Brownies, Pasta Sauce and Smoothies

We all know the importance of eating veggies — especially greens, which are packed with vitamins and minerals that are vital to our health. And Americans are notorious for not getting enough.

But getting our daily servings is easier said than done. After all, we can only eat so many salads. That’s why it’s time to get creative and sneak greens into some of our favorite recipes, from pasta sauce to brownies.

Dawn Russell, wellness expert and founder of 8Greens, stopped by TODAY to share some super-easy recipes that sneak in a hidden in-green-dient.

Pasta sauce

Whether you have a table full of picky kids or are looking for a way to add more nutrition to your favorite Italian dish, pasta sauce is an easy place to hide veggies.

Simply steam vegetables quickly in boiling hot water, then blitz in a blender. You’ll be left with a paste you can add to any pre-made red sauce! The best part: You can use any greens you have on-hand for this.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz passata tomato sauce (or pasta sauce of choice)
  • 1 cup spinach 
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion 
  • 1 zucchini 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Thinly slice onion and garlic. Slice zucchini. Add onion to a wide sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up heat to medium, add zucchini, sauté until softened and they take on a bit of color, about 5 minutes or so. Pour in tomato sauce. Add greens, stir to wilt and then pour into a blender and blend. 

Smoothie

Throwing greens into a smoothie may just be the easiest way to add them to your diet. A fun twist for warmer months is to pop the smoothie into a popsicle tray for homemade ice pops (with a hidden health boost)! Russell said that her sons love this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups spinach 
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds 

Add ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Brownies

When it comes to sneaking veggies into the chocolatey treat, zucchini works best since it won’t mess with the taste, said Russell.

To avoid picky eaters turning their nose up at any speck of green, peel the zucchini first and then finely grate it and add to a pre-made brownie mix (your welcome, busy moms).

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 box pre-made brownie mix 

Follow the instructions on the brownie box. Add shredded zucchini to the batter and stir to combine, then bake per the instructions on the box. 

Matcha cocktail

Yes, you can even squeeze some greens into happy hour. Matcha is an antioxidant-rich green tea that comes in powdered form and easily dissolves in liquid.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 2 oz or 4 tablespoons any milk
  • 1 tbsp matcha
  • 1 full tsp honey
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves

Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Then add all the ingredients and shake to combine. Pour cocktail into fresh glass with ice.