I DARE You to Learn to Love Veggies

8SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/6/2010 5:40 AM   :  195 comments   :  42,618 Views

In my free time, I like to read healthy living blogs, and one of my favorites is Healthy Tipping Point, which is written by Caitlin, who also writes OperationBeautiful.com. Caitlin is a vegetarian who eats very balanced meals, so I was surprised to learn that she didn't really love

vegetables. As soon as I took a closer look at her meals, I realized why: She was eating them plain!

I issued her the Learn to Love Veggies Challenge. She took up the gauntlet and commenced the vegetable adventure.

Now, it's your turn!

Choose a few of these tips and implement them into your weekly meals. They're all pretty simple and affordable.



1. Add olive oil/lemon/garlic:

Sautéing garlic in a bit of olive oil and adding lemon zest and juice really brings out great flavor. This technique works great with broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, asparagus, sugar snap peas and zucchini.

Try this recipe: Broccoli Everyone Will Love

2. Changing the texture:

Changing the way you cut vegetable can affect how they taste. Try these tips the next time you cook vegetables:
  • Slice green beans, asparagus and carrots (fresh or frozen) on the diagonal.
  • Shred (using a food processor) or grate sweet potatoes, broccoli stems, and zucchini.
  • Thinly slice (using the slicing attachment on a food processor) or using a chef's knife cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and snap peas.
  • Slice or shred lettuce, spinach and other greens.
  • It can seem less overwhelming to see a cup of chopped vegetables rather than several really large pieces.
  • Purée any cooked vegetable with a bit of vegetable broth or low-fat milk and season to taste for an easy soup or side dish.
Try this recipe: So You Think You Hate Veggies? Green Beans

3. Roasting

This technique works for any root vegetable: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, carrots, butternut and acorn squash, even radishes. You can also roast broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, okra, and peppers. It's best to roast root vegetables separate from green vegetables as their cooking times will vary.
  • Halved Brussels sprouts are particularly good when roasted!
  • I like to sprinkle on a favorite spice blend (Cajun or creole, cumin/salt/pepper, Old Bay seasoning, etc.) or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme or oregano.
  • Serve with ketchup (sometimes I stir a teaspoon of curry powder into my ketchup--so good!).
  • This is a good recipe to use when you're trying new vegetables.
Find details here: The Magical Cooking Technique That Will Get You to Eat Your Veggies Choose one new vegetable this week and roast it!



4. "Cream" sauce

Make your ordinary steamed vegetables a bit more decadent with a bit creaminess. I like to mix light cream cheese, low-fat sour cream (with herbs) or a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese with steamed broccoli, peas or cauliflower.

No-recipe recipe: Try this on your choice of vegetables.

5. "Pancakes" or quiches/frittatas

I saw Caitlin's recipe for broccoli-cheese frittata. That's a great way to get in some vegetables. Try chopped tomatoes or red/orange/yellow peppers next time, too--or a shredded carrot.
  • This is a great way to get in your greens. Try spinach, Swiss chard or another green chopped and cooked with eggs. Add onions or peppers for some added flavor.
  • I like to make zucchini skillet cakes for dinner. You can also use sweet potatoes (see the recipe's notes on changing the seasonings) or add another kind of squash or carrots, too. These are good topped with a chopped tomato-onion salad drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette.
Try this recipe: Zucchini Pancakes Recipe; this is more like a meal than a side dish.

6. Low-calorie flavor boosters: lemon juice, capers, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes

Keep some of these ingredients on hand to instantly perk up bland vegetables:
  • Lemons (or even bottled lemon juice)--adds zing
  • Onions/peppers/garlic--these vegetables are called "aromatics" for a reason. They add flavor and aroma to any dish. Try sautéing any combination of these with your vegetables for a burst of flavor.
  • Capers--add a salty burst
  • Roasted red peppers--these are sweet and great with green beans, broccoli and cauliflower. Chop them finely or purée with olive oil, salt and pepper for a quick sauce.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes--chop a couple and add them to your vegetables as they steam. They'll add a rich, sweet flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese--a sprinkle of this will add richness to your vegetables.
  • Butter--yes, it's more virtuous to eat vegetables plain, but if a small pat of butter or margarine will increase your enjoyment of your food, then dig in!
  • Remember that some vitamins require fat to be absorbed by the body, so including a bit of fat with your vegetables will make them taste better and help your body use their nutrition more efficiently.
Try these: Choose two of these ingredients and add them to your vegetables.

