Veggie-Based Dinners

I’m what you might call a “volume eater”. I eat a LOT throughout the day. It doesn’t matter how much I ate in one sitting or how unhealthy it was, I am guaranteed to be hungry (read: HANGRY) 2-3 hours later (is that just me? anyone? anyone?). Because of this, I like to make vegetable-based meals: big in volume, small in calories. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up traditional meals.

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  1. Spaghetti squash: The texture is similar to that of angel hair pasta, and with its light flavor it works well to replace pasta in most meals. I regularly make it instead of pasta in spaghetti, pad thai, and sesame chicken. It’s simple to make (the hardest part is cutting it). Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and slicing the squash half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds then flip the squash cut-side down into a pan. Cover the bottom of the pan in water and cook for 30-40 minutes. Scoop the cooked squash out with a fork and enjoy the pasta-like texture!
  2. Zucchini noodles: These are slightly less pasta-like and do have a bit of flavor, but are still great (especially just to mix things up). I use them in the same recipes as above, or sauté them in a light coating of olive oil with garlic/parmesan/cayenne. Zoodles can be made a few easy ways. The easiest is to use a peeler and shave the zucchini down into thin, flat noodles. I use a veggetti which is also simple and cheap (I got mine at Wegmans). Once you’ve cut the zucchini into a pasta-like shape, lightly sauté it in the oil/sauce of your choice. It only takes about 5 minutes!
  3. Cauliflower rice: The difference between rice and cauliflower rice is hardly noticeable. It’s easy to make, too. The biggest downfalls are the cost compared to rice and how messy it can easily get. I use it for stir fry and burrito/fajita bowls. To make, cut cauliflower into small pieces and place them in a blender. Pulse until they get to be a rice-like size, then sauté in coconut or olive oil.

Honorable mention goes to crack cauliflower and loaded sweet potatoes. How do you make healthier meals? What veggies do you love to cook with?

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