Three Easy Vegetables

The Recipes: Three easy vegetables recipes for weeknight suppers, Roasted Cauliflower, Lemon Asparagus and Honey Carrots, each one cooked with a different method.

The Conversation: What if it takes a bit of butter or sugar to encourage kids to eat their vegetables?

Three Easy Vegetables ♥ KitchenParade.com, Roasted Cauliflower, Honey Carrots & Lemon Asparagus

My mom was a young mother during the 1960s. In many ways, she was a woman before her time. Her Kitchen Parade columns are now yellow and tattered. But a frequent topic, teenage nutrition, would fit the agenda of any 2005 food magazine.

Long before food pyramids and obesity crises, Mom's meals included one, two or even three vegetables. And they were all delicious.

No wonder! Each one was topped with a hefty pat of butter!

My own vegetable style is purist: savor vegetables for their own subtle flavors without adornment or distraction from butter or sugar.

But if a bit of butter or sugar is encouragement enough for kids to try and enjoy vegetables, it’s a start, right?

With that in mind, here are a trio of kid-tested vegetables, one steamed, one roasted, one boiled.

Vegetables! Readers readers know I love 'em and in fact, I'm known as much as the "veggie evangelist" at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables, as I am for Kitchen Parade, this my food and recipe column.

The funny thing is, this column was written just a couple of weeks before I started A Veggie Venture and became completely obsessed by vegetables!

I've learned so-so-so much about vegetables, including how a vegetable is trimmed and how it's cooked affect our experiences with portion size, whether the serving feels generous or skimpy.

First, it pays to pay attention to how much of a vegetable goes to waste. Start with a pound of asparagus, about 46% of the weight is lost to the woody ends; with cauliflower, about 25% is in the heavy leaves and core; with carrots, about 21% is lost when trimming the tops and peeling the carrots. (Yes, I really have tracked this so often over the years, now, I have real insight into how much goes into the compost bowl.)

Second, steaming and boiling cooks vegetables without shrinking (in fact, adds water weight to the vegetables) but roasting, perhaps the favorite way to cook vegetables, shrinks vegetables, cooking off much of the water weight to concentrate flavors. (Want to learn more? Check out How to Roast Vegetables.)

Third, I've learned to standardize serving sizes for vegetables. For example, I recently found a recipe calling for two pounds of carrots to feed four people. Wow! Two pounds of carrots would easily serves eight, not four, well, unless the four people are rabbits or really hungry. Since 2005, my rule of thumb is that a pound of vegetables (that's 454g) serves four. Some times, especially with vegetables that shrink or with potatoes, when a pound of vegetables for four feels skimpy but nine out of ten times, it's right on, something to count on.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Hands-on time: 5 minutes + occasional stirring
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 pounds (900g), trimmed, cored and cut in small florets

Set oven to 425F/220C. Stir together all the ingredients in large bowl until the cauliflower is uniformly coated with oil. Transfer to baking sheet in a single layer, use two sheets if needed, arranging the florets cut-side down. Roast for 35 – 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes, until cauliflower is golden to dark brown but not burned.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving, assumes trimmed and cored cauliflower loses 25% of its weight, leaving 1-1/2 pounds edible cauliflower that will shrink in size during the roasting process: 101 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 50mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 4g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 3

LEMON ASPARAGUS

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 4 generous servings
  • 1 pound (454g) fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (1/2 tablespoon is likely enough)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the woody portion at the bottom of each asparagus spear and discard. (There's so much waste with asparagus! Those woody ends account for about 46% of the purchased weight.) Place in a vertical steamer over boiling water for 5 – 8 minutes. Transfer to serving dish, toss with butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

No Asparagus Steamer? No problem. Just cook the asparagus in the microwave, here's how.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving, assumes asparagus loses 46% of its weight to woody ends, leaving just 8.8 ounces of edible spears: 38 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 7mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium; 3g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 2

HONEY CARROTS

Hands-on time: 8 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 8 generous servings, easily halved
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 pounds carrots (sorry, frozen and so-called "baby" carrots don't work)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water and salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, peel the carrots. Cut off and discard the ends, then cut the carrots into bite-size pieces on the diagonal. Add the carrots to boiling water, cover and cook 15 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Drain, then stir in honey and cilantro. Cover and let rest 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving, assumes carrots lose 21% of their weight in trimming and peeling: 52 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 61mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 3g Fiber; 9g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points .5 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 3


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna