With summer gardens already starting to bear fruit, a brief look at how to prepare vegetables everyone wants to eat sounds like just the ticket.
We know you’re familiar with the feel-good benefits of vegetables – fiber, antioxidant vitamins, potassium, etc., – so we won’t go into that. Instead, we’ll look at the challenges of those oft-heard groans: “I don’t like them;” “My family won’t eat them;” “They take too much time to prepare!” Does this sound familiar?
Notching Up the Taste
At the heart of many of these complaints is the simple fact that most people think they don’t like the taste of veggies. But these ideas might amaze and delight even the most die-hard vegetable haters among us.
- Toss steamed or microwaved broccoli, green beans, asparagus or spinach with a little extra virgin olive oil and experiment by adding one or more of these options:
- A splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs such as thyme, basil or mint
- Top with chopped, toasted walnuts, almond, pecans or sunflower seeds
- Crumble a bit of gorgonzola, goat cheese or parmesan cheese
- Marinate vegetables like broccoli, green beans or asparagus with a basic marinade. For example, in a small container or jar, mix or shake ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, 3 medium cloves of garlic, chopped. Toss with fresh herbs; add thinly sliced pears, apples or fresh orange sections. Sprinkle with toasted nuts for a great alternative to the basic green salad.
- Grill almost any vegetable to produce a tasty version you can serve right away or at room temperature. Just toss your chosen veggie in a little olive oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper, then grill according to the grilling guide.
Even the lowly beet can be great when grilled. Brush thick slices of a cooked (roasted or microwaved) beet with oil and grill 2-3 minutes. Immediately top with crumbled gorgonzola, salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!
- Stir-fry vegetables such as broccoli, snow peas, onions, peppers, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans – even pre-packaged frozen mixed vegetables.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic or chopped green onions, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger root and 3-4 cups of vegetables. Sauté briefly; add 1 cup broth and cook until liquid evaporates. Stir in a 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce and serve.
- Roast root vegetables such as white or sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, turnips and parsnips for a truly special treat. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cut-up vegetables with a small amount of olive oil and place in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with a little chopped garlic and top with herbs such as rosemary or thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 40 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and crisp.
- Soup is a great vehicle for veggies. Puree carrots, winter squash, or green vegetables such as spinach or asparagus for a luscious lunch or appetizer. For example, try the Butternut Squash-Apple Cider Soup in our other recipes.
All those leftover vegetables in the frig can make for a delicious soup, too. Or add them to canned soups as a way to make them tastier and more nutritious.