Boosting your vegetable intake

By: Nicole Wilson

Following on from a previous column about the wonders of colourful vegetables. It’s not just about getting more “coloured” vegetables into your belly, it’s about getting as many as possible generally.
For a long time we have been told that we need to be eating at least 5-plus servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Earlier this year, research came out saying that we should really be aiming for up to 10 portions per day. That is a lot to get through! Basically, you need to include fruit and/or vegetables at every meal or snack throughout the day to make it happen.
One good way to get some extra vegetables in, especially if you have fussy eaters, is to hide them. Grating carrot and courgette into a bolognese sauce is a great way to do just that. And not only does it add a boost of vegetables, it is also a great way to make the meat stretch to feed more people.
Another way is to include one or more vegetarian meals to your weekly repertoire. Friday Night Nachos are a weekly regular in our house. It’s basically our Friday night takeaway – a one pot wonder!


Friday Night Nachos

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2-3 mushrooms, finely chopped
3-4 cups of leafy greens, finely chopped (see variations)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon stock powder (vegetarian, beef or chicken)
Pepper
1 x 400g tin chilli beans
2 tablespoons finely chopped capsicum
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Chilli (optional)
Corn chips
Sour cream and grated cheese (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and celery. Cook until the onion begins to soften. Add carrot, mushrooms, leafy greens, tomatoes, soy sauce, stock and a grind of pepper. Simmer until the liquid has almost all cooked and reduced away. Turn the heat to low, add the chilli beans. Heat through and then remove from the heat and add the capsicum and parsley, season with more pepper and chilli if needed. Serve with corn chips, sour cream and grated cheese.

Variations

• Add mince.
• Turn into a potato-top or polenta-topped pie; or use in tortillas for tacos or burritos.
• Use whatever leafy green vegetables you have on hand – silverbeet (including the stalk), kale, spinach, cabbage, bok choy or rocket. Also try grating in courgette or the stalk from broccoli.

by Nicole Wilson
nicole@nutritionkitchen.co.nz

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