I used to joke that I was a “carni-carbivore” because I pretty much ate meat, carbs, more carbs (because yum), and then a little more meat. You know that old “meat and potatoes” idea: that was me. It was how I cooked, it was how I ordered at restaurants, it was how I ate.
But then I married this guy who ate vegetables. What?! I love to cook, so I became the family chef, and his desire to see green on the table pushed me to try new things. I didn’t always like them, but I realized it was probably time to stop eating like a toddler and take my health a little more seriously.
Then came the realization that the meat industry is NOT so good for our planet. (Neither is conventional farming of plants, but that’s another story for another day.) The meat we cook is the end product of a process that contributes to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, pesticide usage, and the use of incredible amounts of water and energy. There’s a much bigger footprint left when you eat meat than plants. (Want more info or to understand what I’m talking about? Click HERE.)
So, this meat-eating gal had to look in the mirror and decide if it was really worth it. “YES!” shouted my taste buds. But I knew there had to be a better way.
Now all I eat is bland, green food.
Just kidding! That’s not how the story goes! The great news is that I found some amazing foods that taste great, are healthier for the earth, and BONUS: are healthier for me, too. We still eat some meat, but we aim for at least a few meatless meals each week.
Here’s the GREAT news: I’m not big on things that take a million fancy ingredients, hard-to-master techniques, or expensive tools. I went out looking for easy changes I could make to recipes I already use, or meals that were simple and delicious.
This week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and simple changes, but to start us off, I’ll share one of my FAVORITE tips for eating more veggies, in case there are some of you out there who still fall into the carni-carbivore category. (Please tell me I’m not the only adult here who would like to eat like my two-year-old and fill my plate with chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese!)
Roast your veggies.
Seriously, if there’s any tip that has changed my eating, this is it. My mom is a great cook. She makes delicious meals and I’m grateful for all I learned in her kitchen. BUT, she steams all her veggies until they are soft. And I HATE them that way. Yuck. (Sorry Mom!) She loves them like that, so more power to her! But I had to find a way that made veggies work for me, and this is it.
Roasted Veggies Recipe
Chop up your veggies–ANY veggies you like. (I chop mine pretty small because that’s how I like it and the chopping process is fun/soothing for me, but you could do a rough chop because it’s faster.) I regularly toss in onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, broccoli, and whatever else I have lying around. I’ve tossed in green beans, corn, and peas occasionally as well, but I don’t chop them since they are a good size already.
Preheat your oven to 425 or 450 F. While it’s heating, toss everything with some olive oil, salt, and whatever other spices you like. Rosemary, thyme, and oregano are my favorites so that’s what I often use. I also love spice blends like “herbs and garlic” because they are yummy and it saves time and mental energy. Unfortunately, I measure nothing, so my advice is just sprinkle some on and mix it up. I know, very helpful. You’re welcome.
Spread it all on a parchment lined baking sheet, a seasoned baking stone, or an oil-sprayed baking dish. It’s best if you can get the veggies in a single layer, so use more than one pan if you need. Once your oven is pre-heated, put the veggies in and let them roast until they start to brown and smell amazing. (Usually around 45 minutes.)
Take them out and serve them up. I usually don’t even have a side dish for this (maybe some fruit?) because it’s delicious as-is and I think it sort of combines all the side dishes into the main anyway. You can add a grain or something yummy if you want, but otherwise, just enjoy!
Let me know if you’ve started eating any meatless meals or if you try this recipe. And come back on Tuesday for another tip!