There are a couple hundred reasons to up your vegetable intake, but nobody needs to tell you that. We all understand that vegetables are undoubtedly “good for us.” But despite their amazing health benefits, many of us struggle to hit the recommended amount each day. The very nutrients that plague veggies with a “boring” or “bitter” flavor are what make them so healthy!
Rina Jordan, Registered Dietitian shares a few tried-and-true ways to bring new life to boring veggies.
Oil Up and Broil
It’s incredible how much the flavor of vegetables changes when you roast them. Roasting brings out a subtle sweetness that enhances vegetables without adding much fat or calories. Using heart-healthy oils (like olive oil) can go a long way in helping you love veggies.
- Cut vegetables like broccoli florets, cremini mushrooms, butternut squash, and bell peppers into bite-size pieces and arrange them on a cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and add chopped garlic or onions on top. You can also sprinkle on spices like dried thyme or red pepper flakes for a kick.
- Place your veggies in a 400° oven for 15-25 minutes.
The caramelized flavors may surprise you!
There are many ways to incorporate vegetables into a main dish rather than having them on the side.
- Try adding chopped veggies in to rice dishes, pasta, couscous, or quinoa and cooking them together.
- Toss a bag of frozen mixed vegetables into soup or stews for added fiber. Vegetables tend to take on the flavor of broth and spices when simmered.
- Sneak leafy greens like kale or spinach into a fruit smoothie. When blended with berries, pineapple, and other fruits, the sweet flavor will overpower any bitterness.
Take a Dip
From a nutritional perspective, pairing vegetables with a fat source (such as olive oil in hummus) helps to boost the nutrient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K. Enjoy sliced raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, or baby tomatoes with a flavorful dip.
Some excellent dip options are:
- Greek yogurt dill dip
- Lighter ranch (stir a packet of ranch seasoning into Greek yogurt or light sour cream)
- Salsa or pico de gallo
Transform the Texture
Pureeing is a versatile way to “hide” veggies in other dishes, but this method can also create a satisfying meal on its own. Dense vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, winter squash, carrots, beets, and even kale are excellent options to puree, for which you’ll need either a standard blender or an immersion blender.
Check out this pureed vegetable soup recipe (with instructions for nine different veggies!)
Rina Jordan sees patients at four Ogden Clinic locations in Weber and Davis Counties. Click here to learn more about Rina or schedule a consultation.
Rina Jordan, RD CD