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Bored by plain produce and searching for ways to eat more vegetables? My unique vegetable recipe ideas and tricks will help you and your family learn to love veggies (or adore them even more). Prepare to infuse your menu with sweet vegetable desserts, refreshing vegetable smoothies, comforting vegetable casseroles, and so much more.
Mama always said “eat your veggies.” However, very few of us are. (Sorry, mom!) Just 9% of American adults eat the recommended 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day, according to estimates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
I’m not huge on portion size measuring and meticulously tabulating servings each day, so I try to focus on making each meal or snack about 50% plants (fruits or vegetables), 25% protein, and 25% carbs. This mindset has helped me and my family inch ever closer to our five-a-day, as have the ideas for how to eat more vegetables below. (That said, if measuring and tracking helps inspire you to eat more veggies, feel free!)
Table of Contents
- 11 Ways to Eat More Vegetables
- 1. Pair vegetables with eggs.
- 2. Turn veggies into fries or chips.
- 3. Stir together a sauce or dip.
- 4. Mix veggies into smoothies.
- 5. Make a veggie soup or stew.
- 6. Use vegetables as a substitute for pasta, potatoes, or rice.
- 7. Toss together a casserole.
- 8. Stuff ’em.
- 9. Eat veggie-centric snacks.
- 10. Aim for one salad per day.
- 11. Sneak veggies into dessert.
11 Ways to Eat More Vegetables
Ahead, I’m sharing unique and tasty ways to eat more vegetables in hopes that you, too, find more ways to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your menu by way of vibrantly-colored vegetables.
By the way, variety is key: People who eat 30 or more different plants per week have healthier microbiomes than their peers who eat 10 or fewer plants per week, according to a study of more than 10,000 individuals published in the journal mSystems. Fresh, frozen, or canned all count! Aim for a mix of items that are dark green, red, and orange, as well as beans, peas, lentils, and starchy vegetables, prioritizing seasonal produce when possible.
Note: Although tomatoes are technically a fruit, we often use them in recipes similar to veggies, so I’m including them in this guide for ways to eat more vegetables.
1. Pair vegetables with eggs.
Kick off your day a nutritious way with produce and protein! I love to make Starbucks copycat Egg Muffins and fill them with all my favorite veggies (I’m partial to mushrooms, spinach and roasted peppers). They are great to make ahead for grab-and-go breakfasts, too!
Slice up a stalk-spiked Asparagus Frittata, (we have a lovely salad on the side as a suggestion, just another way to eat your greens!). Or simmer a skillet of Shakshouka, a delicious ached eggs in spicy tomato sauce with poached eggs. You’ll have a meal that will keep you full and energized for hours (and well on your way to your vegetable quota).
Sweet Potato Hash
2. Turn veggies into fries or chips.
Sweet potato fries are a mainstay on many restaurant menus, and if you ask me, that totally counts as a serving of starchy veggies! You can also crisp up your own vegetable fries in the oven (simply toss with oil and spices, transfer to a wire rack-lined sheet pan, then bake in a 375-degree oven) or air fryer.
Chips also make for a stellar healthy-ish side dish. Try carrots, beets, turnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, or kale chips. Use a mandoline for evenly-thin slices, then bake, air-fry, or deep fry for crunchy homemade vegetable chips.
Crispy Kale Chips
Homemade Potato Chips
3. Stir together a sauce or dip.
As a tailgate menu addition, mid-morning snack, pasta topping, or otherwise, I love turning to vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, and spinach to boost the flavor, consistency, and healthfulness of a dish.
Simple to make and a cinch to assemble in advance (translation: these are weekday greatest hits in my household), these dips and sauces can make any day feel like a party.
My Quick Tomato Sauce is ready fast and is delicious on pasta and zoodles. It also doubles as a nutrient-dense pizza sauce, and it makes a tasty dipping sauce for appetizers, too. Roasted Eggplant Dip is one of the tastiest dips around, and it’s so nutritious! Packed with roasted eggplant, bell peppers, and red onions, this is a treat with pita chips, grilled meats, sandwiches.
Quick Tomato Sauce
Roasted Eggplant Dip
Cauliflower Buffalo Dip
4. Mix veggies into smoothies.
Spinach, carrots, cauliflower, kale, beets, sweet potatoes, and winter squash can all lend lovely texture (and not a lot of flavor; ideal for the pickier members of your crew!). Bonus: Homemade smoothies not only allow you to customize the main mix-ins, but also let you blend up a lower-sugar recipe using fruit as the main sweetener source.
5. Make a veggie soup or stew.
Here’s a not shocking but surprisingly simple solution for how to eat more veggies: feature them first. Research proves that kids who eat vegetable soup before a meal tend to eat more vegetables overall compared to those who dive right into the entree.
Soups, stews, and chili recipes are ideal vehicles for the extra veggies you have kicking around your crisper drawer or freezer. Before they get past their prime, simmer kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, peppers, onions, or any other of your vegetable stock into soup (or, now that we mention it, into stock!).
The Best Cabbage Soup
White Bean and Kale Soup
How to Make Vegetable Stock
6. Use vegetables as a substitute for pasta, potatoes, or rice.
In the 21st century, we’ve learned that cauliflower’s resume is as impressive as one held by a Fortune 500 business owner. Not only can it be itself, in its pure floret glory, but it can also be pizza crust, steak, rice, mashed potatoes, gnocchi, crackers, and so much more.
More recently, I’ve jumped on the trend and have begun to think outside of the pasta box. Squash and other spiralized or thinly-sliced vegetables are stellar as a noodle substitute, too.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
7. Toss together a casserole.
“When in doubt, casserole it out” might as well be the unofficial Midwestern motto. (Simply adjust to “hot dish” if you call Minnesota home, of course!) If you have extra green beans, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, mixed vegetables, or peas bopping around your crisper drawer or freezer, try them in these easy, cheesy casserole recipes.
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
Tuna Noodle Casserole
8. Stuff ’em.
A meal in a bowl is good. A meal in a bowl that you can eat is even better, if you ask me! That’s what these stuffed vegetable recipes deliver; a complete entree in an edible package. Not only will you be able to contain the ingredients (AKA mess) a bit better, but you’ll also sneakily add another serving of bell pepper, squash, cabbage, or mushrooms with the creative concepts below.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Taco Stuffed Tomatoes
9. Eat veggie-centric snacks.
The lure of a vending machine candy bar or coffee shop pastry is real; I get it! But the energy boost and extra nutrition I score from a vegetable-focused snack makes it win out nearly every time. It’s even easier to go the veg route when they taste as incredible as they do in my tested-and-perfected recipes for Mediterranean mezze, produce-packed pizza, tea party sandwiches, party-ready roll-ups, and colorful crostini.
10. Aim for one salad per day.
Add an egg and call it breakfast, pair it with your soup or sandwich for lunch, or dig in as an appetizer before dinner; there’s no wrong time to deem it a salad day. I’ve found a lot of success in my quest to discover how to eat more veggies by seeking out ways to include one salad each day in my menu. Check out my archives for more than 60 salad recipe ideas to keep things interesting as you go green.
Easy Garden Salad
11. Sneak veggies into dessert.
If you find yourself reaching the end of the day and are a serving or two short, I have a sweet solution: enjoy a vegetable-permeated dessert. Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and even beets are prime for the sweet treatment. Give them a try in cookies, cakes, pies, bar, muffins, or brownies for a final course that will lure in even the pickiest of eaters.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Morning Glory Muffins
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.