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13 Recipes With Hidden Fruits and Veggies

You’ll have everyone fooled.

Hidden Veggie: Tomato juice

Think of this as a red velvet cake crossed with a rich devil’s food cake. The secret to the cake’s moist crumb is nothing other than tomato juice. The acidity of the tomato balances the deep flavor of the chocolate.

Hidden Fruit: Avocado

Smoothies have become a great way to get extra fruits into our diets. This one uses avocado, which, aside from the great nutritional benefits, lends a rich and creamy mouth feel.

Get the Mango Surprise Smoothie recipe.

Hidden Veggie: Zucchini

The best thing about lasagna is the layers of flavor from the cheese, sauce, and noodles. Here’s a fun twist that replaces the layer of noodles with a layer of broiled zucchini or eggplant slices. Perfect for a vegetarian main course or those looking to reduce carbohydrates.

Lemon bars make a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up with tea. With zucchini stirred right into the lemon mixture, the snack becomes truly extraordinary.

Hidden Veggie: Carrot Juice

The moment you take a bite of this rich-tasting, aromatic risotto, you’ll forget how healthy it is. The secret to its ultra creamy texture is constant stirring and the rich carrot juice, which also gives it a gorgeous golden color.

Hidden Veggie: Butternut Squash

Many tender breads get their pleasing texture from pureed vegetables. Here, butternut squash lends a soft texture and beautiful sunny color to the bread. Try it with hearty beef or pork stews.

Hidden Veggie: Beets

Beets are so sweet that they are often processed into granulated sugar. It may sound odd, but pureed cooked beets perfectly complement the bittersweet taste of chocolate and give chocolate cakes an attractive red hue.

Hidden Veggie: Eggplant

To make richer-tasting mashed potatoes, add mashed roasted eggplant. Pierce the skin of an eggplant all over with a fork (so it won’t explode). Roast it on a baking sheet at 425°F until the skin wrinkles all over and the flesh becomes tender, about 45 minutes. Or to char, cook the whole eggplant on a grill over direct heat until blackened all over and the flesh is soft. Cool the eggplant, then halve lengthwise and scoop the flesh from skin. Puree or mash the flesh with 1 minced garlic clove and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, boil 3 pounds russet or golden potatoes in plenty of lightly salted water until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain, peel, and chop. Mash in the pot with a potato masher and mix in the pureed eggplant, 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Hidden Veggie: Peas

To make low-fat guacamole
To make low-fat guacamole, puree peas and use them to replace some or all of the avocados in your favorite guacamole recipe.

Hidden Veggie: Tomato Paste

To make moist and luscious chocolate cake
To make moist and luscious chocolate cake, thin some tomato paste to the consistency of tomato puree and add to your regular cake batter. The sugar in the tomatoes will enhance the sweet flavor of the cake, while the acidity in the tomatoes will help to tenderize its texture.

Hidden Veggie: Watercress

Sometimes simplicity reigns supreme as is the case with this light, refreshing soup. Evaporated milk adds velvety texture without piling on the calories. Watercress and parsley add vitamins and minerals.

Hidden Veggie: Arugula

Gnocchi, little dumplings made with potatoes, are the perfect canvas for the light and aromatic flavors of pesto. Here, some of the traditional basil is replaced by peppery arugula, which perfectly complements the seared shrimp.

Get the Gnocchi With Seared Shrimp and Pesto recipe.

Hidden Veggie: Carrot

Everybody wonders how these rolls get their subtly sweet flavor and gorgeous golden color. Look no further than the humble carrot.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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