Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

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Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:16 am UTC

I've been noticing lately, as I try to eat healthier, that there are a variety of vegetables cut and prepared in such as way as to resemble less healthy foods.

The first of these I noticed was "riced cauliflower", which are tiny bits of cauliflower florets that cumulatively resemble rice. Then I came across similarly "riced" broccoli (same concept but more flavor), and carrots (ehh, that wasn't so similar to rice in the end).

Most recently I found (and am currently chewing as I type) "carrot noodles", which are long thin slices from carrots that resemble spaghetti or the like. I'm not as enamored of them as I am the riced florets but this is my first time cooking them and maybe I can prepare them better tomorrow. I hope so, because having a vegetable that eats like spaghetti would be awesome.

Does anyone else know of any other kinds of healthy vegetables disguised as tastier foods?
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:31 am UTC

In the last few years there have been several cookbooks devoted to “hiding” vegetables in foods published. For many veggies puréeing them with some butter is tasty. Roasting cauliflower and broccoli makes a huge difference in flavor. The whole spiralizer movement has made gadgets to cut vegetable noodles easy to find-like at target or your local grocery store.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Liri » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:16 am UTC

A friend is way into spiralizers. A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.
There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Thesh » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:20 am UTC

I've had sweet potato noodles before. They are good; they taste like sweet potatoes.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:00 pm UTC

Before we left New York we went to a fantastic restaurant called Dirt Candy. Their slogan is "anyone can cook a hamburger, leave the vegetables to the professionals" and they are not messing around. It's entirely vegetarian and they've used things in ways I've never thought of before. We got their cookbook as a gift but we haven't had a chance to try it out yet. One of the things I remember is their tomato tart, that used a thin, leathery, smokey piece of dried tomato as the "wall" for the tart.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Liri » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:51 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Before we left New York we went to a fantastic restaurant called Dirt Candy.

It looks disgustingly good. Might be an excuse to finally visit NYC, besides seeing several friends.
There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:12 pm UTC

It is amazing. They have a tasting menu for $85 (there's no tipping at the restaurant) where you get to try about 12 dishes plus a dessert. It was so much fun. The dessert wasn't great, but it was still decent, and an interesting experience.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:20 am UTC

The carrot noodles turned out better today. Marinated overnight with the rest of the curry (I'm trying to replicate something like a Thai ba mee), then cooked slower, made them feel more like soft noodles and less like crunchy carrots.

Liri wrote:A friend is way into spiralizers. A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.


I'm not actually upset at you about this or anything, but this kind of reminds me of some unhelpful making-perfect-the-enemy-of-good advice I've gotten over the years. I know it would be best if I would just eat whole raw vegetables, but salad just isn't the thing for me, and many people my whole life painting a black-and-white world where the only foods are, essentially, salad, meat on the bone, or all manner of heavily processed junk, has lead me to a life of eating mostly heavily processed junk. I'm only now slowly realizing that there are lots of delicious and much healthier meals that can be made from properly prepared (cut, cooked, and seasoned) vegetables.

But I still keep running into people who say things like that cooking them removes all the nutritional value, and this suggestion to not cut them up so finely (which is largely what this thread is about: vegetables cut up to resemble not-vegetables) kinda reminds me of that. Or, similarly, people who pooh-pooh the hours of walking I do every day, when I should be running or something instead; yeah, sure, but I'm not going to manage to run like that, not yet at least, so the alternative to walking is sitting on my ass, and I'm doing better than that, which is something at least. Since whole uncooked vegetables isn't something I'll manage to eat regularly, the alternative to finely-diced and thoroughly-cooked veggies would be Cheetos, so just be proud that I'm eating something other than Cheetos.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Liri » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:14 am UTC

Even riced is still "relatively large" - anything is better than pureed (and I puree things all the time). And, too, cooking increases the nutritional accessibility of a lot of veggies.
There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby natraj » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:51 pm UTC

do you like curries? you can hide basically any veggie in a curry and it gets fantastic. i will often chop up greens really fine and add them to my dal to sneak greens in for people who normally don't like them but you could do much the same with probably anything you're currying.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Zohar » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:22 pm UTC

What's wrong with pureeing?
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Thesh » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:32 pm UTC

Liri wrote:A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.


