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The new year is officially underway, which means many of us are looking for ways to eat cleaner and live a more healthy lifestyle. To help you start 2022 on the right foot, we’re sharing four tips for how to eat more vegetables as well as three healthy bowl recipes, courtesy of food blogger Liren Baker — aka the Kitchen Confidante — and her latest cookbook, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate.

Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies

It’s probably easier than you think to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal of the day. “When in doubt, start small,” says Liren. “A dish doesn’t have to be completely vegetarian. Try adding just one new veggie to every meal, and you will, over the long term, eat more vegetables.”

4 Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies

The following tips on incorporating more vegetables into your diet come directly from Liren and have been reprinted with permission from Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate (Victory Belt Publishing, 2021). Click here to jump straight to the recipes!

  • Shop the perimeter. When I’m at the grocery store, I like to start in the produce aisles. That way, my meals are influenced by what is in season. From there, I work my way around the perimeter of the store, where the meat, dairy, and bakery sections are. It’s easier to cook fresh meals when your ingredients are fresh and you buy fewer packaged foods, which are shelved in the center of the store. This strategy works especially well if you’re like me and look for inspiration when grocery shopping.
  • Keep a plate of vegetables and fruit out for snacking. Just as I am a moth to a flame when I see a charcuterie board, I find that if I prep some vegetables and fruit in the morning and leave them out on the counter, my family is more apt to graze on them throughout the day. It could be as simple as carrots and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and mixed berries. I just know that when they’re prepped and accessible, they’ll be gone by the end of the day!
  • Experiment. Sometimes we make decisions about a vegetable after one bite, when really, all foods deserve a second chance. Peas, for example. Growing up, I was never a fan of the over-boiled peas my mother would serve, but it wasn’t until many years later that I experimented with other ways of cooking peas — for example, in a puree, in a simple salad, or as a bright topping for ricotta pizza. I learned to love the little nuggets! So give peas (and other veggies) a chance and try cooking them in various ways. You may be surprised.
  • Add one extra veggie to a dish. When in doubt, start small. A dish doesn’t have to be completely vegetarian. Try adding just one new veggie to every meal, and you will, over the long term, eat more vegetables. To me, that is the bigger gain. It could mean adding a few handfuls of spinach to your soup, some frozen corn to your burrito, or some broccoli to your stir-fry. It all adds up!

RELATED: What ‘Eating a Plant-Based Diet’ REALLY Means (& How to Get Started)

3 Healthy Bowl Recipes to Power Your New Year

With healthy-eating resolutions for the new year in mind, here are three hearty, satisfying bowl recipes that make it easy to get your daily veggie fix. Enjoy!

Curry Chicken Salad Bowls

These salad bowls are inspired by the chicken salad sandwiches Liren’s mother used to make. Using Greek yogurt to add a unique twist, serving this traditional recipe in a salad bowl is an easy way to help you meet the recommended goal of eating at least two-and-a-half cups of vegetables every day. Liren serves the chicken salad atop a bed of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, diced mango, and toasted naan bread. Yum!

Healthy bowl recipes: Curry Chicken Salad Bowls

This curry chicken salad bowl recipe is an easy (and delicious!) way to get your daily dose of fresh fruit and veggies, with plenty of hearty protein still in the mix. Image: Liren Baker

Curry Chicken Salad Bowl

Curry Chicken Salad Bowls

Liren Baker
Take chicken salad to a whole new level with this delicious salad bowl recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Main Course, Entrée
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 532 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Meat from 2 roasted chicken breasts diced
  • cup finely diced red onions
  • cup chopped fresh chives
  • cup finely diced celery
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted, salted cashews plus whole cashews for garnish if desired
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups lettuce
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 mango pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 4 naan toasted and cut into wedges
  • Lime wedges, for serving optional
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, red onions, chives, celery, raisins, and cashews.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and lime juice. Stir the dressing into the chicken mixture until combined. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the chicken salad on top of the lettuce along with the cucumbers, tomatoes, mango, and toasted naan. If desired, serve with lime wedges and a garnish of cilantro.

Nutrition

Calories: 532kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 17gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 1170mgPotassium: 518mgFiber: 6gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 1496IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 164mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Healthy Bowl, Healthy Recipes, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chipotle Black Bean Bowls

While the ingredient list for these roasted sweet potato bowls may seem daunting at first glance, Liren says these are perfect for meal prepping, as they can be whipped up easily for low-maintenance meals all week long. Liren also includes ingredients and instructions for a creamy chipotle sauce that adds a spicy kick. Plus, keep scrolling for an easy-to-follow recipe for quick pickled red onions, which add extra flavor and crunch!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chipotle Black Bean Bowls

These roasted sweet potato and chipotle black bean bowls are the perfect make-ahead meal. Image: Liren Baker

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chipotle Black Bean Bowls

Liren Baker
Looking for an easy meal to prepare ahead of a busy week? These bowls are sure to do the trick!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time for Kale 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 651 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Kale:

