Author Archives: Half Your Plate

Cute african girl learning how to cook healthy meal

How To Involve Your Kids in the Kitchen During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jen Ong Tone, MHSc, RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered DietitianCute african girl learning how to cook healthy meal

With cancelled daycares, schools, and activities, you may be looking for new ways to entertain your kids at home. Seize the opportunity – This is a great time to get your kids involved in the kitchen! Not only will this teach them about healthy eating and food skills that will last a lifetime, it can also give you a break from meal planning and cooking. Studies also show that kids who are involved in cooking, may be more confident in the kitchen, open to trying new foods, and more likely to eat fruits and veggies. Keep it fun in the kitchen and try these simple tips that the whole family will enjoy!

Meal Planning

  • Get your family involved in planning meals and snacks.
  • Write down meal suggestions and post it on the fridge.
  • Try different dinner-themes: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Pizza Thursdays, Stir Fry Saturdays
  • Have your kids pick one new fruit or veggie to try this week.
  • Create a binder of family favourite recipes or collect online recipes on Pinterest. Follow us on Pinterest to get started!

Meal Preparation: Age-Appropriate Tasks

Kids as young as two years old can be involved in the kitchen, with adult supervision. Here are some fun age age-appropriate tasks for how your little chefs can help in the kitchen. Don’t forget to review kitchen and food safety rules, like how to use a peeler, grater, and washing your hands properly!

Age Kitchen Tasks
2-3 years old ·         Smell fresh herbs and spices
·         Wash fruits and veggies
·         Add ingredients to a dish (like veggies to a pizza)
·         Count ingredients (like number of blueberries)
·         Put muffin cups in muffin tins
3-4 years old ·         Mash potatoes, carrots, or bananas
·         Pour from a small cup (like a smoothie into an ice cube tray for homemade popsicles)
·         Stuff peppers
·         Assemble simple ingredients (like ants on a log, made with celery, nut butter, and raisins)
·         Chat about the food: How does it look? Taste? Feel?
4-6 years old ·         Assemble simple ingredients: Adding taco/pizza toppings or fruit toppings to cereal/yogurt
·         Stir ingredients together (like a banana muffin batter)
·         Cut cooked veggies (carrots, potatoes, beets) or soft fruit (melons, ripe pears, bananas) with a children’s knife
6-8 years old ·         Toss a fruit or green salad together
·         Make their own sandwiches or tortilla wraps
·         Write healthy snacks and meals they’d like to eat
·         Invent their own smoothie recipe
·         Use basic kitchen equipment under your supervision and instruction: grater, toaster, and blender
8-11 years old ·         Use a small knife for easy-to-cut foods
·         Make their own healthy snacks and easy meals
·         Use the microwave and stove, with your help
Pre-teens and teens ·         Follow recipes
·         Cook easy meals throughout the week, depending on skill level

Dinner pancakes on a white plate with a side bowl of black bean salsaKid-Friendly Recipes to Try

  1. Watermelon Popsicles

With the weather warming up, nothing says summer quite like homemade popsicles! With no added sugar, try this simple recipe for a healthy family treat the entire family will enjoy. Don’t have popsicle molds on hand? Use an ice cube tray and popsicle sticks cut in half!

2. Dinner Pancakes with Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salsa

Put a twist on taco night and try these zucchini and corn pancakes! This vegetarian meal is loaded in flavour and colour. Younger kids can help with stirring, mixing, and adding ingredients to a bowl. Older kids can help with grating, chopping, and flipping the pancakes.

  1. Tomato and Corn Pizza

What kid doesn’t love pizza? This quick and simple recipe will allow kids to pick and choose their own healthy toppings on top of a healthy whole wheat pizza crust.

Zero Waste Stock

No one likes to throw their money in the trash. Yet in Canada, 63% of discarded food could have been consumed. Unfortunately, the most commonly wasted food are vegetables and fruits.

Did you know that instead of throwing away ugly vegetables, peels and vegetable scraps, you could make a delicious homemade broth?

