5 Easy Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good
Sometimes it seems that good vegetable recipes are hard to come by. If you’re looking for ways to make vegetables taste good, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for 5 easy tips that will leave you craving vegetables for dinner instead of dreading them.
1. Vegetables Recipes Need Fresh Vegetables
The best way to make good vegetable recipes is to source fresh vegetables. The best place to source fresh seasonal vegetables is directly from a local farmer. Locally grown vegetables travel less distance, and therefore have exponentially more flavor and nutritional value than their grocery store counterparts. Farmer’s markets, your own garden, and local farms are the best place to find fresh produce. Fresh vegetables are especially important for vegetable recipes such as this marinated carrot salad, which contains just a few ingredients. Make an extra effort to source fresh veggies, and the flavor alone will have you craving more vegetables.
2. Roast and Blanch
I rarely boil vegetables, as the flavor gets cooked right out into the water, yielding tasteless, lifeless mush. These “veggie nightmares” of mush are easily remedied by roasting. Roasting means to bake food uncovered in an oven (or over an open fire.) Roasting vegetables concentrates flavor, such as in this roasted beet salad, and yields a succulent, often crispy result. Another favorite cooking method of mine is blanching, which briefly boils, than shocks vegetables in an ice bath. This is a great way to prepare your vegetables for the week, and will help them last longer. They’ll be ready to go throughout the week, either for salads, roasting (shorter cooking time), or for this frittata.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Salt
Samrin Nosrat’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, suggests using one scant teaspoon of fine grain sea salt per pound of veggies. That may seem like a lot, but salt enhances the flavor of food, and will make most everything you cook taste better, not salty. Your taste buds will cry for help from over-salting before you add unhealthful amounts of salt. There are many types of salt out there, my favorites being fine sea salt or kosher salt for everyday use.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Fat
Fat enhances flavor, helps determine texture, and aids the nutrient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins found in some vegetables. Our bodies need fat to function, and there are many healthy fats to choose from when cooking vegetables. So coat those veggies in olive oil when roasting, put the butter on the green beans, and pan-fry those zucchini fritters. Some of my favorite fats to use with vegetables include extra-virgin olive oil, butter, pasture raised pork lard, and refined coconut oil for high heat cooking.
5. Add Vegetables to Your Favorite Dishes
This past summer on a camping trip, where my contribution to dinner was pasta and red sauce, I added kale to the sauce. At the end of the meal, we were all sitting around holding our bellies and talking about how amazing dinner was, and someone asked me what the “green stuff” was in the pasta sauce. I hesitated for a moment, deciding if I should divulge my “secret”, as I knew there were kale haters in the group. I shared, everyone was surprised, we had a good laugh. AND the general consensus was that it was good! By adding vegetables that you “don’t like” into foods that you know you like the taste of, and are comforting for you, is a great starter step for incorporating more veggies into your diet, and making them taste good. I’m not suggesting dumping an entire bag of baby spinach into your favorite rice dish, but experiment with it. What would happen if you added a few shredded carrots? A handful of chopped, blanched green beans? A cup of frozen peas? Try it and let me know what you think.