Sometimes, you just have to sneak the veggies in under the radar. We’ve been celebrating Eat Your Vegetables Month and this week we’re resorting to trickery.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Maybe you or your loved ones are not veggie-averse, you just can’t face a pile of veggies on the plate. Hide them in plain sight with a puree. This works really well with a dish that already has a vegetable sauce like a tomato sauce. Simply adding some pureed vegetables boosts the nutrition with no one the wiser. I find a lasagna recipe works really well for this.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Flex·Able option: 1 pound very lean ground meat, cooked
2 pounds eggplant, cut into chunks
3 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
1 head of garlic
1 (28 ounce) can chunky tomato sauce
1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 egg whites
salt and freshly ground pepper
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles (no need to cook)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400º
Scatter eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onion on cookie sheets; spray with olive oil and lightly season with salt & pepper. Cut off the top of the garlic bulb, lightly spray with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Roast the vegetables until tender and browned, about 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Roast garlic until softened, about 45 minutes. Let vegetables cool slightly.
Pour both tomato sauces into a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves in as well, plus the roasted vegetables. Process for about 15 – 20 seconds, until smoother, but still with some definition.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, basil, egg whites and ground pepper.
Spread a thin layer of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a 13” x 9” baking dish, top with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with half of the cheese mixture, half the cooked meat (if using) then about 1 cup of the vegetable mixture. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Top with remaining cheese mixture, remaining cooked meat, then about 1 cup vegetable mixture, then remaining 3 noodles. Top with remaining vegetable mixture and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and bake until bubbly and a knife inserted indicates that the noodles are tender, about 1 hour. Remove foil and brown cheese under broiler for 30 – 60 seconds.
Sometimes, you just have to get more veggies into you or a loved one. I understand those who say they’re not a fan of just hiding vegetables in their kids’ food because it doesn’t teach them to love vegetables. Why not employ both techniques? Keep them healthy and promote eating vegetables at the same time.
- Add finely grated carrots, zucchini or chopped cooked mushrooms to meatloaf.
- Add baby spinach to a blueberry fruit smoothie – the blueberry color will mask the green spinach.
- Check out The Sneaky Chef for more ideas.