  • 2 cups destemmed and chopped kale
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon kosher salt

For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

For the Creamy Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • Kosher salt

For the Bowls:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 avocado pitted, peeled, and diced
  • 1 cup quick pickled red onion (see recipe after this one)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges

Instructions
 

Prepare the kale:

  • Place the kale, olive oil, and salt in a bowl. Massage the kale for 1 minute. It will shrink in volume. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare the sweet potatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
  • While the oven preheats, place the peeled and quartered sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the sweet potatoes just until the edges give a bit to pressure from a fork, about 8 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them, or they could turn mushy.
  • Drain the sweet potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder. Sprinkle the spice blend onto the sweet potatoes and toss to evenly coat. Scatter the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until browned and fork-tender.
  • When the sweet potatoes are fully cooked, transfer to a bowl and toss in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Make the creamy chipotle sauce:

  • Place the yogurt, chipotle pepper, lime juice, garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt in a blender or small food processor. Blend or process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Set aside until ready to assemble the bowls, or store in the refrigerator. The sauce can be made a day ahead.

Assemble the bowls:

  • Fill serving bowls with the kale, roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, brown rice, and avocado. Garnish with the pickled red onions, creamy chipotle sauce, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition

Calories: 651kcalCarbohydrates: 86gProtein: 15gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 889mgPotassium: 1395mgFiber: 14gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 36289IUVitamin C: 62mgCalcium: 232mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Healthy Bowl, Healthy Recipes, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Quick-Pickled Red Onions

Liren Baker
You can add these onions to almost any dish for a fun twist!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Pickle Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer or Garnish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups (6-8 servings)
Calories 86 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  • Place the sliced onion in a jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onion and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for 1 hour.
  • Serve immediately or keep refrigerated for future use. The onions will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 86kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1750mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Healthy Bowl, Healthy Recipes, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

RELATED: 4 Power Bowl Recipes for a Nutritious, Delicious Meal

Beef Satay Bowls with Cucumber and Carrot Slaw

This Thai-inspired recipe includes flavorful marinated sirloin steak that grills in minutes, a delicious cucumber and carrot slaw, edamame, and a peanut sauce full of flavor. While Liren serves her beef on skewers, she notes that this step is optional. However you choose to serve this meal, it’s the perfect dish to mix up your meal plans!

Healthy bowl recipes: Beef Satay Bowls with Cucumber and Carrot Slaw

These beef satay bowls are likely to land on the most-requested list among family and friends. Image: Liren Baker

Beef Satay Bowls with Cucumber and Carrot Slaw

Liren Baker
These beef satay bowls are served with cucumber and carrot slaw and a delicious peanut sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Time to Marinate Beef 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4 servings
Calories 575 kcal

Equipment

  • 8 (9-inch) wooden or stainless-steel skewers (optional)

Ingredients
  

For the Marinated Beef:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more to oil grill gates
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onions
  • 1 1-inch piece lemongrass (from bottom third of stalk) pounded with flat of the blade of a chef's knife and minced
  • pounds top sirloin steak sliced into 2-inch pieces, ¼-inch thick

For the Cucumber and Carrot Slaw:

  • 1 medium cucumber cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots about 2 medium carrots
  • cup thinly sliced red onions
  • cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
  • cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

For the Peanut Sauce:

  • ¼ cup creamy, salted peanut butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon untoasted sesame oil unrefined
  • Up to ½ cup boiling water

For Serving/Garnish:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen edamame cooked and shelled
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage optional
  • Black and/or white sesame seeds for garnish
  • Lime wedges for serving

Instructions
 

  • Marinate the beef:
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, fish sauce, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, ginger, Sriracha, coriander, and turmeric. Stir in the red onions, lemongrass, and beef, coating well with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Make the slaw:

  • In a glass bowl, combine all the ingredients for the slaw, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the bowls. The slaw can be made a day in advance.

Cook the beef and assemble the bowls:

  • If using wooden skewers and a grill, soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. You can also use stainless-steel skewers. Skewer the meat. Alternatively, you can use an outdoor or stovetop grill pan and skip the skewering altogether.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Lightly oil the grates. Grill the beef for 4 to 5 minutes, turning periodically, until browned. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Make the peanut sauce and assemble the bowls:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, Sriracha, fish sauce, honey, and sesame oil while slowly drizzling in the hot water until you achieve your desired consistency.
  • Distribute the rice among four bowls. Top with the beef, cucumber and carrot slaw, edamame, cabbage (if using), and a drizzle of peanut sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges and additional peanut sauce on the side.

Nutrition

Calories: 575kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 50gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 3337mgPotassium: 1503mgFiber: 10gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 5655IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 175mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Healthy Bowl, Healthy Recipes, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate
Tried this recipe?Rate it above to let us know how it was!

Meat to the Side: A Plant-Forward Guide to Bringing Balance to Your Plate by Liren Baker is available now and includes even more tips and plant-based recipes. Cover design photos by Tatiana Briceag

Here’s to a happy, healthy new year!

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