5 Ways to Turn Precut Veggies into Amazing Meals
Although this lightened-up riff on a classic Italian recipe calls for broccoli rabe, you can easily substitute regular broccoli or even cauliflower. Either way, having the vegetables already broken into florets is a big help; when cooked, they soften and their flavor mellows slightly, adding texture and dimension to robust-tasting whole wheat penne and Italian-style chicken or turkey sausage.
Get the recipe: Whole Wheat Penne with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
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Fries for dinner never tasted so good—or were so surprisingly healthy. This recipe has you dip French fry-size carrot sticks into rice flour, bake them for a few minutes, then coat them in a mixture of oil, garam masala and salt, before baking once more. They're crunchy, spicy and totally addictive—and a fantastic meal along with some pan-fried tofu. (To make the tofu, slice a firm block that you've patted dry into domino-size pieces and cook in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning until all sides are browned and the tofu feels springy when you touch it. Spoon store-bought chutney or plain yogurt on top.)
Get the recipe: Carrot Fries
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We love kale, but don't love how much prep work it involves (you have to remove the ribs, since they're so thick and fibrous). If you can find chopped kale, this creamy soup will take you approximately 20 minutes to make. It's unexpected, too, since most cream-of soups call for mushroom or broccoli. Big rings of red onion sweetened with a spoonful of brown sugar brighten the flavor.
Get the recipe: Cream of Kale Soup
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The best tacos have a balance of smooth and crispy. That first element often comes from sour cream, avocado and a tender protein, such as chicken or shrimp. For the second element, thinly sliced cabbage is a winner; it's perfectly crunchy and you barely have to do a thing to it. In this recipe, you just toss it with grilled (or cooked-on-a-grill-pan) pineapple, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, chilies and cumin. Add shrimp and tortillas and you've got a taco dinner that hits every note.
Get the recipe: Shrimp Tacos
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If you've never been a big fan of Brussels sprouts, it's probably because you've never had them thinly sliced. Eating them this way is a completely different experience, since the slaw-like slices get more completely covered in whatever you're flavoring them with. In this recipe by Elaine Gordon, creator of the healthy recipe site EatingbyElaine.com, it's red onion or shallot, olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken broth, garlic and a surprise ingredient: honey or agave nectar. Serve them alongside some quinoa and grilled chicken and a ho-hum meal will be completely transformed.
Get the recipe: Shaved Brussels Sprouts