The title of this post should read, "How to Make Vegetables You Don't Like Taste Extraordinary without Butter and Cheese but that was too long. Butter and Cheese make everything taste extraordinary. The real challenge is how to make green beans taste good without it.
I was with a friend of mine the other day and she mentioned that her two boys ate an entire plate of green beans. I can't even eat an entire plate of green beans, no matter how good they are for you. I don't like the taste.
Then, as I was eating dinner with her family, I watched exactly what she did: She placed a bowl of soy sauce next to the plate for one son and a small bowl of freshly squeezed lemon for the other. Brilliant.
She chose the condiment that they loved the most and her boys, with their new "finger" food, started dipping away. I had never thought of it. I've always dipped fresh broccoli in mustard; it tastes like you're eating hot dogs. It does! Try it and let me know if you agree. The trouble with mustard is that my daughter still likes it, but when my 5 year old decided that he didn't like mustard, there went my vegetable strategy.
My friend Laurie helped me rediscover all the ways that you can make food you don't love, taste like food you can love. Since I'm no different than my children, this was a great realization for me - what other condiments do I like so I can eat green beans and like them? I thought I'd list a few here to give us all some ideas:
- Low sodium soy sauce with wasabi: I happen to love this stuff in my sushi, but I haven't tried it on it's own. If you're allergic to wheat, stay away. My friend's 7 year old loves it.
- Ketchup: They have organic ketchup now, heinz makes it without the corn syrup. Warning - it doesn't taste as good but if you're children don't know the difference yet, it might be perfect.
- Mustard - my favorite standby: There are so many varieties now that you can most likely find one you like. I love the standard Dijon but honey mustard might be a great dip.
- Chutney: my friend used to be addicted to this stuff. It is an acquired taste.
- Salsa - You can get some great tomatoes and just great taste in general. There are also some mild kinds without all the onions and peppers for the children.
- Fresh squeezed lemon and wasabi: my husband has a wheat allergy so he invented this. It tastes amazing and really "fresh".
- Mashed up avocado with lemon: takes a little more preparation but kids usually love avocado and you're getting a huge extra dose of vitamin C. If you have an extra 5 minutes, it's totally worth it.
- Lemon/mustard/garlic dressing: again, takes a little extra time so this isn't necessarily the best standby but you might want to try it when you're having a big sit down dinner.
- Strawberry with soy milk: mix it up in the blender and make sure you use frozen strawberries. It becomes a strawberry sauce and it's excellent with fruit.
If you have any, please add them! (Here's what other people are doing) I'm on my way to buy wasabi....
We also have a nice discussion going in our community on how to make vegetables for people who just don't like them. Lots of very practical suggestions there.
March 1, 2011 Update: We probably need to drop the low sodium soy sauce suggestion here, or change it to a wheat free option. Since I wrote this I have discovered that many people will benefit from a serious reduction in wheat in their diets. In fact, all gluten products are on the right side of the new PEERtrainer Cheat System. If you have not yet downloaded your free copy, you can still do so here.