7. Get saucy.

Top your vegetables with your favorite sauces. Choose from:
  • Bottled curry sauce
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Pesto
  • Salsa (particularly good on baked potatoes/sweet potatoes)
  • Teriyaki/Asian sauces (I usually make my own from scratch, but you can find some good, low-sodium ones these days)
  • Hot sauce
Try this: Choose one sauce to add to your vegetables.

So what did Caitlin think? Well, she learned to love grilled squash and zucchini, roasted potatoes and carrots, and a few others. She especially liked the addition of garlic and olive oil.

Will you take the Learn to Love Veggies Challenge? If you do, send me your thoughts via email (editor@dailySpark.com), and I'll share them in a follow-up post. How do you like to eat your veggies? Do you require coaxing, or do you eat them willingly?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   SparkGuy, Live from the Big Apple

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 195
    Yummy ! - 8/2/2013   2:35:54 AM
  • CHRISTINASP
    194
    Nice tips, I'm saving this! - 12/28/2012   4:55:01 PM
  • 193
    Saving this article to my favorites. I love veggies, but always looking for new ways to prepare. - 9/12/2012   9:00:58 AM
  • 192
    This has alot of great info! I will save and do! - 12/13/2011   3:29:26 PM
  • 191
    I will save this article. Some excellent ideas. I do like my veggies steamed and sometimes with cheese, and have recently tried them with sun dried tomatoes. Thanks so much for the delightful ideas! - 12/8/2011   12:49:57 PM
  • 190
    More to do with veggies than stir frying them XDD - 10/13/2011   4:41:14 PM
  • SASSYSILVERLADY
    189
    Yummy for tummy! What a great article. I already love veggies--so do my grandkids & kids (I'm working on the great-grandson). Yet, your article gave me loads of ideas I never thought of. You can teach a lovely older lady new tricks. I printed out the Zucchini pancakes. Love ya, Va - 7/28/2011   3:40:06 PM
  • SPIFFYGIRL17123
    188
    is using velveeta cheese on broccoli bad for you? - 7/27/2011   6:18:35 PM
  • EBOLANTE
    187
    Thank you for this article.......always thought of steaming veggies and it is just as great tasting grilling veggies. Need all the veggie fuel because at 70's of age I am still working. - 4/16/2011   6:38:22 PM
  • 186
    The recipes look GREAT!!! - 4/16/2011   10:12:54 AM
  • 185
    I enjoy vegetables, and we've always had plenty of them.
    I also managed to bring up our 2 sons to eat plenty of veg - but that was by dint of preparing different stuff for different folk! I know many people frown on that, but for me it was easy enough - at least 3 out of 4 of us would eat the carrot and the broccoli, and other things gradually got added in as taste buds developed.
    After more than 30 years - yes, I'm always up for new ideas, maybe even more so, now!
    I'm looking forward to reading through some of these ideas and recipes more carefully.
    Thank you for sharing. - 4/8/2011   4:21:40 PM
  • 184
    this is a great article. i will be trying many of these, especially that broccoli frittata! - 4/6/2011   5:57:32 PM
  • 183
    thanks for sharing! my husband and I enjoy cooking but it's nice to get fresh ideas. I'm going to try ketchup and cumin that sounds wonderful! - 4/6/2011   3:17:50 PM
  • 182
    I don't like a lot of vegetables. That's because we didn't eat a lot of them growing up in my house. When we did have them, they were cooked soul food style (lots of pork) which I know now is not healthy. Stir frying is a Godsend for me and I am now getting to like steamed cabbage.
    And yes, for me, I will not eat something I don't like and if I have to smother it in something unhealthy to eat it, then why bother? - 1/2/2011   3:08:46 PM
  • KB_KABIR
    181
    Good Tips! I think I'll buy some veggies tonight to add to my dinner! - 12/29/2010   10:58:27 AM
  • 180
    I love veggies-am trying to be a part -vegan at least!love raw food recipes and shakes and juices!Will gladly join the challenge! - 11/11/2010   7:32:43 PM
  • 179
    Love my veggies!! But, you have included tips that I think will add variety to what I do!! Thanks!!! - 11/11/2010   12:44:31 PM
  • 178
    We used to grill a lot of veggies until we moved to a 9th floor condo and the fire marshall says NO GRILLS! Then we bought a Cuisinart Panini grill. I just toss whatever (green beans and asparagus work very well) in a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkle on some rosemary or italian seasoning (I use the spices designed to mix with olive oil and dip bread in) , toss it with my hand and put on the grill for 6-8 minutes, close the top and inhale the great aromas. A George Foreman or any such grill would work as well. Green peppers, onions, small cut broccoli, eggplant, zucchini all would be great! You can grill them soft or crisp tender and the olive oil adds only a few calories but does add a healthy fat! - 10/21/2010   9:46:24 AM
  • 177
    I have a very limited ability in how to prepare vegetables. As I am trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits into my daily meals, it sure would be helpful to find different ways to prepare and serve them. I would love this challenge as I enjoy collecting new recipes, learning new ways of preparing foods, and love to experience the flavors of new foods. JuliaJean2 - 10/19/2010   2:07:34 PM
  • 176
    I love your tips. Thanks for sharing:-) - 10/18/2010   11:09:48 PM
  • NICNOODLE24
    175
    I love making aluminum foil packs with chicken, squash, potatoes, zucchini,onions and grilling them! Yummm! - 10/6/2010   4:19:42 PM
  • 174
    Wow, I feel like the only person in the world that doesn't love veggies! : ) I have to admit I usually eat them plain because I'm not interested in anything but choking them down. This is a good blog & I will take the challenge. Thanks! - 9/22/2010   1:08:36 AM
  • 173
    I love veggies! As a matter of fact, when I have a dining out meal, I often follow it with a veggie and fruit only meal. That way, I feel lighter and less stuffed when I go to sleep! - 8/18/2010   8:49:34 AM
  • 172
    I also use several flavors of Mrs. Dash to flavor veggies including lightly steaming them or stir frying them. Mrs. Dash is great for those who shouldn't add salt but want flavor. - 7/15/2010   1:54:08 AM
  • 171
    Great tips! Looking forward to trying some of these. - 7/10/2010   10:19:26 PM
  • DBERDIS
    170
    I loved all of the suggestion and plan to try several. Great ideas.
    Barely getting started. - 6/27/2010   1:24:03 PM
  • 169
    I loooove Veggies! It's the meat I can do without :) - 6/15/2010   2:03:45 PM
  • 168
    Some really good ideas - 6/13/2010   5:00:07 AM
  • LITTLEGIRLSMOM1
    167
    I love veggies! Now can anyone tell me ways to get to love meat just as much? - 6/12/2010   4:40:40 PM
  • 166
    Love my veggies!! - 6/12/2010   2:54:10 PM
  • 165
    I love sauteed and roasted veggies! I often make a meal out of just that! - 6/1/2010   2:53:52 PM
  • CZEIDMAN
    164
    I never understood people that don't like vegetables in general. And even if you don't like them is it that hard to eat them anyway? I don't care for brussel sprouts, but can still eat them. - 6/1/2010   10:34:42 AM
  • 163
    I'm learning to love my veggies. Salads and roasted and pureed, oh my! Rhubarb sorbet isn't bad either, and rhubarb is technically a vegetable (and broccoli and beans are technically fruit.) - 5/29/2010   9:23:34 PM
  • JENOLI
    162
    I love my veggies plain, but I think I may try some of these techniques just to liven them a bit for a change. - 5/29/2010   12:25:13 PM
  • 161
    We grill alot of our veggies, wooden skewers are cheap @ the Chinese Shops. - 5/14/2010   11:17:10 AM
  • 160
    WHY does this blog post not mention one of the most obvious ways to bring out the full flavor of tasty vegetables?? (Good high-quality veggies are NEVER "bland", even raw.) I'm talking about STIR FRYING.

