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8 Dishes That Will Make You Want to Eat Your Veggies

By Sarah Freeman
March 13, 2014

Remember when you were a little kid and your mom wouldn't let you leave the table until you pushed the vegetables around enough so it looked like you ate some? Things haven't changed all that much. In a world where we can have our bacon and eat it for dessert too, it's easy to ignore the green stuff. Luckily, a few Chicago chefs are making it easier to clean your plate by showcasing exemplary examples of seasonal produce.

  • Brussels Spouts at Maude’s

    Chicago's modern Brussels sprout movement can be traced back to a single restaurant group that made the often-snuffed vegetable cool again. These hip and happening sprouts are served blackened in clarified butter and chicken jus. The crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside Brussels are served with Parmesan and chives.

    840 W. Randolph St.; 312-243-9712

  • Broccoli at Boka

    It may be easy to overlook the seemingly simple roasted broccoli salad on chef Lee Wolen’s new menu, but don’t. Flourettes are served with yogurt, preserved lemon, smoked ham and Marcona almonds and covered with a thick layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Think of it like ham and cheese that happens to be served on a bed of broccoli.

    1729 N. Halsted St.; 312-337-6070

  • Beets at Sophie’s

    A good dish has a good story to go with it. This dish was inspired by the chef’s Polish grandmother and her affinity for beets. Roasted beets are marinated in yuzu juice, agave nectar, spices and herbs. Once the beets are cooled and have absorbed the flavors of the marinade, they are sliced and served with fresh burrata cheese, candied pecans and pomegranate reduction.

    700 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-525-3400

  • Photo by: Potluck Creative

    Carrots at Nellcôte

    When chef Jared Van Camp decided it was time for a lifestyle change, he infused the menu at his West Loop restaurant with healthy options. All of the veggies featured on this restaurant's veggie-driven menu are locally sourced from Nichols Farm, Green Acres Farm, Klug Farms or Kinnikinnick Farm. The Green Acres Farm wood-roasted carrots agrodolce is served with capers, pine nuts and golden raisins.

    833 W. Randolph St.; 312-432-0500

  • Cauliflower at Stella Barra

    We have a difficult time justifying Jeff Mahin’s addictive pizza as healthy, but we can call the roasted cauliflower a more nutritious option. The cauliflower steak, a beefy piece of cauliflower that can be found at Balena and other restaurants roasting vegetables in their wood-burning ovens, is served with brown butter, smoked provolone, hazelnuts and lemon.

    1954 N. Halsted St.; 773-634-4101

  • Green Beans at Girl & the Goat

    Also known as Magic Beans, if anyone can get even the most abhorrent veggie haters to eat their vegetables, it's chef Stephanie Izard. The sautéed green beans are served with a drizzle of creamy fish sauce and crunchy cashews. The bold flavors and contrast of textures lends to their irresistible quality.

    809 W. Randolph St.; 312-492-6262

  • Mushrooms at Mana

    First and foremost, mushrooms are delicious. Almost as important is the fact that they contain high levels of selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and low levels of calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. All good stuff. Eat mushrooms in their finest form via this simple sauté that serves the succulent veggies over a bed of creamy polenta.

    1742 W. Division St.; 773-342-1742

  • Kale Salad at Siena Tavern

    Whether or not kale is on the outs, it still can be found on most menus around the city. The Tuscan kale salad is essentially a heartier version of a Cesar with oven-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, rosemary focaccia croutons and lemon-Cesar dressing. It is available on both the lunch and dinner menu at this trendy Italian eatery.

    51 W. Kinzie St.; 312-595-1322

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Places Mentioned

Nellcôte

American • West Loop

Food22 Decor26 Service21 Cost$47
 
 
 
Boka

American • Lincoln Park

Food26 Decor24 Service25 Cost$68
 
 
 
Maude's Liquor Bar

French • West Loop

Food25 Decor24 Service24 Cost$49
 
 
 
Girl & the Goat

Seafood • West Loop

Food27 Decor25 Service26 Cost$65
 
 
 
Siena Tavern

Italian • River North

Food24 Decor23 Service22 Cost$50
 
 
 
Mana Food Bar

Vegetarian • Wicker Park

Food26 Decor21 Service23 Cost$34
 
 
 
 
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