Quick Salad Replacements (for when the cold makes salads unappealing)

Happy Autumn!

As temperatures plummet, salads get less appealing, and your appetite can increase. As a kid growing up in Wisconsin, colder weather meant time to get out the cream-of-mushroom-based “hot dish” recipes. Who remembers when “eating your vegetables” meant green bean casserole with fried onions on top? Tasty…but here are some healthier ideas for CONVENIENTLY having delicious veggies ALWAYS ready to go:

  1. Keep your crock pot going.
    Load a bunch of veggies into your crock pot every few mornings. A little salt and optional oil and herbs makes them practically melt into savory heaven within a few hours, and you can eat them for days. Almost any veggies work great: Cauliflower (which turns into “Mashed Faux-Tatoes”), zucchini (add tomatoes & onions for ratatouille), yellow squash, asparagus, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, garlic…experiment with anything. The crock pot is very forgiving on the timing, so just let it stew.

  2. Keep some spiralized veggie “pasta” in the fridge.
    Get a spiralizer and turn a few zucchini or yellow squash into angel hair pasta. It keeps very nicely in the fridge until you decide to heat it and eat it just like pasta (try it with pesto or turkey meat sauce or marinara), put it in soups, make asian noodle dishes, make a curly-noodle omelet, or add broth for a healthy take on raman noodles.

  3. Roast whenever you’re in the kitchen.
    If you have 45 minutes, load a bunch of veggies, roughly chopped, onto a cookie sheet (with optional herbs, sprinkle of salt and quick spray of oil) and put them in the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes. They’ll get caramelized, savory, sweet and amazing. You can eat them as-is or save them to eat later, or add to omelets, put on top of zucchini-pasta, or whatever. If you use kale leaves (remove the stems), you’ll get kale chips, which are awesomely similar to Pringles.

  4. Keep some vegetable stock ready to blend.
    Put some of your roasted veggies into a blender with veggie stock and voila: healthy pureed soup.

  5. Use your George Foreman grill.
    Use it to cook strips of zucchini, yellow squash, portobello mushroom, or other veggies. Start to finish, it’ll take under 10 minutes. If you want them done faster, just cut the veggies thinner.

Nothing is very convenient the first few times you do it, but get in the habit of prepping these veggies every few days and your long winter will be a very healthy one. Plus, your home will smell amazing. If you have other ideas for convenient veggies, please send them my way.

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