How to Make Vegetables Taste Delicious!
You may already love vegetables and want to shake it up a bit or perhaps you struggle with picky eaters at home. Either way, this blog is for you!
1. Use different preparation methods:
When cooking your vegetables, changing up the cooking method you use is key! Depending on HOW you cook it, you will have a different vegetable every day, even if you use the same one. Each cooking method enhances the delicious factor in a different way.
Below I have listed:
- the different cooking methods
- with the vegetables that we most often use for those methods.
- And what ingredients I use to add the YUM factor!
Steaming Vegetables –
- broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, peas, cabbage
- Use a steamer or a colander with large pot and lid. Bring to boil, let steam for 5-15 minutes until slightly soft.
- Option 1: add coconut oil and sea salt once the veg are cooked.
- Option 2: is to melt butter or ghee and add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp oregano, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, pinch chili flakes. Add to butter. Add 2 tbsp lemon and take off burner immediately. Pour over steamed veg.
- Sweet potatoes, potatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, squash, beets, carrots, broccoli, parsnips
- Preheat oven to 425F. Add olive oil or grapeseed oil to veg (make sure you cover all sides of the veg with oil) add sea salt, sometimes curry or favorite spice and pop in oven for 40ish minutes until they are caramelizy brown on the bottom.
- Another tip is to use a cookie drying rack to bake your veg on, especially if your making sweet potato fries!
- Also do NOT over lap your vegetables. If you get too many on 1 pan you will steam them versus roast them. So if you have too many veg, use 2 or more baking tray’s.
- broccoli, peppers, carrots (I love ribboned carrots), mushrooms, spinach, kale, tomatoes
- Option: Add coconut oil or butter to pan, add veg. Once they have sautee’d for 5 minutes, add sprinkle of salt. Move around until just soft enough with fork, but not lost all its color. I often squeeze lemon on top at end, but not necessary.
- For an asian stirfry: Add coconut oil to pan. Add veg, add sea salt. In a bowl add minced garlic, ginger, bragg aminos (soya sauce, peanut butter, and sesame oil or fish sauce if you desire, and mix all together until smooth. Taste, and adjust amounts. Add veg to bowl with rice/quinoa, pour over the sauce.
- Also, do you like brussel sprouts? Either way, I can make you like them! Clean the brussels and cut out the core at bottom. Slice them in half. Add salt with your hands to brussels. Add coconut oil, or butter to pan. Slice a scallion (small onion) and add to pan for a minute or two. Add brussels and swirl them around together. Let them sit until brussels get crispy/slightly brown on all sides. Grate some lemon zest with a hint of juice. Add pepper or parm cheese to the top, if you like. And voila! Delicious!
- Cauliflower, peppers, small tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, kale, broccoli, spinach,
- Dice veg and dip them in hummus or ranch salad dressing or eat them just as they are.
- You can also use a spiralizer for zucchini, sweet potato, carrot and use as noodles
- You can also slice them julienne styles, and make raw wraps.
- Don’t forget about Salads!!! They are the best ever. Throw any veg ontop greens, with a delicious dressing, perhaps with some nuts for crunch, or cheese for umami flavor, and you are good to go. Key note: use multiple greens in salad. Example: Romaine, and spinach and radicchio.
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnip
- Peel vegetables, dice them add to large pot with water and salt. Boil for about 15 minutes until soft with a fork, mash them and add ghee and sea salt. or leave them whole
- You can also leave vegetables bigger and quarter them (not dice) and then once boiled leave them whole and add butter/coconut oil and salt at end before serving. Always delicious with a mushroom gravy!
- Eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, red peppers, corn
- Before bbq’ing add olive oil or butter/ghee and salt- put on skewers if you desire, wrap them in tin foil, or leave them flat on the grill to be flipped.
- Let cook on each side until soft in the middle when pressed with fork.
