We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. After all, they’re flush with the micronutrients and antioxidants we need for healthy aging. But let’s be frank, they’re often not the most exciting thing on your dinner plate. Steamed broccoli and dressing-drenched salads can get stale. So, if there was ever a food group ripe for reinvention, it’s veggies.
A tasty way to breathe new life into the vegetables on your menu is to stuff more in—literally. And while many of us are focusing our minds on the perfect stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey, now’s also a good time to talk stuffed veggies.
Some stuffed vegetables can seem a bit gimmicky, but when done right, they’re a perfect way to make veggies the well-deserving star of <any> meal. Most likely candidates such as eggplant, peppers, and giant mushrooms can serve as ultra-nutritious bases for a range of inspiring fillings.
The key is to make sure the vegetable elevates the flavour profile of the finished dish and doesn’t just play the role of hollowed-out shell, serving as little more than a receptacle for stuffing. These recipes overhaul the whole concept of vegetables bursting at the seams and hold their own as crowd-pleasing main courses—perhaps even for your Thanksgiving feast!
In recent times, there has been a raft of research demonstrating that the more vegetables we eat, the greater the chances for living a longer, healthier life. For instance, a recent study published in the journal Circulation found that three daily servings of vegetables (and two servings of fruit) could reduce mortality risk and the chances for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory illness.
One reason eating more veggies can lower the risk for several chronic diseases and help promote longevity is that they’re a leading source of antioxidants. These natural plant chemicals are designed to quash free radicals, substances that can damage cells and genetic material.
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can act as antioxidants; each one has unique chemical behaviours and biological properties. Many of them can be found in vegetables of different colours such as peppers, carrots, and leafy greens. But even not-so-bright options such as mushrooms and onions harbour an antioxidant punch.
If what comes to mind when you think of “seaweed” is “sushi” or “slimy,” you’ve got a whole new plant-based world to discover. These five recipes put the superfood seaweed to good use. From a seafood pasta with wakame pesto to an alkalizing and anti-inflammatory spirulina smoothie, and plenty of seaweed adventure in between, these recipes will have you diving for more. Seaweed’s biggest attraction may be its subtle flavours and versatility. It adds a hard-to-define savoury note to vegetarian dishes and an umami-heavy body to seafood, and it even replaces bacon in a BLT. And let’s not forget about the health benefits. Seaweed is swimming with nutritious minerals, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and vitamins. Dive into the world of seaweed, and come back with a healthy haul of fabulous flavours to make dinner more delicious.
Lime juice and ginger add a tropical whiff to this French-Japanese mashup, where seaweed tendrils and Dijon mustard bring out the umami flavours in mushrooms and eggplant. The ingredients might seem to be strange bedfellows, but they work. The result is somewhere between a quiche and a soufflé, with a gluten-free eggplant crust featuring punchy mustard and citrus. This makes for a hearty vegetarian main for brunch, lunch, or dinner with a side salad, or a filling side dish. Fresh or dried If you don’t have fresh thyme and parsley, use 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (divided) and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley. The flavours won’t be as pungent, but a little flavour is better than none.
These are the perfect two-bite appetizers. Though the first bite likely won’t “wow” you, the more you chew, the more the salt from the dulse soaks into the avocado and tomato. Wait for it. You can also turn these into breakfast à la avocado toast by substituting a piece of your favourite bread for a slice of baguette. What’s in a name? Theoretically, this should be called a “DLTA” because of the avocado (dulse, lettuce, tomato, and avocado). And if you left out the lettuce, you’d have a “DTA.” A DTA would arguably be a better overall eating experience, since lettuce slightly waters down the rich and creamy result and makes it harder to keep the tomatoes from sliding off the top of the crostini. But the juicy lettuce is actually helpful, since it spreads the salt from the dulse throughout the entire bite, making the “wow” moment come sooner. Besides, neither DLTA nor DTA is as fun an acronym as DLT.
This triple-threat recipe is made with (up to) three types of seaweed. Wakame is essential for the pesto, but kombu boosts the umami punch of sautéed garlic and cherry tomatoes, while kelp noodles are a low-carb substitute for flour-based noodles. Because kelp noodles can be hard to find (you’ll likely need to order them online), feel free to use your favourite boxed linguine, zucchini noodles, shirataki konjac, tofu, or yam noodles instead. You can also leave out the vongole (clams) to keep the recipe plant-based, or use mussels, which are usually more affordable than clams. Both clams and mussels are generally sustainable, as, like seaweed, they’re farmed without feed or antibiotics, unlike many farmed fish operations. Double-duty pesto Make a double batch of seaweed pesto, and enjoy it with eggs, scrambled tofu, or toast.