7 Ways To Make Vegetables Taste Better
|November 4, 2013||Filled under Nutritional Information, Recipes: Vegetables|
The topic of vegetables came up yesterday while I was at school. I always bring my lunch and, since there is no microwave, I bring stuff that I can eat cold. Or at least lukewarm since my thermos never keeps anything hot. My free time between classes is spent in one of the study rooms on campus. The topic of my lunch often comes up since people figure that a nutrition student will be eating something healthy. So, when they ask what I packed and I say salad it seems no one is surprised. The topic of salad is usually followed by a quick discussion of how much people hate veggies. And it’s easy to see why. It seems that many of us grew up being forced to eat life less piles of over cooked veggies that were lucky to see a dash of salt for added flavor. Raw veggies? That often meant tasteless salads with fat free dressing or a low calories snack of plain carrot and celery sticks. Blech! No wonder most people hate veggies. I know I use to until I discovered a few tricks that can make vegetables the favorite part of your meal. Give some of these a try and see if they don’t change your mind about vegetables.
Vary Your Cooking Techniques and Don’t Overcook!
Don’t just toss your veggies in a pot, add water and boil them until they are a few shades duller in color and limp as a wet noodle. Most fresh vegetables should steamed/sauteed for 5 to 10 minutes until just tender. If you hate veggies cooked one way then try them another. Grilling is a great way to cook your vegetables. How about roasting in the oven? Steaming perhaps? I grew up with a father who boiled the life out of spinach on a regular basis. I thought I hated the stuff until I tried a recipe where fresh spinach was cooked in a pan long enough to just wilt the leaves. Then I discovered I actually loved the stuff! Try a different cooking method and you may discover the same thing.
Eat them raw!
Don’t like them cooked? Then try them raw. Sometimes cooking changes the flavor of the vegetable or makes it stronger. Broccoli and cabbage fall into this category. Yet, when eaten raw, they don’t have that over powering flavor that is a turn off to some people. Me? I love raw carrots but don’t care for them cooked.
Give Them A Flavor Boost!
Naked vegetables are ok. But toss some fresh herbs, citrus based vinaigrette, a homemade dressing or some sauce on top and watch your family gobble them up. No one likes bland. Here’s some herb and spice combo’s that taste great together:
Squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes: cinnamon and/or nutmeg
Summer squash or zucchini: basil, garlic and oregano
Peas: thyme or lemon and mint
Broccoli: oregano, basil and sundried tomatoes or garlic and crushed red pepper or ginger, garlic and some orange zest
Green Beans: oregano and basil or garlic and onion or tarragon and butter, onions and thyme
Cabbage: butter, garlic and caraway seeds
Spinach: basil and garlic or dill and lemon or bacon and balsamic vinegar
Presentation is everything!
Are you serving up chicken, mashed potatoes and cauliflower? Doesn’t look too appetizing when everything on your plate is pretty much the same color. Try mixing various vegetables together to brighten up the plate and make it more appealing as well as nutritious. Veggies are made colorful by the types of antioxidants they contain. Not only does eating a variety of vegetables (and fruits) in a range of colors keep you healthy but they also make the food on your plate look good too.
Try Something New!
If I let my family decide which vegetables to eat we would be stuck eating potatoes, corn and broccoli every night. Glad I don’t let them choose. Instead I make one vegetable that I know they will eat and one that I’d like them to try eating. I even cheat a bit more by only making enough of the one they prefer to give everyone a serving. Once it’s gone there’s only the other vegetable left. Sometimes this doesn’t work and they pass on the other veggie. Many times it does and they end up trying something new only to discover they actually like it. Don’t be surprised if you have to introduce them to the new vegetable several times and in different ways before they end up finding that they like it.
Don’t Forget The Fat!
We often think of fat as adding calories but it does much more than that. Fat adds taste. Sure butter adds a buttery taste to food but any type of fat will add to the taste and flavor of food. It does this by allowing the particles that give the food it’s flavor to spread in your mouth. This is why fat free foods are often bland and tasteless. Let’s not forget that fat also helps fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) be absorbed into your body. You don’t have to cook like Paula Deen and add a stick of butter to every dish. Even adding a teaspoon or two can boost the flavor. Try mixing olive oi with Dijon mustard or balsamic vinegar and drizzle over your veggies. Try toasted sesame seed oil for it’s delicious taste.
If you think you hate vegetables why not give some of these tips a try and see if you don’t change your mind.
While your at it stop by the Choose My Plate site and learn more about vegetables including serving sizes, nutritional benefits and more.