Recipes to Try in Honor of Fruits and Veggies Month!

Share this Article

MyPlate.gov half plate fruits and vegetables
Photo source: MyPlate.gov
Just because September, also National Fruits and Veggies Month, is winding down doesn’t mean that eating fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet becomes less important! September is also National Cholesterol Education Awareness Month and National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. A well-balanced diet, one that includes half a plate of fruits or vegetables at mealtime, helps with keeping cholesterol and weight levels low. Part of building a healthy habit to eat more fruits and vegetables is not confining oneself to a literal half plate, and to trying new things! These selected recipes, curated by Stefanie Arblaster, RDN, an outpatient clinical dietitian at Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center, offer ways to incorporate vegetables into foods you likely already cook and enjoy on a regular basis!

Selected Recipes

Cauliflower puree
Photo source: iStockPhoto.com

Cauliflower puree takes a bit of prep time but is an easy way to enhance your meals with this hearty and vitamin-rich cruciferous vegetable!

  • Wash, chop, and steam the cauliflower until soft, then puree it in a blender or food processor.
  • Stir into a cheese sauce, add to mashed potatoes, or add it into a soup to make it thicker.
Zucchini Spirals
Photo source: iStockPhoto.com

Either buy frozen or prepared zucchini spirals at the store, or make them yourself with a vegetable spiralizer.

  • Then cook your regular pasta how you normally would- with alfredo, marinara, pesto, etc.
  • Make ½ the serving the zucchini noodles and the other ½ regular pasta for added nutrients.
  • You can also try the chickpea pasta that has 8g fiber and 14g plant-based protein!
Veggie meatballs with zucchini spirals
Photo source: iStockPhoto.com
  • Very finely chop veggies of your choice — mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini  — and sauté them in one tablespoon of olive oil so they become soft.
  • Next, mix these vegetables with lean ground meat.
  • Add an egg and any seasonings you would like (parmesan, Italian seasoning, red chili flakes, etc.)
  • Shape them into meatballs and cook them as you normally would. You could even mix these in with your zucchini spirals/pasta meal!

Variation: You could use this same technique with other foods like meatloaf or homemade chicken nuggets.
Banana and spinach smoothie
Photo source: iStockPhoto.com

This smoothie recipe sneaks in at least 1 serving of vegetables and tastes like a peanut butter and banana smoothie!

Add the following ingredients into a blender:

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1-2 cups of spinach

Combine with your milk of choice: almond, soy, 1 or 2%, whichever you’d like to use!

Variation: You could also add a couple tablespoons of Hershey’s cocoa powder to make a peanut butter chocolate smoothie!

Zucchini (and carrot) muffins
Photo source: iStockPhoto.com
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of melted & cooled butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini
  • ½ cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)

How to make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir together until just barely combined.
  5. Add the zucchini, carrot, and raisins/chocolate chips (optional) and stir gently until just distributed.
  6. Fill each cup in the mini muffin pan approximately ¾ of the way full.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center all clear.
  8. Let cool and store in an airtight container at room temp. for several days.

These muffins keep for up to a week in the fridge or several months in the freezer!

Continue your journey