Vegetables: Episode 13

“Good Food is A Good Life”

– Sheila Inman

You should stock your kitchen with broccoli, cabbage, snow peas, peppers, and bell peppers as they are essential to your pantry. Optional items are lettuce, fresh or frozen spinach, arugula, squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cucumbers.


Do you remember when your parents insisted that you eat your broccoli? Did you hide it under the napkin or gave it to the dog? Our parents, had our best interests at heart. Broccoli is high in fiber, very high in vitamin C, contains potassium, B6 and vitamin A. Broccoli is known to benefit digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system. It also contains anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing properties.

Broccoli has come a long way, now it can be made into a pizza crust! How about that?! Here are simple recipe for broccoli pizza. Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (highly recommend) or grease with oil; set aside. Process the broccoli in a food processor or shred with a cheese grater until the broccoli is the same consistency as rice. Place broccoli in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1-2 minute or until it is steamed. Cool for at least one minute then pour broccoli onto cheese cloth and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the broccoli until you are left with a dry ball of broccoli. ”

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, eggs, cheeses, and seasoning with a spoon until fully combined. Pour mixture into the pre-lined baking sheet and shape into a pizza crust, 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and add the pizza sauce and cheese. At this point feel free to add desired toppings (veggies or meat). Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. Cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting.”



Cabbage is known as a brassica vegetable. Its plant family includes, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. Savoy, spring greens, green, red, and white cabbages are commonly found in grocery stores.

Cabbage is full of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant commonly found in blue, purple, and red plants . It reduces inflammation, provides cancer protection, and boost brain function. Cabbage prevents bile from absorbing fat after a meal, which lowers the overall amount of cholesterol in the body.

Try cabbage in homemade “Pho.” Imagine the taste of scallions, and Shiitake mushrooms, accompanied with succulent shrimps in a savory broth.


Snow Peas

Snow peas can be eaten whole, while the peas are still in the pod. They are fully edible and not meant to be discarded. These pods are also a source of good nutrients and contain cancer prevention components.

Each pod contains up to seven peas, and these peas can be cooked or eaten raw. Most people remove them from their garden in an unripe form, which is when they are tender, but still crunchy.

They take very little effort to prepare, and can be added to a number of meals, or simply eaten as a snack. Snow peas are full of vitamins A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, and small levels of healthy fats. Each pod is low in calories, with slightly over 1 calorie per pod.

It’s a heart healthy food as they are low in cholesterol. Try some in a stir fry!


Bell Peppers

Did you know bell peppers are fruits that belong to the nightshade family? They are related to chili peppers, tomatoes, and breadfruit, all of which are native to Central and South America. Bell peppers are sometimes dried and powdered. In its dry state it is referred to as paprika.

They are low in calories and rich in vitamin C , vitamin B6(improves formation of red blood cells), vitamin K1(blood clotting and bone health), potassium(heart health), folate(important for pregnancy), vitamin E(nerves and muscles), and vitamin A.”

Bell peppers come in various colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and green. Green, unripe peppers have a slightly bitter flavor and are not as sweet as fully ripe ones.

Try bell peppers in a stir fry or green smoothie!



Lettuce has many uses. Not just for sandwiches. In ancient cultures
dried latex of lettuce was prescribed for inflated blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia, and as a tonic for the intestines and digestive system. Lettuce contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. The minerals and vitamins found in it include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.

Try lettuce in a simple salad recipe. Directions:

Cut a tomato, cucumber, radish, carrot, red pepper, yellow pepper, and lettuce leaves. Add the cut vegetables to a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of olive oil, and lime juice. Add the cut vegetables to a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of olive oil and lime juice.


Fresh or Frozen Spinach

Fresh spinach or frozen spinach. Depending on your tastes, you might prefer frozen spinach that has been thawed for its softer texture or fresh spinach for its crispness. No matter how much vitamin C frozen spinach retains, if you don’t enjoy eating it, then you won’t finish it.

