8 Healthy Recipe Hacks So Tasty You Won't Even Realize You're Doubling Up on Veggies

Let's give a collective hat tip to mom and dad, shall we? The mighty twosome tried their best to find ways to make us eat our vegetables from an early age. They started us on sweet potatoes, avocados, and mashed peas as soon as our pediatricians put solids on the menu; they loaded our bite-size plates up with chopped broccoli and pint-sized green beans faster than our developing tastebuds could say, “Pwease.” Much as we resented them at the time, you’ve got to hand it to ‘em — they really did their best, huh?

Too bad for them we grew up and graduated to a world where chicken fingers, French fries, and a generous helping of mint chocolate chip ice cream constituted a "well-balanced meal." (At least it's… green?) Now, a healthy helping of veggies includes a few extra packages of ketchup (the tomatoes are real, right?) — and if we’re feeling really adventurous, we’ll stop by the local juicer for a kale-buckwheat-chia-seed smoothie to wash down that double cheeseburger we ordered for lunch at the office.

Being an adult may mean we’ve earned the right to ignore most of the rules that mom and dad try to pass on (like combing our hair and chewing with our mouths closed), but we’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to cleaning up in the veggie department, we could use a little parental guidance.

Lucky for us, these eight recipes are so sneaky and so delicious, upping the ante on those leafy greens and vitamin-fueled veggies got a hell of a lot easier.

Image: Naturally Ella

Leek and Walnut Pesto

You can keep things basic with the same song-and-dance pesto we’ve all been indulging in for years, or you can rip a page right out of My Name Is Yeh’s book and try this stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks veggie-filled recipe. (Hint: We’re opting for the latter.)

Image: My Name Is Yeh

Bourbon Bacon Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Do you normally take your bourbon with a side of starchy sweet potatoes? After laying eyes on this How Sweet It Is specialty, you will.

Image: How Sweet It Is

Zucchini Buckwheat Banana Bread

Why fuss over whether or not your dinner includes a starch, protein, and a veggie when you can just snack on this whole loaf instead? Even though there’s research to prove the opposite, we’re going to go ahead and confirm that eating this little Leaf Parade number only makes the nutritional takeaway that much stronger.

Image: Leaf Parade

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Let’s play a little game, OK? How many of you realized your favorite fall soup was LOADED with fibrous broccoli florets? None of you? OK, good. Because this Munchin with Munchkin dynamite recipe is pretty much our seasonal staple these days.

Image: Munchin With Munchkin

Brussels Sprout Salad With Red Onion and Pecorino

It may look like your average salad — you know, the kind you overlook when there’s mashed potatoes, creamy mac ‘n cheese, and fresh-from-the-oven rolls competing for your attention at the dinner table — but one bite of this decadent dish will have you singing a different

tune. You can go right ahead and blame Not Without Salt for this game changer.

Image: Not Without Salt

Baked Beet Chips

Sure, they look like purple bliss potatoes baked to crispy, chip-like perfection, but the joke’s on you — these chips are made from beets. Naturally Ella, we salute you.

Image: Naturally Ella

Stovetop Spinach Basil Pesto Mac and Cheese

Allow me to introduce you to the Cinderella of tonight’s menu, The Comfort of Cooking’s very brave, very beautiful, very breathtaking spinach basil pesto mac and cheese.

Image: The Comfort of Cooking

Sweet Potato Fries

Chances are you’ve already made the swap from regular fries to sweet potato fries at dinner, brunch, and everything in between, but have you ever tested your culinary creativity and made them on your own? With Style & Grace can help with that.

Image: With Style & Grace