An orange is healthier than a glass of OJ only because the orange has all of the flesh and the juice is mostly sugary water. If you peeled the orange threw it in the blender then it would probably be somewhat more nutritious than a whole orange because it's "chewed" more thoroughly.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Liri » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:37 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Liri wrote:A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.


An orange is healthier than a glass of OJ only because the orange has all of the flesh and the juice is mostly sugary water. If you peeled the orange threw it in the blender then it would probably be somewhat more nutritious than a whole orange because it's "chewed" more thoroughly.

That's pretty much the issue - less of the sugar is trapped within the fibrous network, which gives a greater blood sugar spike.
There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Zohar » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:45 pm UTC

Liri wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Liri wrote:A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.


An orange is healthier than a glass of OJ only because the orange has all of the flesh and the juice is mostly sugary water. If you peeled the orange threw it in the blender then it would probably be somewhat more nutritious than a whole orange because it's "chewed" more thoroughly.

That's pretty much the issue - less of the sugar is trapped within the fibrous network, which gives a greater blood sugar spike.

Isn't this only an issue if all you eat is just that one orange? Like, if I puree food for a meal and there's starchy stuff and protein stuff etc., that effect is mostly mitigated, isn't it?
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Liri » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:53 pm UTC

Probably. There's also some potential loss in vitamin content.
There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby pkcommando » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:38 pm UTC

The chain B.GOOD started offering eggplant meatballs earlier this year. I have their app, so I got a free order and tried them out. Not half bad and having the marinara and cheese helps a bit. However, I will say that texture-wise, they were indistinguishable from meat. And the texture has always been my biggest problem when trying anything eggplant.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:07 pm UTC

natraj wrote:do you like curries? you can hide basically any veggie in a curry and it gets fantastic. i will often chop up greens really fine and add them to my dal to sneak greens in for people who normally don't like them but you could do much the same with probably anything you're currying.

Yeah, curry is pretty much what opened my eyes to these kinds of possibilities.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Ginger » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:32 am UTC

I made rice with seasonings I had never heard of once... don't remember what I used but it came from my peer support woman-lady's vegan cookbook of recipes she found for me online. Anyways is rice even a vegetable? Or seasonings? I liked it.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:46 am UTC

Rice is vegetarian (and vegan), and botanically it's plant matter so vegetable, but not "a vegetable" for culinary purposes, which usually excludes grains (like rice), legumes, seeds, nuts, (most) other fruits (those are all botanically "fruits" or parts thereof), etc. Generally culinary vegetables are plant parts high in cellulose (fiber) and low in metabolizable calories, like leaves, flowers, stalks, etc.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby sardia » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:57 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Liri wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Liri wrote:A tip nutrition-wise would be to leave the veggies in a relatively large and intact shape. Similar to eating an orange being healthier than a glass of OJ.


An orange is healthier than a glass of OJ only because the orange has all of the flesh and the juice is mostly sugary water. If you peeled the orange threw it in the blender then it would probably be somewhat more nutritious than a whole orange because it's "chewed" more thoroughly.

That's pretty much the issue - less of the sugar is trapped within the fibrous network, which gives a greater blood sugar spike.

Isn't this only an issue if all you eat is just that one orange? Like, if I puree food for a meal and there's starchy stuff and protein stuff etc., that effect is mostly mitigated, isn't it?

No. The reason is dietary fiber. When you chop up food into smaller and smaller pieces, your body absorbs more of it, and your gut bacteria absorbs less, and even less passes through you. Pound for pound, roasted broccoli has less calories than pureed broccoli. That means you have to compensate by eating less, which nobody does. Don't puree food, unless you have to.* I for one enjoy chewing my food. I love apples, but I would not want apple sauce, etc etc. Https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/ ... smoothies/
You are getting more calories and sugar when you drink a smoothie than when eating whole fruits or vegetables, said Sarah B. Krieger, a registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist who spoke for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional trade group. Smoothies enjoy a “health halo” that can be misleading, “but the bottom line is quantity, and people are often consuming a 20- or 24-fluid-ounce smoothie. That’s a lot.”

