I have hated most vegetables since I was a child. I don’t mean I “just didn’t like the taste much,” I mean HATED them. Once time my mom made me eat some corn at dinner and I puked it right back up on my plate. “See Mom, I told you so!”
I’m not touching them. Ever. Never ever. Not happening. I really mean it.
My repertoire of vegetables consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, carrots (raw only), and cooked broccoli. I much preferred potatoes, bread, meat and cookies. Beans? No way! Too grainy, bad taste, not worth my time. Mushrooms? Ewwwww! Too slimy. Gross!
As I’ve gotten older and wiser, however, I have discovered that I don’t hate all vegetables – I just didn’t like the way they were prepared for me when I was a kid. And they were always plain with just butter and salt. And I didn’t like butter (told you I was weird). The veggies I was served were most often boiled until they were mushy and tasteless. No wonder I didn’t like them!
When I started really paying attention to what was good for me and why, I learned a few tricks to make vegetables more palatable. I still don’t like beans or mushrooms (hey, at least I’m trying!), but I have found more veggies that I like. I WILL eat corn now and then but only if it’s fresh and still on the cob (I DO have my standards you know!). Here are a few of my favorite ways I have learned to prepare them:
ROASTED (Cue the horns trumpeting and angels singing from heaven!): This is the BEST way to try new vegetables. Many blog and message posts I have read have raved about how awesome veggies taste when you roast them. My favorite recipe, adapted from SparkPeople:
2-3 Large Onions, chopped into large chunks
1 each Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
1 small bunch Asparagus, cut into small strips
6 cloves of Garlic (I mince my own with a garlic press)
1-2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Place in jelly roll pan. Roast in oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of all vegetables. Experiment with the ones you could tolerate the best first. Ones that don’t gross you out or make you think of dirt. I have tried carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas. None of those worked for me – but at least I tried them. I much prefer my broccoli steamed, grilled or marinated.
Speaking of which……
MARINATED: Adding flavor to your vegetables is easy. You just have to be brave and open minded. Here’s my favorite recipe:
4 cups Broccoli Florets
1 large bunch Asparagus
About 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
About 1-2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1-2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds (optional – I don’t use them if I grill the veggies).
Cut broccoli to the size you like and break off woody ends of the asparagus. In large bowl or re-sealable plastic zipper bag, place broccoli, asparagus, soy sauce and oil. Marinate for 1-2 hours. Cook as you like. I like to place them in a grill basket and grill them with my meat for the meal. You can also roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If roasting, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the veggies during the last 5 minutes just to toast them.
GRILLED: There’s nothing like a good Summer backyard barbecue. Or Spring. Or Fall. Or Winter. Heck – anytime is a good time to grill out! There are a couple of ways you can grill your veggies.
- Invest in a good grill basket. This is a great way to grill your veggies without burning them or having them fall into the fire. The basket fits nicely in between your meat or on the top shelf if you have a gas grill. Place the basket on the grill until done – usually only about 10 minutes.
- Hobo packets. Take a long piece of tin foil and spray it with cooking spray. Cut any veggies you’d like into chunks (squash, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, whatever you’d like). Place them in the center of the foil. Add butter, seasoned salt, spices or olive oil but make them small enough so that the veggies don’t take too long to cook. About 1-1.5 cups of veggies is good. Place them on the grill and cook until they are done the way you like them. Usually about 20 minutes or so. You can also add meat and cheese to these packets to make them an entire meal. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth add flavor and helps steam the vegetables too.
I have a few other tricks to sneak veggies (especially the ones I don’t like) into my diet. I puree them and add them into dishes I already make. In spaghetti sauce or chili I add carrots, spinach, zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower, pureed with a little water in my Nutribullet. I also add spinach, celery, kale or broccoli to my smoothies. With some chocolate protein powder, cinnamon, cacao nibs, almond milk and frozen fruit, you don’t even know the veggies are in there. You can try this on your family, too. Especially the kids. They have NO idea! It’s brilliant! (And healthy, too, but you did NOT hear that from me!)
Any way you try vegetables is a step in the right direction. I have found that since I’ve starting eating healthier food, my taste buds have changed and I can actually appreciate the true taste of veggies. Or at least some of them. Just an side note: Vegetables taste MUCH better from your own garden or the local Farmer’s Market. And they cost less. Bonus! Go for it! Set a goal to try 5 new veggies this year. Go to the grocery store and pick one that you have never tasted to see how you like it. You never know – you might like it!