If I ask you to imagine vegetables for a moment, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? If you’re thinking of those boring, steamed broccoli florets… well it’s time to think again!
There are countless ways to prepare vegetables that are not only healthy but delicious as well, try out these 5 tips below to satisfy your palate and to help ensure you get your veggies in each day:
Spice it Up
To infuse your vegetables with flavor and mouth-watering aromas, cook them in olive oil, garlic and herbs of your choice (basil, oregano, thyme, etc). Add in the spices & herbs that you personally enjoy. For example, if you love Mexican food, sprinkle cumin, cayenne, or even Tabasco sauce on sliced zucchini or yellow squash, if Indian food is your fave, sprinkle curry powder on eggplant or another soft vegetable and grill or roast! You can also use juice, a fresh-squeezed lemon, or vinegar to any vegetable to give it a new taste.
Try a Different Cooking Method
Few people actually enjoy steamed or boiled veggies with little or no seasoning. Many vegetables often turn mushy and bland prepared this way, and did you know long cooking methods (especially boiling) can leach important vitamins too? The most popular cooking methods include grilling, sautéing, roasting, and baking. These dry heat methods of cooking can help add yummy caramelized flavors to your veggies and remove excess moisture, no wonder why they're the most popular! Another method that has grown in popularity is using an air fryer to get the delicious, crunchy taste of fried food without the extra fat and calories.
Instead of chips, use fresh vegetables to scoop up your favorite dip. Veggies that are best for dipping include carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, and snap peas. You can pair them with hummus, guacamole, blue cheese, salsa, or make your own with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and fresh herbs!
Cheese adds flavor, calcium, and a creamy texture to veggie dishes. While you want to avoid smothering vegetables in cheese sauce, a sprinkling of a strong tasting cheese like Parmesan can add some extra flavor. Choose your favorite low-fat cheese and sprinkle some on cooked vegetables or toss some into a salad. One of my favorite ways to add cheese is to sprinkle parmesan over thinly sliced zucchini, squash or eggplant slices and bake until the cheese begins to brown!
If you still can’t tolerate the taste of vegetables after trying out the tips above, that’s ok! A simple way to still get your daily serving of vegetables in without actually tasting them is to hide them in some of your favorite foods. One of the most popular ways to do this is to add a handful of spinach or kale to any fruit smoothie. Pro tip: When carrots are added to a strawberry or raspberry smoothie, they add sweetness and color! Another growing trend is making pizza crust out of cauliflower, which many people find still tastes great even if it's not close to the real thing. You could also blend your veggies and add them to a creamy soup, chili or pasta sauce.
I hope these tips give you the inspiration to transform your veggies into a dish that you’re excited to eat instead of one that you’re dreading to eat!