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Roasted Veggies....

I love greenbeans. Love them. Loved them as a kid, love them now. I just started roasting them with a bit of olive oil, S&P. I can eat all of them. And I'm OK with that - I could always use more veggies.

But here's the problem: I am an extremely picky veggie eater and have been since I was a child. What I would love to have is a bit of help with how to cook the veggies I actually like so that I love them as much as I do those darned greenbeans. Here's my limited list:

Squashes and zuchini of all types, cooked tomatoes (I know it's a fruit), aforementioned greenbeans, spinach, stewed collards, carrots, but only if they don't taste like carrots and are chopped small (told you I'm picky) - basically I find any veggie that is bitter at all to be very disturbing. Any help for a thirty-something girl that still eats her veggies like a kid?

Thanks!

PS - I DO try other veggies once in a while to make sure I still hate them....i'm not THAT much of a kid.

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  1. Well the squashes and tomato could be done exactly the same way, carrots too but I would precook them a little first. I have olive oil in a spray bottle for just this very reason.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaAZ

      If your carrots are small enough, you can slice them lengthwise then roast cut side down with a small amount of OO.

      Got to say, can't believe you don't like cauliflower! Just started roasting that, and it's delicious.

      A quick way to do tomatoes and squash is to slice and saute for a small amount of time over high heat in some kind of fat. Then add chicken stock, herbs, and a little lemon or white wine. Reduce heat and cover. The stock steams the veggies in a few minutes. If the sauce hasn't reduced enough by the time the veggies are done, remove the veggies and the lid, and cook down the sauce. Yummy.

    2. Tonight, I had cut summer squash-green and yellow and sauted in a little olive oil then sprinkled w/ s and lemon pepper. YUM! Also love the combo of stewed toms (I get the Italian style can. I first saute zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms add frozen spinach and cook down w/the can of toms. Then to round out the whole thing I'll often add a can of Tuscany Beans from T.J's. Another yummy thing. At the end, fold in some pesto! :)KQ

      1. Try adding whole garlic cloves to your roasted veggies. They come out sweet and carmelized.

        You should also try roasted fennel. Slice, dice or roughly chop your fennel and drizzel with olive olive oil and S&P (and throw in some whole garlic cloves in the pan) and roast for about 30-40 minutes. Delish!

        1. Roasted cauliflower is great- totally changes the flavor- brings out the nuttiness- roast with a little OO, garlic and sea salt.

          1. I've been roasting root vegetables recently and love them. I cut up potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and fennel, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast until caramelized and tender.

            As others have said, roasted cauliflower is a wonderful dish. If you've only eaten in boiled, you'll probably be surprised at how good it is roasted.

            Learn to stir fry and shop in Asian groceries. My husband is totally devoted to Asian greens now. We buy baby mustard greens, Chinese water spinach, all kinds of bok choy, choy sum and gai lan regularly. They all cook up quickly and are delicious.

            It may be harder for you to develop a taste for bitter greens, but give them a try. I love spicy eggplant cooked with lots of garlic and ginger. I use Asian eggplants which aren't bitter at all but have a nice earthy taste. I also make kale both in stir-fries and in soups. You may find kale soup surprisingly good, there are good recipes online for Portugese versions of this with bacon - how can anything with bacon be bad?

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheryl_h

              Unfortunately I'm actually allergic to eggplant (migraines). As far as other bitter veggies go, like I said I try them once in a while and I find the bitterness literally painful.

              For all the cauliflower lovers...I know I know....I'm gonna have to wait until someone makes it for me. I don't want to buy and make a bunch to find out I hate it, too. I'm not hopefully but I'd give it a go (I don't even like a cream of cauliflower soup!)

              1. re: krissywats

                RE the roasted caulifower. The freshness of the cauliflower makes a big difference. A just-picked cauli from the farmers market will taste sweeter and more flavorful.

                Raosted cauliflower with roasted red pepper is a really nice combo.

