Monday RD Feature: Spice up Your Veggies!

Are you sick and tired of the same old boring, plain vegetables? Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kath Eats tells us 20 ways how we can make eating vegetables more fun and exciting for the whole family! 

Raise your hand if you just looooove plain vegetables!

Sure some people will snack on raw green beans or eat a juicy ripe tomato* right out of hand, but most of the time vegetables need a little jazzing up to taste their best.

*YES, I know a tomato is a fruit. But for all practical purposes, I consider it a vegetable.

I thought it might be helpful to list out some of our other favorite ways to cook vegetables. Here are our staple flavors and techniques:

1) Lemon, Dill, Mustard – This is our go-to combo for green beans. A blob of Dijon mustard adds thickness, fresh or dried dill adds flavor and lemon brightens it all up.

2) Toss cooked veggies in prepared pesto – Pretty much anything is better with pesto!

3) Bake with parmesan – Sprinkle parmesan cheese over thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant slices and bake until the cheese begins to brown, about 20 minutes

4) Make “fries” – This is one of our favorite ways to eat okra. Toss the pods in a little olive oil and salt and bake or grill until they are tender. Dip in ketchup for the “fry” action.

5) Better-Than-Fried cornmeal crust – This is our other favorite way to eat okra! With bite-size pieces of anything, dunk in some egg and then in cornmeal and season with anything from herbs to Old Bay. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cornmeal begins to brown.

6) Bring out the bacon – Pan-fry some bacon and then keep your grease to cook greens or other veggies. It’s not the healthiest method, but it sure adds a lot of flavor. And cooking vegetables in bacon is better than cooking something like a donut or steak in bacon grease!

7) Add a little maple – Our go-to greens recipes involves browning two slices of bacon and removing them from the pan. Then add the greens until they are nice and wilted and stir in a teaspoon or two of maple syrup at the end. The sweet – salty combo is just divine! If you’re baconless, just drizzle on a bit of high quality maple syrup to any greens like mustard greens, collard greens or kale to soften the bitterness and add some depth. A touch of Liquid Smoke will also add depth without calories or fat.

8) Chip ‘em – While we’re talking greens, can’t forget kale chips!

9) Smoked paprika – My favorite kitchen spice. Good on any vegetable! We particularly love it for grilling.

10) Herbs de Provence – Another good one to sprinkle on while cooking, say zucchini pieces or mushrooms.

11) Special sauces – Add in a bit of premade flavor with sauces like Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze (great on green beans!) or Bone Suckin’ Sauce

12) Balsamic vinegar – Only the aged kind will do! Drizzle it on anything to finish or cook to let it thicken up a bit.

13) Reductions – Matt likes to take beer and cook it down until a thick, syrupy reduction. Drizzle on anything from beans to mushrooms to broccoli.

14) Massaged – Shout out to the massaged greens family. Add some olive oil, lemon juice and salt to trimmed and washed kale and massage until your hands hurt (about 5 minutes). The acid and massaging breaks down the kale so it’s tender enough to eat raw. We like our massaged kale salads with lime juice, red peppers and avocado plus a touch of balsamic vinegar for sweetness.

15) Jam – Another tribute to sweet savory, a hint of jam along with a teaspoon of mustard and a little olive oil makes a sweet dressing to drizzle over a savory veggie – like grilled radicchio.

16) Cinnamon + Cayenne – If you count sweet potatoes as vegetables (I do!) then the cinnamon and cayenne marriage is our favorite way to make sweet potato fries in the oven. We coat them in olive oil and salt and then sprinkle a little of each C+C on. Cinnamon for me, Cayenne for Matt! I love the hint of sweet spice.

17) Roast (or grill) – Every vegetable tastes better roasted with just a coat of olive oil and salt for flavor. Roasted Brussels sprouts are my wintertime favorite!

18) Add cheese – Think caprese salads, hot grated parmesan, or blue cheese tossed with collard greens. Cheese adds so much flavor.

19) Coconut oil and butter – This is a favorite way to cook butternut and acorn squash. Toss in coconut oil or melt some coconut butter and dip your roasted squash pieces in.

20) Make a salad and add good toppings – Lettuce and bell peppers taste better next to jalapeno hummus and goat cheese : )

For pictures and further recipes check out Kath's original article at: Spice up Your Veggies!

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