27 Ways To Sneak More Veg Into Your Meals
Health is wealth. But when I’m craving a smoky bacon-topped burger dripping with cheese, or a stack of pancakes smothered in butter and maple syrup, it can be tough to opt for a salad or bowl of vegetables instead.
Good thing I’m here to tell you, you can have the best of both! Here are 27 of my top sneaky ways to reach your 5-a-day and trick yourself into eating more veg.
1. Rustle up a veg-filled ragù
If you’ve not tried lentil bolognese yet, this pantry-friendly pasta isn’t just protein-packed, it also adds a rich, earthy flavour and counts towards your 5-a-day.
More of a mushroom fan? This mushroom pappardelle isn’t just packed with veg, there’s so much savoury, umami flavour that you won’t miss the beef at all.
2. Put them in pancakes
Next time you’re whipping up a stack of pancakes, add around half a cup of sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash for a sneaky serving of vegetables.
Need a recipe for fluffy American-style pancakes? Click here.
3. Slurp them in a smoothie
What’s your go-to smoothie? I love a mix of peanut butter, banana and almond milk, but recently this fruit and berry version with a sneaky handful of kale or spinach has been a treat. I won’t lie, it turns your drink a scary colour, but you can’t taste the greens at all.
4. Turn them into noodles
Dig out the spiraliser, because tonight we’re spiralising… cucumber? This refreshing hack is perfect for cold summer dishes like Yum Woon Sen, a Thai noodle salad.
To make a simple version yourself, spiralise your cuke, throw in some cooked glass noodles, minced garlic, sesame oil, soy, fish sauce and a big handful of chopped coriander. Finish with a squeeze of lime and some chopped peanuts and dive in!
5. Add more herbs
Speaking of chopped coriander, did you know tender herbs count as green veg? So while they’re in season, don’t be afraid to add heaps of them to your summer salads, curries and pastas, like this Spanakopita-style Gnocchi with plenty of basil and dill.
6. Veg out on mac and cheese
This comfort food will always be a favourite, no matter how old you are! So when the craving kicks in, cauliflower is the ultimate sneaky vegetable – it’s basically undetectable! Or for more flavour, add leeks to your sauce and top with roasted cherry tomatoes like in our Leek & Roasted Tomato Mac ‘N’ Cheese.
7. Mix up your mash
8. Swap wraps for lettuce
Lettuce makes a surprisingly delicious stand-in for bread and tortilla wraps, especially when balancing rich fillings like these Korean-Style Pork Belly Lettuce Cups with fiery chilli sauce.
9. Get fancy with your cheese toastie
Can’t face cooking tonight? For a serving of sneaky veg without trying, chuck a few extra tomatoes, onions or grilled mushrooms in your sandwich before grilling.
10. Bulk up your burgers
Sneaking finely chopped mushrooms into your beef burgers not only ramps up the nutritional value, it brings an extra layer of delicious umami flavour. Just be sure to sautée them first to fry off the moisture and concentrate the mushroom flavour.
Or ramp up your 5-a-day in one sitting with this protein-packed Lentil & Sweetcorn Burger with smoky chipotle mayo.
11. Hollandaise, but make it healthy
12. Bake your eggs in avocado
For a protein rich breakfast that’ll keep you full all morning, grab an avocado, drop an egg in the centre and bake until just set.
13. Shake up your shakshuka
Joe’s recipe for Spiced Shakshuka is packed with red pepper, tomatoes, spinach and red onion, but if you’re feeling extra green a diced courgette would work great in this too.
14. Sub chips for veggie fries
Lightly coat courgettes, green beans and carrots in panko, then bake until crisp and golden. These make the perfect dippers for hummus or sweet chilli mayo.
15. Change up your chilli
Either by sneaking extra vegetables into your sauce (like green and red pepper) or serving up a vegan version with guacamole and roasted sweet potato for more fibre and vitamins.
16. Level up your cookie dough
Carrot or sweet potato mash aren’t just a healthy side dish, they work brilliantly in cookie dough too. Your treats will be just as tasty, but with a hidden health boost.
17. Add a surprise to scrambled eggs
For the ultimate sneaky trick, grate cauliflower and fry it in a pan before adding your eggs and giving it a good scramble.
18. Frittata it
Nothing says lazy Saturday quite like an egg-heavy brunch. So if that scramble wasn’t enough, mix eggs and potatoes with veggies like green beans, pepper and asparagus for the ultimate summer frittata.
19. Make kale crisps
Crispy, salty and packed with vitamins A, C and K, kale crisps have to be the tastiest way to eat a heap of kale in one go. Need a recipe? Click here.
If you prefer a mix of veggies, try out these homemade vegetable crisps that also save on food waste.
20. Get saucy
Spinach is the easiest way to sneak extra vegetables into your sauces. Whizz up a handful with your homemade pesto, or wilt it into ragùs, curries or stews.
21. Healthy hash browns
Have some leftover veg in the fridge? Swap frozen hash browns for a cheesy bubble and squeak, and tuck some extra veg into your morning.
22. Give grain bowls a go
Grain bowls are the easiest, tastiest way to bundle 2-3 extra servings of vegetables into your meal. Check out this step-by-step buddha bowl recipe to make your own.
23. Fry up some rice
Hot wok. Cold rice. Endless possibilities.
This 10-Minute Thai Fried Rice recipe is packed with prawns and spring greens, but vegetables like peppers, peas or cabbage work well too.
24. Homemade hummus
This bright pink beetroot hummus isn’t just great for you, it’s a total showstopper.
25. Disguise greens in brownies
Want an extra dollop of goodness in your dessert? I recently made these easy brownies that replace butter with avocado. They’re squidgy, fudgy and don’t taste green at all!
26. Pile them on pizza
This one’s easy. Before you pop your pizza in the oven, throw on a few extra vegetables to up your 5-a-day.
27. Cut up a stash to keep in the fridge
Whether you’re a meal prepper or not, after a long day, a Tupperware full of pre-chopped vegetables is a lifesaver when you need to add goodness to a meal quickly.
Need more make-ahead dinner ideas? We’ve got 17 of them right here.
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