            2. I know it is not on your list but try raosting brussel sprouts - like roasting just about any vegetable the sugars carnelize adding a nice sweetness cutting through the normal bitterness of brussel sprouts - same way as all others drizzle of olive oil kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper -

              6 Replies
              1. re: weinstein5

                Yeah - seriously not on my list for a reason. I gagged up brussel sprouts as a kid (literally) and they still have a gag effect on me. I've seen them roasted and couldn't even get them near my nose because of the smell.

                1. re: krissywats

                  I used to do the exact same thing, but now I love them, roasted or even boiled with some butter.

                  Try roasting carrots and adding a little honey and/or lemon juice at the end. Do you like parsnips? They taste a little like carrots and become very sweet when roasted.

                  Butternut squash is great roasted whole (split first) and then scooped out and topped with butter and maple syrup.

                  Summer squash & zuchini would make a great gratin. You could slice them up lengthwise and then layer them up with cheese and cream.

                  For roasted tomatos, I throw them under the broiler with onions and jalapenos and then throw them into a blender to make some really good roasted tomato salsa. Of course you want to add cilantro, salt, and lime juice.

                  1. re: bitsubeats

                    The squash doesn't get too watery and create a too soupy gratin? I love gratins, but with potatoes you don't have that problem....I've never tried it with anything else.

                    1. re: krissywats

                      If you slice, lightly salt, and then let sit on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, they will drain nicely. I find that draining zucchini, squash, and even eggplant (I know, you hate it) not only firms the veggie but tames the bitterness, too.

                  2. re: krissywats

                    Here is my conversion technique for brussel sprout haters. It's time consuming but worth it.

                    Clean brussels and cut an x on the bottom
                    Par boil them in salted water for about five minutes.
                    Shock them in cold water.
                    Now, take each brussel and remove all the leaves. I know, labour intensive, but I usually employ child labour for this.
                    In another pan saute some pancetta until crisp.
                    Shave some parmesan.
                    Toss brussel leaves with pancetta to finish cooking and warm through.
                    Toss with parmesan and balsamic vinegar.
                    S & P to taste.
                    Works every time.

                  3. re: weinstein5

                    I love brussel sprouts- prepared almost any way. But the rest of the family will only eat them roasted.

                  4. I made a great roasted carrots side-dish recently, sort of Moroccan/Middle Eastern in flavor, and I don't even like carrots that much. You slice them about 1/4-inch thick, roast them in the oven until slightly caramelized, and then toss with olive oil, lemon juice, feta, parsley, salt and pepper.

                    1. Two favorites for roasting: Asparagus & Beets.

                      I roast asparagus on a sheet pan tossed with olive oil & kosher salt. Yum.

                      Roasted beets are delicious and roasting really changes them from beets prepared any other way. (really) I just quarter them without even peeling and the skin peels off super easy when they are done.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kitchensalli

                        Lol - I've actually tried roasted beets. Hubby loved them. They tasted like dirt to me. Not horrible, but not something I'd choose to eat.

                        I HATE asparagus - again....think that i'm a kid...lol

                      2. If you are really only wanting to limit yourself to the list you mentioned, then you can try the following:

                        Pepper squash, Butternut squash, etc. - cut into wedges or slices and brush with olive oil and S&P and roast until golden and carmelized
                        Zucchini - add to stir frys, roast the way you do your green beans, marinade in a vinaigrette and grill, dip in flour and then an egg wash and then bread crumbs mixed with parmesan and pan fry
                        Green beans - in addition to the way you are already eating them, try adding a little green onion, fresh dill and a splash of balsamic, maybe a little garlic
                        Tomatoes (in case you do not already know, never refrigerate them) - slow roast to bring out the sweetness
                        Spinach and stewed collards, steam and then pan fry with olive oil and garlic and some pepper flakes and a little salt

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pescatarian

                          Thanks for all of the ideas!

