Raise your hand if you just looove plain vegetables! Hah. I’m sharing 20 ways to make vegetables taste (really!) good with simple, whole food ingredients and easy cooking techniques.
Dress up your veggies!
Sure, some people will snack on raw green beans or eat a juicy ripe tomato* right out of hand, but most of the time vegetables need a little jazzing up to taste their best.
It It is probably not a surprise that I really do love vegetables, but very rarely do I eat them raw without dressing them up somehow.
We eat a lot of vegetables in the KERF House. If we were to eat plain romaine salads, or steamed broccoli night after night… well, that would get old really fast. And I know I would not love eating my veggies.
*YES, I know a tomato is a fruit. But for all practical purposes, I consider it a vegetable.
If you don’t crave vegetables, then this post is for you.
And if you already love veggies, hopefully you’ll find a new tip or technique to tickle your food fancy. 😆
I thought it might be helpful to list out some of our favorite ways to enhance and cook vegetables.
Here are our staple flavors and techniques!
20 Ways To Make Vegetables Taste Good
1) Lemon, Dill, Mustard
This is our go-to combo for green beans. A blob of Dijon mustard adds thickness, fresh or dried dill adds flavor, and lemon brightens it all up.
2) Toss Cooked Veggies in Prepared Pesto
Pretty much anything is better with pesto! Try this Herbs de Provence Pesto.
3) Bake with Parmesan
Sprinkle parmesan cheese over thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant slices and bake until the cheese begins to brown (about 20 minutes).
4) Make “Fries”
This is one of our favorite ways to eat okra and sweet potatoes. Toss the pods or potatoes in a little olive oil and salt and bake or grill until they are tender. Dip in ketchup for the “fry” action.
This is our other favorite way to eat okra! With bite-size pieces of anything, dunk in some egg and then in cornmeal and season with anything from herbs to Old Bay. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cornmeal begins to brown.
6) Bring Out The Bacon
Pan-fry some bacon and then keep your grease to cook greens or other veggies. It is not the healthiest method, but it sure adds a lot of flavor. And cooking vegetables in bacon is better than cooking something like a donut or steak in bacon grease!
7) Add a Little Maple
Our go-to greens recipes involves browning two slices of bacon and removing them from the pan. Then add the greens until they are nice and wilted and stir in a teaspoon or two of maple syrup at the end. The sweet and salty combo is just divine! If you’re baconless, just drizzle on a bit of high quality maple syrup to any greens like mustard greens, collard greens or kale to soften the bitterness and add some depth. A touch of Liquid Smoke will also add depth without calories or fat.
8) Chip ‘em
While we’re talking greens, can’t forget kale chips!
9) Smoked Paprika
My favorite kitchen spice. Good on any vegetable! We particularly love it for grilling.
10) Herbs de Provence
Another good one to sprinkle on while cooking – unlike most of the “typical” vegetable herbs. It’s great in a salad dressing!
11) Special Sauces
Add in a bit of premade flavor with sauces like Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze (great on green beans!) or Bone Suckin’ Sauce.
12) Balsamic Vinegar
Only the aged kind will do! Drizzle it on anything to finish or cook to let it thicken up a bit.
From balsamic to beer (yes!), cook it down until a thick, syrupy reduction. Drizzle on anything from beans to mushrooms to broccoli.
Shout out to the massaged greens family. Add some olive oil, lemon juice and salt to trimmed and washed kale and massage until your hands hurt (about 5 minutes). The acid and massaging breaks down the kale so it’s tender enough to eat raw. We like our massaged kale salads with lime juice, red peppers and avocado plus a touch of balsamic vinegar for sweetness, or try this Massage Kale Caesar with Homemade Dressing.
Another tribute to sweet + savory, a hint of jam along with a teaspoon of mustard and a little olive oil makes a sweet dressing to drizzle over a savory veggie – like grilled radicchio.
16) Cinnamon + Cayenne
If you count sweet potatoes as vegetables (I sure do!), then the cinnamon and cayenne marriage is our favorite way to make sweet potato fries in the oven. We coat them in olive oil and salt and then sprinkle on a little of each. I love the sweet ‘n’ spicy flavor.
17) Roast or Grill
Every vegetable tastes better roasted with just a coat of olive oil and salt for flavor. Roasted Brussels sprouts are my wintertime favorite!
Check out this recipe for Grilled Lasagna Zucchini Boats.
18) Add Cheese
Think caprese salads, hot grated parmesan, or blue cheese tossed with collard greens. Cheese adds so much flavor.
This is a favorite way to cook butternut and acorn squash. Toss in coconut oil or melt some coconut butter and dip your roasted squash pieces in.
20) Make a Salad and Add Good Toppings & Dressings
Lettuce and bell peppers taste better next to jalapeño hummus and goat cheese. Making your own salad dressings changes the game, too. Try these easy salad dressing recipes you can make at home.