3 Ways to Dress Your Veggies
Your veggies don’t like to be naked. And what couture do they prefer? Try a little healthful-fat finery.
A bit of unsaturated fat can help your body better absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in your vegetables. Here are three different looks to try:
1. Skip the fat-free ranch dressing. Instead, toss your greens with an olive-oil-based dressing like balsamic vinaigrette.
2. Make your fat crunchy. Season peppers, corn, carrots, or squash with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and then top with slivered almonds or toasted sesame seeds.
3. Go Thai. Create this Spicy Nutty Sauce for dipping lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower . . .
In a recent study, people who tossed their salads with a dressing that had some fat in it absorbed more carotenoids from the vegetables than the people who used a non-fat dressing.
Carotenoids are potent antioxidants found in brightly hued produce — think red, orange, and yellow. But the small intestine needs a little fat to absorb these power nutrients. So do several other fat-soluble vitamins, including:
Vitamin E (found in spinach and broccoli)
Vitamin K (found in cabbage, cauliflower, and turnip greens)
Vitamin D (found in some fish and in fortified dairy)
When you’re dressing your veggies, remember the Brylcreem jingle: “A little dab’ll do ya.” You can nearly undo all the good in veggies by turning them into high-calorie, high-fat side dishes. So don’t drown them in sauces and oils. Think lightweight summer ensembles — a little dribble of olive oil on a sliced tomato or a smattering of chopped walnuts on your spinach salad. Or a bit of Thai peanut sauce on your steamed broccoli. Check out this spicy peanut sauce recipe below.
Spicy Nutty Sauce
2 tablespoons smooth natural almond butter (or peanut butter)
2 tablespoons “lite” coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
Whisk together peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until smooth.