a bowl of peas, carrots, asparagus, grilled onion

Easy Veggies for Every Day

Our good eating habits tend to ebb and flow over the years.

Veggies are prepared before cooking begins.

We know that we should eat more vegetables. But, who wants to clean, cook, season and serve them every night?

Supermarkets target our weaknesses. Now, you can buy every assortment of cleaned and bagged greens, beans, broccoli, squash, cabbage, onions, and more, already prepared and packaged.

Do you know something, though? That convenience comes at a steep price. And, very often, the produce is not nearly as tasty or fresh when prepackaged.

Easy Veggies Aren’t Expensive

I’ve tried a lot of different ways to prepare vegetables: grilling, baking, stir fry, sauteing, boiling, steaming. No matter my approach, we get tired of the same old things. Blah.

Then, just a week ago, I had the idea of converting a spicy shrimp scampi recipe (from BuzzFeed) into a shrimp and veggie combo, served with rice. It was amazingly delicious. The next time, I substituted grilled chicken. Awesome! Last night, I just made the veggies, and served them with rice and grilled pork. Another hit! Here’s the super simple recipe. It is easily adapted to vegan by using only olive oil and substituting beans for the meat.

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus, or broccoli

1 1/2 c. frozen peas (or, fresh, possible), or snow or snap peas

2 large carrots (about 1/2 lb.)

1 sweet onion

1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter (substitute 1/4 c. olive oil for vegan)

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Raw shrimp or chicken breast (or favorite meat-substitute for vegan)

Brown rice

Method

Make the brown rice according to package directions.

Measure dry brown rice and add to water in the cooking pot.

It needs about 1 hour total. Once you get the rice going and have set the timer, follow these steps:

Trim and peel the onion and set aside. Clean and prepare the other veggies (except frozen peas), keeping each in a separate bowl.

Put the butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed pepper in a microwaveable bowl. Set aside.

Add spices to butter and olive oil before adding to veggies.
A whole onion is easy to grill.

Heat the grill and put the onion on the grill rack, covered and on a medium setting.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Put a large sieve in the sink and put the frozen peas in the sieve.

Add carrots to the boiling water first, because they take the longest to cook.

When the pot of water starts boiling, add the carrots. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer a few minutes.

Now is a good time to turn the onion over on the grill.

Add the asparagus or broccoli to the simmering carrots and simmer for another 1-2 minutes.

Grilled onion is chopped before adding to the veggies.

Fetch the onion from the grill and chop coarsely. Save 1/2 for another day, unless you really love onion!

Strain the boiled veggies to remove all water.

Drain the veggies into the sieve, pouring the hot water right over the frozen peas.

Add Protein and You’re Done

Put the meat or shrimp on the grill and cook until done. When it is getting close to ready, heat the butter/oil sauce up just until the butter melts. Give it a good whisk.

Assembly time:

Put the drained veggies and grilled, chopped onion on a large platter. Add the shrimp,  or beans, or grilled chicken. Pour the sauce over, and serve immediately with rice.  

This is so easy, even though the steps look long. It really is a matter of having everything prepped before you cook. I think the onion is 100 times better grilled, and since I’m grilling the meat, it isn’t any more trouble.

The veggies will cool off in the sieve, and we don’t mind this. If you do, you can bring the pot of water back to a boil and dunk them a few seconds to reheat. Then drain again.

I have substituted other veggies in this recipe with good results. What veggie combos do you think would work well?

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