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Spark Your Veggies: 10 Ways to Add Flavor

By Becky Hand, Meg Galvin, and Stepfanie Romine, authors of The Spark Solution.

Prepping and cooking vegetables is among the most daunting tasks for a new cook, but it doesn’t have to be. We’re sharing ten easy and delicious ways to serve up healthy, flavorful vegetables.

To get started:

• Select your veggie(s).
• Wash and peel them, if necessary.
• Chop into bite-size pieces.
• For four servings, you’ll need four cups total. Feel free to adapt the suggestions below to suit your needs.

Note: You can use frozen or canned vegetables, too. (Drain and rinse canned vegetables to remove excess salt.) Prepare according to package directions.

Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking spray (or add up to two teaspoons of oil). Place the skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the vegetables and sauté until tender yet still crisp. Stir the vegetables often as they cook. Now that you know the basic process, let’s talk sauces.

1. Add Zest: Zest an orange, lemon, or lime. (You’ll need 1 tablespoon.) Add the zest while the vegetables cook. Slice the fruit in half and squeeze the juice over the vegetables just before serving. Try with: broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower.
2. Buttered Up: Just before serving veggies, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper. Let the butter melt and stir to coat the veggies. Try with: Brussels sprouts, spinach, or green beans.
3. Yummy Hummus: Add a dollop (about 2 tablespoons) of your favorite flavored hummus to the cooked veggies. Stir to create a creamy sauce. Try with: sugar snap peas, broccoli, or cauliflower.
4. Cheese, Please: Stir about 2 tablespoons of goat cheese, light cream cheese, or your favorite soft herbed cheese into the cooked vegetables. Try with: broccoli, spinach, or mushrooms.
5. Tahini Time: In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of tahini (ground sesame seed paste) with 1 tablespoon warm water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add to the cooked veggies and stir to coat. Try with: carrots, eggplant, or peppers.
6. Asian Accents: Drizzle 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce over the cooked vegetables, then stir in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger or garlic. Try with: green beans, broccoli, or spinach.
7. Creamy Curry: In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon curry paste into 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt. Add to the vegetables, stir to coat, and serve. Try with: sweet potatoes, peas, or cabbage.
8. Herbed and Ready: Just before serving the veggies, sprinkle on 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs. Basil, oregano, parsley, or thyme are good choices. Try with: beets, cauliflower, or carrots.
9. Better with Bacon: Cook one slice of bacon in the microwave, then crumble and sprinkle over cooked vegetables. Try with: mushrooms, cabbage, or green beans.
10. Herbed Breadcrumbs: Spray a small skillet with cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Add 1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, or parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and cook until breadcrumbs are fragrant and golden brown. Sprinkle over vegetables just before serving. Try with: spinach, asparagus, or broccoli.

Like this article? It’s from The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health, the new book from the experts at SparkPeople. Order your copy today from Amazon, B&N, IndieBound and iBookstore. Learn more on the website.

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