This recipe is a great zero and anti-waste trick that is so simple.  All it takes is getting used to keeping your peels when you’re cooking, instead of throwing them out! Cover them in an airtight bag in the freezer. Once the bag is filled, you’ll be ready to cook a delicious homemade broth.

Here are some ideas for vegetable scraps that you can keep:

  • onion and garlic peel
  • the skin of carrots and parsnips
  • tops of radishes or carrots
  • celery or beetroot leaves
  • the head of a fennel
  • the green part of leeks

Try this basic recipe that will work every time.

Ingredients

  • 1L vegetable scraps
  • Enough water to cover vegetable scraps
  • 10 ml herbs of Provence, or your favourite herb blend
  • salt, pepper

Directions

  1. Pour the contents of the bag of vegetable scraps into a large pot.
  2. Add water, herbs and season (salt, pepper).
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for an hour uncovered.
  4. Strain the broth to remove the peels. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The broth will keep for 4 days. To keep it longer, pour the broth into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer.

A versatile brothShrimp Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Noodles
Did you know that you can replace chicken broth with vegetable broth in your recipes? An easy way to turn a meal into a vegetarian version.

You can then use your broth in several recipes, such as:

What do you think of this habit? I hope this article will make you want to give it a try!

Written by Marie-Ève Caplette, Registered Dietitian and Half Your Plate Ambassador

Top 10 Tips to Save Money on Produce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jen Ong Tone, MHSc, RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

The pandemic has left many Canadians in a tough financial situation, with less disposable income than usual. Fortunately, healthy eating does not have to be expensive. Here are 10 ways to save money on your fruits and veggies.

1. Make a meal plan and grocery list before you go to the grocery store

When you take the time to meal plan, not only will you spend less time in the grocery store, you can also save money. How? You’ll be more likely to have enough food for the rest of the week and be less likely to rely on take-out meals. If you’re new to meal planning, here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • Write down a few meals you’d like to prepare for the week.
  • Incorporate foods you already have in your fridge and pantry into your meal plan. Plan to use fresh produce that may go bad over the next few days.
  • Look for specials on produce in store flyers and plan your meals around those items.
  • Plan to have balanced and nutritious meals, filling Half Your Plate with fruits and veggies. For recipe inspiration, visit ca/recipes.
  • Make a grocery list based on your meal plan and food you have on hand.
2. Incorporate fresh fruits and veggies that are a good buy all year round

Apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, cabbage, onions, and sweet potatoes are usually well-priced throughout the year. Unfamiliar with cabbage? Cabbage can be sautéed into a stir fry, chopped into a salad, or rolled into cabbage rolls.

3. Choose bags of fruits and veggies over single pieces

Bags of potatoes, onions, carrots, and apples are usually more affordable than single pieces. When stored correctly, most of them can stay fresh for up to one month. If you’re worried that the produce may spoil before you get through the bag, single pieces may be a better option for you, or freeze for future use.

4. Look for in-season produce

With the start of spring, look for produce that’s in-season right now, such as: apples, strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, cucumbers, and lettuce. They are often priced well when in season and bursting in flavour.

5. Look for less than “perfect” produce

Some grocery stores now offer “less-than-perfect” produce, which is often different in colour or size than what you would typically see. The good news is that this produce is just as nutritious and costs less.

6. Prepare your own fruits and veggies

Pre-washed and pre-cut fruits and veggies are great to have on hand if you want to save time, but typically cost more. You can save money by cutting and washing your own fruits and veggies. Try food prepping on less busy nights or immediately after unpacking your groceries. Cut your own celery and carrots and store them in the fridge for a quick snack idea.

7. Store your produce properly

Whether it’s on the counter, in the fridge, or in the pantry, fruits and veggies stay fresh longer when stored in the correct place. Preventing your fruits and veggies from going bad too quickly will save you money. For produce storage tips, check out my blog on making the most of your fruits and veggies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. Do more batch cooking

Big-batch cooking is a great way to prepare meals in advance and use up produce you may have bought in large quantities, like carrots, potatoes, onions, or beets. Soups and stews loaded with veggies freeze well. Save time by freezing individual portions for those days you need a break from cooking.

