Summer, glorious summer! Warm days, summer holidays, family vacations, and plentiful, fresh, and local produce.
We all know the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. The USDA recommends between 5 and 9 servings a day, but for maximum benefit we should shoot for 10 servings.
You may be asking yourself how is it possible to eat that many fruits and vegetables in ONE day? The only way we’ve figured it out is with careful planning! For example, incorporate fruits and vegetables into recipes you already enjoy. Puréed carrots or butternut squash can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles without greatly affecting the taste.
When making pasta dishes, include spinach, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms. In fact, we have found that you can throw a couple of handfuls of spinach into almost anything.
Another trick is to chop greens fine in a food processor to make them appear like herbs. Kids won’t even notice.
Smoothies are another fun way to add greens to your diet, pain-free! Place equal amounts of spinach and fruits to your high-speed blender along with some plant milk and a couple of dates. Process until smooth. Add a frozen banana for a cool, creamy drink. You really can’t taste the spinach, yet it adds so much nutrition to a simple fruit smoothie.
One of the easiest and tastiest ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables is to eat more salads—small salads before breakfast and dinner and a large salad with protein for your meal at lunch. Keep dressings low in sodium and fat so as to not sabotage your healthy choices. Watch the nuts and seeds, too. A small amount adds healthy fats and even some protein. Take a salad adventure and combine fruits and greens in the same salad for a touch of sweet and tang.
Another fun way to establish your own salad routine is by developing your own recipes. For example, when you order a tasty salad from a restaurant, jot down the ingredients and try to reconstruct the recipe when you get home. Add fresh herbs and spices, seasonal vegetables and greens. Soon you will have developed your own signature salad that your family and guests will love! In the meantime, enjoy some of our favorite salad recipes.
This Dairy-free Feta and Watermelon Mint summer salad is crisp, cool and juicy—the perfect combination for a warm summer’s day.
Summer will soon be over and we will be moving into the fall season with different produce available. However, just because the weather cools, it doesn’t mean we need to stop eating salads. One favorite that’s vibrant and easy-to-prepare, is our Spinach Salad with Oranges and Beets.
This distinctive salad combines greens, beets, onions, and toasted walnuts. Dressed with our Maple Mustard Salad Dressing and topped with fresh, sliced oranges, it’s truly an inspired combination of flavors and textures.
Another recipe perfect for autumn is our Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cherries and Toasted Walnuts. Crunchy sweet-and-tart with every bite, if you’re looking for a perfect salad for the holidays, this is it!
When winter arrives, we want heartier meals. That is the time to think about grain-based salads. Fill them with vegetables, grains, and legumes for a complete meal. Add a simple soup to warm you and some crackers or bread.
This adaptation of the perennial favorite Middle Eastern salad uses quinoa instead of cracked wheat which both increases the protein content and makes it naturally gluten-free. To serve as a meal, add chickpeas and a feta cheese (plant-based or dairy).
It teams beautifully with pita bread and hummus. If you need a good recipe, try ours!
Although we often think of pasta salads in connection with the summer, they are also hearty enough for winter nights. Try this Burmese Noodle Salad, brought to you courtesy of “Alice and Friends” vegan restaurant in Chicago. Add sautéed tempeh or tofu to upgrade the dish to a hearty meal. Serve with miso soup to warm you on a cool, wintery evening.
One salad delicious any time of year is our Caesar Salad. You won’t miss the original once you taste our vegan version. It’s tangy and lip-smacking delicious. Top the salad with our Caesar Salad Dressing and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas in place of croutons. Sliced vegan chicken makes it a meal.
It’s easy to add extra good-for-you fruits and vegetables to your menus all times of the year! Check our recipes often. We are constantly adding tasty, healthy vegan and plant-based recipes. Tag us on social media, and share your journey with us!
–by M.P. for the Veggie Fest Team