Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne.
As I wrote in my previous post on “One of my favourite salads in Melbourne“, I’m going through a phase where I just want to eat meat and won’t touch my greens. As in literally, I have no appetite or inclination to want to eat, cook or even look at vegetables. I used to love eating vegetables and filling my body full of nutrients despite the taste, but lately my tastebuds have started to act like divas and refused to go near anything that resembles rabbit food.
To try and balance out my increasingly carnivorous habits, I thought “I need to be realistic about this”. I couldn’t go vegetarian because I knew I wasn’t setting myself up for success. So I tapped into appealing to my inner fireball of competitiveness, and set myself a challenge. The Creative Vegetable Challenge!
The Creative Vegetable Challenge
The challenge was simple and followed 4 guidelines:
- Be straight forward – I can make it mid-week.
- Be healthy – use as many vegetables as possible
- Be creative and exciting – I would order it from a cafe
- Be delicious – I don’t want to be thinking about the following adjectives when eating – plain, bland, tasteless
Over the last couple of months, setting a challenge has made the process of eating vegetables fun. The more experimenting I did, the more my creative juices started flowing. I played with new recipes and incorporated foods I never used before (like freekah). I’ve grown to love sweet potato again. I also started eating lettuce again. I buy so much more cauliflower than I used to. My veggie mojo was back!
So in the spirit of a successful experiment, I’d like to share 4 home cooked ideas that worked for me as part of my Creative Vegetable Experiment. They are healthy, straight forward to make, get me excited to eat my vegetables, and most importantly, delicious.
Idea 1 – A Naked Burrito Bowl
I got this idea from the Bridgeport Brewpub (Portland, Oregon) while travelling around America. It was as simple as:
a. Chopping up lettuce, tomato and coriander
b. Adding in grated cheese, sour cream, lime juice, chilli flakes, paprika, cumin and crispy strips of tortilla. Optional mince beef or chilli con carne can be added for more protein.
I found the key to me enjoying this recipe was to chop up the lettuce into strips, roughly around one centimetre. If you give me a whole lettuce leaf, I am reaching for the chocolate. But cut lettuce into strips and it magically makes me want to eat it! All of a sudden it becomes refreshing and tasty.
Idea 2 – A Sweet Baked Potato
I was inspired by eating a baked potato at Spud Bar in Melbourne. So I recreated it at home.
a. I roasted sweet potato and beetroot in the oven until soft
b. Starting with placing the sweet potato at the bottom of a bowl, I assembled my baked potato by piling on roasted beetroot, organic rocket, coriander, wasabi mayo and edible flowers from the garden
c. For a meat fix, I added chilli butter rib eye and my home made bacon jam.
Idea 3 – A Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Base
Basically the same as your regular pizza, except the pizza base is gluten free, and made from scratch using cauliflower!
It’s as simple as mixing shredded cauliflower, cheese, 1 egg and herbs together, then shake and bake baby! You now have a light pizza base to add all your favourite toppings
Idea 4 – A Green Smoothie
There are millions of different combinations for what constitutes a green smoothie, so it really comes down to your own personal taste. Out of the 100s of green smoothies I’ve made, my favourite combination is:
- 1 Banana, cut into 4 chunks and frozen
- Spinach – 1 big handful
- Kale – 1 handful
- 1/2 Green Apple
- 1/2 Packham Pear
- 3 Ice cubes
- 4 Mint leaves
- Approx 80-150ml coconut water – depending on how thick you like your smoothie
- Place in a blender and blitz
Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear if you have any delicious vegetable ideas or recipes I can try – just let me know in the comments!