How (and Why) to Sweat Your Vegetables

Why You Should Eat Vegetables

As Coach Staci mentions above, eating a vegetable once a day is something we recommend all our coaching clients do.

Yeah, I know…you’ve probably been told since you were a toddler to “Eat your vegetables! They’re good for you.”

But do you really know WHY veggies are good for you?

Let me jump into a few reasons why they kick ass.

Here’s why you prioritize eating vegetables:

1) Vegetables are nutrient-dense. It should be no surprise that Popeye turned to a vegetable when he needed a power-up. 

Think of vegetables as one of our body’s mos

Think of vegetables as one of our body’s most efficient fuel sources: they are packed full of vital macro and micronutrients.

Just take a look at our article on how to eat healthy – it should be no surprise that vegetables take up half the plate in our “healthy plate” strategy.

Simply put: vegetables are the backbone of any solid diet.

2) They fill you up, without “filling you up.” 

Ever seen what 200 calories worth of broccoli looks like (courtesy of WiseGeek)?

It’s the size of a grocery bag compared to 2

It’s the size of a grocery bag compared to 200 calories of a Snickers:

If you are feeling hungry but don’t want to

If you are feeling hungry but don’t want to overeat, choose a vegetable.

Kind of hard to overeat when you’re eating carrots or celery!

We’ve found this strategy is super helpful for those trying to lose weight. In fact, eating more veggies helped Brian lose over 75 pounds!

3) Veggies keep your body operating at max efficie

3) Veggies keep your body operating at max efficiency. Vegetables are a great way to keep your…um…indoor plumbing…functioning properly.

Adding a vegetable or two to each meal (or blending them up in a smoothie) is a great way to keep things working right.

Seriously: you will notice a considerable difference after adding veggies to your diet regularly.

4) They CAN be delicious! It’s all in how they are prepared. As a former veggie hater, I am now firmly on “Team Vegetable.”

A plate full of veggies used to make me want to ga

A plate full of veggies used to make me want to gag, and now I’m thrilled at the idea of a plate covered in a cornucopia (what a great word, right?) of multicolored fruits and veggies.

“Ok, Steve, I know vegetables are good for me, but I just don’t like them. HALP!”

Here’s how you can get over your vegetable-aversion and get started.

Video

The BEST Easy Grilled Vegetables

Zucchini, bell pepper, onions, asparagus, and mushrooms become sweet and savory when cooked on the grill. With just a brushing of olive oil and sprinkling of salt and pepper, this cooking method is simple and lets the vegetables natural goodness shine through.Course Side DishCuisine American

Keyword vegetables

Prep Time 30 minutes

Servings 4Calories 162kcal

Ingredients

2 portabello mushrooms 1 eggplant 1 zucchini 1 yellow squash 1 onion 1 bunch thick asparagus 1 red bell pepper 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Prepare the grill with clean grates and preheat to medium heat, 350°F to 450°F. Trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion and cut into 1/3" to 1/2" slices. Seed the red bell pepper and cut into quarters. Trim the ends of the asparagus. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables with the lid closed until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers, onion, and mushroom; 5-7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant and asparagus. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1760mg | Potassium: 1021mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2005IU | Vitamin C: 65.9mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3.5mg

How I cut vegetables to roast

Here are some diagrams illustrating how I cut vegetables for roasting. It doesn’t really matter what shape you cut them in as long as they are:

  1. Same size – they are all roughly the same size so they roast in the same time; and

  2. Large(ish) – they are not cut too small because bear in mind they shrink about 25% (nobody wants pea-size roasted veg!). We also want the vegetables to hold up in the oven for long enough so they caramelise nicely on the outside (small pieces = cooks faster on inside = not enough time for colour).

How I cut parsnip for roasting

For parsnip, I cut the thinner end differently from the thick end. Since it’s hard to make them exactly the same size, second best is to aim for batons / chunks that are roughly the same in weight so they cook in the same time.

How I cut carrots for roasting

I like to cut the carrots on alternating diagonals for a bit of visual interest and also because more surface area = more caramelisation = more flavour!

How I cut red onion for roasted vegetables

Cut the red onion into 2 – 2.5cm / 1″ squares. To do this, I cut the onion in half, then each half into 3 – 4 wedges (depending on size). Then I cut the wedges into 3 or 4 pieces.

Tips for Success

There are a few key tips to keep in mind for cooking perfectly roasted vegetables every time!

  • Slice veggies evenly to ensure even cooking. If you don’t mind some crunchier and crispier pieces, this is less important.
  • Group veggies by cooking time– root vegetables generally take longer than cruciferous ones (40 minutes vs 25 minutes). Group on separate pans so that they finish baking at the same time. 
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan(s)– arrange the veggies on enough baking sheets to allow them to sit in a single layer. Crowding can cause them to cook unevenly and steam rather than roast (meaning less caramelization).
  • Season appropriately– we love adding a heavy coating of curry powder and a generous pinch of salt. Fresh herbs are also delicious. But if you plan to freeze them for adding to smoothies (carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, etc.), then it is best to only season with salt.
  • The perfect temperature– 400 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for most roasted vegetables. It allows for a crispy, perfectly browned exterior and a fork tender interior. But it will vary based on the types of veggies and oil used. If your veggies are not browning enough, try increasing the temperature. If they are browning before they are fully cooked, try reducing it.

Should You Soak Veggies Before Grilling

There’s no need to soak your veggies before firing up the grill (you don’t want them to be soggy or waterlogged), however, some vegetables will perform better on the grill if you briefly boil them first. More on that below!

You Might Also Like:

  • Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

  • Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes Carrots and Green Beans

  • Perfect Roasted Broccoli

  • Puff Pastry Baked Eggs

How to Roast Vegetables in the Oven

This method to cook vegetables couldn’t be easier!

  • Chop veggies: cut veggies into pieces about the same size, place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Toss with oil and seasoning: Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper then toss.

 Spread across baking sheet and roast: Spread even

  • Spread across baking sheet and roast: Spread evenly so vegetables cook evenly and roast 15 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, continue to roast: Remove from oven add tomatoes and toss mixture, spread even again.
  • Roast 10 minutes longer or until veggies are tender.

You can roast just about any vegetable. Just use t

You can roast just about any vegetable. Just use the same simple methodchop (things such as green beans and asparagus just leave whole), drizzle with oil, season, toss and roast. Toss once or twice through baking.

Just keep in mind different vegetables take various amounts of time so I usually like to roast vegetables with the same cook time together (or give more firm root vegetables a head start then add others later on).

Sonja Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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