Hidden Healthy
Delicious ways to sneak more veggies into your diet

If your idea of a vegetable is mac ‘n’ cheese, maybe you should resolve to eat better this year.

According to the new USDA dietary guidelines, we need to consume even more fruits and veggies than we thought! But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to a can of limp green beans or an apple a day to fill your quota.

There are dishes so sophisticated, you wouldn’t even guess they’re good for you.

The following recent recipes offer tasty, beautiful ways to eat your way to better health:
Baked Potatoes Filled With Salad
Avocado and Black Bean Salad Web Extra!
Spiced Baby Turnips
Roasted Winter Vegetables With Fresh Dates Web Extra!
Lebanese Stuffed Peppers in Olive Oil
Zucchini With Tomatoes and Feta Web Extra!
Curried Cauliflower With Chickpeas and Green Peas
Spinach Lasagna With Red Pepper Sauce Web Extra!
Multi-Bean Chili
Fettuccini & Bell Web Extra!

“Tossed: 200 Fast, Fresh and Fabulous Salads”
By Jane Lawson, Published by Thunder Bay Press

Baked Potatoes Filled With Salad

4 large baking potatoes (about 12 ounces each)
4 slices prosciutto
1 (11-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cups baby spinach leaves

2-1/2 tablespoons tomato juice
1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly scrub the skins of the potatoes and prick them several times with a fork.

Transfer the potatoes to a roasting pan and bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. (If you’re in a hurry, you could microwave the potatoes on high, uncovered, about 20 minutes, putting one potato in the center of the microwave and spreading the others out around it.

Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Put a frying pan over high heat. Add the prosciutto and dry-fry for a few minutes on both sides, or until nice and crispy. Break the prosciutto into small pieces and set aside.

Set the potatoes on a chopping board and make two deep incisions, crosswise, over the top so that they open into quarters. (Be careful to not cut all the way through; the potatoes should still be attached at the base.)

Put the corn, celery and spinach in a large bowl. Add 2/3 of the dressing, and toss well.

Put the potatoes on four serving plates and spoon a little dressing into each potato. Spoon the salad mixture into each potato, letting it spill over the top a little. Top with prosciutto and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Avocado and Black Bean Salad

1-1/4 cups dried black beans
1 red onion, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (13-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 avocados, chopped
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 bunch arugula, leaves trimmed

Lime and chili dressing

1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small, red chili, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Rinse well, drain and place in a large, heavy-based pot. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 1-1/2 hours, or until tender.

Drain well and allow to cool slightly.

Put the beans in a large bowl with the onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, cilantro, avocados, mango and arugula. Gently toss to combine.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over the salad, toss gently, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.


“Cooking Vegetables”
By Joanne Glynn, Published by Thunder Bay Press

Spiced Baby Turnips

4 small plum tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 small onions, sliced
3 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
10 baby turnips, trimmed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 handful parsley
1/2 bunch chard

Cut the core from each tomato and score a cross in the base. Place them in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave the tomatoes 30 seconds, then transfer them to cold water and peel the skin away from the cross.

Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices and gently squeeze out most of the juice and seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the onion 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in the coriander and paprika, cook 1 minute, and then add the tomato, turnips, sugar and 1/3 cup hot water. Season well. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the turnips are tender.

Meanwhile, strip the Swiss chard leaves off the stalks, discarding the stalks, to make about 3 cups of leaves. Rinse the leaves under cold water and shake off the excess.

Stir the parsley and Swiss chard into the pan, check the seasoning, and cook, covered, 4 minutes, or until the Swiss chard is wilted. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Winter Vegetables With Fresh Dates

3 potatoes, scrubbed
4 small carrots, untrimmed and scrubbed
2 small parsnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
6 sprigs oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
6 peeled shallots
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 fresh dates, pitted and quartered lengthwise
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and 4 oregano sprigs in a large roasting pan.

Add the olive oil and toss to coat. Spread out the vegetables and roast for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Turn the vegetables and add the shallots and garlic. Roast 30 more minutes.

Sprinkle with the dates and roast another 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Strip the leaves from the remaining oregano sprigs and add them to the vegetables.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt flakes, and season with a few good grinds of black pepper. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.


"Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking"
By Paola Gavin, Published by M. Evans and Co.

Lebanese Stuffed Peppers in Olive Oil

8 red, green or yellow peppers
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup cooked and drained chickpeas
1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice off the tops of the peppers and reserve. Remove the pith and seeds.

To make the stuffing, wash the rice thoroughly and drain well. Place in a mixing bowl with the chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices. Pour in the lemon juice and 1/2 cup olive oil and mix well. Season with salt and black pepper.

Stuff the peppers 3/4 full with the mixture, leaving enough room for the rice to swell during cooking. Replace the reserved caps.

Arrange the stuffed peppers side by side in a saucepan large enough to hold one layer. Pack them tightly so they remain upright during cooking.

Pour in enough hot water to come within 1-1/2 inches of the tops of the peppers. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 40 to 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the peppers are soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

Arrange on a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Zucchini With Tomatoes and Feta

1-1/2 pounds zucchini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1-1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
6 ounces feta cheese, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the zucchini's ends. Chop the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the zucchini over moderate heat until they are lightly browned on both sides. Add the garlic and oregano and cook 1 or 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.

Add the feta cheese and season with black pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes, or until the feta is melted. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


“The New American Plate Cookbook”
By the American Institute for Cancer Research, Published by University of California Press

Curried Cauliflower With Chickpeas and Green Peas

1/4 cup canned light coconut milk, divided
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 cup low-fat milk
4 cups small cauliflower florets (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen green peas
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed, for garnish

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk over medium-high heat. When the liquid starts to bubble, stir in the onion and garlic. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring, until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the curry powder and cook about 30 seconds, until the mixture becomes fragrant.

Add the remaining coconut milk and the low-fat milk, cauliflower and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat, and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender.

Add the green peas, cover and cook 4 minutes.

Mix in the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Spinach Lasagna With Red Pepper Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, one thinly sliced, one chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 tablespoon crushed dried basil
1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water, divided
3 (10-ounce) packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (15-ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
12 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles (not regular lasagna noodles)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the sliced onion and half of the garlic about 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent.

Add the peppers, basil, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then puree in a blender or food processor, in batches.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the chopped onion and remaining garlic about 4 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent.

Add the spinach and the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the spinach and onion are tender. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl.

Spoon 1/4 of the pureed sauce to cover the bottom of a 13-X-9-inch baking dish.

Arrange 3 sheets of pasta over the sauce. Cover with 1/3 of the spinach. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese.

Repeat the process twice, starting with the sauce. For the final (fourth) layer, arrange the remaining pasta over the cheeses and top with the remaining sauce and parmesan cheese.

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it stand, uncovered, 15 minutes before serving.

To serve, cut into 9 squares.

Makes 9 servings.


“The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook”
By Jim Romanoff and the editors of Eating Well, Published by The Countryman Press

Multi-Bean Chili

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can dark-red kidney beans, rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, such as navy, rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and chipotle (or cayenne) to taste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Stir in the canned and fresh tomatoes, kidney, white and black beans, water and pepper.
Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili has reduced slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Fettuccini & Bells

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium bell peppers (red, yellow and/or orange), cut into 1-1/2-inch-long julienne strips
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
12 ounces whole-wheat fettuccini
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup slivered basil leaves, divided

Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the pasta.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and onions. Cook, stirring, until tender, 8 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Stir in the olives, wine and vinegar. Cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes, or according to package directions. Reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl.

Add the vegetable mixture, parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup basil and the reserved pasta liquid. Toss well.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup basil.

Makes 6 servings.