STYLE

'Greens 24/7' cookbook touts eating veggies in every meal, every day

02/06/2015 11:23 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - With trend watchers predicting that more people will be making vegetables as the mains for their meals, Jessica Nadel's new cookbook is timely.

In "Greens 24/7: More Than 100 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Recipes for Eating Leafy Greens and Other Green Vegetables at Every Meal, Every Day," she guides readers through using 43 veggies in entrees, breakfasts, small bites and even desserts.

"Everyone knows they need to eat their vegetables, but we're all so busy and we don't really have time and so it's left to an afterthought where we think, 'OK, we need a vegetable. Let's steam some broccoli and put it on our plate or put together a quick salad,' which is fine and good, but it's not exciting and I do think food should be enjoyed," Nadel said during a visit to Toronto.

It was her blog Cupcakes and Kale, in which she profiles the vegan lifestyle she shares with her husband and their two-year-old son in Sudbury, Ont., that drew publisher The Experiment to contact Nadel to write the book.

She created recipes with ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores and that are easy enough for home cooks to recreate. Many are gluten-free or can be prepared that way.

"Some of them are my go-to fixes that are part of my menu planning all of the time — smoothies, salads, entrees — and then others it was a matter of getting creative and innovative and starting to think about greens in ways that I hadn't done so yet," she said.

Less common greens — like dandelion, nori and spirulina — are showcased.

Dandelions might be considered weeds, "but they're also so full of vitamins and minerals and you can play to the bitterness," Nadel said. In the recipe Dandelion Colcannon, the greens provide a bite of bitterness in contrast to rich creamy mashed potatoes.

Spirulina, a blue-green algae that is a good source of protein, can be added to smoothies and soups.

People might be familiar with the sea vegetable nori because it's used in sushi.

"But for someone who doesn't want to have to go to the trouble of rolling sushi I have the Deconstructed Sushi Bowl in the book," she said.

Torn nori strips top brown rice with other sushi ingredients like cucumber, avocado and ginger.

For dessert, 33-year-old Nadel —who does special-order baking for weddings and showers and provides organic vegan baking for local cafes — makes chocolate-covered kale chips, zucchini cake, cheesecake with a spinach and mint swirl component, and Hungarian-inspired cabbage strudel.

Some desserts use purees. "Not that I want to hide vegetables," she declared. "I don't want to be sneaky about it, but with desserts you do end up camouflaging them a bit more."

For households with picky eaters, Nadel noted vegetables can be disguised in smoothies and sauces. Her favourite pesto, which combines kale and walnut, is delicious in pasta, over rice or on pizza as a sauce.

For those who want to go green, Nadel suggested visiting farmers markets or subscribing to a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) vegetable delivery service.

"You do end up meeting new vegetables that way that you might not have brought home otherwise."

— Follow @lois_abraham on Twitter

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