Making Vegetables Mouth Watering
They’re packed with healthy stuff like fiber, antioxidants, and powerful phytochemicals. But, too bad, vegetables are not everyone’s favorite food items. Grown people flee at the sight of peas or (ugh) broccoli, as they have since childhood.
Many unpleasant childhood veggie memories are mushy. Both in the way the veggies were cooked and in oppressive parental force-feeding lines like, “Finish your peas before you can have dessert!”. Many sniffling children even receive a reward for enduring a punishing plate of plant material. “Studies suggest that when we are rewarded for eating something, then the reward becomes the treat and we will not see the food itself as enjoyable,” notes Karen Collins, MS, RD, nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Maybe a fad diet of specific greens later in life made you veggie-averse. Or, Collins suggests, you may be a “super-taster” with hypersensitive receptors for bitterness, a genetic trait found in 25% of the population, who detest especially the cruciferous veggies (from the cabbage family, including broccoli and cauliflower), some leafy greens, and eggplant. “Served in ways that don’t match your personal flavor preferences, (veggies) won’t seem exciting,” explains Collins. If you love spicy food, you’ll hate veggies served bland; or if you love simple, earthy flavors, veggies in a rich sauce are unsavory.
Whatever your reasons for avoiding them, here are lip smacking ways to turn vegetables into your favorite food.
Flavor Up Your Favorite Food
Zucchini slices, chopped spinach, or cooked carrots can be lasagna layers. Stir broccoli florets into macaroni and cheese. Toss tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus into an omelet or quesadilla.
Mince zucchini, onions, eggplant, broccoli, celery, carrots and add to spaghetti sauce. Any combination of fresh tomato, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, artichoke hearts, fresh basil leaves, and chopped spinach will add fiber, nutrients and flavor to pizza toppings.
Roasted red pepper, roasted or sun-dried tomato, grilled eggplant, raw tomato, spinach leaves, fresh basil, grated carrots, sprouts, sliced or grated zucchini, shredded cabbage (green or purple) go well in hot or cold sandwiches, wraps, and pitas. Add grated or finely chopped vegetables to meat loaf, pasta fillings (such as manicotti), and fillings for tacos, enchiladas, and flautas.
Boost Your Soups
Some homemade soups already contain a nice amount, but you’ll want to add veggies to most canned and commercial choices. Add carrots to chicken noodle soup, and edamame or green beans to minestrone. While you are cook or heat soup, add raw or frozen vegetables.
Approach Salads In Fresh Ways
Cucumber, grated carrots, zucchini, green beans, onions, radishes, jicama, tomato, broccoli or cauliflower florets; spinach leaves instead of lettuce. Add or substitute vegetables in your favorite salads to discover new flavor combinations.
No Cooking Required
Raw veggies taste milder than cooked, so textures remain crispy, never mushy. Serve with light ranch or Italian dressing, onion dip, or blue cheese. To make light onion dip, stir onion soup mix into fat-free sour cream.
Don’t Cook Out Texture
Vegetables become texturally pleasing when raw, lightly cooked, stir-fried, or lightly steamed or microwaved, just slightly tender but still crunchy. Minimal cooking also keeps colors appealing. Compare a crisp-tender bright green asparagus spear to its limp pale-green canned cousin.
Drink Your Vegetables Instead
V-8, carrot juice, even veggie-fruit juice blends are in supermarket shelves. Create your own blends, like carrot and fruit (mango, tangerine, or orange juice).
Make Vegetables Fun Food
Fun to eat food becomes all-time favorites just like grilled corn on the cob. Try veggie kabobs and celery sticks filled with natural peanut butter or light cream cheese. Or half a zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, or portobello mushroom with a savory stuffing.
Grilling Is Thrilling
Of course, grilling makes meat great-tasting. Now wait till you taste the grilled veggies. Just brush veggies lightly with canola or olive oil, light Italian dressing, or meat marinade that hasn’t touched raw meat. Portobello mushrooms, zucchini halves, large eggplant pieces, asparagus spears can go straight onto the grill. Skewer smaller pieces for veggie kabobs.
Cut The PROP
Cruciferous vegetables, some greens, and raw eggplant taste and smell the strongest. These odors and flavors further intensify the longer you cook them, except eggplant, which becomes milder. Research has found that people who dislike cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables tend to have a sensitivity to a bitter tasting substance known as PROP.
To cut the PROP, add a little olive oil (or other fat) when stir-frying or sauteing; add something salty or sour (a drizzle of light soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon, or shredded Parmesan); or glaze the vegetables with something sweet (a teaspoon of honey or orange marmalade).
Lower Your Fast Food Fat And Calorie Count
Your favorite fast-food chain serves veggies such as salads or side salads with grilled chicken. Choose reduced-calorie dressing. Use half of the packet and you’ll be adding just about 25-50 calories and 0-4 grams of fat to your salad.