Favorite vegetable side dishes?
All -- I love to cook but I don't much care for vegetables. Unfortunately, this means that I rarely cook them (usually we have canned peas or corn with dinner -- I know, I know), and my daughter is starting to dislike them too. When I do cook vegetables, it's usually steamed broccoli or mashed potatoes. I bought a bunch of vegetable/vegetarian cookbooks (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, Vegetarian Classics, the Italian Vegetarian Cookbook) but they haven't inspired me. So, I am determined to try to find some interesting and tasty sides to help us incorporate more veggies into our rotation. We're not vegetarian (obviously) so I'm happy to explore dishes that include meat. I'd appreciate any recipe suggestions--thanks!
Personally these days I love veggies just simply steamed/boiled/grilled with a little olive oil and salt/pepper. However as a kid I wasn't quite so interested. My favourite at the time was always steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower with a simple bechamel (which at the time I knew only as "white sauce" - sometimes a bit of shredded cheddar thrown in to cheese it up) - I wasn't much of a fan of either on their own, but that simple sauce transformed it into something delicious to my young brain. I still enjoy that these days as well, though it's a bit more effort than just steaming.
I'd agree w the first post here, when veggies are roasted their natural sweetness is elevated and they become much more palatable. One of my nieces favourites is Cauliflower "popcorn" (toss bite sized flowerettes w evoo, s&p and roast at 400 for 30 - 40 mins) You can also build (or hide) flavour by adding spice. Roasted curried veggies or add some Cajun or Italian spice. Roasted yams are scrumptious and very good for you. I also found kids seem to love an "Asian Veggie Roast" I toss broccoli, peppers, green beans etc w a mixture of canola oil, a few drops of sesame oil and a teaspoon of light soy sauce before roasting. I also think that because roasted veggies are "finger friendly" kids tend to find them more appealing too.
Don't think my favorite has been mentioned yet. I never even liked brussel sprouts until I had them prepared this way, my husband either. Yet, now, we can't get enough of them. I split them, lightly steam (about 5-6 minutes, just until you can get a fork in), then give them a quick toss in a hot pan with some browned butter, a little salt, and a few good shakes of madras curry. They are so amazing, I can't thank my Mom enough for making them for us.
Always good to have more vegetable recipes! My absolute favorite vegetable recipe is to cut a zucchini into matchsticks, sautee it briefly in some olive oil with salt, pepper, and chopped almonds, then top it with plenty of shaved Parmesan after it comes out of the pan. Soooo good! My husband and I could eat this every day.
i know this thread is several months old, but it's definitely one worth updating! tons of fantastic ideas here already, so i'll just add a few more of my favorites:
- tahini-roasted cauliflower: mix tahini with a bit of lemon juice and/or zest, minced garlic, toasted ground cumin, kosher salt, a pinch of cayenne or chile flakes (an maybe some smoked paprika). thin it out with a bit of vegetable stock or yogurt, and coat the florets with it before roasting. (it's great with broccoli too.)
- Catalan-style greens: traditionally calls for sauteing greens with EVOO, garlic, golden raisins, pine nuts and diced apple. i replace the raisins with currants or dried cherries and add a splash of sherry vinegar.
- miso-glazed eggplant: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/650136?tag=highlight-5006580;post-content-5006580#5006580
- spicy peanut kale: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6918...
If you aren't in the habit of preparing a veggie with every meal, you may have had the same experience as me... I see fresh vegetables and buy them and put them in the veggie drawer and forget about them and then a week later they are wilted and brown and gross. So here are two hints:
1) out of sight is out of mind, so even though the veggie drawer keeps it fresher, the top shelf keeps it visible and on your mind
2) sometimes frozen is fresher than fresh, especially after a week
I generally do my grocery shopping once/week, including for vegetables. We eat vegetables with virtually every dinner, and I find that so long as you eat the most perishable first, and keep the hardier for later, you rarely need to throw out vegetables if you shop for them weekly. I.e., vegetables like asparagus and green beans do not keep more than a few days, so we tend to eat them at the beginning of the week. Leaf lettuce tends to age faster than romaine, so I buy both, but use up the leaf lettuce first. Root vegetables like carrots and rutabagas will keep for at least 2 weeks if stored in the crisper; same with cabbage. Broccoli & cauliflower are in between -- they are good for about 5-7 days after purchase, but not much more. Red peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers will last at least a week, but not much beyond 10 days, when refrigerated.
My advise is keep them in the crisper but just get in the habit of eating vegetables on a daily basis. As to frozen vegetables, I keep corn, peas, and spinach as ingredients for more complex dishes, but don't find them very appealing if just cooked and served as is.
I go by the old adage that if it is not under the mister at the stupidmarket, it doesn't need to be in the refrigerator (i.e. potato's, onions, tomato's, etc.) Those go in a tiered basket on the counter (unless they have been sliced into). I see them and use them up faster.
That said, anything with mushrooms. Fresh carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, corn on the cob, creamed corn, zucchini/summer/butternut/acorn squashes, asparagus, spinach, bell peppers. I'm sure there is many more. Also if you do some of these together on the grill, add chunked pineapple and cherry tomato's. Very yummy.
we eat a lot more veggies then most (I think) because I just can't find the room for a weeks worth of veggies in my fridge. But then again, we do lots of veggies for lunches (even if veggies/hummus), or a sandwich with spinach and cukes, or tomato and avocado, etc. we load up with several veggies for dinner (hardly ever a starch). like tonight for dinner we had grilled cabbage wedges (should have left it on the grill longer), peppers, carrots and tomatoes with hummus - and a veggie burger.
I do too, eat what is going to go first. I roast alot of veggies too and what's starts out as a massive amount, shrinks right down and I only get two meals outt of them.
Steamed green beans tossed in a dressing of olive oil, salt, apple cider vinegar. Even better is steamed pole beans or Romano beans done this way. You can always add some crushed garlic and black pepper to the dressing
Number two would be steamed broccoli or cauliflower with the same dressing
I'm not sure that vegetarian cookbooks are the answer for someone who doesn't care for vegetables. They are full of recipes for people who already are committed to eating lots of veggies.
I'd recommend an older cookbook, The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. She was married to the guy to created/produced the "Victory Garden" TV show on PBS several years ago, and when the viewers asked about recipes, he tapped Marian for some cooking tips for the fresh produce.
At any rate, Victory Garden CB is the best vegetable cookbook I have...it's not vegetarian and it's not filled with exotic stuff that you wouldn't consider eating. It also has the best carrot cake recipe to ever appear in print.
Hope this helps.
If you find vegetable sides boring, perhaps you might want to take a suggestion from the flavorful vegetarian dishes of India. Simple seasonings like the cumin, coriander, ginger and lemon for okra are just as tasty as the longer masalas for dishes like potatoes and cauliflower.
Pan-roasted vegetables with olive oil, browned garlic, chilies, lemon rind and toasted pine nuts are another simple option that will touch all your taste buds.
This dressing is awesome over grilled veggies. We usually do a mixture of yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, onion...but you could also do eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. Basically, you grill the veggies then pour this dressing over them...give them a toss to coat everything (or you could serve the dressing on the side & let the kiddo dip)
Grilled Veggie Dressing
1 shallot minced (or a tablespoon or two of minced onion)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (substitute dried basil in a pinch -- but don't leave it out -- it makes the dressing)
2 tablespoons parsley (optional - I sometimes leave it out)
Throw all the above ingredients into a jar with a lid & shake well until blended. Pour it over your veggies.
I guarantee you guys will like this one. It's a bit sweet and couldn't be easier.
Glazed Carrots & Green Onions
6-8 medium carrots cut into 1 inch slices
4 green onions cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
In a med. sauce pan, cook carrots in a about one inch of lightly salted water until they are nearly tender. Takes about 6-8 mins. Then drain the water. (or you could steam them in the microwave).
In the same saucepan with the carrots, add the green onion, honey, butter and ginger. Cook and stir together until the glaze has melted together and coats the carrots (about 2 mins.) Add pepper to taste.
As the weather turns warmer where I live, I love grilled veggies. Here are a few of my favorites:
Toss asparagus with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil and then grill until just cooked
marinat zucchini in a little sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and herbs (or even just Italian dressing if you're in a hurry) the grill it for a few minutes on each side
Skwered cherry tomatoes, grilled until they blister
Brush scallions with a little olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt, grill for a few minutes then wrap them while warm in a couple layers of paper towels so the steam to finish cooking - these are amazing with steak)
Grilled mushrooms - either portabello caps or criminis on skewers
Grilling brings out a lot of flavor (and is low on clean-up!)
This isn't a side dish but I'd highly recommend having fresh veggies with a good dip. Like a green goddess dip, a homemade hummus, or a blue cheese dip. Vegetables that would be great are snow peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers etc. The other thing to do is to incorporate vegetables into your meat dishes. Shredded zuchinni and carrots and sautee to mix into tomato sauce. change the ratio in a pot pie to become predominantly veggie or even exclusively veggie.
If you like chinese chicken salad dressing, you might like my treatment of beets and cauliflower! You can put the sauce on any steamed vegetables you want.
4 medium beets
1 small or 1/2 large head of cauliflower
1 torpedo onion or large shallot, diced small
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped coarsely
for the sesame vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1. Steam the beets until tender, about 30 minutes. Peel, chop into bite-sized pieces, and put in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Steam the cauliflower until tender, about 5 minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces, and add to the bowl with the beets.
3. Add the onion and cilantro to the bowl.
4. Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Pour over the vegetables while they are still warm, mix to combine, and serve at room temperature.
If you incorporate starch that you'd be having as a side anyway with some vegetables, it might make the transition to straight vegetables a little easier. I'm thinking broccoli pancakes (not sweet, more like potato pancakes) with butter drizzled over. I've got a great spinach-ricotta pie recipe that you can make with or w/o crust that is close to the taste of stuffed shells. Also vegetable ravioli. I think Linda McCartney's organic line has frozen butternut squash ones that you could try before going down the homemade road.
Stuffed cabbage rolls (use Savoy cabbage for a milder taste) or stuffed red peppers is a way to combine meat and veggies. Pot stickers or egg rolls with more veggies than meat or shrimp. Rice paper rolls with finely shredded veggies and rice noodles and a tasty dipping sauce. Cheesy veggie quesadillas. Eggplant meatless-balls in tomato sauce make a wonderful sub sandwich. Use lettuce instead of bread for chicken salad wraps. Roast kale leaves until crispy, sprinkle with salt, nutritious nibble (Google Jacques Pepin for this one).
re: twilight goddess
I don't know if I ever made this particular recipe or something else on the page from an old Bon Appetit, but his will give you a starting point. You certainly could skip the beurre blanc and use a lighter lemon butter.
Broccoli Pancakes with Lemon Beurre Blanc
1 to 1-1/4 pounds broccoli
4 eggs, room temp
1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Lemon Beurre Blanc
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
2 Tbsp clarified butter (or more) OR 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil
Cut florets from stems. Cut stems into 1/2" slices. Add stems to salted boiling water, cook until very tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, set aside. Add florets to water and cook until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.
Transfer stems to processor or blender. Add eggs, flour, S&P and puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Reserve 4 to 8 florets for optional garnish and add the rest to the processor, pulse to chop fine.
For beurre blanc. Boil lemon juice in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 2 Tbsp. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. Place over low heat and whisk in remaining butter 2 pieces at a time. Season with S&P. Stir in chives. Keep warm in pan of hot water.
Preheat oven to 175. Melt clarified butter on griddle or in heavy skillet over medium heat. Ladle 2" pancakes onto griddle. Cook until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown second side. Repeat with remaining batter, buttering griddle as necessary. Keep pancakes as they finish in the warm in oven on ungreased baking sheet. Arrange pancakes on heated plates, top with lemon beurre blanc, garnish with reserved florets.
I love veggies sauted in a little olive oil and garlic. I mix them up: eggplant, zuccini, peppers, onions, mushrooms...mmm sometimes I saute them in pesto and sprinkle with asiago when I'm done. If I have time I will do them on the bbq in a basket - that's my favourite!
with meat and potato meals I just like plain old broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce. My kids love it too.
I flat -out adore the Stir-Fried Roasted Eggplant recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It is good as a pasta sauce, but usually I make nests in it, then fill them with egg and bake, or spread it on toast, top with cheese, and broil. I simplify the recipe by using Mr. Yoshida's cooking sauce instead of the chili and rice wine. I use toasted sesame oil instead of roasted peanut oil and don't usually use stock. If I don't have fresh tomatoes I use canned, or paste. You can microwave rather than oven-roast the eggplant, with almost as good results. The important thing is that it is well-collapsed.
If you do not own a mandoline (or V-slicer), I strongly recommend buying one. Many recs on the Cookware board. They make prepping easier and allow you to create visually-appealing dishes. Somehow many raw vegetables taste better in paper-thin slices. Also, you can turn a whole carrot, zucchini, or cuke into shreds or ribbons just by using a vegetable peeler. Work around the outside, then stop at the woody core of the carrot, and the seedy one of the zucc and cuke. Toss and dress.
I think one of the reasons why I enjoy spaghetti is the long strings. If you slice peppers and onions into fine rings before cooking them, they end up as strings in the finished dish, which I somehow find more satisfying than if they were diced. During farmer's market season I often overbuy fresh produce. Then I thin-slice raw vegetables and marinate them in a vinaigrette. All sorts of combinations are good, served either as is or over lettuce.
Strips/batons of raw vegetables with dip are tasty and filling in the place of a side dish or salad. Start with red bell peppers, which are sweeter than green, and celery and carrot sticks or baby carrot. If you have carrots with cracks, save them for cooking as they are more likely to be bitter and woody than the uncracked ones.
by far, my fav way to eat veggies besides raw in salads is roasted. Start with ones you sort of like - for ex. broccoli is fantastic roasted. cauliflour, red onions, asparagus, anything-everything - love roasted red, yellow peppers too - everything is soooo intensly sweet.. try it with just olive oil s&p but if you need to add anything, parmasan is a nice touch.
I love to roast chopped potato, or qrtered lil red potatoes, then when toss - toss in some crumbled blue cheese and chopped chives.
I like veggies roasted in olive oil and salt and pepper at high (400F +) temperatures.
Favorites are brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus. Great with lemon juice, zest, parmesan & chilis or some combination there of.
I also have a great recipe for a gratin with spaghetti squash but I think the season for such things is just about over.
They key is not to cook them to death and drown them in butter. It's spring, so you're really lucky in terms of what you can get. Simple ways of preparing veggies are usually the best ways. My favorite veggie dishes come together quickly or cook in a snap so it's not a whole production to get vegetables on the table for dinner.
Favorites- all are good as leftovers on a salad or mixed with quinoa/brown rice
- sauteed snap peas with mint
- sauteed spinach/garlic/soy sauce
- roasted cauliflower and broccoli
- grilled eggplant with pesto
- roasted asparagus (great with some parmesan)
- glazed carrots (super cheap and works great with carrots that have been hanging in the fridge)
- stir fried cabbage
- butternut squash mash
- zucchini and tomato baked with garlic
- baked breaded zucchini sticks
- baked breaded eggplant (dangerous- I can eat a whole tray!)
- roasted celery root (such an interesting flavor)
- marinated chinese style celery
- fresh corn on or off the cob roasted
- brussel sprout hash
- cauliflower salad (boiled and tossed while warm with lemon/oil/salt/allspice)
- roasted beets with orange
- roasted fennel and radishes (got my husband to eat it by telling him it was onion)
- stir fried chinese greens with soy sauce- bok choy/napa
- roasted wild mushroom (i'll never go back to sauteeing again!)
Cheesecake posted a great list. Here are some of my comments:
- sauteed snap peas with mint/I liked to stir fry with a little oil and carrot shreds for color. If the snap peas need to be a little softer, I'll toss in maybe a T or so of water, put the cover on the pan for 30 seconds and that's enough.
- sauteed spinach/garlic/soy sauce// I recently bought bunched spinach rather than bagged. My husband and I both liked it better. Young and fresher tasting.
- roasted cauliflower and broccoli: Very yummy, I do a combination of cauliflower, turnip, parsnips and carrots
- glazed carrots (super cheap and works great with carrots that have been hanging in the fridge)/ I tend to just boil carrots or shred them for a salad. I always have them in the frig.
- butternut squash mash//We prefer the taste of butterCup squash, esp if it's a kabocha variety. For easy cooking (the butterCups are harder to peel) just microwave until soft. Scoop out the flesh and mash.
- zucchini and tomato baked with garlic//we like zucchini in all forms although my husband prefers zucchini chocolate chip cookies
- baked breaded zucchini sticks//a lot of work but delicious
- fresh corn on or off the cob roasted//only if it comes from a local farm stand and then we eat it all season several times a week
- cauliflower salad (boiled and tossed while warm with lemon/oil/salt/allspice)//our DIL's favorite salad is a raw broccoli salad with bacon bits, onion and dried cranberries plus a mayo dressing. Sounds awful but most people love it.
- roasted beets with orange//canned beets are one of the few canned vegetables I use. Fresh beets are far better. Fresh beets greens in early summer!
- stir fried chinese greens with soy sauce- bok choy/napa// we sort of like bok choy but recently discovered choy sum at the Asian market. We like it better than swiss chard but fresh swiss chard is nice too. I use a little oyster sauce with choy sum.
- roasted wild mushroom (i'll never go back to sauteeing again!)//recently found shitake mushrooms are reasonably priced at the Asian market and they carry King mushrooms which I never see at our regular supermarket. Both are tasty mixed with other things. Most recently I made a recipe for buttercup squash and mushroom gratin with cheese.
Right now we are having fresh parsnips from the garden. They might be an acquired taste. The ones at the supermarket aren't too bad just not as sweet.
I have a stir fry recipe from Cooking Light that uses zucchini, carrots, etc. Once you find the right soy/oyster sauce blend for you, it makes a big difference. Shredded zucchini pancakes with green curry and peanut sauce is a tasty way of disguising zucchini. I would also suggest working on recipes that are heavy in vegetables and light on meat. Since we like Thai food, Massaman curry in the little cans plus a can of coconut milk is the base for a great sweet potato (or winter squash), onion and chicken meal.
I think you should concentrate however on simple preparations and buying good quality vegetables. We rarely have white potatoes or pasta because I'm trying to stay away from too much starch/carbs.
On the other hand, there are some vegetables that are really good when cooked to death and drowned in butter! I think one of Marcella Hazan's books (can't remember which one) has a short rant about how cooked veggies aren't supposed to be crunchy. I agree; I like raw stuff (carrot sticks, snap peas, sweet bell peppers, green salads, marinated grated radish or sliced cucumber) to be raw, and cooked stuff to be cooked.
Well-cooked things I love: long-cooked green beans, collards braised with garlic until they relax, curried cauliflower cooked to melting tenderness, the cabbage with corned beef and cabbage, carrots, turnips and green peas in winter stew, mashed eggplant.
The only thing I can think of that I like par-cooked is sweet corn. Oh yeah, and some sauteed greens need the middle ground. God, I love sauteed greens -- with olive oil and garlic, with soy, garlic, sugar and chinese fermented bean curd (a long-ago Jim Leff recommendation -- thanks Jim), in scrambled eggs with cheese. So many kinds of greens, all different, mostly awesome (no malabar spinach for me). And broccoli. And, and, and..
Well, ok. Maybe the thing is ... don't rule out a preparation because of the cooking time!
+1 on not overcooking. grilled, on bbq, tomatoes. grilled corn was excellent. leftovers cut off cob then in salad. been wanting to try mexican style with mayo and chili powder or grilled with teriaki basting. kebobs work well, too. tempura w/ sweet potato, eggplant, mushroom, onion, green beans, squash or pumpkin, peppers, broc
I dip rounds or planks in egg whites then in cornflake cumbs. Lay out on a greased cookie sheet (you don't want them to touch) and bake until cooked thru about 20 minutes. The veggies get crispier if you lightly spray the tops with Pam.
I usually season both the egg whites and conflake crumb mixture.
Also works with cauliflower and broccoli
+1 on this. I also make a dip that I love with broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. It's basically an aioli, and I first used it with pork but it's great with veggies:
Lemony Mustard/Dill Sauce
3 tblspn mayo
2 tblspn dijon mustard
2 tlbspn lemon juice
1/2 tspon dill weed
Blend well and adjust ingredients to taste.