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Jan 19, 2011 06:48 AM

Suggestions for developing my vegetable palate

I dislike most vegetables. Lots of people tell me that at some point in their life, their palate changed and they actually began to like/love vegetables. That never happened to me. My palate did change, but it developed a more deep appreciation and love for all things spicy and rich.

I've grown tired of salads to meet my daily vegetable requirements. Aside from the obvious "salad" veggies (carrots, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, celery), I do eat green beans, black beans, and corn. I really, really want to learn to like vegetables. Can anyone suggest some killer recipes that will assist in my journey??

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  1. My Mom was in the same sort of funk. One of the best ways to do many veg is to roast them to bring out their natural sweetness. Roasted veg are a totally different thing, are easy to do and the variety of recipes and combinations is unlimited. Grilling is also high up on my list; in fact, the highest but we have several feet of snow on our deck at the moment.

    Maybe start out with roasted carrots - just toss with some olive oil, minced garlic and a few herbs and spread them out on a baking sheet and roast at 400-425 for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the carrots). Or use whole garlic cloves which are wonderful roasted as well; spread them on bread or use in tons of recipes like roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I often melt butter and maple syrup and brush that on carrots a few times while roasting in the oven. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, beets, fennel, cabbage, parsnips, corn, green beans, asparagus and so on are all wonderful grilled or roasted. Of course you can season them in a multitude of ways!

    1. I grew up hating almost all vegetables. But sometime in my twenties I went to a friend's house and she served broccoli with cheese sauce. Not the healthiest intro to veggies but it worked. So that's one way to try. Second, if you like rich and spicy--not quite sure what that means specifically--start adding vegetables to those dishes so they're combined with flavors you like. A third way is to start roasting vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper in a hot over until they are brown and tender--they become sweet. Fourth, add more vegetables to you salad. Slice raw fennel tastes like licorice. Do the same for arugula and spinach. Fifth, and one of the easiest, is to throw a handful or two of spinach/arugula into many pasta dishes and soups. It just kind of melts into it without becoming a major flavor. And when all else fails, make minestrone.

      7 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        I've tried the roasted cauliflower, but didn't really care for it that much. I can tolerate marinated asparagus that been roasted. I'd really like to steer clear of cheese sauces and alfredo sauces (which I dearly love!) because they seem to negate the healthiness of what I'm trying to consume.

        1. re: sheilal

          I just meant the cheese sauce can be a way to introduce you to a flavor you might not like otherwise, so you can then get rid of it once you like it.

          1. re: sheilal

            Try creamed cauliflower. If you don't make it too soupy, it's just like mashed potatoes. I assume you like potatoes.

            1. re: jhopp217

              Yes or even try cauliflower "risotto" which is also lovely.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  then each time you make it, cut out a little more cream and cheese until you're just eating steamed veggies. (see my other thought downthread)

          2. What is it you dislike about vegetables? That might help us make suggestions.

            Rich and spicy: how about vegetables in curries? I do Thai curries with some combination of eggplant, cauliflower, okra, beans, carrots and a protein. Stirfries are another possibility with a spicy sauce.

            7 Replies
            1. re: jadec

              I think it's more of a texture thing for me. I prefer raw (hence the salads), but a lot of vegetables aren't meant to be eaten raw. If they are cooked, I prefer firm (e.g. green beans & corn) or pureed (black beans/pinto beans). Not much in between. For example, I hate raw tomatoes, but adore most things tomato based - salsas (but not too chunky), pasta sauce & bloody marys :)

              1. re: sheilal

                Well, then puree veggies and add spices. You can puree things like cauliflower and brocolli to come up with a texture like beans or mashed potatoes ... I assume if you like pureed beans, you like mashed potatoes Then you can spice away the puree to your heart's content.

                Microwave stuff so it is al dente. Don't cook things to a mush.

                Since it isn't flavor, but texture, this might not do it for you ... but a squirt of lime juice brightens the flavors of most veggies. Seriously .. you don't like tomatoes? Have you tried good hierloom tomatoes.

                What about soups? Do you like soups?

                Stop buying produce from supermarkets and seek out good farm stands and farmers markets.

                1. re: rworange

                  I have no farm stand or farmers market withing a 50-60 mile radius. I'm not atypical.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Looking at sheilal's profile, that area has a good chance of having good produce.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I am so lucky that I live in an area that has stands all over the place and five very good farmers markets but I have lived in nine different places and even the most in the middle of nowhere place had a produce stand.

                    2. re: rworange

                      The nearest farmers market is about 25 miles away. I don't even know if they're open in the winter months. There are a few garden stands that show up in spring and summer with a few miles of me. I have found that my Publix carries good fruit and what little produce I do buy is always good.

                      I've never tried hierloom tomatoes, but I've always thought they looked gorgeous. There's a place south of me "Petals from the Past" that specialize in antique vegetables and flowers. They sell seeds and live plants, but I'm not sure they sell produce.

                      1. re: sheilal

                        Sheila, when it re-opens you have to grab some heirloom tomatoes from Pepper Place. Have you tried the tomato stack at hot and hot? When tomatoes are in season it's a thing of wonder. The (truckers) Farmers Market on Finley is open year around I believe but the produce varies by season. You won't find heirloom tomatoes there but you can get some decent veggetables. Plus the taqueria there is good.

                2. My kids fight over brussel sprout chips:


                  If you can make kids who don't like vegetables fight over one of the least appreciated vegetables, you know it's a keeper!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    How much EVOO do you use? I don't want to reduce the benefits of the healthy veggies.

                    1. re: sheilal

                      I'm heavy handed but don't see any health problems w/ using olive oil. But, as sauces and olive oil go, you can start heavier to get used to it and then lighten up over time. Think of them as training wheels!

                      1. re: chowser

                        Training wheels! That's a great way to think about it. Thanks!!

                  2. Pick a vegetable of the week and play with your food! Either what looks good...what's on sale....what the guy in the produce department/farmer's market says is good this week...heck, run 'em a-z if you want.

                    Check with us here, or any good cookbook, or another decent website, and find out about the vegetable you've chosen for this week and different ways to prepare it.

                    Try it raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, fried, etc., etc., etc -- see what you like!

                    They tell us as parents that kids need to try a vegetable 5-7 times before you can accept that they just plain don't like it (as opposed to don't like how it looks/smells/what color it is, etc., etc., etc)...don't be ashamed to use the same scale for yourself.

                    Asparagus is a good's not so hot fresh, and it's *awful* canned, and only vaguely edible when frozen (to me)...but steam it or roast it on the grill, and just stand back, because it's ALL MINE. (and white asparagus in Germany in the spring? oy.)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Yeah ... I'd skip white asparagus in the US for the most part. Not a good intro veggie because so much of it in the US is either bitter or tasteless.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I like the vegetable of the week idea, and I'm sure we'd all happily help you with it. Pick one for next week, start a new post, and we'll all brainstorm!

                        For now, also, I'll throw out a quick zucchini saute, which you can make a little spicy with cayenne or just lots of black pepper, and also sliced carrots sauteed with fresh and pickled ginger. Zucchini is here: