Are you someone who just doesn’t like vegetables? Perhaps you were put off as a child (badly cooked veggies aren’t much fun) – or maybe you were brought up in a family where fresh veg rarely featured on the dinner table.
Whatever the reason, if you’re on a diet, it’s going to be hard to succeed without a good proportion of vegetables. They’re great for being filling on very few calories (you can have a giant bowl of salad for under 50 calories), and they also contain vital vitamins.
Hint: if you have kids who won’t eat vegetables, these tips might help get some good stuff into them!
1. Make The Veggies Teeny Tiny
If you dice vegetables finely (onions and celery work well), they can be incorporated into a sauce like bolognaise. Liquidising vegetables into soups is another great way to sneak them into a meal without them “looking” like vegetables. For those who dislike the texture of larger vegetable chunks, this is a great way to get your veggies.
2. Roast Instead of Boil
Some vegetables, like parsnips, are traditionally roasted. Others, like carrots, tend to be boiled – but most vegetables will roast really well. Roasting brings out the flavour and sweetness of vegetables, and so long as you use just a smidgen of oil, it doesn’t need to be an unhealthy way to cook. Try roasting carrots, courgettes, butternut squash, peppers, onions (red and white), aubergine, tomatoes, sweet potatoes … the flavours will be really different.
For other ways to prepare specific vegetables, Beyond Baked Beans has a great article on So What If You Don’t Like Vegetables?
3. Mash Your Veggies
I’m sure you’re familiar with mashed potato – but plenty of other root veggies can be mashed too. They can also look quite striking on the dinner plate! Try mashed carrot, mashed swede, mashed parsnip or just a general mix
Alternatively, if you’re grating potato to top a pie, try mixing in grated carrot. Chances are, you won’t even notice in the finished product.
4. Try More Unusual Options
There are so many types of vegetables out there, it surprises me when people say they just “don’t like vegetables”. Try out some new varieties: if you can buy from a farmers’ market, that’s a great chance to ask about how to cook them. Otherwise, simply search online for cooking information and serving tips. There’s a great list of vegetables here – I’ll bet you’ll find something on the list that you like (or that you’d like to try!)
Don’t forget that treats like olives, sundried tomatoes and pre-grilled vegetables all count towards your five-a-day (just go easy on anything that comes in oil).
5. Use Vegetables In Strong-Flavoured Dishes
If you don’t mind the texture of vegetables but find the flavour bland, then try making a big vegetable curry, or a batch of chilli. The veggies will add texture and interest, but you’ll be able to taste the flavours of the curry or chilli, rather than the veggies themselves.
Soups are also a good way to disguise the flavours of vegetables, or to lift the flavours: add plenty of seasoning and herbs.
What veggies do you like/dislike? How could you incorporate more vegetables into your diet, in a way that you enjoy?