Brownies, pasta sauce and smoothies

We all know the importance of eating vegetables, especially green vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals essential for our health. And Americans are notorious for not getting enough.

But getting our daily servings is easier said than done. After all, we can only eat a limited number of salads. That’s why it’s time to get creative and introduce greens into some of our favorite recipes, from pasta sauce to brownies.

Dawn Russell, wellness expert and founder of 8Greens, stopped by TODAY to share super easy recipes that sneak into a hidden green tooth.

Pasta sauce

Whether you have a table full of fussy kids or are looking for a way to add more nutrition to your favorite Italian dish, pasta sauce is an easy place to hide veggies.

Just quickly steam the vegetables in boiling water, then blend them in a blender. You’ll end up with a paste that you can add to any pre-made red sauce! The best part: you can use all the greens you have on hand for this.


  • 12 oz tomato passata sauce (or pasta sauce of your choice)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Thinly slice the onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini. Add the onion to a large sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add zucchini, sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes or so. Pour the tomato sauce. Add greens, stir until wilted, then pour into a blender and blend.


Throwing greens into a smoothie may be the easiest way to add them to your diet. A fun twist for the warmer months is tossing the smoothie into a popsicle tray for homemade popsicles (with a hidden health boost)! Russell said his sons love this recipe:


  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Add the ingredients to a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.


When it comes to sneaking veggies into the chocolatey treat, zucchini works best because it doesn’t spoil the taste, Russell said.

To keep picky eaters from turning their noses up at any speck of greens, peel the zucchini first, then grate them finely and add them to a pre-made brownie mix (your welcome, busy moms ).


  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 box of pre-made brownie mix

Follow the instructions on the brownie box. Add the shredded zucchini to the batter and stir to combine, then cook according to the directions on the box.


Yes, you can even squeeze some greens into happy hour. Matcha is an antioxidant-rich green tea that comes in powder form and dissolves easily in liquid.


  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 2 oz or 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tablespoon matcha
  • 1 full teaspoon of honey
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves

Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Then add all the ingredients and shake to combine. Pour the cocktail into a chilled glass with ice.

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