9. Eat your veggies from head to toe

Did you know that you can eat cilantro, parsley, and basil stems? They’re all loaded with flavour. Oftentimes, you can eat all parts of a vegetable. Here are some recipe ideas for how to use parts of the vegetable that typically get thrown out:

10. Freeze your produce

Freezing is a great way to preserve your fruits and veggies for future use. If you haven’t frozen your own fruits and veggies before, check out our Home Freezing Guide for Fresh Vegetables and Fruit. Freezing can be as simple as placing cubes of fresh pineapple on a cookie sheet in the freezer and then transferring back to the freezer in a bag for future use.

blueberry raspberry focaccia

10 Healthy Easter Recipes to Try

By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

With Easter just around the corner, people across the country would normally be planning family gatherings involving lots of food and good cheer. However, the pandemic has left many people wondering, “how am I going to celebrate Easter this year?”

Be sure that you use this time to connect with family or friends virtually, whether it’s over Sunday brunch or Easter dinner. When it comes to food, keep the traditions going by continuing to cook classic dishes like glazed carrots, scalloped potatoes, or carrot cake, and consider freezing leftovers for future use. Regardless, you should use this as an opportunity to fill Half Your Plate with fruits and veggies, and discover new recipes to try!

1) Blueberry raspberry focaccia

blueberry raspberry focaccia

2) Carrot apple pancake

Carrot and Apple Pancakes

3) Roasted broccoli and cauliflower crustless quiche

Roasted broccoli and cauliflower quiche

4) Grilled sweet potato and chickpea salad

Grilled Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

5) Potato and sage and olive fans

Sage and Olive Potato Fan

6) Warm carrot salad

Warm Carrot Salad from BC Fresh

7) Asparagus and pea risotto

asparagus-and-pea-risotto

8) Roasted orange ginger asparagus

9) Carrot and pineapple cake

Carrot Pineapple Cake Full

10) Grilled fruit salad

Make the Most of Your Fruits and Veggies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

While you’re staying at home more often than usual, it’s a good idea to have healthy foods on hand, and that includes fresh fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are packed with nutrients that contribute to your health and well-being, including a healthy immune system. Worried that your fresh fruits and veggies will go bad too quickly? Here are some tips to stretch your fruits and veggies until your next grocery store visit.

Tip #1: Purchase Fruits and Veggies with Both Short and Long Shelf Lives

Fruits and veggies with a short shelf life

Since fresh fruits and veggies eventually spoil, try eating the ones with a shorter shelf life within the first week following their purchase. This includes fruits and veggies like berries, leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes. If you don’t already do so, try making a weekly meal plan to help you plan out your meals and snacks for the week.

Fruits and veggies with a long shelf life

There are many fruits and veggies that can stay fresh for up to two weeks, and some even up to a month, when stored correctly. These are great to have on hand when you’re trying to limit your outings.

Fruits and veggies that may stay fresh for up to two weeks include:

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Kiwis
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes
  • Rutabagas
  • Squashes: Acorn, butternut, buttercup

Fruits and veggies that may stay fresh for up to a month include:

  • Apples
  • Beets (with tops removed)
  • Citrus: Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines)
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Parsnips

Tip #2: Store Your Fruits and Veggies Properly

How should you store your produce?

Store your fruits and veggies separately in the refrigerator crisper, whenever possible. Some fruits, such as apples, ripe bananas, and melons release a natural gas called ethylene, which can cause some veggies to spoil quicker.

Where should you store your produce?

On the countertop? In the fridge? In the pantry? To keep your produce fresh and lasting longer, store it in the right place when you bring it home. Use this visual as a guide when unpacking your groceries.

Tip #3: Fruits and Veggies About to Go Bad? Use them in New Ways or Revive Them!

