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Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Eat Your Veggies!

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Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Eat Your Veggies!

Not a fan of vegetables? These three recipes will change your mind

I have never, until a few years back, been a very big vegetable eater.  For me, vegetables were kind of bland, nondescript and something that perked up the main dish with a touch of color.  Only in the last decade have I become a fan of vegetables and making them the star of my meals, pretty much at the same time as I started frequenting the farmers’ markets in a more fresh veggiesconsistent way.  Then, with new purchases comes new research and with new research, new inspiration and new recipes, and, knowing me, once I discover something new in the kitchen, I just can’t keep it to myself and have to convert every kid, neighbor, co-worker and occasional passerby.

Food is about enthusiasm for me, and probably my most tangible source of creativity, so it is hard for me to keep it bottled up in a very fashionably conservative way.  Many friends have received more than once an email from me that started with “Oh my God!!! You have to try this!!!”  The number of exclamation points is directly proportional to the excellence of the recipe, and, although my daughter comments on a regular basis that I am no longer a teenager and should stop behaving like one, it is extremely hard for me to contain myself when I find something noteworthy to talk about in the kitchen.

This being said, being a mom of four, I have faced the traditionally traumatic meals when no kid will dare touch the bright colorful stuff that accompanies their favorite meat in the plate.  Forget about beets and bok choy, about jicama and salsify, just the plain ol’ carrots and peas were the biggest offenders in my children’s eyes.  They managed to develop the admirable skill of dancing around, recomposing, crushing and even dissimulating the offenders in such a way that I often gave up and off to the garbage went the uneaten little pack of vitamins that I dutifully had tried to expose them to.

It is hard for someone who has such a passion for making people happy at the table to suffer such a blow in the hands of little people, and furthermore, my own offsprings. Oh how it got to my ego!  Little did I know that, many years down the road, they would, in their own turn, become totally infatuated with the latest versions of vegetable cooking, grilling, juicing and pureeing?  But at that time, my duty as a mother was to win the battle of the vitamin intake.

So I became an adept at dissimulating vegetables in whatever form, shape or taste was appropriate to see them disappear from the plates, sometimes graced with a satisfied “That was good!”, beaming inside that I had achieved my goal of following the doctor’s orders and a little shameful that it had to be in a deceitful way.  But in the end, although neither of my kids are vegetarians, they all enjoy eating their vegetables, the boys by grilling them in a very manly way, the girls by hiding them in quiches and purees, and, some of them being graced with children of their own are now facing the same dilemma as I once did…  I am just there in my corner, watching them try to hide, in whichever way they can, those pesky veggies…  Life is so funny when it repeats itself with such obvious precision!

Eat your veggies and be well!

Make Believe Tater Tots

Serves 4


1 medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
oil for frying


Clean and trim the cauliflower, adding the florets to a microwave safe bowl. Add the cream and butter to the bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cheese to a food processor and blend until still chunky – kind of like a cooked oatmeal consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Chill for at least half an hour. Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture to lighten it up. Then fold the cauliflower mixture into the rest of the egg whites and gently mix until combined.
For best results, chill for another half hour or they won’t hold their shape as well.
Fit a pastry bag with a round or star tube with about a 3/4 inch opening. Spray the inside of the bag with nonstick spray. Gently squeeze out 1 inch sections onto a greased cookie sheet, cutting with a butter knife as you go.
When finished, bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or longer if you’re skipping the frying) until puffed and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve – or heat 1/4 inch of oil in a sauté pan and when it’s very hot add the tots. It doesn’t need long, a minute per side to turn them golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Lasagna
Serves 4


4 large zucchini, sliced thin through the length with a mandoline
Olive oil spray
1 lb ground turkey
1 16-oz container fresh button mushrooms
1 16-oz can tomato sauce (like Hunt’s Original)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups 2% milk shredded cheese, (Mexican or Cheddar blend)
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 cup milk


Heat the oven broiler and move a shelf to the top of the oven, about 4 inches from the heat.  Position the slices of zucchini on a sheet pan lined with a silpat mat.  Generously season with salt and pepper and spray with olive oil spray.  Place under the broiler for 10 minutes until bubbly. Test for doneness with the tip of a knife.  The zucchini should be tender but not falling apart. Change the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Position the shelf in the middle of the oven.
Spray a 12-inch pan with more olive oil and, when hot, brown the turkey until no traces of pink remain.  Crumble into a mixing bowl.
In the same pan, cook the mushroom until browned. Add to the turkey.  Add a little olive oil spray if necessary (do not wash the pan) and brown the onions until translucent and golden brown. Bring back the turkey and mushrooms into the pan and add the sauce and the crushed garlic.  Simmer until all elements are hot and fragrant.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a rectangular dish (smaller than a lasagna dish as this serves 4). Line the bottom with the zucchini strips.  Add half of the turkey mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and add another layer of zucchini, meat and cheese.  Cover with the remaining zucchini.
In a pan, melt the butter and add the flour until the mixture forms a paste.  Add the milk and bring to a boil.  Add salt and pepper generously.  Let cook for a few minutes.  Spread over the last layer of zucchini and cover with the remaining cheese.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Let cool slightly and serve.

Curry Shrimp with Vegetable Noodles


1 minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 yellow squash, spiralized
2 zucchini squash, spiralized
2 Tbsp curry paste
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tsp paprika
2 scallions, chopped
Handful of cilantro, chopped
3 large basil leaves, chopped
1 lb shrimp, cleaned, dried and sprinkled with kosher salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lime
Zest of one lime
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes (optional)


Heat sauté pan over medium heat.

Add olive oil and sauté shallots, red pepper, and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add curry paste and coat.  Add shrimp and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until starting to turn pink.

Add agave, soy sauce, lime juice, paprika and a dash of kosher salt.  Sauté until shallots and peppers are soft and the shrimp fully cooked, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add coconut milk and cook another minute.  Add uncooked zucchini and yellow squash noodles and coat with curry mixture.

Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add cilantro, lime zest, basil and scallions and toss together.  Salt to taste and, if desired, add red pepper flakes.

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