One of the best things you can do for your health is to include more servings of vegetables in your diet, but how do you make them absolutely delicious? Check out these nutritionists’ top 10 tips for making vegetables taste good.
Your mother or father was right when they told you to eat your vegetables! Hands down, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health is to increase your servings of vegetables each day. Unfortunately, many people (from children to adults) find eating vegetables to be a chore. I hear from people all the time about their multiple complaints about vegetables: they’re bland, they’re tough, and they just don’t taste good. Well, veggies sure do taste good in my house! We (including my two sons) love vegetables here and think they can be extremely tasty. Nutritionists agree with me: Eating vegetables can be a delicious experience if you use a few tricks of the trade. I asked some of my favorite registered dietitian nutritionist colleagues to share their best tips on how to make vegetables taste great. Check out these nutrition tips and enjoy!
Top 10 tips to make vegetables taste good
1. Roast your vegetables
One of the tastiest ways to serve vegetables is to roast them, as they become golden and crisp and the flavors mellow.
“Roast your vegetables. With a little of your favorite oil, salt and pepper, it makes preparation and cleanup quick and easy. But the important thing is that roasting creates a sweet, caramelized crust on vegetables that is simply irresistible. Try roasted cauliflower or broccoli, green beans or beets to start,” says Marisa Moore. MBA, RDNOwner, Marisa Moore Nutrition. “Roasted vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin powder and garlic powder. Some of my favorite vegetables are cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and, of course, potatoes. You can make it meal-worthy by eating it with hearty grains like barley, quinoa, and brown rice,” says Dixya Bhattarai, RD/LD Clinical Dietitian & Food Blogger at Food, Pleasure and Health. “I’ve found the key to getting my kids to happily eat their vegetables is to roast the vegetables drizzled with olive oil and lightly salted. In my opinion, the flavor that comes out of roasting is unbeatable,” says Jodi Danen RD.
Try some of my favorite roasted vegetable recipes like Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Soy Glaze, Roasted Dill Asparagus, and Roasted Chicory with Pistachios and Pomegranate.
2. Serve vegetables with a delicious dip or dressing
One way to make vegetables delicious is to have a sauce or dressing on the side, like a vegan ranch dressing or tahini dressing, to add flavor and texture.
“I like to make my own salad dressing with blood orange olive oil, rice vinegar, and herbs, then toss with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and celery,” says Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
3. Serve vegetables on the pizzas
Pizzas are a great canvas for tons of veggie toppings including greens, peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus and more! Check out Rainbow Pizza for proof.
“My advice is to put them on a pizza! That’s honestly how I learned to cook vegetables,” says Elena Nutker. RDN.
4. Use those leftover vegetables
Can’t eat all your vegetables before they go bad? Find a use for vegetables, from a flavorful soup to a smoothie.
“Put out your ‘favorite vegetables’ that have seen better days. Grind them in your food processor until they become like grated carrots. Add them to your pan and some soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter powder and BAM; you have a delicious side that can be used as an appetizer with some lentils on top!” says Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, CLT of Shaw’s Simple Swaps.
5. Sauté vegetables for maximum effect
A favorite way to serve vegetables is sauteed with a touch of EVOO and aromatics for good flavor and texture.
“We saute vegetables in a little oil, with different spices for different tastes. For example, 1) Cumin, ginger and turmeric with cauliflower seasoning or potatoes. 2) onion, tomato, garlic-seasoned zucchini, eggplant, or okra,” she says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE.
6. Fry vegetables for color and sharpness
A quick stir-fry can preserve the beautiful color of the vegetables, as well as the crunchy texture.
“Make a stir-fry! Mix up a quick sauce using garlic, ginger, reduced sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a hot sauce (like sriracha) and top with your favorite veggies and a protein. Serve with a whole grain of your choice – brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta. Easy!” says Tina Gowin Carlucci, RDN, CDN.
7. Simple vegetarian snacks
There’s no need to make enjoying vegetables complicated – just eat them plain and simple, like cherry tomatoes, peas and baby carrots.
“Cut the cherry tomatoes or grapes in half, pour a little olive oil over them and lightly salt them. A delicious snack or meal!” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDNdietician in Jersey City and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition.
8. Make vegetables versatile
Skip complicated recipes and simply work vegetables into your favorite meals, from sandwiches to pasta.
“My advice is to add it to dishes that are already your favourites. If you like sandwiches, add crunchy vegetables like sliced cucumbers or lettuce. If the pasta is for dinner, add frozen vegetables, such as peas, to the pot a few minutes before the pasta is ready. Make it a one pot/pan meal. The vegetables will take on more of the flavor of the dish when they are cooked together. It will also make cleaning easier,” says Ariella Nelson, MS, RDN, Portions of perspective.
9. Swap pasta for vegetables
Make the most of vegetables by using them as the base of your dish, whether it’s a pasta salad or rice (think cauliflower rice!).
“Spiraled vegetables are a delicious way to eat more vegetables and cut calories. Sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, beets, and many other colorful vegetables can be made into noodles and then sautéed with a little cooking spray, salt, and pepper. Serve in place of pasta, rice or whatever! It’s time to add more products to your grocery list and watch your effortless weight loss!” says Sarah Mueller, RD.
10. Make a pesto rich in vegetables
Whip up a homemade pesto using more than just basil.
“Use spinach or arugula to make pesto instead of basil and add to already roasted potatoes and courgettes. Or add to a cold vegetable salad with cucumbers and tomatoes,” says Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN.
Try some of my favorite veggie-rich, delicious recipes here: