Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Savor Vegetables

In the past, vegetables were something that I steamed fresh or frozen, slapped on some butter and salt, and shoved'em down my throat to check "ate veggies" off my list for the day. As I'm learning more about cooking and vegetables, I actually look forward to eating them! It's all in how they are prepared. Here's a few ways we have enjoyed. It's fun to experiment with different combinations and spices! (You just witnessed me crossing over into cooking geek hood.)

Roasted Veggies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut fresh veggies into squares, rectangles, thin and skinny, or fry shapes - whatever you like. Thin cuts will get crispier. Pour some extra virgin olive oil into the middle of a big jelly roll pan (they are like cookie sheets with short sides). Put the veggies onto the oil and toss to coat then spread into a single layer on the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. If desired, sprinkle with other spices such as garlic salt, Italian seasonings, lemon pepper, or paprika. (They taste great without extra spices too though.)

Veggie Ideas
Zucchini, Yellow Squash, & Sweet Potatoes (Cut sweet potatoes smaller since they take longer to cook.)
Green Beans & Onions (finely diced)

Make It a Meal
Toss chicken parts, boneless skinless breasts (cut up), or fish pieces in the oil with the veggies and cook together. We often do chicken parts, diced onion, large-diced potatoes, and halved baby carrots.

Sauteed Veggies

Preheat large pan on stove. Put organic butter or extra virgin olive oil in pan (can add more later if veggies are burning or looking dry). Once butter/oil is hot, add veggies and cook until browned and tender. Add sea salt when about a minute left.

Veggie Ideas
Sweet Potatoes (diced small)
Zucchini (cut into rounds, turn once when one side is lightly brown)
Broccoli, Onion (diced), & Garlic (uses more butter/oil, stir often)
Green Beans, Onion (diced), & Garlic
Green Beans, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Tomatoes (diced, a few), Onion, Garlic, Frozen Corn and/or Peas (add toward end) or other crazy mixtures. All the colors make it look fancy when really it's very easy!

Make It a Meal
Whisk organic eggs and a little milk in a bowl and pour over diced sweet potatoes. Tastes better than you think it would!
Add diced, cooked chicken and cooked brown rice to veggies at end for a Chinese-tasting meal.

Foods with Veggies

If you're family needs help adjusting to eating veggies, you may have to get creative for a while. Try making zucchini bread instead of banana bread or carrot muffins instead of blueberry muffins.

There's a lot of recipes that you can simply add more veggies to. For instance, we were going to eat spaghetti one night. I diced onion and finely-chopped broccoli (green pepper would have worked even better) in the pan with the ground beef, then added the pasta sauce. Then, I put a layer of spinach underneath the sprouted grain spaghetti and sauce. No one in my family noticed!

Soup is another food that can handle extra veggies well.

Feel free to share your ideas or favorite veggie prep methods in the comments!


  1. Some combos of roasted veggies we've done recently are: brocolli, carrots, and zucchini; eggplant, carrot, and onion; zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and bacon.

  2. Melissa - How do you know when the veggies are done roasting? (I REALLY want to do roasted veggies, but need to get my oven fixed.)

    I love the idea of adding veggies to spaghetti. I friend of mine said that she made "sloppy joes" and added pureed peas and some other vegetable that I can't think of right now, in with the meat and spices. She said it was delicious!

  3. I think it depends on how big you cut them, how many you have on the pan, and how tender you like them. I like them to be slightly browned.