The Return of the Veggie Bracket!

Last year in the fever of March Madness, we created our very own “Veggie Bracket.” One of our regular bloggers, Kenny, tried every vegetable on the bracket and went through the pain staking process of picking broccoli as his winner. Check out the final chapter of his saga here: The Veggie Bracket: The Final Four.

Well guess what? It’s back!

Veggie_Madness_Bracket

This year, we teamed up with our pals at Oregon State to bring “Veggie Madness” to the OSU campus. “Oregon State University’s Healthy Campus Initiative looks for entertaining and engaging ways to educate students and staff about living healthy, and Veggie Madness ties in great with two popular programs: National Nutrition Month and March Madness,” said Lisa Hoogesteger, director of Healthy Campus Initiatives for Oregon State University.

Here’s the best part, you can vote too! From March 3-5, you can weigh in by going here: Veggie Madness. Or, if you can make it to Corvallis, OR, you can vote on campus at the MU Quad on March 4-5. So you tell us what’s better, artichokes or asparagus, cucumbers or bell peppers, kale or broccoli. These are heavyweight battles, it’s going to get tense.

So get ready for some true March Madness. We hope to see you in Corvallis next week, and most importantly, good luck with your bracket.

March Madness: The Veggie Bracket (part 2)

Since I’m a pathetic vegetable eater, I decided to bring a little fun to the process. So last week, I rolled out my Veggie Bracket (part 1). With the “Color Me Bad” and “Get Your Leaf On” regions complete, here’s how things look so far:

Veggie Bracket_side one

Time to dive into the next region; “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

Broccoli vs. Green Beans: Thanks to the fact that green beans smell like a burning dumpster, this was a pretty easy call. Broccoli is also considered a super food, so it ranks higher on taste, nutritional value, and perhaps most importantly, smell. Broccoli wins in a landslide.

Asparagus vs. Cucumber: This was neck and neck. Both are crisp, refreshing, and have that “snap” factor that I love. I’ve always been a fan of cucumbers on sandwiches, but a cucumber on its own doesn’t match the flavor of asparagus. Tough call, but asparagus takes the battle.

Broccoli vs. Asparagus: The “It’s not Easy Being Green” region is by far the most competitive region in my bracket, and it showed with this bout. Both are delicious, easy to prepare, and loaded with nutrition. But according to most nutritionists, broccoli is the healthier of the two. Since flavor and texture are a wash, broccoli takes the region.

Veggie Bracket_Not easy being green

Last region, a bunch of vegetables that don’t belong in any category, the “Veggie Nomad” region. 

Cauliflower vs. Squash: Pretty lame battle here. Cauliflower is essentially broccoli’s loser cousin, and squash tastes like nothing. I’ll be honest, I hated both, but since cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family (aka, super veggies), I knew it was better for me. Cauliflower wins by healthy default.

Peas vs. Corn: Is corn even a vegetable? I grew up thinking it was, but I also thought Jurassic Park was a documentary, so my childhood judgement was a little flawed. Luckily, it’s a moot point, because I opted for sugar snap peas, which are absolutely delicious. This fight was over before it started, peas for sure.

Cauliflower vs. Peas: Lets see, I can choose cauliflower which tastes like a wooden piece of broccoli, or peas, which are scrumptious…hmm, I think I’ll take the peas. It’s embarrassing that cauliflower was even in this match-up. Peas wins the “Veggie Nomad” region.

Veggie Bracket_Veggie Nomads

That leaves me with a final four of carrots, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and peas. It’s safe to say that these were the #1 seeds of the bracket. In keeping with the March Madness theme, I’ll post the champ later this week! In the meantime, feel free to weigh in if you think I’ve lost my mind with my picks! And of course, check out the first post and download your own veggie bracket.

Related Post: Veggie Bracket: The Final Countdown

March Madness: The Veggie Bracket (part 1)

Last week, we did a post asking, “How do you get your kids to enjoy vegetables?” and we got a great idea from one of our readers (thanks Justin). He suggested doing a veggie bracket with your kids to find out which is their favorite. Ok, I’m not a kid, but I stink at eating vegetables, and the idea sounded too fun to pass up! Plus, there are few things that get me as hyped as March Madness. With that in mind, I gave it a shot!

First, I nailed down my vegetable “sweet 16.” I found a local farmer’s market and looked for vegetables that were easy to buy and prepare. I spent a total of $7, and bought small samples of all 16 vegetables. Then, to replicate the NCAA hoops bracket, I classified them into “regions.” My bracket was ready, and here’s how it shaped up:

Veggie Bracket

Let’s start in the “Color Me Bad” region.

These were the vegetables that had all kinds of pretty colors, so I lumped them in their own region. Here’s how the match-ups went.

Veggie Bracket_Color me bad region

Eggplant vs. Carrots: Before this, I’d never tried eggplant before. I cut it into a few chunks, and lightly steamed it. The texture was great, but didn’t have much in terms of flavor (very similar to squash). I’m sure if I ate it with other foods, it might be a good compliment. But in this bracket,  every veggie must stand alone! Carrots are just so darn convenient, delicious, and you can pretend you’re Bugs Bunny when you eat them. Carrots got the nod.

Beets vs. Peppers: Not going to lie, this was the easiest decision of the entire bracket. My beet tasted like hot garbage and the bell peppers were delicious. Advantage Peppers.

Carrots vs. Peppers: Ok, now we have a heavyweight battle. Both are really refreshing, easy to prepare, and are loaded with healthy nutrients. The flavors were a wash, but since you can eat carrots at any time without preparation, I have to give carrots the nod. Carrots won the Color Me Bad Region.

Next, the “Get Your Leaf On” region. 

Pretty self explanatory here, these are veggies that have leaves. I wasn’t overly creative in lumping these bad boys.

Veggie Bracket_get your leaf on

Spinach vs. Romaine Lettuce: The “Popeye effect” played into an early advantage for spinach. I still fully expected my biceps to explode when I ate it. But Romaine Lettuce is crisp, refreshing, and goes with anything. I did enjoy the spinach, but Romaine is a heavyweight in this bracket. Romaine Lettuce reigns supreme.

Kale vs. Radishes: If you’re a radish fan, don’t take any offense to this, but radishes taste like spicy wood. Plus, the health benefits of kale are through the roof. Kale won this fight.

Kale vs. Romaine Lettuce: Kale is great when it comes to health, but it’s also a tad bitter. Romaine lettuce tastes the way I want a veggie to taste. It’s cool, it’s fresh, and it leaves me feeling great. Romaine takes the region!

Since I love filling out brackets, I’m going to extend this to a two parter. I’ll post the results from my other two regions next week. In the meantime, feel free to click on the big bracket above, and download your own veggie bracket! If you come up with a winner, we’d love it if you’d share it in our comments. Have fun, and happy March Madness!

Related Post: Veggie Bracket: Part 2