5 Tips to Make Vegetables More Enticing
I’ve been watching the most recent season of Queer Eye on Netflix, and I was as astounded as Antoni when a rancher they were helping said he never ate any vegetables (except possibly potatoes).
The reason? “They’re boring,” he said.
I don’t fully understand this. Even when I ate a lot more sweets than I do now, I always enjoyed some vegetables. And these days, while I’m still not fond of a few (like fiddleheads), I’ll eat most of them and even be excited to get some for free. For example, some of my friends couldn’t keep up with their farm share, so I traded them – they got angel food cake, and I got Swiss chard and summer squash.
But I realize not everyone feels that way about vegetables, and they certainly don’t always have the best reputation. It can also take some experimentation to find a preparation you like.
So, if you also feel like vegetables are on the boring side, here are five tips to help liven them up.
Roasted veggies of all kinds are a treat. The process of roasting brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables by caramelizing them, and you also get tasty crispy bits.
Even better, you don’t have to stick with fresh veggies for this. Frozen vegetables work, too, and those have the bonus of already being cut up, so it saves you a step.
I even saw that you can roast cauliflower leaves, which I normally compost, so I’m going to give that a try.
2: Add fat
One of the best ways to add flavor to veggies is with a little fat, which makes sense. After all, most things taste better with a little butter or olive oil. But you also get some added benefits.
Some vitamins are fat-soluble, which means your body will absorb them more easily with fat. And fat helps food taste more satisfying and will help you stay satiated for longer.
3: Include some acid
If you ever watch cooking competition shows (confession – I watch quite a few), one of the judges will inevitably mention that a dish lacks acid. Acidity benefits many foods, and vegetables are no exception.
Adding vinegar or some citrus juice (usually lemon or lime) will brighten the veggies and give them a new dimension of flavor. And while white vinegar is the most common kind, you can try different types, like apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and see what works for the recipe.
4: Use seasoning
Another common complaint on cooking shows is lack of seasoning, and certainly, if you don’t season vegetables, they’re more likely to be boring.
Salt is the go-to seasoning for most people, and with good reason since it heightens the flavor of foods. The trick is not to go overboard so that you only taste the salt. A little goes a long way, so try adding small amounts until you have enough.
But salt is far from the only option, which is good because some people need to be careful of their sodium intake. Spices can do a lot, too, like rosemary (great for roasted root vegetables), cumin or cayenne (if you like Mexican foods, curry powder (for an Indian flare), or any others that strike your fancy. They’ll give your vegetables a new flavor and sense of variety.
5: Add cheese
And finally, a dash of cheese makes a lot of things taste better.
You can add almost any cheese to a salad or use a creamy dressing like blue cheese. For most other veggie dishes, sprinkle or grate a little Parmesan or Manchego on top for an extra flavor boost.
Veggies are versatile
Although vegetables can get a bad rap as not being very exciting, they’re quite versatile, and you can find lots of ways to jazz them up.
Whether you’re roasting them, tossing them in butter or oil, or adding acid, seasoning, or cheese, I strongly suspect that you can find some preparation you like. Just be willing to experiment, keep an open mind, and you’ll likely find some new favorites.