Brown bananas, wilted lettuce, limp carrots – we’ve all been in a position where our produce spoils at a faster rate than we can eat it. The good news is that most overripe fruits and veggies can be incorporated into tasty snacks or meals – some can even be revived!

What to do with overripe fruit?

Use them in:

  • Baked goods – Muffins, breads, pancakes, crumbles, and scones lend well to overripe bananas, peaches, nectarines, and berries.
  • Jams – Combine with chia seeds as a thickener for a healthier version.
  • Smoothies and popsicles – Blend into your smoothies and popsicles for added sweetness.
  • Salad dressings – Blend with olive oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs for a homemade dressing.
  • Sauces – Cook with balsamic vinegar for a fun topping to yogurt, pancakes, and meat.

What to do with overripe veggies?

Use them in:

  • Sauces – Tomatoes that are starting to go bad make the perfect pasta sauce.
  • Soups – Soups are the perfect way to use up vegetables, from a hearty minestrone soup to a cream of veggie soup.
  • Baked goods – Grated zucchini adds moisture to baked goods.

How can you revive your veggies?

Some veggies, like wilted lettuce and leafy greens, limp carrots, and limp celery, can be revived by placing in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Leaves can be placed in a bowl of cold water, while carrots and celery can be placed upright in a cup filled with water. This will allow the water to penetrate through the cells of the veggies, bringing it back to life again!

Putting it All Together

Fresh fruits and veggies are an important part of a healthy diet. Plan your meals before going to the grocery store and invest in produce that has both a short and long shelf life. Store them properly at home and be creative with how you use them to avoid food waste. Keep in mind though, if it’s too far gone, throw it into the compost.

How Should I Handle my Fruits and Veggies During Covid-19 Pandemic?

By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

Fruits and veggies are an important part of a healthy diet. With a lot of misinformation being circulated in the media today around food safety and COVID-19, it can be hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. As a registered dietitian, and in consultation with our food safety expert, Jeff Hall, at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), I am hoping to provide you with credible information about fruits and veggies from official health authorities to help you stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.

Can I get COVID-19 from food?

Current evidence shows that COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness, which is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. […] It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

In addition, to date, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has not reported any cases where COVID-19 was spread through eating or touching food.

What can I do to keep my fruits and veggies safe?

Food safety recommendations in the household are no different than everyday food safety principles when it comes to COVID-19. Health Canada recommends taking the following steps at the grocery store and at home when handling fruits and veggies:

At the grocery store: Shopping for produce

  • Choose fruits and veggies that aren’t bruised or damaged.
  • If buying pre-cut and ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, make sure they’re refrigerated.
  • Separate your fruits and veggies from meat, poultry, and seafood in your shopping cart and bags.
  • Wash your reusable grocery bags frequently.

At home: Chilling your produce

  • At home, refrigerate fruits and veggies that need to be refrigerated. This includes all pre-cut and ready-to-eat produce. Visit halfyourplate.ca to find out which fruits and veggies should be refrigerated.
  • Separate your fruits and veggies from meat, poultry, and seafood, in the fridge.
  • Keep your fridge at 4°C (40°F) or lower.

At home: Cleaning your produce

  • Clean and sanitize countertops, cutting boards, and utensils before and after preparing food.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash fruits and veggies under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them.
  • You do not need to use produce cleansers to wash fruits and veggies.
  • Ready-to-eat, bagged, and pre-washed leafy greens do not need to be washed again.
  • Scrub fresh fruits and veggies with firm surfaces or rinds (i.e. carrots, melons, potatoes, squash, oranges, etc.), using a soft clean produce brush. This prevents anything living on the surface from entering the food when you cut it.
  • Use a separate cutting board for produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fruits and veggies.

Should I clean my fruits and veggies with a household soap or detergent?

No. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not recommend you wash your fruits and veggies with soap or detergent. As fruits and veggies have porous surfaces, you risk consuming residues from soaps and detergents, which could cause harmful health effects.

