HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


I need to eat more veggies, but don't really like them...Please help me with some ideas.

  • n

I need to incorporate more veggies in my diet. I do like broccoli and asparagus. We have just discovered roasted cauliflower and Kale crispies. What recipes do you use to make veggies more interesting? Is there a good cookbook I should get?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Start off gradually. I like to roast squash with a little olive oil, ginger and nutmeg. Try a Japanese kabocha squash it's a little sweeter than others. My DH hates squash but will eat this. Puree vegetables into something you like. Cauliflower or parsnips into mashed potatos or carrots into pasta sauce or add vegetables to soup.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pegmeister

      Yes, re roasted squash. I really enjoy a mac and cheese with roasted butternut and bacon and spinach (hey, very fattening but includes two veggies, LOL, three if you count shallots).

      Also for the squash -- at 400 degrees roast some butternut (about five cups, chopped) with an onion and a garlic clove (drizzle all with olive oil). When done roasting, puree (buy the precut butternut to spare yourself the headache of hacking up an entire squash). Use this puree as a filling for quesadillas along with some thinly sliced red bell pepper and shredded Jack cheese. Mmm.

      1. re: twilight goddess

        I like the quesadilla suggestion so I'll keep that in mind. I just picked up a squash last night and that certainly would work for a change of pace.

    2. I love grilled vegies!!! I like to slice up zuchinni, onions (thick slabs), eggplant, portabella mushrooms, whole aaparagas, marinate and grill them. I use lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper for the zuch, eggplant, & asparagas; marinate for several hours, then grill. For the rest I use olive oil. balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will add in other herbs or chili flakes. They are good served with a nice cheese and grilled bread, add in some prociutto or salami and you have a wonderful meal. I make enough that I have left overs for the rest of the week and I am a happy camper.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JEN10

        Grilled veggies are a great idea, and they're delicious hot or cold on a cheese sandwich. Ratatouille is a great vegetable dish that makes a great omelette filing with cheese, too.
        If you tire of just the veggies, shred and squeeze water out of zucchini, mix with eggs, a little binder like a small amount of flower, and make squash patties. I love to add peeled whole shallots to my high temp veggie roasts, too.

        1. re: JEN10

          I love grilled vegetables and often use them as a base for other dishes. Grilled portobellos are great as 'pizzas' with baby spinach, chopped tomatoes and melted cheese. I'll make that for dinner with a green salad.

          If you like zucchini, slice into long, thin slices and grill. Then wrap around goat cheese mixed with sundried tomatoes and herbs. It's a nice light lunch with a slice of crusty bread. Also makes a nice meal with vegetable soup and salad.

          Another great vegetable to try is fresh spinach. So different from the frozen stuff. And artichokes- Trader Joe's has great frozen artichoke hearts that work great in tons of different applications.

        2. As for cookbooks, I would look into what your local library has. Online, check out www.epicurious.com to find lots of delicious recipes. Do you like cheese? Grated cheese, or cheese sauce is wonderful on lots of veggies. If you like baked veggies, you might want to explore gratin dishes.

          1. There are a few cookbooks available right now (aimed at parents of children) that have recipes which "hide" vegetables in everyday recipes. [Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef are 2 of the cookbooks.] If you really don't like them, you might try some of the methods for cooking with them so they aren't obvious. I also vote for grilling them - tossed in olive oil and salt, grilled asparagus or zucchini almost feel like eating french fries. You also might look for recipes which include an ingredient you really love - something with a strong flavor like bacon or a strong cheese so you will focus on that flavor that you really enjoy and associate vegetables with that. Good luck!

            1. You might want to head over to the Home Cooking section for this discussion that ended just a couple of days ago:http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/760532

              And that person had problems with texture too!

              1. Even my picky child loves these green beans; I buy the fresh, thin ones at Costco...

                1. I used to think I didn't like veggies much, but I discovered I particularly love Asian greens. Get say a couple of bunches of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and blanch in boiling water for a minute until bright green and remove. Then pour over a sauce that is made of a clove of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of light soy, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of toasted seasame oil and 1/4 cup oyster sauce. Enjoy!

