Dressing Up Our Daily Vegetable Serving

, Sunrise VP of Dining  |  August 25, 2011

BroccoliThe U.S. Department of Agriculture is a great place to find information on nutrition. One piece of their educational information that we all remember is the "Food Pyramid," because it's such an easy concept to understand. Foods at the narrow top should be consumed less frequently, while foods at the broader base are ones we should consume more often.

Recently, the USDA changed its educational approach to foods we should eat to a concept called "My Plate." This new approach is also easy to understand in that it points out the nutritional value we should have on our plate every time we eat. As always, the focus is on fresh fruits and vegetables. The recommendation is that half of every plate we eat should be fruits and vegetables.

From a nutritional point of view, this is easy to understand. Most of the vitamins and minerals we need come from fruits and vegetables, so when you look at your plate, look to be sure half of it is full of these items. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov, which is a useful website for finding information regarding what our plate should look like and what nutritional values there are in the foods we eat.

Today's recipe focuses on vegetables. Although some people may think of vegetables as boring and bland, this recipe is delicious! It can be served as an appetizer or a side with lunch or dinner.

Skewered Vegetables with Tortellini and Pesto

24 pieces of fresh cheese tortellini
24 small broccoli florets
24 cherry tomatoes
14oz can of tomatoes
8 basil leaves
2 table spoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 table spoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced

Cook the tortellini. Add the broccoli in the last minute just bringing out the bright green color. Drain.
Make eight skewers using 2 each of tortellini, broccoli and tomatoes.
Add all the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until chunky.
Place the salsa in a bowl, place the bowl on a platter and surround with skewers.
Spoon salsa over skewers and enjoy.