Creativity and knowledge: now that’s a recipe for making appetizing, tasty vegetables. Not sure how to cook vegetables that actually taste as great as they make you feel? Don’t worry. There are endless options for serving vegetables, too.
“I don’t like vegetables, I don’t eat them…” That’s what you hear from some people as soon as they see anything green — or even orange or purple. But convincing kids to eat vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables doesn’t have to be that hard.
Sauces, creams, and pastries: the best cover
- Sauces and creams are great ways to cover up the bitter taste of some vegetables. Cheese is great too, like with vegetables and macaroni. Try green beans with eggs or ham and steamed broccoli with mayonnaise.
- Puff pastries can be a big help as well. You can fill them with vegetables and other healthy food, like leeks, spinach, or fish. The options really are endless.
How to cook vegetables when the issue is texture or sweetness
If you want to cook vegetables so they look appetizing and taste even better, there are different routes you can take. Some get sweet when you grill or saute them, like sweet potatoes.
- When you coat root vegetables, squash, or pumpkin with oil and then cook them, the oil heats up quickly and the moisture evaporates from the surface.
- This is known as the Maillard reaction. It caramelizes the outside, leaving it more flavorful and crunchy, while leaving the inside soft.
You can also soften root vegetables to make a puree more quickly by boiling them than steaming them.
How to cook vegetables by color
Purple vegetables are very high in antioxidants. Beans, potatoes, asparagus, and red cabbage contain anthocyanins: unstable, water-soluble molecules.
They lose their color when you boil them, and so we recommend eating them raw or adding acidic elements to the water. Red cabbage, for example, is usually cooked in vinegar.
Betaine is what makes certain foods red, like beets. It is water-soluble and heat-sensitive, so it’s best to treat them like purple vegetables.
Now chlorophyll is what’s responsible for the green color of some vegetables. It is also water-soluble. They’re best boiled for a short period of time in large amounts of salted water, and then rinsed with cold water.
They can be grilled or sauteed and then sweetened with lemon juice. That said, dark green vegetables don’t lose their color as easily because of their carotenoids, which give them a orange or reddish tint.
Potatoes, artichoke, cauliflower, onions, and other white vegetables get discolored and brownish after cutting them because of certain enzymes in them. However, you can keep that from happening by keeping them in a bowl of diluted lemon juice. Also, it’s not advisable to cook or grill them for long periods of time.
Tips: how to cook vegetables so they look and taste appetizing
- Salt makes tomatoes and sweet dishes taste better.
- Honey counteracts the bitterness of endive and chicory.
- For other bitter vegetables like leafy greens, or vegetables like mushrooms, it’s a good idea to add a bit of salt.
- One great combination is bitter with sweet: bittersweet mint with peas, parsley in salads with a sweet dressing, cumin with grilled carrots…
- Olive oil is great with both sweet and bitter flavors.
Delicious sweet vegetables
Fresh peas, carrots, and peppers have a sweetness that can be enhanced with honey, syrup, or alcohol. It’s daring to mix sweetness with fat, but it certainly works if you’re trying to convince someone to eat more vegetables. However, while potatoes with melted butter and creamy soups are really tasty, we shouldn’t go overboard with them.
Spicy, somewhat acidic vegetables
Chile pepper, black pepper, and fresh ginger make bland food as well as soups and stews taste better, but use them with caution. Acids like lemon juice, vinegar, wine, rhubarb, sour cream, and yogurt bring out the natural sweetness in vegetables. But use them in moderation if you want a nice balance of flavors.
An appetizing vegetable recipe
This recipe is a great example of how to cook vegetables so they taste and look great.
Vegetables with cheese
- Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
- 3 tablespoons of butter (60 g)
- Grated cheese (to taste)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- A bit of water
- Add water to a sauce pan so the vegetables don’t burn when you steam them.
- Next, add the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, butter, salt, and pepper.
- On low heat, cover and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy.
- To finish, remove from heat, add the cheese, and cover again to let it melt.