By Brandon McDearis
You don’t have to be a nutrition professional to be aware that most people in the Western world do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day. The benefits of vegetable consumption are huge, whether you are trying to lose weight or trying to prevent cancer. Avoiding or limiting vegetables in the diet is simply not an option for people who want to live long, healthy lives. Increasing your veggie intake will not only benefit parts of your body on the inside, such as the heart and digestive tract, but it can also result in a brighter, more vitalized appearance as well.
This month’s recipe is very simple, but it can be utilized in a number of ways. Feel free to get creative, add or omit whatever vegetables you wish, and include the medley as a component in whatever dish you feel appropriate for a couple of days after preparation. I like to make a batch of this medley to go with a main course like chicken or fish. Then, I will use the leftovers for various things throughout the week, such as rolling inside veggie wraps, mixing into soups or salads, chopping up into quinoa or rice, tossing with stir-fries or pastas, or blending into omelets. While the leftover options are limitless, there is no doubt that this recipe is a flavorful and interesting way to sneak a heap of nutrients into a variety of meals throughout the week. It serves 8.
- 1 zucchini, seeds removed and sliced
- 1 yellow squash, seeds removed and sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cups of Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 small- to medium-size butternut squash, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Simply mix the first 5 vegetables together with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, all or most of the garlic, half the thyme and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread out on a sheet pan that has either been greased with more olive oil or sprayed with pan spray. Repeat the same step with the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash and lay out on a separate pan. (Note: I find that the Brussels sprouts and the butternut squash cook a little more evenly when they are cooked separately from the rest of the vegetables.)
- Cook in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 15-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender, but beginning to brown. Ovens often vary in how quickly and evenly they cook, so it is best to check on the vegetables after 5 or 10 minutes, rotate the trays and mix the veggies with a spatula or tongs. The Brussels sprouts and butternut squash will likely take a bit longer to cook all the way through than the first pan of vegetables.
- Mix the two pans of vegetables together and serve.
Calories: 140 / Fat: 4.5g / Saturated Fat: 0g / Carbohydrates: 24g / Fiber: 4g / Protein: 5g
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Brandon McDearis is a personal chef working in the Charlotte area. He owns and operates Your Way Cuisine, http://www.yourwaycuisine.com. In addition to his culinary training, Brandon holds a bachelor of science degree in foods and nutrition, with a concentration in dietetics. He primarily focuses on healthy cooking and addressing specific dietary needs of everyone from professional and amateur athletes, to busy families and elderly people. Brandon is also one of the board of directors for Wellspring International Outreach (wellspring-outreach.org) and works with a group of others to raise money for the abandoned children of Peru.