I recently sat down to dinner with a grilled chicken sandwich, steamed broccoli, and pumpkin puree. When I told my son about the chicken sandwich, he looked at my plate and said, “But I don’t like broccoli!”
I don’t have any quarrel with vegetables, but I know a lot of people do. Fortunately, there are many ways to dress up veggies for picky eaters. Here are seven ideas:
- Just add butter (and maybe a pinch of salt). The sweet, saltiness of butter (or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light) provides a nice contrast to bitter (broccoli and brussels sprouts) and sweet (corn, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots) vegetables alike. I’ve read that some lucky parents get their children to eat vegetables by adding butter and salt.
- Roast or saute with olive oil. Asparagus is especially delicious when roasted with oil, salt and pepper. You can also wilt spinach or broccoli rabe in an olive oil-coated pan. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper (or steak seasoning) and red pepper flakes, if you’d like.
- Top with cheese or a cheese sauce. Broil tomatoes with parmesan on top. Mix a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese into spinach. One thing that I’d like to try, which is a twist on the cheese sauce for broccoli and cauliflower, is to use a little salsa con queso instead, for extra flavor.
- Add spice. I’d like to experiment and make an Indian-spiced spinach, with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge thrown in to add creaminess. Go simpler by roasting cauliflower with garlic, salt, olive oil and curry powder or a mixture of chili powder and cumin.
- “Hide” them. Throw a handful of assorted vegetables into a meat and/or cheese omelet (raw or sauteed so a little softer but still crunchy), or ditch your romaine sandwich topper for spinach. Toss them into soups or stews.
- Top with tomato sauce. I’m thinking squash for this one, either spaghetti squash eaten like spaghetti, or zucchini.
- Grill them. Grill peppers, eggplant, squash, peppers and onions, corn, tomatoes… or unconventional things like radicchio wedges and asparagus. Grilling imparts smokiness, and the heat from cooking mellows out the taste of the more pungent vegetables. Steve Raichlen’s book How to Grill (one I have happily used for many things) has an entire chapter devoted to grilling various kinds of vegetables.
You know the spiel that vegetables provide all kinds of nutrients that your body needs, but they also can help to curb hunger, by providing fullness in a fair amount of fiber for minimal calories. I hope you find something you like, if you haven’t already!
If you are an old school or newly reformed vegetable lover, what are your favorite ways to prepare vegetables? Do share with the class here. : )