Cooking with frozen vegetables, allows you to have access to a healthy dish within a few minutes. On the other hand, if you regularly cook at home, you may prefer the convenience of fresh spinach that doesn’t require thawing before it’s ready to eat. Having frozen and fresh on hand is a good idea, depending on your wants.

“In a study published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture” in 2007, University of California, Davis, researchers reviewed the variable nutrient content of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits. According to their findings, “freshly picked vegetables consistently contained the greatest amounts of ascorbic acid in all vegetables studied.” However, the authors found that spinach stored at room temperature lost 100 percent of its ascorbic acid in less than four days. Frozen spinach goes through a flash-freezing process that preserves it within hours after it leaves the soil, so it retains more of its vitamin C content than fresh spinach. Both forms of spinach retain their high vitamin A content well.”

Try fresh spinach as a healthy snack. Add balsamic vinegar, and your favorite veggies for simple salad..



If you ever see a salad green referred to as “rocket,” it’s simply another name for arugula, or roquette in French.1

“Arugula is known as an antioxidant. It’s an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C (to boost the immune system) and K (for bone strength), folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. Its flavonoid content has multiple benefits: to lower inflammation, prevent cholesterol from sticking to arteries, manage high blood pressure levels, increase blood flow and improve blood vessel function. “

Paler leaves have a mild flavor. These younger are good for fresh dishes like salad and pesto. The older, darker leaves have a bit of pepper to them, making them stand out in soups and pizza toppings.



The individual species include dozens of varieties, including buttercup, hubbard, cushaw, acorn, summer, autumn, and winter squash. Other varieties include pumpkin and zucchini. Some varieties are simplified into either summer or winter squash. This depends on when the squash ripens, and what flavor and health benefits the acquirer is trying to gain. Gourds, have many classifications as well.

Squash has multiple healing properties. Different varieties of squash have the ability to improve vision, aid in skin care, strengthen the immune system, prevent cancer, manage symptoms of diabetes, build strong bones, protect heart health, and reduce the symptoms of insomnia.

Squash is extremely flexible and can be used as an element of salads when fresh. They can be cooked as baked vegetables with meat, flattened into patties, fried, or included as a base flavor for soups. The seeds of squash are also edible and sometimes their oils can be extracted. The shoots and tendrils of squashes can also be eaten as greens in a salad.

Grilled squash is the best. Grill it will other vegetables or turn it into a kabob with your favorite meat.


Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of energy, carbohydrates, and fiber. They also contain a wide array of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.  “A single serving of sweet potato alone will provide more than 400% of your daily dose of vitamin A.”

This is a simple recipe that you might enjoy! Directions:

Pierce a whole sweet potato with a fork a few times. Place it in the microwave on medium-high for approximately 6-7 minutes. Turn the sweet potato about every 2 minutes. Once the potato has been cooked, cut the potato in half. Cut into squares or into whatever shape you like. Take a few slices of butter and put in between some of the squares. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle parmesan on top. Broil the sweet potatoes on medium-high for 6-12 minutes (depending on how crisp you like yours). Garnish with chives, pinch of parmesan cheese and sour cream. This is the best! You have the best of both worlds. Sweet and savory!



Cucumbers are extremely healthy and nutritious. Those looking to stay in shape and eat well should consider eating more of them. Cucumbers are made up of a large amount of water. If you like to run, then take some along. Consuming cucumbers throughout the day will offer your body hydration, which is always important.

Cucumbers can provide up to 95% of water. It also is known as a blood pressure stabilizer. This vegetable contains potassium, so it is heart healthy, It improves digestion due to its high water content. If you are having any gastrointestinal problems like acidity, try a cucumber. Cucumbers are said to be the first line of protection against cancer.

Here’s a tasty cucumber recipe. Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and Italian dressing mix. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.

Spread the cream cheese mixture onto slices of French bread or the bread of choice. Top with a cucumber slice, and sprinkle with dill. The cream cheese mixture keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.