Even if you’re making your smoothie at home, using only fruits and vegetables with no other added ingredients, you can drink it in just a few minutes, compared with the 15 or 20 minutes it would take to eat the same fruits or vegetables whole, Ms. Krieger said. And if you’re drinking smoothies frequently, you may be consuming a lot more fruit than you would otherwise.

The fiber in whole fruit “acts as a net” to slow down the process by which the body turns sugar from food into blood sugar, Ms. Krieger said, and though the smoothie still contains fiber, it has been pulverized during the blending process. As a result you’re likely to feel hungrier again sooner after drinking the smoothie than you would have had you eaten the same fruits and vegetables whole.

*I'm actually on the fence about this. I do make purees like enchilada sauce or leek soup, but I don't make my whole meal a puree like a morning smoothie.

Edit new link and summary.
Last edited by sardia on Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Zohar » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:21 pm UTC

That link doesn't explain anything other than "Smoothies have free sugar". In any case, interesting but I think "Don't have pureed food" is a bit of a strange hill to die on. If it's good enough for astronauts, it's good enough for me!
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Thesh » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:43 pm UTC

More importantly, if your fruit and vegetable smoothies mean you eat more fresh fruits and vegetable - and for some people they really do - then the differences in nutritional quality is probably negated. And back to the original point, just because pureeing food might mean a higher ratio of bad stuff is absorbed, there is no reason to believe that cutting vegetables into small pieces (rice/pasta size) will have the same effect, since you aren't breaking it down to the cellular level (and you are still going to chew it into smaller pieces).
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:50 pm UTC

Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Moo » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:45 am UTC

Low carb eating often subs veggies for carbohydrate components, such as:
  • Cauli-rice[1] (as mentioned)
  • "Mash" made from cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin or swede/rutabaga
  • I see a lot of American recipes for spaghetti squash based "pasta" recipes but we don't get it here so iunno
  • Zoodles[1], aka zucchini noodles (similar to your carrot spirals) instead of spaghetti
  • Sauteed cabbage ribbons instead of spaghetti for pasta meals ("cabhetti"[1])
  • Roasted aubergine slices used in lasagne instead of pasta sheets, or layered with marinara and cheese and baked for a quick fake melanzane alla parmigiana
  • Cauliflower, in small florets, in a cheese sauce (preferably topped with more cheese and baked) as an alternative to mac&cheese
  • Bean sprouts or sauteed cabbage ribbons used instead of noodles in eastern style dishes
  • I've seen a recipe for turnip slices baked in cream a la potato dauphinois ("no-tato bake"[1]) but haven't been brave/desperate enough to try it
  • Spiralized or ribbons of cucumber are also fun and tasty, if not very nutritionally dense. Can be used in salads or wrapped around cream cheese for finger food

Use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes to make jacket potatoes or twice-baked potatoes.

Love me some oven roasted mixed veg, and leftovers make a great pasta/couscous/quinoa salad the next day with some feta.

Use chunks of veggies for skewers. Either on their own or with meat/haloumi. Cook on the fire or in the oven.

I have a very versatile crustless quiche recipe that you can easily put veg into. Mix two eggs, four tablespoons of milk, seasoning, two tablespoons of flour (optional) and a cup of grated cheese. Now add a cup or two of whatever you want: cherry tomatoes and basil; grated zucchini (add some corn kernels for crunch); ham and chopped brocolli; bacon and leeks; spinach and feta etc. Bake in a single big quiche or muffin pans.

As a parent, I also know that finely grated carrot and zucchini can be added to just about any sauce, stew, mincemeat dish or soup to increase their nutritional content without it being a case of "eat your vegetables!".

Stir fries, stews, soups and pizza are some other ways to use veggies in tasty dishes that aren't necessarily "vegetable" dishes; you can cut them as finely or coarsely as you want, depending on how much you want to be reminded of their presence.



