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Get Stuffed

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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! 

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Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash

Curried Lentil Stuffed Squash
Crab Cap Salad

These crab-stuffed portobello mushrooms can do double duty as a fancy starter for a casual dinner party or a light main course on any given night. Meaty and umami-rich portobellos serve as a holder for a light-tasting seafood salad. 

Turkey Enchilada Stuffed Poblano Peppers

In this enchilada riff, we stuff everything into a roasted poblano pepper shell, rather than tortillas, to pack an extra veggie serving into your meal and trim the starchy calories. If you can’t find poblanos, which are mild, dark green Mexican peppers, you can substitute green bell peppers.

Freekeh Medley Stuffed Eggplant

This stuffed eggplant is built upon layers of Middle Eastern flavours: smoky freekeh, tender chickpeas, and a herbal tahini sauce. The quick-pickled raisins add a sweet vinegary pop. 

Sausage-Rice Stuffed Chard with Walnut Sauce

Reminiscent of the stuffed cabbage of yore, the flavour profile of these stuffed chard smacks of cozy fall. It looks all fancy, but everything comes together surprisingly quickly. If desired, you can use turkey or pork sausage and brown rice. 

Bean Stuffed Zucchini with Cheesy Sauce

This plant-only recipe may look like it required a lot of fuss, but it comes together easily. Tender zucchini is loaded with a hearty and satisfying bean mixture and then finished off with a drizzle of cheesy tasting sauce. 

Chemical cuisine

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. 

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Fairest of the Fall

Fairest of the Fall

There are plenty of reasons to fawn over heads of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and impossibly sweet peaches. But, truth be told, the cream of the crop arrives on the market when summer’s bounty has come and gone. Once sweater weather arrives, and we edge ever closer to snowflake season, there is a bounty of cold-hardy power foods to get your fill of at their peak flavour and nutrition. And they’re ripe for all sorts of culinary creations in the kitchen. So, definitely < don’t > stop frequenting those farmers’ markets. Diversifying the kinds of fall vegetables and fruits we eat will let us net a wider variety of nutrients to help maintain health throughout cold and flu season. If you love carrots and apples for their comfort-food appeal, you’ll want to branch out and also grab hold of celery root, pears, chard, and other underappreciated seasonal goodies. With that in mind, here are the immune-supporting recipes to include in your rotation to help keep you on track for a healthy and delicious autumn.