Three Fresh Vegetable Recipes to Enjoy This Summer

Summer is here and it is a great time to enjoy some fresh vegetables. Vegetables are low in calories and fat. Moreover, they are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. They are great to help you attain your weight-loss goals and just keep you in better health.

The goal is to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but really, the more veggies the better. Remember one serving size is ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw.

Here are three of my favorite flavorful, versatile and easy-to-make vegetarian recipes. Try them as a side dish, main entrée or even a snack.

Colorful Chopped Salad with Garbanzo Beans

I love chopped salads because they are no fuss and easy to eat. Think of this one as a guide, because you can add any of your favorite vegetables to it. And remember not all salads need to have a leafy green. The best part of this recipe to me is the garbanzo beans, also known as chick peas. They are a legume that offers protein and a nice texture to this salad.

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

I love this recipe and it has helped my husband accept eggplant (it’s growing on him). It is so easy and again, you can mix it up with different vegetables. I have also included summer squash, bell peppers or mushrooms into this dish in the past.

Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

I adore spaghetti squash. I love the versatility, flavor and texture that it can offer any dish. I think you will all love this healthy vegetarian recipe, too.

Now that you have three new colorful vegetable recipes to try, get cooking. Let me know what you think of these. Your body will thank you and so will your family. I’ll have more in a second installment later this week.

What are some of your favorite vegetable recipes?

Looking for more ways to fit more vegetables into your diet? Check out these veggie-filled recipes:

Photo Credit:  A Healthier Michigan

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Ingredients

1 14-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 English cucumber, diced
2-3 green onions (scallions), diced
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Colorful Chopped Salad with Garbanzo Beans

Instructions
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in feta cheese and basil. This salad is best made the day before serving or at least six hours in advance to allow the flavors to meld together. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and brushing
3 medium zucchini (1½ pounds), sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
2 long, narrow eggplants (1½ pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large shallot, minced
1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
¼ cup chopped basil
1/3 cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425°. Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Put the zucchini slices on one sheet and the eggplant on the other. Brush the slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on each sheet in a slightly overlapping layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender. If you have a grill, you can also grill the zucchini and eggplant instead of baking them.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Brush a little bit of olive oil in a large, shallow baking dish (about 10 by 15 inches). Lay half of the eggplant in the dish and spread one-fourth of the tomatoes on top. Scatter with half of the feta and basil. Layer half of the zucchini on top, followed by another one-fourth of the tomato and the remaining basil, eggplant and zucchini. Top with the remaining tomato and feta.

Mix the panko with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (leave seeds in for more heat) — this is optional
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons Mexican oregano (or regular oregano if you don’t have Mexican oregano)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup freshly torn cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 lime
1 cup grated low-fat cheddar cheese

Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375. Roast squash on a baking sheet for 50 minutes. Let cool another 30 minutes, then cut in half. Spoon out the seeds, then using a fork, scrape up the flesh, making the "spaghetti."

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper and red bell pepper. Saute 2 minutes. Add cumin, Mexican oregano, chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for another minute. Add the beans, corn and cilantro. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the lime juice and stir.

Add in half the “spaghetti” to the bean mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season accordingly.

Switch oven to broil. Stuff each squash half with the mixture and top with grated cheese. Put it back under the broiler until the cheese melts. Serve hot. Enjoy! ♦

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Read 6 Comments

  1. For the Salad, try adding some fresh Peppermint leaves too. (dried will work as well, but fresh is better). Peppermint leaves are easy to grow in the backyard or in a pot.

    1. Thanks, LaTonya. These are some of my faves and they are so versatile. You can play with them and make them your own too. Let me know how you like them.

      Thanks for reading and your comment. :O)

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