We know we don’t have to tell you to eat your vegetables. Since you were a child, you’ve probably been hearing all the reasons why vegetables are so good for you. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that for many of us, veggies are still as unpleasant now as they were when we were kids.
There’s no need to fret. With a little extra know-how in the kitchen, you can learn to incorporate more of this essential food group into your diet–and we promise, you’ll like the way they taste!
Here are five creative ways to revamp your vegetables.
Grilling is a favorite American pastime. Who doesn’t love a juicy burger right off the grill? Fortunately, the grill can do wonders for many vegetables, too. These Grilled Baby Artichokes With Lemon & Garlic from GoodLifeEats.com, for example, are made with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt. They make a tasty side dish to grilled steak or chicken, and best of all, the flavor is anything but boring.
Food blogger and TV personality Ree Drummond uses the grill to add some flair to zucchini with this Yummy Grilled Zucchini recipe. Start with six whole zucchinis, olive oil, black pepper, kosher salt and lemon zest before tossing together and putting it on the grill. Once they’re ready, you’ll have a lovely side dish for chicken, pasta, or fish. Check out the full recipe on ThePioneerWoman.com.
Simple, healthy and delicious, roasted vegetables are a versatile side dish that goes great with any meal. Blogger Kate Goodman of GoodLifeEats.com says, “Roasted vegetables acquire a nice subtle, sweet flavor that enhances the vegetables without adding a lot of fat or calories. You can simply toss a vegetable with oil and roast it.”
Try these Honey Roasted Carrots With Balsamic from SlenderKitchen.com, which are made using scallions, honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme. Or, try this simple Roasted Peppers and Seasonal Vegetables dish from About.com. According to the website, “You can use any number of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and spices. The secret is a nice hot oven which helps caramelize the edges of the peppers and gives the roasted vegetables a deep, rich flavor.”
Stir Fry & Sauté
Stir frying and sautéing are favorite ways to prepare vegetables, mostly because they’re both so quick and easy to do. These methods also allow you to experiment with a variety of spices and ingredients that can add a ton of flavor to bland vegetables. Take this Spicy Veggie Stir Fry featured on FamilyCircle.com. It includes snow peas, spinach, red peppers and carrots, along with soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, tofu, and other ingredients for a delicious Asian-inspired meal.
If you prefer sweeter flavors, try this Asian-Style Honey Vegetable Stir Fry from DavisFarmersMarket.org. It’s made using eggplant, peppers, onion, carrots, and a honey-garlic glaze.
Try this recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic & Shallots from MyRecipes.com. It’s an easy way to add intense flavor to an otherwise boring vegetable—and with only five ingredients, it’s simple to make.
Have you noticed how great cheese makes most things taste? Good news, dull vegetables are no exception to this rule. Mozzarella, parmesan, feta, goat cheese…there are so many choices!
Prevention.com suggests, “Moderate amounts of cheese sauce—not 1950s-style smothering—can make broccoli or cauliflower rich and satisfying. Or toss bits of your favorite cheeses (including a little cream cheese or feta) in with green beans, spinach, or kale.”
Try this Campbell’s Swiss Vegetable Casserole featured on AllRecipes.com. It starts with frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and adds in condensed cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, pepper, shredded Swiss cheese, and French friend onions. Bake for 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven for a side dish that’s crispy and bubbly.
Love blue cheese? Try this Tagliatelle With Veggies & Blue Cheese recipe from Reader’s Digest. It includes spinach tagliatelle, broccoli, cauliflower, nutmeg, and tangy blue cheese.
You can even replace greasy French fries at your next cookout with these easy-to-make Zucchini Parmesan Crips from FoodNetwork.com. All you need is a 450-degree oven, two medium zucchinis, some olive oil, salt, pepper, grated parmesan and dry breadcrumbs.
If you’ve tried different vegetable recipes and still can’t bring yourself to love them, why not try juicing? While it’s not a replacement for actual vegetables, making your own vegetable juice can be a healthy way to incorporate some vegetable nutrients into your diet.
This Power Gulp recipe from Health.com, for instance, includes Kale, green grapes, cucumber, and Granny Smith apples. According to the website, “This green goodie sneaks in a dose of iron (women need extra during their period and pregnancy), key for healthy blood cell and muscle function. It also delivers more than your daily rec of vitamin K—another must for blood and bone health.”
Make your own version of V8 vegetable juice at home with this recipe from TheBestofRawFood.com. It includes tomatoes, celery, cucumber, and cayenne pepper. You can also puree your vegetables into a tasty soup like in this Orange Puree recipe from Parenting.com, which includes yams and carrots for a meal that is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fiber.
No matter how you incorporate them into your diet, vegetables are one of the most important food sources out there. So grab your kitchen apron and start experimenting. Who knows, you may soon start your own love affair with vegetables.