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  • Gretchen

Veggin' Out

It’s three days after Christmas and all through the house

All the creatures are asking…what’s for dinner??

We are still chowing down on leftover roast over here, but the holiday side dishes are pretty much depleted. After hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (with a lot of help from family since baby and toddler were underfoot), I am not in the mood for anything extravagant! However, we all have to eat, and we need a balanced meal with clean good protein, complex and easy starch (preferably gluten-free) and, of course, veggies.

My “formula” for putting together a foolproof meal is simple. It goes by many names – the plate method, the healthy plate, the balanced plate, etc. You can adapt it to whatever you have on hand. It’s like a puzzle – as long as you have half a plate of veggies, one-ish cup of complex carb, a serving of fat, and 4-6 oz clean protein, the meal is complete! A meal with all its parts helps balance blood sugar, keeps you feeling full, and helps stop those sugar cravings in their tracks.

Back to tonight’s dinner. I have the beef roast (and salmon for the kids) and we have these amazing wild rice cups (thank you, Minute Rice!) that everyone likes. I like to be thoughtful about exactly what veggies we eat and how they are prepared. Of course, it is a good idea to vary your veggies to get a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties and aid in detoxification. Since we all overindulged in the sweets, dairy and white flour products over the last several days, I want tonight’s veggie to pack a detoxification punch. I am choosing veggies from the brassicales (broccoli) and thiols (onion and garlic) families because they support good gut function (hello fiber and bitter properties!), give the liver compounds to support metabolism, and enhance urine flow and alkalinization. I also like to add fat for better nutrient absorption (and it tastes good!). Sesame seeds, oil, or paste (tahini) are especially helpful for reducing inflammation and helping the body metabolize fat. A squeeze of lemon (or any citrus fruit of your choice) will enhance your body's ability to absorb calcium from broccoli.

I don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes preparing dinner (most of that needs to be cooking time too!). Finally, the veggie needs to be something that everyone in the family (baby, toddler, and husband) will eat. Tall order, right?

Enter today’s recipe:

Steamed broccoli with sauteed onion, garlic, and sesame seeds

Serves 4


3 broccoli crowns, chopped into bite-sized pieces (fresh or a bag of frozen florets)

1/2 sweet onion, roughly chopped/diced (bigger pieces than your standard dice)

7-10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped/diced

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tsp sesame oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste


1. Steam the broccoli.

2. Add 2 tbsp grapeseed oil to a saute pan. When the oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Saute until onion and garlic are soft and slightly caramelized.

3. Turn off the heat, and add broccoli to the saute pan with garlic and onion. Add sesame seeds, sesame oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Gently mix ingredients together.

4. Enjoy!

From prep to cleanup, this dish took me 14 minutes. Not bad. Now it’s time to veg out on the couch – after all, it’s Christmas break! Veggin' out is good for the soul (and regulating those cortisol levels).

From my functional kitchen to yours – happy eating!

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