Need My Veggie Hash

I’m not sure why we don’t see more hash recipes out there. I don’t mean the corn beef and potato hash from your childhood breakfast. Or, even that hash always has to have potato in it. I’m talking about the throw the kitchen sink of vegetables into a hash and chow down.

My biggest problem with vegetables growing up was that they were always overcooked to the point of mush and bitterness. The ultimate was when Mom would put a can of asparagus in a dinner serving dish and call that vegetables. In all honesty, the only time I bought canned asparagus was to make kitten food which seems like the only thing canned asparagus is good for. You can’t get any grosser than that.

How I learned to love vegetables (not kale, don’t love, never will), is to cook them only as long as you have to. Keep them a bit crunchy. They keep their color, flavor, and fill you up better. So, my new food obsession is the veggie hash.

Veggie hash is basically any mix of chopped and/or riced vegetables with a chopped up veggie burger or other protein thrown in. Think:

  • Riced cauliflower, riced sweet potato, riced broccoli, corn, chopped tomato and chopped mushrooms  with chopped veggie burger mixed in.
  • Chopped beets, corn, black beans, celery, tomato, avocado and chopped egg (or fried egg on top).
  • Chopped grilled eggplant, chopped olives, chopped zucchini, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, toasted pine nuts and lean ground turkey. Sprinkle with parmesan if you like.

It’s kind of a warm twist on the boring salad. It can be completely vegan, vegetarian or the lighter side of carnivore. The best part is that this kitchen sink approach let’s you use up those leftovers. Got left over grilled veggies? Chop up and throw in. Got left over corn on the cob? Scrape down and throw in. That left over burger? Its hash tonight. And yes, those left over potatoes can be added in to.

Seasonings I tend to do simple salt/pepper/garlic (SPG), soy sauce, pesto, or some random sauce in the fridge. I can even throw in some fresh herbs like cilantro and mint for a little kick.

Anyway, for meals under 300 calories that fill you up, are healthy and tasty, can’t beat a veggie hash.

Top Ten Food Leaps of Faith

As a kid I was read Green Eggs and Ham a lot, being a very picky eater. It didn’t help me then. Not to be discouraged, I read the book to my ultra picky eater son. It didn’t help me then either. Even the Life cereal commercial where Mikey likes it, was more funny than educational on trying new foods.

As an adult and putting on a healthy lifestyle, picky eating is definitely not an option. I take a leap of faith almost every day if I want to both get the nutrition I need and not cause me to do into food boredom. For all of my love of and addiction to food, there is still a lot of stuff out there that I crinkle my nose at. Vegetables are high on that list.

So, here is my top 10 leaps of faith that turned into the love of a new food (from easier to hardest):

  1. Zucchini: It isn’t that I didn’t already eat zucchini, but it was always the slimy food. no matter how I cooked it (usually stir-fry or pan-fry) it mushed.  The spiralize craze is what helped me turn yuck attitude into a love attitude.  Zoodles only need a light pan fry so the zucchini keeps its crunch with zero slime. I also found a great recipe for veggie pancakes where zucchini is grated with onions and potatoes for a twist on latkes (Jewish pancakes). I’m now going through 3 big zucchinis a week.
  2. Eggplant: Here is another yuck vegetable that unless my mother-in-law had made it, I was not a fan. I had tried to do a vegetable lasagna in the past and slide the eggplant thin to use as the noodles, but I still wound up with too thick slices that were chewy and strangely textured. The trick was to get a mandolin. I purchased an $8 hand held that let’s me slice the eggplant really thin like real noodles and it gave me an amazing lasagna. The mandolin also helped with zucchini, and I shave off “noodles” to create eggplant and zucchini layers.
  3. Jicama chips: Over the years I tried veggie chips. In truth, unless the veggies are incorporated into a corn chip, I couldn’t handle it. But, I saw these 100 calorie bags of jicama chips and one was cinnamon sugar. So, I brought a bag home to try. I actually liked it. They look like potato chips but are a big chewier. But, once you get over the hurdle that these aren’t going to be crunchy in the same way as a potato chip you start to enjoy them.  I went back and got other flavors like chili lime. Turns out, hubby and daughter like them so I need to get more bags so I can still have a snack too.
  4. Spaghetti Squash: Long ago I had seen recipes where spaghetti squash was a substitute for noodles.  That seemed to be a fad, but recently I am bumping into spaghetti squash again.  I never really liked the taste of squash, but these new recipes looked really good – burrito filled squash, squash carborna, pizza squash, etc. Well, tried it again and now I have a spaghetti squash around all the time.  I keep my recipes low in fat and calories, but still use the calorie intense recipes for ideas.
  5. Portobello mushroom caps: These meaty things always brought me back to both the time I hated mushrooms to the awful vegetarian meals of the 70s restaurants of my youth. At a recent client advisory, there were caprese Portobello mushroom caps drizzled with balsamic glaze. It was eat this, or have the killer meal of meat, potatoes and pasta. I went with a salad and mushroom. Best thing I ever did. Loved it so much I made it for myself when I got home that weekend. SOOOO EASY!
  6. Ancient grains: How pretentious can you get, right? I am still convinced the name is more marketing gimmick than nutritional reality. But, when at Whole Foods, how can you not grab the craziest fad power food ever and proudly show yourself buying it at the checkout? So vanity wins out and it turns out that throwing these grains in soup with tons of veggies is delicious. And, if the hype is to be true, I get more fiber and nutrients.
  7. The fried egg: I never had a problem eating eggs per se, but the runny yoke thing always icked me out. Then one day at a restaurant I got a pulled pork sandwich with a fried egg on top.  I was converted. At issue is that the sandwich was during my truly chubby state and not something I can really eat now. However, this experience has carried over to healthy living and I’ll throw a fried egg on almost anything. It’s starting to be a running joke with my hubby.
  8. Kale sprouts: I’m always throwing on spinach to a sandwich rather than lettuce to add to the nutritional value. It might be small, but it makes me feel better. I recently stumbled upon kale sprouts at the market. I’m not a big kale fan but these sprouts seemed a better option to the big thick woody leaves. Now I take the kale sprout and sprinkle them on sandwiches, add to salad, and even atop seafood and soups for that extra nutritional kick.
  9. Paneer: I can’t stand tofu, so when I go for Indian buffet and see the paneer floating in sauce I have to walk on by. Last week I instead decided to try paneer out after looking it up online.  It’s cheese! Well, it was wonderful and I might even try to make it at home.
  10. Shirataki noodles: Remember when I said I can’t stand tofu? Well, it turns out that in noodle form I found a great pasta substitute.  Shirataki noodles are somewhat like rice noodles but a bit chewier. I don’t miss my pasta when I have these 10-15 calorie noodles. They are wanting on nutritional value, but when I load a ton of veggies and lean protein on top or throw into a soup, its perfect.