                  1. You're not the only one with this problem - check out this recent thread:

                    1 Reply
                    1. http://www.recipes.vegsoc.org/

                      This site should get you started. It's a vegetarian site, but what's great about vegetarian recipes is that they turn veggies into complex, main dish fare that is a lot more interesting than simple veggies and sauce. I would think a person who dislikes vegetables would want a bit of disguise, at least at first.

                      If, for example, you don't like beets, why bother with steaming them when you can grate them, mix them with some flour and chives, and turn them into a pancake fried in butter?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Isolda

                        BTW, there's another thread around talking about beets and ground beef/steak: Beef Lindstrom is the easiest translation I could find for the name.

                        I think I get what you're talking about in the sense that I'm going to incorprate beets into the next meatloaf I make. I can make a wager right here that my husband won't notice. He doesn't like asparagas, fair enough. He's not a kid in the sense that if I say "there's spinach in this," he doesn't care. He's just, by nature, quite carnivorous.

                      2. you can use them in ravioli fillings... spinach, onion, garlic, ricotta, parmesan... sweet potato... mushroom (ok a fungus really), onion, chopped walnuts...

                        add to enchiladas... i'll stick in grated carrots, cauliflower, etc.

                        use as part of meatloaf fixings... carrots, spinach, mushrooms, etc.

                        roasted shredded cabbage goes nicely with soy glazed fish or chicken teriyaki

                        i make a great flourless broccoli "flatbread" (that could be done with cauliflower or spinach or green beans, or whatever really) that is great and pairs well with chicken or meats or hummus or anything you'd like to spread on it.

                        spinach or broccoli souffle

                        layer anything underneath roasting chicken so it gets imparted with flavor

                        add to stews or chili where flavor gets absorbed as well

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Emme

                          Emme, can you tell us more about the broccoli flatbread? Sounds interesting!

                          1. re: darklyglimmer

                            oh it's so simple and yet so good IMO...
                            i take a few heads of broccoli (steam em, nuke em, however you wanna cook em til soft), a big sweet onion (Maui or walla walla if possible), cooked, 4-6 cloves of (roasted, steamed, nuked, etc) cooked garlic... in a food processor, i whizz the broccoli florets (eat the stems as a snack with some salt and curry powder :), half the onion, the garlic, 2 egg whites, some veggie broth, a little water, salt and lots of ground black pepper. whizz til smooth but thick... add a little water or broth if the machine stops turning, but it shouldn't pour *too* easily. line a baking sheet with parchment (for some reason, i tend to spray it with Pam as well - not sure why this tends to stick even to parchment); i spread the puree out on the sheet very thinly (may 1/4" thick) then bake at 350 til it's golden brown and firm, but bake as long as you like. bake it less and it's soft inside, more and it's crispier. works with cauliflower or spinach, and can take other things mixed in like mushrooms, etc.

                            1. re: Emme

                              Genius! I'll try that. I bet the toddler will even eat it if I add a little parm or nooch - thank you!

                              1. re: Emme

                                not sure why this tends to stick even to parchment
                                my guess is the egg whites [which tend to stick like glue], plus the sugars from the onion & garlic, plus no added fat.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  i'm sure that's all right. even still, i always have the highest hopes for that miraculous parchment.

                                  1. re: Emme

                                    i know, we have such unrealistic expectations for our poor, innocent, modern kitchen conveniences to perform for us...how on Earth do they stand the pressure? ;)

                                    have you tried using a silpat instead?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I'm a huge fan of nonstick aluminum foil, even though I'm sure it's incredibly toxic - anything that convenient can't possibly be good for you. It's never failed me before, though. I'll let you know how it works out.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        no i haven't... i use my silpat for baking, and i have this weird thing about using it for savory. i'll have to buy a few more for savory purposes :)

                                        1. re: Emme

                                          i maintain separate ones for sweet & savory...much as i have 3 separate dedicated coffee grinders for coffee beans, spices, and seeds :)

