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Unconventional vegetables

Q. What are some more modern takes on traditional veggie preparations? — Lulu, Oshkosh

A.  Since the dawn of time (I presume), folks have been trying to come up with new and inventive ways to incorporate vegetables in their diets. While many people probably still consider vegetables a colorful adornment to the featured item of the meal, most people need to add substantially more vegetable consumption to their diets. Some of the more trendy preparations (modern, if you will) include the following:

Sautés: Many vegetables lend themselves extremely well to this colorful preparation, which when done properly, should add very little fat to the cooking process. Almost any vegetable can be sautéed as long as they are cut to a size appropriate to their cooking time (the firmer the vegetable, the longer it will take to cook, like carrot versus zucchini).  Sautés can be enhanced at the conclusion of the cooking process with a little flavored oil or balsamic vinegar, fresh cut herbs, fresh squeezed citrus or a little grated hard cheese.

Roasted Medleys: Especially suited for root vegetables, prepare them by cleaning and cutting them to the desired size, rubbing or spraying them with a little oil and roasting them in a relatively hot oven. Challenge yourself to roast different veggies together including carrots, turnips, parsnips, squashes, peppers, onions and potatoes. Variety will provide optimum color, flavor and texture variations.

Purees: While some readers may consider this “baby food,” there is something special about the flavor that can be established with purees of parsnips, carrots, peas, butternut squash, cauliflower and all sorts of potatoes.

Incorporations: Dishes like pastas and rices are perfect for the incorporation of vegetables. You can choose to prepare the vegetables in large distinguishable pieces  or diced small or minced to be less distinguishable.

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