[1] sorry, so sorry.
Last edited by Moo on Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:29 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby sardia » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:13 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:That link doesn't explain anything other than "Smoothies have free sugar". In any case, interesting but I think "Don't have pureed food" is a bit of a strange hill to die on. If it's good enough for astronauts, it's good enough for me!

I updated to the NY times link. Blenders pulverize fiber which prevents it from satiating you as long, among other reasons. It's not a hill to die on, I just prefer whole fruit. It's just the nutrition data agrees with me by coincidence.
Thesh wrote:More importantly, if your fruit and vegetable smoothies mean you eat more fresh fruits and vegetable - and for some people they really do - then the differences in nutritional quality is probably negated. And back to the original point, just because pureeing food might mean a higher ratio of bad stuff is absorbed, there is no reason to believe that cutting vegetables into small pieces (rice/pasta size) will have the same effect, since you aren't breaking it down to the cellular level (and you are still going to chew it into smaller pieces).

At thesh- right, this only applies to blenders and related processed foods. It would depend on why they're eating and their eating habits. You'd be surprised at the number of people who just eat until the plate is empty as opposed to when they're full. Then designing meals to account for that might change things.

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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Ginger » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:11 pm UTC

Moo wrote:
Spoiler:
Low carb eating often subs veggies for carbohydrate components, such as:
  • Cauli-rice[1] (as mentioned)
  • "Mash" made from cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin or swede/rutabaga
  • I see a lot of American recipes for spaghetti squash based "pasta" recipes but we don't get it here so iunno
  • Zoodles[1], aka zucchini noodles (similar to your carrot spirals) instead of spaghetti
  • Sauteed cabbage ribbons instead of spaghetti for pasta meals ("cabhetti"[1])
  • Roasted aubergine slices used in lasagne instead of pasta sheets, or layered with marinara and cheese and baked for a quick fake melanzane alla parmigiana
  • Cauliflower, in small florets, in a cheese sauce (preferably topped with more cheese and baked) as an alternative to mac&cheese
  • Bean sprouts or sauteed cabbage ribbons used instead of noodles in eastern style dishes
  • I've seen a recipe for turnip slices baked in cream a la potato dauphinois ("no-tato bake"[1]) but haven't been brave/desperate enough to try it
  • Spiralized or ribbons of cucumber are also fun and tasty, if not very nutritionally dense. Can be used in salads or wrapped around cream cheese for finger food

Use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes to make jacket potatoes or twice-baked potatoes.

Love me some oven roasted mixed veg, and leftovers make a great pasta or quinoa salad the next day with some feta.

Use chunks of veggies for skewers. Either on their own or with meat/haloumi. Cook on the fire or in the oven.

I have a very versatile crustless quiche recipe that you can easily put veg into. Mix two eggs, two tablespoons of milk, seasoning, two tablespoons of flour (optional) and a cup of grated cheese. Now add a cup or two of whatever you want: cherry tomatoes and basil; grated zucchini (add some corn kernels for crunch); ham and chopped brocolli; bacon and leeks; spinach and feta etc. Bake in a single big quiche or muffin pans.

As a parent, I also know that finely grated carrot and zucchini can be added to just about any sauce, stew, mincemeat dish or soup to increase their nutritional content without it being a case of "eat your vegetables!".

Stir fries, stews, soups and pizza are some other ways to use veggies in tasty dishes that aren't necessarily "vegetable" dishes; you can cut them as finely or coarsely as you want, depending on how much you want to be reminded of their presence.



[1] sorry, so sorry.

Moo truly really knows how to make good stuff. I liked Moo's post and wanna try some now~! <3
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Re: Vegetables disguised as tastier foods

Postby Moo » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:51 am UTC

Ginger wrote:Moo truly really knows how to make good stuff. I liked Moo's post and wanna try some now~! <3
<3


PS I increased the milk in my quiche recipe, didn't look quite right. One day I'll remember to actually measure how much stuff I put in there when I'm making it.
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