Hide Heaps of Veggies in These 3 Delicious Dinners

Jen StaggAll Categories, Diet & Weight Loss, Food, RecipesLeave a Comment

Have picky eaters that won’t eat vegetables? Or struggle to get all the servings of veggies in you should for you or your family? Here are 3 recipes I go to frequently that are both veggie-packed and delicious. Try the Garden Chili, Double Dose Veggie Pasta, or Tantalizing Turkey Loaf if you’re looking for a new dinner idea!

Garden Chili

This is an all-time favorite in my household and a go-to any time of the year. My husband is not a fan of leftovers but when there’s leftover chili in the house, it gets eaten! Besides knowing I’m getting a well-balanced, healthy meal, one of the best things about it is its flexibility. My mom adapted the recipe from one in the Moosewood Cookbook many years ago and I’ve been making it ever since, modifying it for whatever vegetables I feel like throwing in. Sometimes I add different bell peppers for color and on a rare occasion thrown in finely chopped zucchini or squash. Bulgur or tempeh can make a reasonable substitute for the meat if you want it to be completely vegetarian.


  • 1.5 cups diced celery
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1.5 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced green or red bell pepper
  • 1 can of chili beans/kidney beans
  • ½ – 1 pound ground turkey (or grass-fed beef, or bulgur)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  2. Add carrots and celery and a little more olive oil and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally until carrots are almost as soft as you’d like them. Sometimes I like to leave them a little bit crunchy for texture. Any other harder vegetables you’re using need to go in earlier if you want them to be soft.
  3. Throw in the bell pepper and any other veggies you’re cooking. Stir and let them cook with the lid on for a few minutes.
  4. Add in the can of beans and the diced tomatoes. Turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer.
  5. If you’re adding meat, now would be a good time to cook it in a separate pan. I like to add most of the chili powder and some of the salt to the meat itself to give it some extra flavor.
  6. Add the meat to the pot and the rest of the seasoning and let it simmer some more. At this point it can be eaten at any point but sometimes it’s better if all of the flavors get a chance to meld together.
  7. Enjoy!

Double Dose Veggie Pasta

You’ll get so many veggies in with this pasta dish it will blow your mind! The “double dose” comes in if you use spaghetti squash for your noodles or if you use a spiralizer to make noodles from zucchini or squash. There are also other pasta options that are healthier than the run of the mill white flour option. These include Explore Asian’s 100% mung bean pasta, Ezekial’s Sprouted Grain Pasta, and Tolerant Foods Red Lentil Pasta to name a few. These alternatives also help balance out the meal because they are generally pretty high in protein.


  • Pasta of your choice (see above)
  • 1 24 oz. jar of pasta sauce (I like to start with an organic tomato pasta sauce as a base then “doctor it up” with my own spices and veggies. The brand varies for me.)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound grass-fed beef or turkey (optional)
  • 2-3 organic, free-form chicken sausages (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I belong to the “you-can-never-have-too-much-garlic camp”)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne


  1. In a medium-large sauce pan sauté garlic and onions in olive oil over medium-low heat until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in zucchini, then bell pepper and mushrooms. Let cook with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the veggies are sufficiently cooked add the pasta sauce, bay leaves, and other spices.
  4. Let simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Cook any meat if you are planning to add that in and season with the salt and pepper. If you’re adding the sausages, slice and dice them before adding them to the sauce.
  6. Cook pasta as directed for the type of pasta you chose.
  7. Load up your pasta with your veggie-packed sauce and enjoy!

Tantalizing Turkey Loaf

This recipe is pretty simple, and though certainly protein-packed, I’m always surprised by how many vegetables can go into this. I like to have a couple of sides with my turkey loaf, like broccolini and quinoa or wild rice and a kale salad. This recipe makes 1 loaf, maybe 5 servings.


  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F
  2. In a pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté until soft
  4. In a large bowl mix together ground turkey and cooked vegetable mixture.
  5. Fill bread loaf pan with mixture and place in oven. Cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Mix together Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste in a bowl.
  7. When loaf is cooked, spread tomato paste mixture over the top and put the loaf back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Slice and enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to hide veggies in your meals?

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