I just want to share a couple of fairly recent Cooking Light recipes I made last week on my quest to eat more vegetables: Garbanzo Beans and Greens (from our Jan/Feb issue, show at left) and Fall Vegetable Curry (from October 2010). I loved these two because they’re both fairly simple and quick, but most importantly, they’re delicious.

A couple of things came to my mind as I prepared these recipes. First, I realized how thankful I am for prechopped vegetables. I do not always buy these, but they can be lifesavers for the busy cook trying to up her daily vegetable intake. My mother gives me a hard time about buying prechopped vegetables, saying they’re too expensive. However, my mother is also retired and has all day to chop kale. They do generally cost a bit more. But if you’re short on time and can fit them into your budget, and buying them will help you eat more vegetables, they’re worth it.  If it weren’t for bags of prechopped kale, my experience with this current “It Girl” of vegetables would be severely limited. I generally buy one or two prechopped items for veggie-heavy recipes: For example, for these recipes, I bought prechopped kale for the greens and bagged cauliflower florets for the curry. On the plus side, things like canned beans and chickpeas are so commonplace and inexpensive, I don’t think anyone, even my mother, begrudges me using those.

All that said, let’s get to the heart of the matter: Both of these recipes were fantastic. I thought they were both so well seasoned. I like the taste of most vegetables, but I do tend to think they aren’t very exciting, especially if they’re just steamed or blanched. I loved the paprika and cumin in the Garbanzo Beans and Greens, not to mention the bacon. (The addition of bacon could probably get me excited about any vegetable.) The Fall Vegetable Curry, which I made with curry powder and ground red pepper, of course had flavor in spades. It was like something I would order at a restaurant but have little experience making at home. Both of these recipes feature chickpeas—one of my most recently discovered vegetables. I’d had them before, but I didn’t really seek our recipes for them until last year. I had heard that they’re a good diet aid because they’re so filling, and I have found that to be true. I wasn’t sure the Garbanzo Beans and Greens would seem like a real meal to me, but it was plenty filling, in large part because of those legumes.

I will definitely be working these two winners into my recipe rotation. Happy cooking!