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Spark Your Veggies

10 Easy Ways to Add Flavor to Vegetables
  -- By Becky Hand, Meg Galvin, and Stepfanie Romine, authors of 'The Spark Solution'
Prepping and cooking vegetables is among the most daunting tasks in the kitchen for a new cook, but it doesn't have to be. We're sharing 10 easy and delicious ways to serve up healthy, flavorful vegetables.
 
To get started: Note: You can use frozen or canned vegetables, too. (Drain and rinse canned vegetables to remove excess salt.) Prepare according to package directions.
 
Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking spray (or add up to two teaspoons of oil). Place the skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables once the pan is hot, and sauté until tender yet still crisp. Stir the vegetables often as they cook. Now that you know the basic process, let's talk sauces.
 
1. Add Zest: Zest an orange, lemon or lime. (You'll need 1 tablespoon.) Add the zest while the vegetables cook. Slice the fruit in half and squeeze the juice over the vegetables just before serving. Try with: broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower

2. Buttered Up: Just before serving veggies, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Let the butter melt and stir to coat the veggies. Try with: Brussels sprouts, spinach or green beans.

3. Yummy Hummus: Add a dollop (about two tablespoons) of your favorite flavored hummus to the cooked veggies. Stir to coat to create a creamy sauce. Try with: sugar snap peas, broccoli or cauliflower.

4. Cheese, Please: Stir about two tablespoons of goat cheese, light cream cheese or your favorite soft herbed cheese into the cooked vegetables. Try with: broccoli, spinach or mushrooms.

5. Tahini Time: In a small bowl, mix together one tablespoon of tahini (ground sesame seed paste) with 1 tablespoon warm water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add to the cooked veggies and stir to coat. Try with: carrots, eggplant or peppers.

6. Asian Accents: Drizzle 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce over the cooked vegetables, then stir in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger or garlic. Try with: green beans, broccoli or spinach.

7. Creamy Curry: In a small bowl, mix one teaspoon curry paste into 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt. Add to the vegetables, stir to coat and serve. Try with: sweet potatoes, peas or cabbage.

8. Herbed and Ready: Just before serving the veggies, sprinkle on one tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs. Basil, oregano, parsley or thyme are good choices. Try with: beets, cauliflower or carrots.

9. Better with Bacon. Cook one slice of bacon in the microwave, then crumble and sprinkle over cooked vegetables. Try with: mushrooms, cabbage or green beans.

10. Herbed Breadcrumbs. Spray a small skillet with cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Add one teaspoon dried basil, oregano or parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until breadcrumbs are fragrant and golden brown. Sprinkle over vegetables just before serving. Try with: spinach, asparagus or broccoli.
 
Like this story? It's from ">The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health," the new book from the experts at SparkPeople.