Even (or especially) if you’re a bacon cheeseburger guy, there are good reasons to shift to a more plant-centric diet. And it’s not hard to make it taste great, either. You don’t have to go full vegan or vegetarian, especially if you’re afraid of not getting enough protein (though we assure you—with beans, quinoa, and nuts like pistachios—it’s not as hard as it seems).
Deep down, you know you need to eat more vegetables. The research is unequivocal. Upping your produce intake has a windfall of health benefits: lower blood pressure, improved brain function, weight loss, reduced risk of cancer. In short, vegetables outperform any vitamin or supplement out there.
But the problem isn’t a lack of intel. You’re probably not eating enough plants for the same reasons your mom had to force-feed you spinach as a kid: Vegetables can be bland. And they’re easily overcooked, stripping away their best qualities (flavor, texture).
Luckily, vegetables are enjoying a cultural moment. Vegan and vegetarian restaurants have gone from slinging black bean burgers to serving haute cuisine. Athletes and celebs tout their plants-only diets. And a trove of new cookbooks are making veggies cool. Every cuisine is getting a meat-free reboot—barbecue included.
To find out whether eating more vegetables is truly as tasty as it is healthy we turned to a trio of current cookbooks. What did we learn? It’s not about finding beefy standings—although we did—but experimenting with flavors and techniques. Here’s how.
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