Bottom line

The risk of contracting COVID-19 from fruits and veggies is very low. Enjoy your fruits and veggies and practice good food safety and personal hygiene practices to keep you and the food you eat safe.

Healthy Eating is About So Much More Than Food

How You Eat is Important Too!

By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

Did you know that March is Nutrition Month? Every year, dietitians across the country come together to provide healthy eating tips for Canadians. This year, we’re talking about healthy eating being more than just food – how you eat is important too! Whether it’s cooking more often, enjoying your meals, or eating with others, here’s a few tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Cook More Often

Between work, school, family life, and activities, life gets busy! It can be a challenge to find the time to cook meals at home, but cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. It also brings about many benefits, like:

  • Discovering new culinary skills
  • Being in control of what goes into your meals, like including more vegetables and fruit
  • Saving money on meals bought outside the home

Save time in the kitchen with these tips:

  • Create a weekly meal plan
    • When you have a plan in place, you’re more likely to stick to it, and that includes cooking meals at home. If you’re new to meal planning, start off with planning one or two meals per week and involve your family in the planning process. This will help you on those busy nights, where you’re left wondering “what’s for dinner?”
  • Cook in big batches
  • Invest in healthy ready-to-eat foods
    • Washing, cutting, and preparing food can be time-consuming. Save time in the kitchen by investing in a few healthy convenient options, such as: pre-washed salads, pre-cut stir fry veggies, and cored pineapple.

Tip #2 Enjoy Your Food

All foods can fit into a healthy diet. When you enjoy your food, it can help you develop a healthier relationship with food. That means enjoying foods that actually taste good. Say goodbye to limp asparagus or overcooked broccoli!

Add more flavour to your veggies with these ideas:

  • Try pickling beets, cucumbers, carrots, onions, and radishes for a zingy twist! Add to salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Try these easy fridge pickles.
  • Roast your vegetables. Roasting releases the natural sugars found in vegetables, enhancing the flavour of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, and beets. Add grated parmesan at the very end for a savoury boost. Try this roasted fall veggie medley.
  • In the summer, grill sliced eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes on the BBQ. Try these grilled eggplant halloumi stacks.
  • Embrace herbs, spices, and citrus. These flavour boosters enhance the flavour of veggies. A simple crowd-pleaser is olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.

Tip #3: Eat Together   

No matter what time of day, eating together with family, friends, and co-workers can bring about many benefits. It’s not only a great way to connect with others, it can also help you discover new food traditions and cultures. Eating together can also help your kids explore new healthy foods and improve their overall eating habits.

Whether you live alone or have a busy family schedule, here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Plan a monthly potluck brunch or dinner with friends
  • Try a picnic-style dinner at the park during busy nights at the soccer or baseball field
  • Schedule a bi-weekly dinner with extended family
  • Take the time out of your workday to have lunch with co-workers
  • Attend local community celebrations or events
  • Join a community meal program

Bottom line: Try implementing one or two of these healthy behaviours into your lifestyle. Whether it’s planning more meals at home or eating more meals with others, you’ll reap the health benefits in the long term!

Eating fruits and vegetables for healthier digestion

 

It’s clear that diet has an impact on digestion. Among the foods that are most important to gut health are fruits and vegetables.

Fibre, a real ally

Fruits and vegetables have one thing in common: they contain fibre. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plants that our bodies can’t digest.  It can help with constipation by stimulating the movement of food through the digestive tract and softening the stool. Fibre is our ally when it comes to gut health!

Including more fruits and vegetables at your meals, in addition to keeping our blood sugar levels more stable, can keep you feeling full longer.   Fibre also helps to lower the “bad” cholesterol in our blood (LDL-cholesterol).

The gut microbiota

The microbiota is a set of microorganisms that live naturally in our gut. These bacteria feed on fibre,  which are found in fruits and vegetables.  By feeding on fibre that our body is unable to digest, these bacteria can produce different vitamins and nutrients that our body needs. Our microbiota will also protect us from different pathogens.  More research is being done to better understand the role of the gut microbiota in preventing certain diseases.

