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.
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!)
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).
For a healthy breakfast recipe that's easy to make and easy to love, try my Starbucks copycat Egg Muffins. Bake a batch of this muffin tin recipe to enjoy now or freeze for a meal prep breakfast or snack.
In less than 20 minutes, this spring Asparagus Frittata recipe can be ready to slice and serve. This easy frittata recipe is destined to steal the spotlight at your next brunch party, and also makes a delightful family dinner idea.
My 30-minute homemade Shakshouka recipe is the ultimate one-skillet breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The vegetarian meal is incredible on its own, and only gets better when you scoop it up inside warm, fluffy pita bread.
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
Quick and easy Crispy Kale Chips are the tastiest way to eat more greens! You need just two ingredients and 20 minutes to make these healthy vegetable chips.
Homemade potato chips are fun to make and taste better than those store bought varieties. Part of their charm lies in their thick texture, which gives them more of a bite. For a healthier version, make these potato chips in the oven or air fryer. Because let’s face it, you can never eat just one potato chip!
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
Keep this Quick Tomato Sauce in your back pocket for lazy days and last-minute dinners. The recipe is simple to prepare and tastes great after a short simmer time (just 15 minutes).
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.
Pineapple Spinach Smoothie
Boost your GREENS intake the easy way! Fresh spinach, avocado, and sweet pineapple make for a super simple, totally delicious Pineapple Spinach Smoothie.
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!).
Italian Minestrone Soup is hearty and comforting, packed full of greens, chickpeas, and vegetables in a delicious and bright tomato broth. You can customize this recipe to use up pantry staples and clean out your crisper drawer, too.
The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and will keep you coming back for bowl after bowl. This healthy soup recipe is the ultimate cozy winter dinner idea.
This homemade White Bean and Kale Soup recipe is affordable, easy, and the epitome of comfort food no matter what season you serve it. My simple soup recipe proves that you can coax loads of flavor out of 5 ingredients in just 30 minutes.
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.
Grilled ribbons of zucchini stand in for lasagna noodles in this Italian comfort food entree. With layers of ricotta and marinara-coated ground beef, you won't even realize this is a low-carb casserole.
Even though you can buy it, the best quality, most economical cauliflower rice is the kind you make yourself. I'll show you 2 easy methods for how to make cauliflower rice, with a grater and with a food processor.
“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
This Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole is a great mix of convenience and from-scratch cooking and won't take up any oven space.
When a dinner like Vegetable Lasagna hits the table, no one will miss the meat—not even diehard meat lovers. Filled with spinach, mushrooms, ricotta, and an easy homemade tomato sauce, this labor of love recipe is worth every minute.
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
These classic Stuffed Bell Peppers are filled with beef, rice, and tomatoes, and they taste better than you remember. Assemble them a day or two ahead for a quick 30-minute meal during the week.
Homemade Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are an ultra-cozy Dutch oven dinner idea. Learn how to make beef- and rice-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls on the stovetop, plus how to make baked Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and slow cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls all using the same simple formula.
Transform one of the most prolific summer vegetables into a healthy dinner recipe: Stuffed Zucchini. Filled with ground beef, rice, and plenty of cheese, this zucchini recipe makes it fun to eat your veggies.
Taco Stuffed Tomatoes make a perfect, unfussy end-of-summer meal, when the nights are still hot and good tomatoes are plentiful. This easy low-carb recipe comes together in under half an hour, all in one skillet, using ground beef, zesty taco seasoning, and then loaded up with your favorite toppings and salsas.
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.
Craving a taste of the Mediterranean, Middle East, or North Africa? Discover how to make the ultimate Mezze Platter, a global cousin to a charcuterie board or antipasto platter, for a taste of the region right in the comfort of your own home.
Beloved by kids and adults alike, this easy Veggie Pizza makes eating vegetables fun. Prep the entire healthy pizza recipe in just 15 minutes. You might want a double batch, though; it's just that delicious.
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.
Inspired by the classic steakhouses, this Iceberg Wedge Salad is smothered in creamy blue cheese dressing and topped with bacon, tomatoes, and more blue cheese crumbles. It's fresh, crunchy, and totally delicious.
You're one bite away from craving this delicious, colorful Kale Salad. With a fresh strawberry vinaigrette and a plethora of complimentary toppings, it's an ode to the spectacular cuisine of California.
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.
When it's made right, Carrot Cake is one of the best desserts in the world. This easy, two-bowl recipe relies on toasted pecans and the perfect amount of spice in an amazingly moist cake that's even more magnificent the next day. And for a festive finishing touch, the whole thing is topped with bouncy candied carrot curls.
The best spring dessert recipe, if you ask me, this lattice-topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is exploding with sweet-tart flavor. Learn how to make Strawberry Rhubarb Pie filling, plus I'll coach you through how to make lattice crust that's worthy of a cookbook cover.
This moist muffin recipe is packed with carrots, apples, pineapple, raisins, coconut, and walnuts. Full of tropical flavor and a breeze to make, this easy muffin recipe might just inspire you to look forward to mornings!
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.