Fresh Vegetables: A Reason to Celebrate

On June 16, the whole world will celebrate Fresh Veggies Day.

If ever there was a holiday for plant-based eaters, this is IT!

There’s a lot to celebrate about fresh veggies. They’re high-fiber, low fat and cholesterol free. They give all the nutrients your body needs including vitamins, minerals and hundreds of phytonutrients. Plus, they’re colorful and tasty and provide the body with a wealth of benefits not found in other foods.

Vegetables:

  • Are naturally low in calories and fat.
  • Give us the vital nutrients we need.
  • Are packed with fiber, a crucial ingredient for healthy digestion.
  • Are the ultimate convenient, ready-to-eat snack and solution to hunger.
  • Come in virtually limitless variety.

Don’t have a garden? Don’t worry. Fresh veggies are easy to find in late spring; local grocery stores everywhere are brimming with ripe, fresh, yummy veggies. It goes without saying, you can find the very freshest and best veggies at farmer’s markets and roadside stands – or better yet- at a ‘pick-your-own’ veggie farm. If your friends have gardens, chances are they’ll have some veggies to share or barter if you ask.

You can always start a garden so you’ll be ready for next year, too. Join a community garden or set aside a small patch in your yard for your favorite veggies. Look for local seed clubs or join an internet forum to discover new and tasty vegetable varieties.

Once you’ve got your veggies in hand and all cleaned up, here are a few Fresh Veggie Day ideas to get you going on this greenest of green holidays:

  • Dipping: hummus makes the perfect veggie dip. Try different flavors or make your own hummus at home.
  • Smoothies: add some veggies to your smoothies. Kale, spinach, carrots and beets are excellent and colorful choices.
  • Soups: veggie soups are great any time of year. Add in some purple potatoes for an extra hearty and very pretty soup.
  • Chips: make (baked) veggie chips from kale, sweet potatoes, beets or turnips.
  • Snacks: raw veggies are the ultimate finger food. They’re easy to carry and they don’t leave your fingers all greasy.
  • On the grill: make up some fresh veggie kabobs or just toss them in some foil with a little lemon juice and fire up the grill.
  • Sandwiches: make up some lettuce wrap sandwiches for an all-veggie lunch.Jun 14_Chef and Recipe
  • Burgers and loaves: veggies make excellent burgers, everyone knows that. But have you ever tried cooking one into a loaf? You really should try; it’s absolutely delicious.
  • Breads: add veggies to your breads. Zuchinni, carrots and squash are excellent candidates.
  • “Pasta”: spaghetti squash is a great substitute for traditional noodles.
  • “Rice”: make up some cauliflower rice and toss it with grilled veggies.
  • Pizza: Make a veggie pizza with your own tomato sauce (cheese-free, of course!)

Whether you’re just starting your plant-based journey or you’re an old hand at it, celebrate today with fresh veggies at every meal. They taste better, look better, cook up better and are, for the most part, higher in nutrients than their canned or frozen cousins.

In honor of the holiday, here’s my very own recipe for Greek Salad.

Happy veggie eating to all!