside.”) I can understand.  So much of their lives are planned out for them that it’s exciting when they get to make a few choices on their own. 
I’ve started involving my children more in the meal planning process.  I don’t mind cooking dinner but I hate having to come up with ideas all the time.  So I’ll ask them for suggestions, or give them choices to pick from, either in the planning stage or once I make the food.  It doesn’t bother me to make a few different vegetables and then let them choose which ones they want.  I know the food will get eaten eventually, and I like having leftovers for future meals.  I find that when given the choice, they don’t usually pick just the carrots or just the green beans.  They usually want a little of both, and end up eating more vegetables than they would have if there was just one.  A new study of adults came to the same conclusion:  variety helps increase intake.
Posted 10/2/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 13 comments   12,550 views
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39 Meat-Free Recipes for World Vegetarian Day

Happy World Vegetarian Day! In honor of this Meatless Monday and the annual day to kick off a month of plant-based eating, we're sharing some of our favorite veg recipes. They're yummy and filling, perfect for meat eaters and veg'ns alike!

Did you know that about 3% of Americans are vegetarian and about 1% are vegan, meaning they don't eat meat, dairy, eggs or anything else that comes from an animal.
  1. 2-Bean Sweet Potato Chili
  2. Baked Falafel
  3. Bruschetta-Stuffed Mushrooms
  4. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
  5. Cheesy Spinach Enchiladas
Posted 10/1/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 11 comments   18,225 views
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Add More Veggies to Your Family Meals

"Eat your vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives, but if only it were so simple! Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible for the whole family:
Posted 9/9/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 28 comments   16,766 views
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6 New Uses for Roasted Peppers

Roasted peppers are perfect for rounding out a dish, enjoying as a snack, or even using as a food wrapper!
Whom should we thank for such a versatile vegetable that adds so much smoky sweet flavor to an endless amount of dishes?  Some would say Mother Nature and others a cook... I'm going with both.  The earth provides us with the vegetable, but it's the roasting technique that gives it that subtle smoky flavor.
First, let's learn how to make them, and then we can talk about the many ways to use them.
While red peppers are the most common, you can roast orange or yellow ones, too. The roasting mellows their flavor and adds a smoky sweetness.
Posted 8/13/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 13 comments   14,533 views
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Lighten Up Pasta with Garden-Fresh Zucchini

Pasta may be too heavy for a hot summer night, but you can lighten it up by substituting or swapping it out with vegetables.
Zucchini pasta is super easy to prepare and perfect for anyone who is gluten-intolerant, diabetic, low carbing it, a raw food lover, or those like me that are up to their ears in zucchini from the garden.  Zucchini pasta is nothing more than raw zucchini that has been cut to mimic traditional pasta: fettuccine, linguine, and yes even lasagna. 
Posted 8/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 29 comments   59,725 views
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7 Nights of Healthy, Hearty Salads

It is H-O-T! Rather than heat up the kitchen to cook up a heavy meal, why not serve up a cool, refreshing salad for dinner instead? Our weekly menu is full of meal-size salads that are as hearty as they are healthy.

Keep reading to see the menu!
Posted 6/15/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 17 comments   69,628 views
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Food Showdown: Which Veggie Packs More Nutrients?

We all know that veggies are good for us: they're great sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Scientific research has shown that cruciferous vegetables in particular may reduce the risk of lung, colorectal, stomach, breast, and prostate cancers. But some cruciferous vegetable varieties are more powerful than others.

When faced with broccoli and cauliflower on a vegetable tray, which tree-like veggie should you choose to get the most bang for your nutritional buck?
Posted 5/12/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 57 comments   42,757 views
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Fresh vs. Frozen: Dos and Don'ts of Saving for the Off-Season

One of the earliest lessons my parents taught me was to eat what's in season.  Being from a farm family, you quickly learn that if food is not harvested at its peak it either goes rotten in the field or becomes a meal for birds, insects, or the Earth.   
That's why we eat fruits and vegetables fresh when they are in season.   That means you'll eat your weight in asparagus in May, strawberries in June, pepper and corn in July, and tomatoes in August. 

After eating tomatoes every day for a month, you might be tired of them in late summer, but don't you long for them during the cold winter months? 
But wait, you can still enjoy the harvest if you follow the rules that mother Nature gives to the animals:  pack away some of your harvest for the off season.  You don't have to be a farmer's daughter to enjoy the bounty of the harvest.  Check out your farmers market or even your local grocery store during peak growing months and purchase good quality fruits and vegetables then have a freezing party at your home.  If you are too busy to freeze peak fruits and vegetables at home, no worries. You can find good quality frozen fruits and vegetables at your local market. 
Posted 4/16/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 15 comments   11,724 views
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Eat More Veggies, Appear More Attractive?

A few months ago, I went in for my yearly skin check at my dermatologist. I was seeing a new doctor. He came into the exam room, introduced himself and shook my hand.

He held on to my outstretched hand for a closer look.

"You certainly do like to eat healthy, don't you?" he said.

