[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] M[/dropcap]y friend Tara’s book, ‘The Butcher and the Vegetarian’ chronicles her journey from vegetarian to occasional meat eater for health reasons. It’s not about making vegetables taste good.
But it’s a great read.
Growing up, Tara’s mother was all about health.
They often ate steamed veg with brown rice and NO oil or salt.
Not exactly tasty.
There is often a misconception that healthy food can’t be pleasurable.
So today I wanted to share my favourite tricks for making vegetables taste good.
Because aren’t we all more likely to eat more veg if we actually enjoy them?
6 Simple Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good (and even amazing!)
1. Use salt
Many vegetables contain a bitter flavours.
While a love of bitterness can be acquired, there’s something you can do to mask it.
Yes, our old friend salt.
Really seasoning makes a HUGE difference.
Don’t be worried about the negative health connotations associated with salt.
That’s for when you’re eating industrial-sized quantities, not the small amount of sea salt that it takes to mask the bitterness in your kale.
Salt is also makes vegetables taste great because it enhances other flavours.
2. Use oil
Fat carries flavour and makes everything taste better. Hello potato chips.
Fat also provides fat soluble vitamins which tend to be lacking in veg. And it can help absorb the nutrients in vegetables.
So it’s actually better for you (and your taste buds) to use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or even butter when cooking veg.
3. Don’t boil your veg
One of the easiest ways to make vegetables taste yuck is to boil the hell out of them.
Boiling is also problematic because your water soluble vitamins end up down the sink.
These days, the only veg I boil are broad beans, broccoli and spuds for roasting or when I’m making mash.
So how do I cook my veg?
4. Roast, pan fry or stir fry
I love roast veg but they can take a while, so I often pop them in a frying pan for a speedier alternative.
Unlike boiling, these dry heat methods of cooking help add yummy caramelized flavours to your veg and remove excess moisture.
Which is why they’re so delicious!
5. Use good quality veg
When I was little I hated peas. Boiled frozen peas were all I knew.
Then one day I had a life-changing spring vegetable soup at the Lynwood Cafe which had its own vegetable garden.
I couldn’t believe that I not only liked the freshly picked sweet peas.
I loved them.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with frozen peas. They’re a brilliant vegetable to have on hand.
I tell the story as a reminder that all veg are not equal when it comes to flavour.
The carrot you get from the supermarket generally never holds a candle to one you grow yourself.
6. Use tasty accompaniments
I’m a big fan of using tasty accompaniments to make my veg more palatable.
Here are some of my favourites:
- chilli oil
- soy sauce
- parmesan cheese
- miso paste
- olives or tapenade
- peppery extra virgin olive oil
- fresh herbs
More Recipes that Make Vegetables Taste Good
(and even Amazing!)
- Sausage, Broccoli & Chilli Bowls
- Darya’s Egg Fried Cabbage
- Tandoori Cauliflower
- Balsamic Cabbage and Sausages
- Smoky Cauliflower Taco Bowls
- Mexican Roast Eggplant with Green Chorizo
- Beautiful Broccoli with Creamy Tuna Sauce
- Lebanese Roast Ratatouille with Hummus
Have fun in the kitchen!
Great points, and another is to change up the shape of your veggies: Chopping, mincing, shredding (chiffonade), jullienne, spiralized (great too1) – – and don’t forget “zucchini/squash tagliatelle” made using a simple potato peeler. Just like pasta, different shapes can maximize flavor. Whatever the shape, try to keep it all uniform for even cooking, and have fun!
Thanks for sharing :)
Funny your comment about peas. Frozen peas are OK, canned peas are horrible, but I never knew what peas were really supposed to taste like until we planted them in our own garden Awesome! No wonder so many people don’t like them, they’ve never really eaten them. Oh how I miss my garden!
P.S. If you add frozen peas to ANY recipe do so at the last minute – just long enough to thaw them out. Otherwise you will end up with that mush you don’t like.
Good point Leslie..
But I find even with minimal cooking I struggle… it’s definitely more about me than the peas!
And I’m super excited about growing peas in my new garden
Nice tips!! I love vegetables!
I don’t like potato chips so I love roasted veggies.
Not like potato chips? That would be sacrilege in our house Arthur!
We love roast veg as well though
Roasted cauliflower sounds wonderful!
It isn’t necessarily true that the fat-soluble vitamins are lacking in vegetables (depending on which veg you’re talking about), but a little fat in the meal is important in order to be able to absorb the vitamins from the veg. So yes, we should go ahead and have a little oil or butter with the veg, but for a slightly different reason.
Thanks for pointing out that the oil helps with absorption Elene.
I should have mentioned that.
I am planning on making a book/ebook on how to make vegetables taste better and would like your permission to apply your tips to the book. Please reply. Also there will be a bibliography with your name and website or book if you would allow me to use your tips.
Great tips! Thanks Jules!
I was worrying to my sons Pediatrician that he doesn’t eat enough veggies and his advice was the same as you …. veggies can taste yuck … they need butter and oil!
And salt Natalie!
Amazing recipes. Harilal’s appreciate your efforts. Keep sharing vegetarian recipes.
Thanks Harilal! So glad you’re enjoying :)
I’m always partial to air frying the vegetables than pan or stir fry because it uses less oil, even with ‘healthier’ oils. But most of the other tips are spot on!