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Eat your veggies.

The familiar nagging statement made at dinner tables by moms everywhere.

We already know that veggies are super healthy for you. They’re full of essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Your body loves you when you eat veggies.

But they have to taste good too.

Actually, it’s embarrassing to admit that when I first became vegetarian, I didn’t really like vegetables all that much.

I would scrunch my nose up at the thought of eating anything green….which was a problem. Vege-tarian!

When you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t like vegetables, you become a pasta-and-junk-food-vegetarian, and that ultimately ends in going back to the way you ate before.

The good news is you can learn to not only like, but LOVE your veggies! And become healthier for it too, like I did!

I’m not talking about cooked-to-death, drowned-in-butter, encased-in-cheese veggies. I’m talking about their natural deliciousness shining through in simple preparation.

Some of my favorite home-made dinners spotlight veggies as the stars of the show.

Below I share several of these scrumptious (and nutritious!) dishes, plus a few fabulous ways to prepare my favorite veggies.

These are “Howard Potatoes” – named after my second cousin who loved them so much when my grandmother made them. They’re simply roasted with onions, carrots, a dash of olive oil, and salt and pepper. A side of tender sauteed spinach with garlic is perfect with them.

Here’s a gorgeous roasted acorn squash with nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and a bit of Earth Balance vegan butter (tastes like fall!), sauteed Brussels sprouts, and wild rice.

Sauteed portobello mushrooms with balsamic vinegar and vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular Worcestershire has anchovies in it), plus roasted daikon radish, carrots, and beets spiced with thyme. We also made mashed potatoes with almond milk to make them creamy, with a dash of Cholula hot sauce to give them a little kick. Tasty, tasty!

This is Swiss Chard with Caramelized Onions and Capers (recipe from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau), with roasted sweet potatoes and quinoa-coconut milk porridge. Very satisfying.

Easy dinner of baby bok choy sauteed with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, with a splash of ume plum vinegar, roasted golden and red beets, and mushroom and herb cous cous. ‘Twas delicious.

Sauteed Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes with tangy, tasty mushroom gravy, and avocado tortilla soup (made in my treasured Vitamix – don’t get me started!).

Can you tell what my favorite veggie is from these photos? (Hint: I divulged it in my guest post). And I’ll tell you my favorite way to make it right now!

Happy Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tblsp. Earth Balance buttery spread (a vegan butter that tastes just like the real thing, available at regular grocery stores)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Thoroughly rinse the Brussels sprouts
2. Cut the stem from each Brussels sprout and pull away any loose or yellow leaves
3. Chop them in half, length-wise.
4. Melt the Earth Balance buttery spread over medium-low heat in a large pan
5. Place the Brussels sprouts face down in the pan, stirring them around occasionally. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over them.
6. Cook the Brussels sprouts until they’re browned nicely
7. Enjoy this new favorite!

Once you try these Brussels sprouts, you’ll have to admit it – your momma was right about eating your veggies! Call her right now and tell her! Or at least set a calendar reminder to do it. 🙂

I called mine yesterday, but I want to give her a shout out on here too – thanks, Mom!

She always made sure my sisters and I ate our veggies (despite my protests), and she took it a step further too. She’s been vegetarian for 12 years and vegan for a year. You rock, Mom!

Now that I’ve given credit where credit is due, I want to share how to prepare “Howard” Potatoes too (named for my second cousin who loves them the way my grandmother makes them) – they’re super easy and yummy.

“Howard” Potatoes

Yukon Gold potatoes (Russets work too) – Just buy however many you need to feed your brood (around 2 per person is what I usually do), and dice them into large squares. No need to peel them.

Yellow Onion – Get a large onion if you’ve gotten a lot of potatoes. Cut it into thick slices.

Baby Carrots – Include as many as you’d like

Olive Oil – Enough to coat all of the above ingredients

Salt and Pepper to taste – You can include other spices you like too. Thyme is particularly yummy to me!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Move it all to a greased baking dish and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until they brown nicely. Stir occasionally so they don’t stick. Take them out and enjoy!

Lastly, I want to share the recipe for that tangy mushroom gravy. Thanks to my sis-in-law who shared it with me!

Mushroom Gravy

1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms

1 3/4 cups water, plus 3 tablespoons, divided

1/4 soy sauce

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine the mushrooms, water, soy sauce, red wine, and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Turn heat down slightly and simmer for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and stir with a spoon to make a runny paste.

Add the paste to the bubbling sauce, a little at a time, stirring constantly, for a minute, until the sauce has thickened. Pour over everything! Or just mashed taters.

I hope you try and enjoy these recipes, and give yourself a chance to fall in love with your veggies!

To making your momma proud!