Apart from cucumber salad, cucumbers make a fun and refreshing topping to sandwiches! Whether it’s the traditional open faced cucumber and cream cheese with dill that they serve at showers, diced cucumber with tomato, onions and feta cheese wrapped in a pita bread, or simply sliced cucumber on your average, every day sandwich, I love the added crunch and fresh flavor it adds. Cucumber is also perfect in salsas, grain or pasta salads, egg salads or simply raw as a finger food. I like eating mine with a spritz of lemon and salt.
I must admit, I didn’t use to like zucchini, However, what I’ve come to realize more and more (as about all produce), is that the problem often isn’t what it is, but how it’s cooked. Now I absolutely love zucchini because I’ve discovered ways I like to eat it. Firstly, I enjoy it raw! Who knew? 🙂 It’s great in salads or as a finger food with dip. I also like adding it to stir fry or making zucchini patties (which are amazing!). The key for me was to shred or “noodle” my zucchini when I cooked it. Chopping it into chunks always yielded the same mushy texture that just didn’t suit me. Whereas if I shredded it, suddenly it was a whole new experience! Make sure not to cook it too long or it might turn to mush. I always add it last to my stir fry or as the noodle to my “spaghetti”. It only needs to cook for about a minute or so. Try experimenting with zucchini this week to find how you like it best!
There are so many ways to use this vegetable that I don’t even know where to start. It can be chopped up and added to salad or soup, roasted in the oven, tossed in a stir fry, boiled and pureed as a stand-in for mashed potatoes or to make a creamy soup, baked into a pizza crust as a flourless alternative, or simply eaten raw. The options are endless! You don’t even have to cut it up. Try baking it whole by simply cutting off the leaves and stem so it can sit upright, baste in olive oil, salt and spices of your choice, and bake on a cookie sheet or cast iron skillet at 450°F. for about 45-60 minutes or until a knife can be inserted easily. Because of its mild flavor, cauliflower goes well in spicy dishes or curries as it soaks up all the other flavors. Healthy cauliflower recipes.
The first time I ever tasted caramelized Brussels sprouts I was hooked! Below, I show you how I like to roast them in the oven, but they also caramelize well when sautéed!
Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim off the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts (don’t take off too much or they fall apart) and outer leaves and slice lengthwise. Toss with olive oil (about a tablespoon), salt, pepper, and mix until coated thoroughly. Roast on a baking sheet until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. They can be served as is or for a little extra flavor, try drizzling balsamic vinegar or lemon juice on top. Mix together and add salt to taste.
Celery root or celeriac is prized for its distinctive flavor which is somewhere between celery and parsley. Although cooked celery root is excellent in soups, stew, and other hot dishes, it can also be enjoyed raw, especially grated and tossed in salads. Raw celery root has an intense flavor that tends to dominate salads, so pair it with other strongly flavored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and apples. Before using celery root, peel and soak briefly in water with a little vinegar or lemon juice to prevent cut surfaces from darkening.