                            2. There are a couple suggestions others have touched on that I always give people who tell me they hate veggies--grill or roast them. These two high heat methods really concentrate sugars and other delectable flavors, making the veggies more palatable to those with aversions. If you enjoy strong flavors, dress them with curry, nutty, or spicy vinaigrettes, but salt and pepper work fine, too, along with some tasty oil. There are lots of lovely vegetable cookbooks, as well as cookbooks which have veggies at their heart. Deborah Madison is a favorite author, and has many books I'd recommend you check out from your local library. That's really the best way to sort out what books you will actually use.

                              Come back and tell us what's working for you in the future, as your diet changes. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you on the Home Cooking board.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: amyzan

                                Yes, I agree re Deborah Madison. She features each vegetable on its own, explaining a variety of preparations for each. She also includes dishes combining a variety of veggies together.

                              2. There are many ethnic recipes that use more vegetables in their cuisine. If you find yourself eating out Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and lean toward one of the more spicy vegetarian dishes or flavors from that country, then that might help make the choice of the specialty cookbook that you would want to check out at the library.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Rella

                                  I think the difference is that you don't actually cook the vegetables as an afterthought in these ethic cuisines. You create a dish with it just like you do with a meat main*. (Give it just as much care and thought). If you like curries, for example, you can make the same curry sauce but with vegetables instead. Another good example would be gratins. You use any root vegetables, flavour it with bacons, strong cheese etc. Also never ever overcook your veg. If it's a leafy green, it might only need 30s to 1min, and then wash it through cold water to stop it cooking, before you actually dress it with flavours.

                                  * Of course, like Rella points out, a lot of the meat dishes are actually half meat, half veg.

                                  1. re: lilham

                                    I'm curious what you mean by a leafy green. Spinach might only need a quick saute, but things like mustard greens, kale and such certainly need more than a minute in my opinion or they are just chewy and unpleasant.

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      with kale it depends on the variety. i eat the more tender types raw all the time!

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        me too me too...the dino kale seems to be very tender or at least what I've been buying organic and local lately. ♥ Is there a bumper-sticker that says" EAT YOUR KALE" -- there should be!

                                        1. re: Val

                                          yes! i've been eating raw organic dino (lacinato) kale pretty much every day. no need for bumper stickers here when i'm around to tell everyone to eat it! you should have seen me at Costco a few weeks ago - in one fell swoop i convinced three other shoppers to put the Skippy PB back on the shelf and buy the Marantha Almond Butter instead :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Well! You know what? You might just want to start up a YouTube series..no lie! I'll bet you could help a lot more people with your recipes and knowledge, just sayin'. I think you'd be great!

                                            1. re: Val

                                              aw, thanks doll! i'd kinda have to conquer my paralyzing fear of being on camera first ;)

                                2. Broccoli and asparagus were the only two veggies I'd eat as a kid. After becoming a vegetarian in high school, that had to change. I agree with other responses about roasting and grilling vegetables. If you are a meat eater, adding grilled veggies to your meats is a good way to start. For instance, my introduction to bell peppers was alongside slices of filet mignon. My mom used to grill red peppers, onions, and zucchini and serve with filet; I'd wrap them all together (no zucchini though) and the beef-pepper-onion combo is DELICIOUS! Makes my mouth water still...

                                  Shredded veggies are an excellent way to add them to your diet. They're small enough that you don't have to deal with texture or large bursts of flavor, which was my issue with many veggies as a kid. You can shred carrots, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, etc. and add to things like quesadillas, sauces, burger patties, rice, lasagna, and stir fries. I never make soups or pasta sauces that aren't full of either shredded or finely diced veggies. Particularly when cooked down in a flavorful sauce or broth, veggies tend to just take on the flavor of that sauce/broth but still add the extra fiber, nutrients, and texture.

