When planning meals at home I am always looking for tasty ways to include more delicious vegetables, including legumes, as ABS data for 2014-2015 showed that only 7% of Australian Adults eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day. We know that vegetables are nutrient dense and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre, but even though we know this, as a nation we are just not eating enough of them.
On the legume front, about 44% of Australians by ABS food intake data eat legumes regularly. If eating legumes as one of your vegetable serves this would be 1/2 cup (75 grams) and if eating them as meat alternative a serve would be 1 cup (150 grams). Legumes can include green beans, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, edamame and many more. Have a go they are easy to use and give you protein, fibre, iron, zinc and much more.
Why don't we eat more? Often we don't eat enough vegetables and legumes because of how they are prepared; think soggy boiled vegetables. Food has to be tasty for us to eat and enjoy it. This recipe gives you a few ideas on how to add in extra vegetables and legumes and make you want more! Hopefully it will be the end of family not wanting to eat their veggies! Let me know how you go in the comments below!
The key is taste!
-extra virgin olive oil
-add to curries, stews and soups
Have a go at the below and be creative with your own culinary flare!
Mince Base sauce
1kg lean mince-beef, pork, kangaroo or chicken
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 x 410g cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef or vegetable liquid stock
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 carrots finely grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh continental parsley
2-3 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft and lightly golden.
Add the mince and cook until lightly browned
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the grated carrot, stirring for 1 minute.
Add in the tomato, tomato paste and stock and bring to the boil.
Add in the fresh herbs.
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. If you have more time a slowly cooked sauce will develop a richer delicious flavour.
1. Add in extra vegetables such as silver beet, mushrooms, zucchini,capsicum, finely chopped celery or brown lentils.
2. Spaghetti-you could add in fresh sliced mushrooms and olives to the sauce if desired. Cook pasta and drain. Serve with the sauce and a green salad or steamed green vegetables.
3. Lasagne-Add in 1 x 250 gram packet of frozen spinach or fresh spinach into the sauce mix. You could add grilled eggplant in between the layers too. A can of brown lentils would work well in the meat sauce too, boosting the fibre content. Use the meat sauce to layer in between lasagne sheets. Make a mix of ricotta cheese and some milk instead and use instead of a traditional bechamel sauce and top with grated tasty cheese.
4. Chilli con carne style- add in a can of drained kidney beans, paprika and chilli to taste. You could also add in sweet corn kernals, and green peas.
5. Savoury Mince- add in Worstershire sauce and 1 ½ cups of frozen mixed vegetables to the meat sauce and possibly a grated zucchini too and simmer. Serve with steamed brown rice.
Make a batch of the basic meat sauce and freeze it in containers so you can add to it depending on what you feel like that evening!
Half the battle of making nourishing food choices, is having the food ready to go.Hopefully this idea helps make the healthy choices the easy choices for you and your family!
Healthy snacks can be hard to find. These fruit and nut protein, snack balls will hit the spot! Packed with wholefoods of nuts, dried fruit, coconut and honey they are an easy snack to make at home. With a cup of tea, pre or post a workout or at anytime of day you will enjoy these balls of goodness.
My quick and easy chili con carne recipe with extra veg can transform into a savoury mince, base for a lasagna or topping for jacket potatoes or pasta. Add and subtract herbs and spices to meet your taste buds desire! I have added in extra vegetables and kidney beans to boost the plant food ingredients whilst keeping the meat base for those who enjoy it. We could all do with some extra vegetables and legumes in our diet so give this healthy recipe a go. It will be a family favourite.