"Yes, I do," I said, sounding surprised. "How can you tell?" I had had a quick conversation about my work with his nurse and assumed she had mentioned to him.

"Your hands, they're rather orange," he said. "Do you eat lots of carrots?"
I shook my head in affirmation.

"I love vegetables--I'm a cookbook writer and food editor…" I trailed off as he continued his exam and looked at the soles of my feet.

He said that he can tell when people eat a healthy diet with plenty of orange vegetables because the soles of their hands and feet turn slightly orange. I eat a rainbow of vegetables daily, not just orange ones, so it seemed odd to me that my feet and hands would be so yellow!

Disclaimer: I am gullible. If I try to fib I turn bright red and stammer, and I am terrible at making up stories for the purpose of fooling people. This was both a strength and a weakness in my old life as a newspaper reporter.

"Really?" I said incredulously. "Are you serious?"

The doc said he was, but he seemed so jovial that I doubted him.

We continued talking, he finished my exam and, after scolding me for going without sunscreen a couple of times in the Equatorial sun last year in Honduras, told me that I'm all clear for two years. I had a pair of iffy moles removed in the past and a scare from another dermatologist, so I get a bit nervous when I go in to get checked. A healthy diet, plenty of water and exercise, he said, is evident in the skin. Mine is healthy, despite its alabaster hue and propensity to burning.

I forgot all about that avuncular physician's mention of my orange skin, until
Posted 3/21/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 19 comments   11,621 views
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Chef Meg's Roasted Winter Vegetables

By roasting these hearty winter vegetables, we soften their strong tastes and bring out their natural sweetness.

Posted 1/30/2012  5:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 9 comments   8,074 views
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13 Bell Pepper Recipes

One of my all time favorite vegetables to cook with is peppers. Peppers are easy to find and affordable. They are also a great source of Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and Potassium. Here are 13 recipes from SparkRecipes that will boost the nutritional value and flavor of your dishes. 
Posted 10/5/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 12 comments   23,519 views
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Heirloom Vegetable Recipes

If you’ve eaten out or thumbed through a cooking magazine in the last few months, chances are that you’ve noticed the growing popularity of heirloom vegetables. A friend recently asked me what heirloom produce is and what makes it different. Heirloom vegetables are typically grown on a family farm by seeds that were saved by a previous harvest. Some heirloom seeds are believed to go back to the 1950s before farming became more commercial, efficient and mass produced. Heirloom varietals are full of concentrated flavor because farmers have retained the best seeds year after year, focusing on quality instead of size and appearance. Heirloom tomatoes, beans, squash, and garlic are some of the most popular varieties. You can use heirloom vegetables in any recipes that call for them. We’ve featured 8 recipes that are easy to prepare and taste great too!

Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Pizza 
Posted 9/8/2011  9:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 18 comments   14,289 views
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Labor-Less Labor Day Recipes

You’ve been working hard all summer, taking care of business, your household, and the never-ending to do list. As the long sunny days of summer begin to vanish, trade in laborious and time-consuming cooking, for fast and easy recipes that are healthy and taste good too. We’ve gathered 11 recipes from SparkRecipes that minimize preparation, while maximizing flavor.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps 'n' Herbs

"Fried" Chicken

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Fast Fix Gaspacho 

Posted 8/31/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 2 comments   10,781 views
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Easy Tips for Getting More Veggies and Whole Grains on the Table

Editor's Note: I met Nicki Sizemore while we were working on some new videos for the site earlier this summer. She's a new culinary instructor and food stylist and writer who's also a new mom. Nicki is passionate about healthy living--her whole face lights up with enthusiasm when she talks food. I asked her to write a guest blog post for dailySpark. Enjoy!
We all know the benefits of eating more vegetables and whole grains, from shrinking our waistlines to warding off chronic diseases and cancer.  If like me you have a busy job and a family to feed, however, getting whole, unprocessed foods on the table every night can seem daunting.  Well, forget about falling back on processed foods or take-out!  With these simple tips, you can throw together quick and delicious meals from scratch that are brimming with veggies and whole grains, any night of the week.
Plan Ahead
We’ve all done it—purchased an armload of produce at the market with no idea of what we’re going to make, only to watch it wither away, untouched, as the week passes.  One way of ensuring that all of the produce you buy actually makes it to the table instead of ending up in the compost heap is to plan out the dishes that you’re going to make throughout the week ahead of time, either before shopping or right after you get home.  It only takes a few minutes, but it will increase your chances exponentially (at least that’s my calculation) of actually eating your vegetables. 
You can get as detailed with this as you want (“stir-fry with sautéed eggplant, spinach and cashews on Monday”) or keep it general (“stir-fry one night, pasta one night”). 
Then, when you get home on Wednesday night, instead of looking in the fridge and seeing a whole bunch of random stuff, but nothing to make (you know what I mean), you’ll know instantly that you’re making a frittata with the fingerling potatoes and mustard greens, and you’ll get right to work instead of picking up the phone for pizza. 
Posted 8/23/2011  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 23 comments   10,362 views
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