2. Use Healthy Fat!
Using healthy fat is not only key to flavor, but also added nutrients as well as activating the enzymes to get caramlizy vegetables (especially if roasting or sauteing)! I find simple coconut oil and salt added to any vegetable with any cooking method, adds tremendous flavor. Also keep in mind, not all healthy fats are good for cooking purposes. Olive Oil for instance, has a low cooking point and so you should really only use that for salads, or cold foods/veggies that don’t need to be heated. The best cooking oils are coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil or ghee.
My favorite healthy fats are:
- Coconut Oil (I get mine at costco, best deal ever and lasts a long time. Good for both cold and cooked dishes)
- Olive Oil (non-refined and use “cold”, do not cook with this oil)
- Avocado Oil (good for cooking and dressings)
- Grapeseed oil (good for cooking and dressings)
- Ghee (good for cooking)
- Butter (grass-fed & good for lite cooking and spreading)
For roasting, sauteing and bbq’ing put the healthy fat of choice on first. For all other cooking styles add to the hot vegetables once cooked.
3. Massage Your Dark Greens
We have kale in our home every week. Sometimes a few times a week. The thing with dark leafy greens is they are highly fibrous. Which is amazing and what you want as it gives tremendous health benefits for your gut, bowel, digestion and poops! When you are eating kale, raw (in salads) or sauteed with eggs or steamed with garlic and served along side grilled chicken- you want to massage your greens to break down the fiber so its easier to absorb the dressing/sauce and easier to chew and digest.
- Wash dark greens in warm water
- Take your hands and squeeze the dark greens for a good 2 minutes.
- Rinse in cold
- Spin dry
- Add salad dressings (if eating as salad)- and mix the leaves and dressing together with hands. Mix together for another 2 minutes. Let it sit for 20 mins or more. It will continue to get better and more absorbed. My favorites kale salad is here.
5. Add Crunch
Sometimes, adding a bit of crunch can make all the difference. The reason why it makes a difference is because textures make meals interesting. This about it, the perfect bite is often a combination of salt, sweet, heat, acid and crunch! Crunch allows us to feel that we have actually had a bite that will fill us and fuel us, instead of simply soft beans or broccoli.
This is also why when cooking vegetables, you want to make the “el-dante”, meaning, having a slight crunch. This will also ensure that you keep the color and the flavor. A great way to keep the crunch is after you steam vegetables for example, dunk them into cold water or an ice bath to stop them from cooking and keep the color and nutrients bright and strong.
Here are some options:
- Sliced almonds to green beans
- Whole Tamari almonds to your kale salad (also add dried naturally sweetened cranberries)
- Sesame seeds on your stir fry
- Hemp hearts on your steamed broccoli
- Teeny tiny sliced celery. Cut so small, that they have no flavor just crunch!! Love this added to green salads or tuna salads (recipes found here)
6. Use Spices, Fresh Herbs
I have learned that the number 1 thing with spices is to not fear them! They are meant to go together. They are meant to enhance flavor. They are meant to make food taste amazing!!!! I have created a blog
to help you to learn how to use spices!! It is thorough and detailed and I recommend you check it out.
I most often add my spices to my onions after they have caramelized (watch video here on how to caramelize onions).
For fresh herbs, sprinkle them on top of any vegetable or plate before serving. It adds not only fresh flavor but also BEAUTY. When something is beautiful, we are far more likely to eat it (and enjoy it). Think of eating simple sliced cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil… and then ripping basil on top and how instantly elegant that becomes!! I also use fresh herbs in my dressings all, the, time!
7. Caramelize Your Onions
I have found that taking an extra 7 minutes to bring color and flavor to your onions before doing anything else, ups the delicious factor ten fold!! I find that adding a bit of Tamari soya sauce to my onions after they have been cooking in oil for about 5 minutes will bring out the caramelization. At this point, I often added finely diced carrots and celery to it and allow to simmer down for another 5 minutes or so. The french call this “Mire-poix“. This can then become the basis for any stiry fry, any soup, pasta sauce, stew or anything really. You can add all your vegetables to this pan of onions (or Mire-poix) and you have yourself delicious vegetables.If you would like details on how to caramelize your onions / make your meals tasty, sign up for a FREE membership and receive an email and video straight to your inbox on how to do this.
