One of my favorite topics is actually talking about food shopping. The term I like to use is going ‘swapping’ because I love to swap out processed ingredients with healthier wholesome natural ingredients as often as I can. When I’m at the grocery store, I am like a detective. You’ll see me looking and searching for new ideas and new ways to use vegetables and new products that come out on the market that have wholesome simple ingredients. The produce department is definitely my favorite part of the grocery store.
Personally, I try to keep my fridge very full of all different types of vegetables so that when it’s time to make a meal I can just open my fridge and I have tons of variety. I always try to have a good amount of greens in my house. I’ll always stock up on mixed greens, arugula (because we love it), and spinach. Sometimes I’ll have broccoli or cauliflower. I always make sure there’s a green for the base of a salad. There’s also always cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and tons of other toppings for a salad. Sometimes if I’m really organized, I’ll even have them chopped up and ready in the fridge.
I always try to have a variety of vegetables that can be easily steamed, sautéed or roasted like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and asparagus. I’ll even just sauté mushrooms and put them in some blanched spinach for an easy vegetable side.
It is a priority for me to have a salad available pretty much every day and vegetables that are green and low carb. When I see I’m running low; it means it’s time to go swapping again.
Here are my top four categories:
- Onions and Mushrooms: I love to make a huge pan (or pans) of stir-fried mushrooms, onions, and fresh garlic. I usually buy all different kinds of onions: purple onions, sweet onions, shallots, leeks, and fresh garlic and sauté them. I aim to make two or three pans a week of caramelized onions. This way I always have the option of adding it to a dish during the week. I do the same thing with mushrooms. I take shiitake mushrooms, white mushrooms, Portobello mushrooms, and wild mushrooms and I’ll sauté them usually separately and then mix them together. Sometimes I’ll blend it up to make a dip or a marinade which is perfect for chicken and meats and dipping sauces. It’s one of my favorite ways of truly utilizing the flavors of nature. It’s something I do all year round but it’s a great tip for Pesach.
- Root Vegetables: Root vegetables are something that I am always highly stocked up on. There are always squashes in my pantry and sweet potatoes in my fridge. I find the fastest way to make a root vegetable dish when I’m pressed for time is to cube them before I cook them, and make a mash when they’re done. Some of the primary roots I use are kabuki squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and spaghetti squash.
- Fruits: When it comes to fruits, I have my go-to’s. I always have frozen berries in my freezer; I tend to eat a lot of frozen fruit in smoothies and puddings. I also make sure to keep apples, pears, and grapefruit stocked for healthy snacks. When clementines come out, I usually have a bowl of them on my counter. My family loves when summer fruits are in season, and it’s always a great treat. We also love grapes in my house; I like to make frozen grapes for Shabbos. I’ll buy fresh grapes, wash them and stick them in the freezer and serve those as dessert; everybody loves them. Very often, we’ll take any leftover fruit that’s in the house and cook it up and make it either into a fruit crisp like apple or berry crisp or even just a compote.
- Celery Root: Most people who know me well know that I use celery root very often. I love to make celery root crumbs (watch how I do it on my show Living Full ‘n Free); I bread chicken or fish with it and use it as a binder in salmon patties, tuna patties or even meatballs. It works great as a side dish and adds an interesting element to put underneath appetizers instead of the classic mash. I also love that is so versatile and can replace rice. I’ve breaded cauliflower with celery root so it’s like a double vegetable whammy, making it more fun and adding a pop. You can even just use them over string beans or another vegetable as a topping where you would normally use nuts. It adds a different flavor and color to your dish.
The beauty of fruit and vegetables: if you don’t end up using them there’s always something that you can do with them. Soups, kugels, stir-fries, salads, roasted vegetable medleys…just to name a few.
I try very hard to keep my vegetables varied and tasty and a huge focal point of my meals.
You can find many of my produce-packed recipes right here on Kosher.com. Use them to fill your plate with Hashem’s perfect food!