Are you over boring side dishes of microwave-steamed veggies and boring, ate-a-million-times-already green salads? We have new ways for you to cook and enjoy your less-than-favorite vegetables.
Vegetables, full of great nutrients and very low in calories, are a key ingredient in fat loss and maintaining a lean, healthy and fit body. Still, that doesn’t always make them what you are craving – does it? Sometimes… ok, a lot of the time – vegetables aren’t very appealing. Yes. I said it. Veggies can be boring.
So how are you going to stick to a healthy eating plan full of vegetables? Simple – Make veggies more appealing! Use these 14 tips to prepare veggies in a way that really tastes good while remaining good for you.
1. Delicious Veggies: Bring home the babies
For many vegetables, as the plant matures, so does it’s taste. Want a more appealing flavor of your favorite veggie? Try eating baby artichokes, turnips, squash and Brussels sprouts. If you want a different taste with baby carrots, go for the small carrots that are in grouped in bunches and have the stems in tact, (not the ones pre-cut in the bag). Many large and specialty grocers will carry these veggies, however for baby Brussels sprouts, you’ll only find those in the freezer section.
2. Delicious Veggies: Just add oil
Sauteing or baking veggies drizzled in olive oil with seasoning is enough to take them from blah to “bam!” Combining the good fat in olive oil to the seasoning of your choice will liven up any food but vegetables especially. Don’t worry too much about the extra calories from the oil. As long as you’re eating more servings of vegetables, the extra calories go a long way toward your overall health. You can also experiment with some other healthy oils such as macadamia oil – it has a light buttery flavoring that adds a little kick to your dish.
3. Delicious Veggies: Pass the dip
Dipping veggies in hummus, Greek yogurt, a homemade vinaigrette or your favorite low-fat dressing is a great way to enjoy a healthy snack. Usually, the first snack we reach for is not vegetables. Using dips can help you get more servings of vegetables.
4. Delicious Veggies: Cheese please
Don’t go overboard with the cheese, but do pepper your veggies with a bit of melted cheese or feta cheese crumbles to make the most of your veggies.
5. Delicious Veggies: Blanch ’em
This under-used cooking method is vital to locking in flavor from vegetables. To accomplish this cooking method, steam veggies for 30 seconds to a minute and plunge them into cold water immediately. That will preserve the natural flavor of the veggie. Then, finish off in the taste department with some seasonings of your choice.
6. Delicious Veggies: Makeover Brussels sprouts
This tricky vegetable can taste good using a little known trick. Use the microwave instead of the stove to prepare them. Slice them on a diagonal, drizzle with butter and caraway seeds and heat until cooked. Be sure not to overcook or undercook and then…enjoy!
7. Delicious Veggies: Slow and steady
Onions and other veggies in the onion family like garlic, shallots and leeks need a bit more time to cook in order to ease the strong smells and sharp flavors. With such strong and bitter flavors, onions can be overwhelming. Slow roasting veggies in the onion family brings out a sweeter flavor which can add wonders to your ordinary veggie experience. For the grill, use a little olive oil to brush on to leeks and onion slices and then wrap them in aluminum foil. That will take the sting out!
8. Delicious Veggies: Ripe and ready
Tomatoes are a great addition to almost any dish, but when they are not ripe, they can bring a flavor that many people do not care for. To combat this, ask your local grocer or farmer’s market employee to help you determine how to pick ripe tomatoes.
9. Delicious Veggies: Divide and conquer
Did you know that fruits can emit ethylene gases that can make veggies bitter when stored near one another? Yes, it’s true. Most common vulnerable veggies are carrots and squash. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are likely to turn limp and yellow faster in the presence of fruit. When finding a place to store your veggies in your fridge, use your crisper drawers and sealed bags to keep veggies separated from fruits in order to preserve their flavor longer.
10. Delicious Veggies: Excellent eggplants
Overly-ripe eggplants become very bitter. For this large fiber-rich deep purple veggie, size is not the best indicator of ripeness. Instead, to test the ripeness of an eggplant, press your thumb into it. If if leaves and indent without bouncing back – pick another. That eggplant will not be appetizing… Did you know that eggplants have ‘belly buttons’? Look at the blossom end. There will either be an oval or round dimple. Oval belly buttons are what you want! The round ones have more seeds and less flavor.
11. Delicious Veggies: Find them at the farmer’s market
A great perk of living in San Diego is the abundance of farmer’s markets from which to buy fresh vegetables. The taste of fresh veggies is much better than frozen or vegetables that have sat on the shelf for days. Usually farmer’s markets have fresh vegetables that were picked the same day.
12. Delicious Veggies: Get sneaky
If you don’t naturally love vegetables, you can still get your daily recommended dose by hiding them in favorite foods. Soups are a good way to get more servings in your diet. Smoothies are another great solution. Add some veggies in your juicer with your favorite fruits – the sweetness of the fruits will hide most of the flavor of the veggies.
13. Delicious Veggies: Focus on the whole story
Learning the health benefits of vegetables may make it a bit easier to stomach them. Sure, you will want to dress them up with a number of the tips mentioned above, but sometimes it’s the health benefits of a food that make it taste better.
14. Delicious Veggies: Satisfy your sweet tooth
You can indulge in sweet veggies like yams, carrots and squashes. If you have an aversion to bitter foods , it’s okay to enjoy the sweet ones you love. They are still vegetables – with high nutrient values that will benefit you.
How do you dress up your veggies? Share your tips with our Bootique’ers.