Six tips to improve digestion

  1. Eat less processed foods
  2. Take the time to properly chew your food
  3. Drink lots of water
  4. Cook your vegetables
  5. Space out fibre-rich foods throughout the day
  6. Stop eating before you feel full

A healthy gut is not only about what you eat, but how you eat. As digestion begins in the mouth, it’s important to chew your food slowly. Avoid rushed meals, as stress can negatively affect your digestive system.

FODMAP

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can try a low FODMAP diet. This diet restricts foods that may be difficult to digest, including certain fruits and vegetable such as: onions, garlic, apples, mangoes, and broccoli. Consult with your dietitian or health practitioner before trying this diet. Find a dietitian in your area by using our Half Your Plate health professional directory.

One thing is certain: by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, you stack the odds in your favour for better digestion!   And if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to talk to a health professional for advice.

Written by Marie-Ève Caplette, Registered Dietitian and Half Your Plate ambassador

2020 goals list with decoration. We wish you a new year filled with wonder, peace, and meaning.

3 Tips to Stick to Your 2020 New Year’s Resolution

By Jen Ong Tone MHSc RD, #HalfYourPlate Registered Dietitian

Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? According to a 2015 Ipsos poll, 73% of Canadians will eventually break their new year’s resolution. As your Half Your Plate dietitian, my goal is to help you create a new year’s resolution you can stick to!

Tip #1 Be realistic with your new year’s resolution.

Between work, school, family obligations, and activities, life gets busy! Is your goal realistic? Consider some barriers that may get in the way, like time, money, and motivation. Start off small and work towards that bigger end goal. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to start going to the gym everyday”, or “I’m going to eat salad for lunch every day,” try “I’m going to take the stairs at work once a week” or “I’m going to eat a salad for lunch once a week.” Small goals will pay off big in the long run.

Tip #2 Be specific with your new year’s resolution.

I often hear people say, “I want to be healthier” or “I want to lose weight.” While the intention is often good, being too general and not having clear direction with your goal, can lead you to nowhere. Instead of saying “I want to be healthier,” focus on a specific behaviour you’re looking to improve, such as your eating habits or physical activity. An example of a specific goal is, “I will fill half my plate with veggies at dinner on Wednesdays.” Being specific with your goal provides clarity and direction, which means you’ll know what to focus on.

Tip #3: Create a new year’s resolution you can measure.   2020 goals list with decoration. We wish you a new year filled with wonder, peace, and meaning.

Isn’t it satisfying to check off a box from your to-do list? Give yourself that same satisfaction by creating a new year’s resolution you can measure, with a deadline. For example, “I will try one new vegetable every week this month” has a measurable component (one time per week) and a deadline (end of month). Tracking your progress can be very motivating and can help you stick to your goal.

What can you do once you achieve your new year’s resolution? First and foremost, give yourself a tap on the back! If you’re up for it, create a new goal based on these principles. Soon, you may see that these health behaviours are becoming part of your day-to-day routine. If you don’t achieve your new year’s resolution, don’t fret. This is the perfect time to reflect and evaluate what went wrong. Was your goal realistic? Specific enough? Measurable? Once you know what got in the way, set a new goal and work towards tackling those barriers.

3 ways to use leftover grilled veggies

Grilled vegetables are prepared in many ways and are very versatile. So versatile that you’ll be happy to have leftovers to easily fill half your plate at lunch or dinner.

The quickest way to make grilled vegetables is to slice them, add a drizzle of oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar, then place them on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven  or directly on the BBQ grill. You could also fry them up in a frying pan to get an equally tasty and versatile result.

