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.
I toast n powder flax seed, with toasted dry red chollas, garlic and cumin seed. Season with salt. this is an indian recipe for a dry chutney. Sprinkle away on roasted veggies, salads, or mix with Greek yogurt n make a spicy dip.
Posted by: GG | March 08, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Roasting the veggies I didn't like (Brussels sprouts and beets) turned them into vegetables I can totally inhale an entire plate of.
To make salads more 'decadent' I thin out edamame hummus (from Trader Joe's) with a little olive oil and lemon juice, and use that as a dressing - I hate mayo-based dressings, and this is a good, creamy substitute. I also use that hummus in place of mayo (which I DESPISE) for tuna salad for sandwiches. It's smoother and creamier than regular hummus, and works great.
Some veggies I hated cooked as a kid, but LOVE raw as an adult (carrots, zucchini). And I hated kale the first time I had it (overcooked) but love it when I just barely wilt it, or have it raw in salad.
A great dipping sauce for steamed or raw veggies is also a mix of rice vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, a little toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and chopped scallions. I also use that sauce for a quick dinner of soba noodles (or whole wheat spaghetti in a pinch), chopped broccoli, and cubed tofu. So yum.
Posted by: Jen | March 01, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Roasting vegetables is the #1 secret, IMHO. It makes them sweet and tasty. I love to brush the porous ones like eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, etc. with a little balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, maybe a few herbs, and give a really light mist of olive oil and roast in the oven. Brings out the natural sweetness and caramelizes the sugars. YUM!
Posted by: Smudd | June 11, 2010 at 11:53 AM
For a rich treat try a No Sugar Added Fudge
Pop dipped in no sugar cool whip...Yum
Posted by: Charlotte | October 06, 2009 at 04:37 PM
I am a huge fan of Old Bay seasoning on green beans -- and you don't need any oil, just toss them while they're wet. Also, grilling or smoking any veggie makes it awesome!
Posted by: Maggie | June 10, 2009 at 04:13 PM
I sprinkly a can of green beans with lemon pepper seasoning and cook them. Even my kids like them!
Posted by: Leslie | May 18, 2009 at 11:28 AM
broccali is great with oyster sauce
Posted by: Ger | April 27, 2009 at 06:15 PM
I have discovered steaming bags. They make veggies taste so good and NO seasoning is required.
Posted by: Barbara Lunsford | April 06, 2009 at 04:33 PM
I think that roasting vegetables really makes them taste great. I chop up lots of onions, red peppers, brussel sprouts, winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and put them on a cookie sheet prepared with non-stick spray. 375 degrees for @45 minutes to an hour. Oh, add spices you like. I use salt, pepper and oregano. The onions are amazingly sweet.
Posted by: Andrea | March 16, 2009 at 08:57 AM
mustard I use yellow AND a little stone ground, ketchup, horseradish, worchestershire, and a tad of honey, sometimes a little lemon juice, but very little. A wonderful reumolade- it goes great with anything, my son loves it. you can omit horseradish and lemon, but I like that extra zing. I love it with peppers, zuccini strips, anything goes. (It is also perfect with seafood when you add that to your diet, salmon, shrimp, and crab)
Posted by: Michelle Smith | March 11, 2009 at 09:33 AM
My aunt makes a salad with shreded carrots, shreded apple,sugar free maple syrup, and lemon or lime juice. mix everything in a bowl and put in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes (tastes better if cold)
Posted by: Alejandra Carrillo | January 27, 2009 at 10:42 AM
I saw a friend from korea doing this and from that day I do it too. Dip baby carrots in nonfat yogurt for a snack or for dessert. I use the ones with fruit, such us strawberry yogurt. you should try it.
Posted by: Alejandra Carrillo | January 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM
I'm not sure if this is really healthy, but my mom just sautés green beans in olive oil and seasons them with Mrs. Dash. I like mashed potatoes, but none of the greener, leafier vegetables, so I dip the green beans in mashed potatoes and they taste like potato wedges. I get all the nutrition from the green beans while bypassing their taste.
Posted by: Steff | January 21, 2009 at 04:43 PM
Actually i do eat fiber rich food like vegetables (broccoli,cauliflower, coriander, parsley, eggplant),kidney beans and fruits like strawberries, apples and kiwi but i still seem to suffer from slow digestion. I exercise as well; used to exercise about four or five times a week, but have slowed down to once a week. I'm a bit overweight if i don't go to the gym but if i go to the gym, my weight becomes normal.
Posted by: Ted | January 06, 2009 at 05:14 AM
Mix low fat or fat free sour cream (or substitute) with some Dijon or regular mustard to taste - this is really good on vegetables, even brussels sprouts!
Posted by: Jane | December 16, 2008 at 02:31 PM
Ponzu sauce is a lemon soy sauce and is very good on broccoli. I also like "Trinidad" seasoning from Penzey's Spices for broccoli. I actually can't make up my mind which I like most so it's hard to have to choose.
Posted by: Heather Jacoby | December 06, 2008 at 07:27 PM
Fresh grated nutmeg is a quick and easy way to spice up steamed green beans or cauliflower - haven't tried it on broccoli, since I like that with red pepper flakes and ginger, but it could work there too, I imagine.
Posted by: rroad | December 04, 2008 at 10:01 PM