                                  A side note on asparagus--my Greek mother prepared asparagus only one way growing up and it's the only way I can eat it now: Blanched for <1 minute then run under cold water; sauteed quickly in olive oil with fresh lemon juice, tarragon, and lots of garlic. Then she'd refrigerate for at least an hour and serve cold, drizzling the oil/lemon/garlic/tarragon on our plates. Mmmmm!

                                  1. I like veggies, but I still don't eat enough. One thing that helps me is to make a big pot of soup --loaded with veggies and often legumes too--on the weekends and bring it to work for lunch. Some favorites: bean soups (like Senate Navy Bean Soup with carrots and kale added) and this absolutely killer-good soup:

                                    Southeast Asian Curried Squash Soup with Spinach

                                    • 2 T. oil
                                    • 1 large onion, diced
                                    • 4 t minced ginger root
                                    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
                                    • 1 t salt
                                    • 1 t dried chili peppers
                                    • 1 t coriander
                                    • 1 t cumin
                                    • 1 t turmeric
                                    • 1 (14.5) oz can chicken broth
                                    • 1 ¾ cups mashed squash (14 ounces) (a little more or less is fine).
                                    • 2 bay leaves (Lime leaves--instead of bay leaves--are fabulous if you can find them!)
                                    • ½ can (about 7 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
                                    • 2-3 cups fresh spinach washed well. Shake off excess water. (The amount of spinach—like the amount of squash-- is “flexible.” You can use a little more or less and the soup will still taste great. I usually use the entire bunch which is a lot more than 2-3 cups.)

                                    Sauté onion and ginger root in oil until onion is soft. Add garlic, salt, and spices and sauté one minute. (Be careful not to burn the garlic---it burns fast and it’s nasty if it burns.) Add chicken broth, squash, and bay leaves. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add coconut milk and blend in. Add greens and simmer until done, about 3-5 minutes.

                                    Serve with lime wedges and toasted shredded coconut if desired.

                                    1. Cook them in bacon grease. Or duck fat.

                                      I'm not really joking about either of those. Also, know that in-season veggies taste much better than their out-of-season counterparts.

                                      1. Buy yourself a wok.Get 'The Asian Kitchen' by Lilian Wu full of step by step illustrations and easy to follow. I stir fry vegetables all the time in a sauté of fresh ginger and garlic. Quick, easy and healthy! Just cut them up small and enjoy yourself!

                                        1. MMM, veggies are the main staple in my diet, and broccoli and asparagus are two of my favorites.

                                          Some of my favorite broccoli recipes (that are actually healthy) are:
                                          Broccoli white pizza
                                          Roasted vegetables
                                          broccoli and cheese soup (with nutritional yeast)

                                          Some of my other ways to sneak in veggies are:
                                          Green bean and asparagus risotto
                                          white wine pasta with asparagus
                                          tortellinis with creamy greens
                                          vegetable frittata
                                          Southwestern orzo pasta salad (loaded with veggies)
                                          Quinoa with garlicky vegetables
                                          ...and pretty much any soup!

                                          You can add vegetables into any dish. It will make it healthier and help you to eat less of whatever the (probably more fattening) main part is. I'm always just throwing some chopped steamed broccoli into pasta, mac n cheese, rice, cous cous, mashed potatoes, etc.

                                          Hope this helps!

                                          1. Is it just cooked vegetables you don't like? How about salad? If you like that, why not just make a big chopped vegetable salad, eat that, don't worry, be happy?

                                            On the other hand, try heating up some cooked carrots with brown sugar, butter, and curry powder.

                                            1. i have the fear that i don't eat enough vegetables so i've taken to making vietnamese soft rolls (gui cuon or nem nuong for example). traditional ones are nice because they have that nice fresh vegetable taste to them, but i like to take what i've learned from them and make my own to form different combinations with what i have in the fridge. after thanksgiving i use the leftovers like the stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce/jelly, and other sides.

                                              i also like asian side dishes. my fav are a very garlic-y seaweed dish and korean lotus root.

                                              although, jet tila has said that stir fry dishes are a great way to get a lot of veggies into a dish.

                                              as can tell, i have more of an asian diet....