22 May 2012
Everyone loves dessert. It’s sweet. It’s comforting. For most people, dessert brings an amazing amount of joy and satisfaction. There’s a reason we have birthday cake and not big, healthy birthday salad.
There’s a way, though, to take vegetables and make them crazy exciting. Really.
I’m a vegetable lover. I’m happy chomping on raw lettuce leaves, sliced raw Brussels sprouts, okra, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and spinach. There are few veggies I don’t love in their natural state.
What about the picky vegetable haters? Can you get them to love veggies and develop healthy eating habits? Is it possible to get them to clean their plates and maybe even go back for seconds? Can they develop healthy (or healthier…) eating habits?
It’s completely possible.
My husband wasn’t too keen on veggies when we met. But now I can get him to eat carrots, sweet potatoes, and even Brussels sprouts.
Vegetables contain natural sugar. This sugar isn’t the same as the refined white stuff we use when we make cupcakes and cookies that quite honestly isn’t so good for us. It’s a nature-made carbohydrate that is necessary for proper brain and body function. It’s the good-for-you sugar.
How do you take that nearly impossible to detect, good-for-you vegetable sugar and make it pop? Roast your veggies.
Roasting will make crunchy cabbage melt in your mouth with vegetable sweetness. It will take okra and dry up the slimy inside so it tastes almost like popcorn. You can cut carrots and parsnips into long sticks and transform them into something more delicious and nutritious than french fries.
You can roast your veggies any way you like – high heat for a shorter period of time or low heat for a longer period of time. You can toss them in a little olive oil and season them however you choose – salt, pepper, fresh garlic and herbs. Use any combo that suits your fancy will do.
Like I said earlier, I love almost all veggies. Except tomatoes. I know – technically tomatoes are fruit. Regardless, there’s something about the inside of a tomato that just makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn. I’ve tried to like them. I know how good they are for me. I just can’t do it. Unless they’re cooked. And when they’re roasted they rank right up there with dessert.
I took an old classic and made it gluten-free with Erewhon Organic Rice Twice Cereal. I love the way the crispy rice cereal adds a textural crunch to the soft, sweet fleshy tomato. In fact, this cereal turned out to be a great gluten-free bread crumb substitution. The topping could be just as easily sprinkled across a pan of broccoli or cauliflower.
How do you help your family learn to love real food and develop healthy eating habits?
Roasted Provencal Tomatoes
3 medium or large tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley (about 1/2 bunch)
2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane or minced
6 or 8 turns of the pepper mill
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out the seeds. Set them cut-side up in a baking dish.
Put the Erewhon Rice Twice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the steel blade. Process until the consistency of bread crumbs. Transfer to a small bowl.
Add the parsley, garlic, and pepper to the cereal. Mix until combined. Drizzle with the olive oil and then work into the mixture with your hands. Divide the cereal topping evenly among the tomato halves.
Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. If the topping starts to get too brown, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
AmyCheck out my latest posts here