    Everyone in my family loves veggies, kids included: stir frying is absolutely our favorite method of preparation; with a tiny bit of salt and olive oil, very light and very flavorful. (Absolutely no "steamed vegetables" in our house - yuck.) - 5/12/2010   10:18:41 PM
  • 159
    I think some of my disregard came from sheer laziness.
    I could eat a bowl of rice and beans in the time it takes to chew three broccoli spears.

    I bought a book by Jennifer Seinfeld with recipes to sneak vegetables into children's meals. I don't cook for any children. - 5/2/2010   7:52:34 AM
  • DELEMARE
    158
    cut up with madonline any shape match works if they are raw - 4/18/2010   8:57:25 PM
  • FUNSPIRIT1
    157
    Sounds like a good one! - 4/7/2010   9:15:29 PM
  • 156
    Never thought to roast brussel sprouts. Wouldn't be for very long though.
    The other way to cook brussel sprouts is to sprinkle lightly with nutmeg after they are cooked. Dutch recipe. - 3/17/2010   8:41:34 AM
  • DEBI19591
    155
    Personally, I like veggies. Cooked, steamed, or raw, but getting my family to eat more of them isn't easy. They're into potatoes, pasta and meat. Don't get me wrong, they eat veggies, but don't like to try new ideas. I'll try some of these and see if they eat more veggies from now on. Thanks for the ideas. - 3/9/2010   4:09:20 PM
  • PRESHA911
    154
    I eat my veggies quite willingly now, not so before. Adding a little bit of pepper to your veggies adds flavor without increasing your sodium content like salt. - 3/6/2010   10:54:48 AM
  • 153
    I love veggies, mostly I will have raw spinach salad, and other veggies I will used olive oil, little bit of italian dressing, lemon, mr.dash spicy seasoning, coconut oil, and jerk seasoning. - 3/5/2010   9:48:59 AM
  • 152
    I eased my boyfriend into fresh veggies with the sauce/ cheese method. Then moved on to the roasting method. Now he eats broccoli, brussel sprouts, sauteed spinach.. . Only vege still at bay... cauliflower! - 2/13/2010   12:22:31 PM
  • 151
    I love veggies. - 2/11/2010   3:11:08 PM
  • MOKAKAVE
    150
    Thanks for the excellent suggestions. I am always looking for ways to make vegetables more of a focal point instead of an afterthought in my meals. - 2/7/2010   1:24:20 PM
  • 149
    Fantastic ideas - just added your pancake recipe to our meal planner, thanks! Used to hate beets, but now I add roasted beets and carrots to uncooked greens + a little goat cheese and vinagrette for a delicious, hearty warm winter salad. Roasted pears and apples with greens are also really delicious. - 2/7/2010   11:10:58 AM
  • 148
    Our family loves veggies but I have to admit we usually eat them plain. These are great ideas - thanks. Now I can prepare some of our favorites to taste like the yummy ones we order in restaurants. It's nice that we don't have to sacrifice taste to eat healthy. - 2/1/2010   10:46:58 AM
  • 147
    I already love my veggies, my hubby and I both. We get excited when the farmers market opens in may. I don't however like meat. - 1/28/2010   8:18:26 PM
  • DGARRIS9
    146
    I have always loved veggies, I could practically live off of them without missing meat. I need a new spin on what to do with my veggies, like adding new flavors or pasta. - 1/19/2010   5:25:04 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by October 14! Get a FREE Personalized Plan