By Maureen Cubbon
As we begin a new year, it is a good time to put some healthful habits in place. Eating more vegetables, especially those that are locally grown, is one way to do that. Shopping at your local farmers’ markets ensures you are getting the best quality and most nutrient-dense vegetables available. They also tend to be on par cost wise with import options, and sometimes even less expensive.
Some health benefits of eating your veggies include:
- Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories.
- Vegetables are a crucial source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart attacks and stroke, and may protect against certain types of cancers.
A super easy, light and nutritious recipe to help you get a kick-start is the classic Italian soup minestrone. This is a base recipe to which you can add quinoa/rice/potatoes to make it a heartier meal. You can also add other vegetables if you have them.
The soup lasts for up to five days if refrigerated, and can be made in about 30 minutes in one pot.
Visit Bon Vivant to see an array of kitchenware for enjoying veggies, including juicers, cast iron pots, non-stick skillets, blenders, processors and knives.
One Pot Minestrone
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
2 sticks of celery
1 small zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 16-ounce can of organic cannellini beans
1 cup whole wheat fusilli or any other small-sized dry pasta
1 16-ounce can of organic fire-roasted tomatoes
1 32-ounce carton of vegetable stock
1 large handful of farmers’ market greens (callaloo, kale, spinach or chard)
1 teaspoon of high-quality dry Italian spice blend
Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Roughly chop the carrots, celery and zucchini.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, zucchini and spice blend, cooking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
Add beans, pasta, tomatoes and greens, then pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
Cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to a boil, then simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.
Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper and enjoy!
Maureen Cubbon is one of the chefs at Bon Vivant and director of Bestlife, a wellness and culinary company that provides educational-based support programmes to help people attain their wellness goals.
This article originally appeared in the January 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Eat your vegetables.”