Category: Vegetables


Summer salads are usually a tossed salad with greens or fruit salads, but don’t forget your vegetables. With the large selection of vegetables available, a vegetable salad is a great alternative. Vegetables can be raw, blanched or grilled in a summer salad. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette and you have a nutritious and refreshing summer vegetable salad

A lot of people are becoming health conscious already. They prefer to prepare their own food to make sure they are eating just healthy foods. They would not know what ingredients are used in commercial foods.

Then again, many of us are busy with our works and personal lives. It is often easier to resort to buying food outside rather than go to the ordeal of preparing our own food in the kitchen. Good thing though that there are now many quick recipes that will only take around 10 minutes to do. These are easy to make and promises to be very healthy.

Summer Vegetable SaladYou could also adapt a few tips on how to make preparations much easier and quicker. The first tip is to use all the possible convenient products available to you. It could be frozen mixed veggies, pasta sauces and many more. It requires little cooking. You could toss them up together in a matter of few minutes with hardly any cooking needed.

Ready the ingredients beforehand if you are thinking of a recipe already. Also prepare the utensils and other items you will need. You could easily cook after coming home if you have all these prepared already.
 
Select vegetables that are firm, fresh and in season. Summer vegetables that are great for salads include green, yellow or red bell peppers, cucumbers, fresh corn, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, beets, radishes, zucchini, squash, green beans and wax beans. Summer vegetables will vary according to your location.

Choose your favorite summer vegetables for a raw salad. For not-so-favorite vegetables, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill them lightly to enhance the flavor. Don’t over-grill the vegetables or they will be too soft for a summer salad.

Wash the selected summer vegetables and dry well. Cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces. If using raw onions, cut them into smaller pieces so they don’t overwhelm the summer salad.

Cut dense vegetables into smaller pieces. Vegetables like carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower are dense and will be hard to chew if left in larger pieces.

Place the raw vegetables in a large salad bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing and allow the summer salad to marinate for at least an hour for a fuller flavor. If using grilled vegetables, allow them to cool before handling. Cut the grilled vegetables into larger pieces if they are softened. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette and allow to marinate.

Add extras to the summer vegetable salad before serving. Add walnuts or almonds, chopped hard-boiled eggs, cheese, sesame seeds or pine nuts for a more intense flavor.

Garnish the summer salad with sliced radishes, sliced red pepper, shredded carrots or fresh basil.

 

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Root VegetablesConsuming vegetables on a regular basis is an ordeal for many. However, vegetables are loaded with constituents that help in prevention of several diseases and disorders. Now, if you are wondering what are root vegetables, then it is a generic name used to define vegetables that grow underground (roots of plants). However, bulbs, modified plant stems, etc. are also classified as root vegetables. Root vegetables are as nutritious as other vegetables.

Root Vegetables

Before taking a look at the benefits of eating root vegetables, let us know what all vegetables are exactly classified as root vegetables. Potato, sweet potato, yam, turnip, onion, carrot, radish, ginger, garlic, turmeric, arrowroot, shallot, fennel bulb, beet, etc. are the commonly consumed root vegetables. The root of a plant is its storage part which is used to store energy. Therefore, root vegetables are rich in carbohydrates of various kinds like sugars, starches, etc. Let us now take a look at the health benefits of these vegetables in detail. First we will take a look at the general uses of root vegetables and then go through the individual properties.

General Benefits

  • All root vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Most of these root vegetables contain complex carbohydrates which are essential for gaining energy. You must be aware that complex carbohydrates are digested in the body very slowly and hence, there is a long-lasting supply of energy.
  • Most of the root vegetables are very low in calories (except potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes), and hence, they can be easily included in the diet of people who wish to lose weight.
  • Along with carbohydrates, most of the root vegetables also contain vitamins and minerals; making them wholesome vegetables.
  • Root vegetables are also very attractive to the eye (e.g., carrots, beet, etc.) and are delicious. Root vegetables can also be used for making a variety of dishes. e.g., a potato can be used for making jacket potato, potato salad, potato soup, potato pancakes, potato casserole, etc. Therefore, including these vegetables in your daily diet is quite simple.

Specific Benefits

  • Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and are beneficial for improving the heart health. They are also good sources of energy like potatoes and yams.
  • You might be knowing that carrots are very good for the eyes and should be consumed regularly. This is because it contains beta-carotene which is beneficial in providing essential nutrients to the retina of the eye. The beta-carotene in carrots also helps in fighting off the free radicals that damage the body.
  • Radish is an excellent source of vitamin C and is believed to have anti-cancer properties. Secondly, radish is good for the liver and also helps in purification of blood.
  • Similarly, another root vegetable, beet is a rich source of iron and is also good for heart. It helps in prevention of birth defects and stimulates proper function of the liver.
  • Onion is one of the best root vegetables because it is loaded with anti-allergic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. Onions and shallots are good for the heart and also help in prevention of liver cancer.
  • Garlic also has anti-bacterial properties and is rich in antioxidants. It helps in lowering blood pressure, promotes heart health and also keeps several infectious diseases at bay.
  • Ginger helps in reducing pain and inflammation, helps in treatment of morning sickness, helps in treatment of cold and flu, and also aids in lowering high cholesterol.
  • Turmeric can be used for the treatment of wounds, skin problems, stomach problems, cough, flu, cold, asthma, etc. It also has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The modest looking turnip is also good for health, as it contains vitamin C, beta carotene and lots of fibers.

As there are numerous health benefits associated with root vegetables, you should consume them regularly. You should, however, remember to include moderate amounts of potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes in your diet if you are watching your weight. So, research on the Internet to find exciting recipes to make scrumptious dishes containing root vegetables, and have a healthy life. Take care!