                          to be clear to everyone, It's not that I WANT to limit myself. Seriously, I think this is hard for people to understand that aren't picky eaters (about myself and about how children taste vegetables). I try stuff all the time and I'm completely open to new flavors but I'm a supertaster and some tastes are literally, physically uncomfortable (if not painful). I'd be happy to find I enjoy new vegetables but I just can't eat what I don't enjoy. Some are honestly repulsive. It's not something I can help or change but I'm open to the change happening as my tastebuds fade as I get older.

                          People also automatically think, "Well, you just haven't tried it cooked correctly" I used to hear the same thing about coffee. I've been trying coffee for years and I still hate it - I even hate coffee ice cream (and I LOVE ice cream). It's the same with veggies - typically it still has a trace of the vegetable taste to it. I mean if you can figure out how to make asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or brussel sprouts taste EXACTLY like bacon. Or a hamburger. Or cake...then I'd love it. But no matter how they are cooked, they still taste a bit like the veggie and I hate the veggie.

                          But I still keep trying.

                          1. re: krissywats

                            That's fair. I've always loved all my veggies, I was that unusual child, but I can relate because I've had similar feelings about other foods. However, your taste buds are always changing so if you are ever feeling up to it (maybe after a glass of wine, lol), you should try the odd thing again. And if you ever want a great brussel sprout recipe with a "peanut, garlic, citrus" pan fry sauce, let me know!

                            Oh, also, I forgot to mention, if you like squash, try spaghetti squash - poke the whole spaghetti squash several times and bake at 400 for about 45min to an hour and then cut in half (if it is not soft, leave in a bit longer). Take a fork and fork the flesh of each side of the spaghetti squash. It will come apart in strands similar to spaghetti. Then you can add either a little butter and garlic, S&P and parmesan or your favourite tomato sauce.

                            1. re: pescatarian

                              YES! Thanks for the reminder. I had spaghetti squash for the first time a few weeks ago with basil pesto, parmesan and currants. It was AWESOME!!

                        2. Since spinach is on your list, here are my fave preps of spinach that chase the "veggie" taste of spinach (bonus in these times is that it's cooked):

                          Oshitashi - steam or blanch spinach until just wilted, then mix with a mixture of tamari or soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds to taste.

                          Gomae - many diff variations, here is one:
                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                          Also, I recently started salting zucchini, and I like the non-mushy, snappy texture salting does to julienned zucchini. Slice zukes thinly, toss with salt, then let drain for 15-20 minutes then squeeze until dry, then toss in EVOO & pepper and eat raw or roast very quickly at very high temp.

                          1. I am with you on the veggie thing! I try and try, though, and slowly am starting to like more. I started liking grilled asparagus a few years ago. I now like broccoli if it's at a Chinese or Thai restaurant, as in Beef and Broccoli. Those hark back to childhood when family members boiled them until they were smelly, mushy piles - yuck!
                            I like all winter squashes, including spaghetti squash, and I like red bell peppers, tomatoes and a few salad items. That's about it. Cauliflower - gross. Mushrooms, really gross. It's very childlike, and I'd like to like them more, so I try.

                            There's a green bean recipe on Epicurious I think with balsamic blue cheese sauce, which got me to start liking green beans.

                            But I feel your pain!

                            1. your recipe is similar to one i saw lidia do on her cooking show - without the pancetta. i hate brussel sprouts but the way she cooked it it looked delish so i tried with a few of them. ohmygod, they were unbelieviably delicious.
                              also with cauliflower - try mashing them like potatoes. also very good. and cutting them up in little pieces with cajun spice or other spicy spices and roasting them.

                              1. I fell in love with roasted veggies after reading Barbara Kafka's book,"Roasting". It may be out of print by now, but you should be able to find it. I started with roasting leeks and onions and now roast almost all veg. in a high (500 deg.) oven, coating the veg. in olive oil. Broccoli is fabulous - like candy. When I make it, it rarely lasts until we're seated at the table.