Side note: Whenever making vegetables, following any of these methods above, make sure you dice / cut up vegetables as evenly as possible. It makes a big difference in taste and how they are cooked.
8. Use Salt & Citrus
Use salt.. yes!!! I use it in my pasta water, in almost all meals and a tiny sprinkle on top of my food before I serve my meal. However, use ONLY sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. Get rid of table salt, please. The former 2 salts add minerals to your body that you need, regular white table salt takes away nutrients and minerals! Big difference. Adding a pinch of high quality salt on top of any vegetable, done in any method, will enhance the flavor 10X!
Lemon is my LOVE! I added to most things, especially my salad dressings. Lime is amazing too, especially for thai dishes. For example, adding lemon to my sweet potato soup allows the soup to POP in your mouth and be soooo delicious. Its a simple soup too. I recommend you doing an experiement. Make this sweet potato soup, and have 1 small bowl of soup without lemon, and then another small bowl with lemon and try them both. See which one you like more! You can also do this with my red lentil stew. You will soon see that lemon / citrus is everything!!!
You can also use apple cidar vinegar. I turn to this alot if I want an extra “kick” in my salad dressings or in my meals. I also love adding it to things like pancakes. When you add ACV into your milk and let it sit, you get buttermillk!! And it adds the perfect amount of acidity to love the meal!
So, if you ever feel your meal is lacking, add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon or drizzle of apple cidar vinegar.
9. Decide that you will learn to love vegetables
Making the decision to want to love vegetables, to want to experiment with them and to want to make them delicious is exactly what will enable you to do so.
If you are telling yourself stories such as “I hate vegetables”, “I, or my family members, are picky eaters”, “I am not a vegetarian”, “I don’t know where to start” etc – you are sabotaging your path to health before you even get started! All those these stories here are what we have learned. But you know what, you can also learn how to make vegetables tasty for even the most picky eater! The more more we try, the more we become willing and the more our taste buds change to adapt to our new way of eating.
You WANT to eat vegetables because vegetables were made by God/Mother Earth and they contain all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and even proteins that our body needs. These vegetables (and fruit) help you to prevent against sickness and disease of all kinds! Saying no to vegetables is saying no to your health.
If you want to be healthy and your family to be healthy and our planet to be healthy…. you MUST DECIDE to like vegetables, and be willing to learn how to go about cooking them so you can enjoy them.
So your new thoughts should be as follows:
“I am learning to cook vegetables in a way that my family and I will enjoy eating them”,
“I welcome an assortment of colorful vegetables into my life”
“My tastes buds have changed and are continuing to change to support my health goals”
“I am worthy of health and nourishment, so I feed my body the life-giving fruits and vegetables that it needs.”
“I want to nourish the growing and working bodies of my children and family”
- When you are unsure of what to make, think veggie first!!! Then pair it with your protein, fats and carbs.
- Make 2 different veggies done in 2 different ways, as part of 1 meal. This add to the color, beauty, nutrients and choice on our plates.
- Fiber content is extremely important! Think high fiber when buying and eating food, always!! (also keep skin on root vegetables, especially when roasting. Make sure to wash and scrub them first for added fiber)
- EAT THE RAINBOW! Honestly, try to have different colors of vegetables at every meal. Doing this even makes it fun for kids.
- Let vegetables be what you fall in love with, as the more you fall in love with things that are good for you and give them to yourself, the more you will fall in love with and be grateful towards yourself for doing so.
- Adding citrus (like lemon) onto your meal prior to serving, enhances the flavor and delicious factor.
- When you eat 3 meals a day that contain vegetables at every meal, you will be satisfied and satiated. This will keep your body and brain focused for optimal health.
- If you need extra help learning how to have the right mindset or workflow to be in the kitchen and make veggies delicious, then I encourage you to learn more about the course I am offering.