Oven Roasted VegetablesRoasting vegetables is a wonderful way to make a side dish that is healthy as well as delicious. As roasting requires very little amount of oil it makes a nutritious dish that is low in fat and calories. Roasting the vegetables in a bit of oil brings out its natural sweetness and it also intensifies the flavor. The best thing about oven roasted vegetables is that you can pop it in the oven and get on with preparing the main course. This is one of the less fussy side dishes and does not require a lot of effort to prepare. You can try roasting different combinations of vegetables according to your taste and preference. You can also use any seasonings and herbs and spices to give it a more wholesome flavor.

Oven Roasted Summer Vegetables

There is a profusion of fresh vegetables available in the summer and what better way to savor their sweetness than roasting them in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut in quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 green pepper, cut into quarters
  • A dozen fresh asparagus
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Method

In a large shallow roasting tin, place the zucchini, red and green peppers, onion and asparagus. Add the extra virgin olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper and dried oregano and toss the vegetables well to coat. Spread the vegetables in an even single layer and roast them in an oven at 450º C for 30 to 35 minutes. When the vegetables have lightly browned, remove the roasting tray from the oven. Squeeze out the garlic puree from the peels and add to the roasted vegetables. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of chopped spring onions.

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Oven Roasted root vegetables makes a hearty side dish during the winter and for a good mix of flavors choose at least four or five different root vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced into chunks
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2 parsnips, quartered
  • 2 beetroot, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, cut lengthwise
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Method

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and keep it aside. In a shallow roasting tin add all the vegetables and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the sprigs of thyme and pour over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Let the root vegetables marinate for an hour before roasting. Place the roasting tin in the oven ant 375º C for 35 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and golden brown in color.

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Vinegar

A good way to make your children eat vegetables is to roast them with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to balance the sweetness of the vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Method

Cut the vegetables into rough chunks of approximately the same size and place them in a roasting tin. Add the rosemary sprigs along with salt into the roasting tin. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and stir until all the sugar gas dissolved. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and roast them in an oven at 375º C for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with grilled chicken or fish.

Roasting the vegetables will caramelize them and give a slightly crisp texture and taste more delicious than steamed vegetables. Oven roasted vegetables can be used as pizza toppings or as filling for sandwiches. So next time try roasted vegetables for your lunch or dinner instead of deep-fried vegetables smothered in oil.

Green VegetablesWhat differentiates green vegetables from other vegetables is their color. The green pigment is present in these vegetables, which is responsible for the green color. Studies identify green vegetables as a powerhouse of nutrients. No wonder they are an indispensable part of a healthy diet. Whether it is to lower weight or keep dreaded diseases at bay, one can certainly rely on these vegetables. Doctors are unanimous that leading a healthy life is not possible without including these vegetables in the diet. To fulfill the body’s daily requirements of essential nutrients, taking green leafy vegetables on a daily basis is the best option. Green vegetables are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals and therefore their exclusion from the diet is unaffordable, health wise. Knowing green vegetables list will give an idea about the wide range of options that you can have whenever visiting a vegetable market

Every type of vitamin, be it water-soluble or fat-soluble, is found in ample amounts in these vegetables. So, if you are looking for natural sources of water soluble vitamins like B and C or fat soluble vitamins like A, D and K, then green vegetables is the best choice. You can easily obtain these vitamins by having these vegetables in moderate amounts. In addition to being a rich source of vitamins, green vegetables also contain a high amount of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, iron which are crucial to stay healthy.

Most importantly, fat content in vegetable is negligible and therefore they are often included in weight loss diet. So, those looking for a low-calorie diet for losing weight should focus more on eating green vegetables. They are basically high in fiber which also helps to prevent digestive problems like constipation.

Organic Vegetables
If you are serious about your well-being, it is vital to choose vegetables that are organically produced. Conventional method of growing vegetables involves use of synthetic pesticides extensively and adding chemical food additives. However, this reduces the nutrition of vegetables but organically cultivated vegetables hardly lose their nutrition, thanks to use of natural pesticides. Well, you got to shell out more money to buy organic foods but there is not doubt that organically grown products are more nutritious.

Cooking Green Vegetables
If you want the green vegetables to retain their nutrition, it is necessary to employ healthy cooking methods. Deep frying or over cooking kills the nutrients and so the purpose of eating green vegetables is itself destroyed. The best cooking method that protects vegetables from nutrient loss is definitely steaming. Roasting and stir-frying are other healthy cooking options that help to preserve nutritional content of vegetables.

Dark Green Vegetables List
There are some vegetables that come with darker leaves, hence they are classified as dark green vegetables. It is observed that nutritional value of dark green vegetables is higher than those with lighter leaves. The percentage of essential vitamins and minerals in dark green vegetables is remarkably high. The concentration of nutrients is maximum in dark green vegetables and so have to be included in the diet. Dark leafy green vegetables list is mentioned below:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Loose Leaf
  • Boy Choy
  • Lollo Ross
  • Imperial
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Chicory
  • Summer Crisp
  • Butterhead
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Cyclone Spinach
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Red Leaf
  • Turnip Greens

One of the simplest ways to include these highly nutritious foodstuffs in the meals is to make a salad from these green vegetables. Salads are easy to prepare and can be made in minutes. On the whole, for optimal health and to manage weight or diseases like diabetes, a diet rich in green vegetables is a must. In order to stay fit and fine in today’s cut throat competition, taking healthy foods is a pre-requisite. With intake of green vegetables, there is assurance of good health years down the line. The vegetable list mentioned above acquaints you with a multitude of choices to select green vegetables. So, the next time, you go to a vegetable market, make sure you have this green vegetables list on a paper, so that it becomes easier in buying different vegetables.