Happy Fourth of July!
If you’re like many folks, you’ll be celebrating the birth of our great nation today with a good old-fashioned barbecue. Just do me one small favor. Don’t forget to serve some veggies alongside those mouthwatering burgers and steaks.
They’re packed full of nutrients your body needs to thrive.
But I get it. If your one of the many folks who isn’t obsessed with okra or infatuated with iceberg, eating your vegetables can sometimes feel like a chore.
And even if you’re a huge veggie fan like me, you can still find yourself in a rut from time to time. It’s easy to feel bored and uninspired when your faced with yet another bland stalk of broccoli or slice of cucumber.
Make vegetables tastier with these 5 easy tricks
The problem is most of us treat vegetables as an afterthought. They’re a side dish that we give no more thought to than the condiments we put on the table. But when you start thinking of them as being every bit as important as the main dish, and fix them with the same care, you’ll find they become anything but boring.
And today I’m going to share five of my favorite tricks to help make your vegetables tastier than you ever thought possible.
1. Preheat the pan:
You’d never toss a burger or steak into a lukewarm pan, so stop doing it to your vegetables. A sizzling skillet gives your meats that perfect, flavor-filled sear you love. And it will do the exact same thing for your veggies.
If you’re cooking vegetables on the stove top, make sure your pan is superhot before dropping them in. And when you’re roasting vegetables don’t just preheat the oven, preheat the pan too. You’ll end up with some of the tastiest roasted roots, Brussels or broccoli you’ve ever eaten.
2. Turn them into tots:
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I still crave the tater tots of my elementary school days. But deep fried white potato nuggets, or frozen filler-packed tots, simply aren’t an option these days. Lucky for me (and now you) baked veggie tots fill the void nicely.
- two cups either partially cooked “riced” cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes or shredded zucchini
- one half a cup of almond or banana flour (add more if needed)
- one cup of shredded cheese
- one pastured egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder and Himalayan or sea salt
Form into rounded tot shapes. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Bake for around 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
3. Embrace (healthy!) oils:
In our efforts to eat a healthier diet many of us forgot one important fact. Fat makes foods taste good. Which is why stripping all the fat out of your meals makes them bland and boring.
But there’s another fat fact you should keep in mind. And that is not all fats are bad for you. In fact, some have health BENEFITS.
Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil for example are packed with nutrients your body needs. And they can help transform a bland side dish into a mouthwatering treat.
So, go ahead and toss your veggies in a light coating of healthy oil before they go on the grill or in the oven. Or drizzle blanched or raw veggies with some olive oil before adding them to a salad.
4. Dip them:
You don’t always have to turn on the oven to make a tasty side dish or snack. Slice up whatever fresh veggies you have on hand such as bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, jicama or cucumbers. And serve them with a tasty and healthy homemade dip.
To make your own simple hummus dump one can of drained garbanzo beans, two tablespoons of water, two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of lemon juice, two cloves of garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Or make a creamy dip using Greek yogurt as your base. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce, roasted garlic and onions, and a sprinkle of sea salt for an onion dip that’s better than the store-bought stuff. Or mix in your favorite seasonings with drained frozen spinach and chopped up water chestnuts.
And don’t forget homemade salsa. You can make the easiest pico de gallo ever with nothing more than chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
5. Stuff them:
You can scoop out just about any veggie and make it a boat for just about any stuffing you like. Fill tomatoes with tuna. Or mushroom caps with spinach and quinoa. Try “riced” cauliflower with organic grass-fed ground beef in a zucchini boat or sweet potato black beans and corn stuffed into mini sweet peppers.
Get creative and your veggies will become every bit as tasty as your MAIN dish.