For a more unique recipe, choose vegetables that are about the same size in order to prepare a Tian of vegetables. Tian is the name of the container in which this dish is cooked in Provence.  A delight, in addition to being really pretty! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

4 small red onions, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced into julienne strips

1 eggplant, sliced

1 yellow zucchini, sliced into rounds

1 green zucchini, sliced into rounds

4 Italian tomatoes, sliced

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

5 ml (1 tsp) thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a large non-stick or pyrex dish, arrange vegetables harmoniously in rows. Alternate onion, pepper, eggplant, yellow zucchini, green zucchini and tomatoes.
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to the vegetables, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown.

What to do when you end up with a surplus of grilled vegetables?

Here are 3 simple ways to use the leftovers from this recipe without feeling like you’re eating the same thing 3 times.

1. ON A PIZZA

A simple and delicious way to reuse leftover grilled vegetables is to incorporate it into a homemade pizza. Simply add the rest of the vegetables on a pita bread, flatbread, Naan bread or homemade dough, add pizza sauce or pesto, and cover with grated cheese. You can add pieces of chicken breast or tofu to have a protein packed meal.   That’s all!

2. IN DIP OR  HUMMUS

For lovers of raw vegetables with dip or hummus, why not add roasted vegetables to enhance the flavor while stocking up on vegetables? It’s as simple as that. For hummus, just take this  recipe of hummus with beets and replace the beet with grilled veggies.   You could add a pinch of smoked paprika to grilled side of the vegetables. For the dip, simply puree the vegetables, then add a drizzle of oil and lemon juice. You can  also add  a  spoonful  of Greek yogurt to make the dip creamier. Try it!

3. TURN THE REST TO SAUCE

Pasta is a very popular dish. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a tendency to include fewer vegetables. So I suggest you turn leftover grilled vegetables into sauce to accompany the pasta. It’s a change from the classic tomato, rosé or spaghetti sauce. Besides, this sauce is quick to made. Simply  place the vegetables in the blender and add vegetable broth to make the sauce  more liquid. All that remains is to simmer for a few minutes in the pan with a dash of cream (or Greek yogurt). For more ideas for incorporating vegetables  into pasta dishes ,click  here.

Finally, you can also use grilled vegetables to  make a delicious sandwich, to add color to an omelette or  to  complete  une salad. Simple but tasty ideas! So, want to have leftovers?

Written by Marie-Ève Caplette, Registered Dietitian and Half Your Plate ambassador

Golden beet, mango and lemon pie

Vegetables in a dessert? Oh yes, and it’s delicious! We already know carrot cake and zucchini bread, but many other vegetables fit well into sweet recipes. This is true of golden beets, which pair perfectly with mango and lemon. A unique way to cook with this vegetable!

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 100g chopped pecans
  • 250 ml(1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 80 ml(1/3 cup) melted butter
  • 80 ml(1/3 cup) maple syrup

Trim:

  • 2 large (or 3 small) golden beets, peeled and cut into 4
  • 750 ml(3 cups) frozen mangoes,  thawed
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 375 ml(1 1/2 cups) water
  • 180 ml(3/4 cup) white sugar
  • 60 ml (1/4cup) cornstarch

 

Preparation

  1. In a saucepan filled with boiling water, cook beets until tender (about 25 min). Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees Celsius).
  3. In a bowl, mix the chopped pecans with the flour. Then stir in the butter and the maple syrup. Mix until dough is obtained.
  4. In a 9” pan, spread the dough with your hands to cover the bottom. Do not put dough on the edges.
  5. Bake until golden, about 12 min. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the beets and mangoes with water. Add lemon juice and zest and blend for 20 Add sugar and mix for about 20 more seconds.
  7. In a small bowl, dilute the starch with a 1/4 cup of the beet mixture. Add this back into the blender and mix for 30 seconds.
  8. In a saucepan, bring the beet mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and whisk until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and lightly cool for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture over the crust. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before refrigerating the pie at least 6 hours or overnight before tasting.

 

This pie can be eaten cold. Bon appetit!

Written by Marie-Ève Caplette, Registered Dietitian and Half Your Plate Ambassador