We all know the benefits of eating our greens. But when there are so many other more exciting foods out there, it’s difficult to stick to our five a day. Of course, vegetables don’t have to be bland. In fact, it may just be the way that you’re preparing them. Here are a few ways to make vegetables more exciting, certain to stop you getting green with envy every time you see another food.
Change your cooking method
Boiling and steaming isn’t the only way to cook vegetables. As anyone who’s ever had a Sunday roast knows, parsnips and potatoes can be delicious when roasted in the oven. Practically any vegetables can be roasted and have the same effect – some tastier examples being squashes, courgettes, broccoli and sprouts (try drizzling in a low-calorie oil for a nice soft crunch). On top of this you can grill, sauté and fry most of these vegetables too.
Mix it up
Try to pair and blend vegetables to make exciting combinations. Courgettes for example make a great pairing with tomatoes in summer, whilst broccoli goes great with caramelised shallots. When it comes to salads, try experimenting with new leaves – iceberg lettuce is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. There are hundreds of more exciting types of salad leaf out there such as kale and romaine lettuce hearts – you can find them online if your local shop doesn’t sell them. Also try mixing in pumpkin, sweet potato and chillies for a salad to remember.
Sugar and spice
Spices such as cumin and chilli powder can immediately give your veg a kick. If you’ve got lots of herbs and spices in that kitchen cabinet gathering dust, try experimenting by throwing some of them in with your veg next time you cook. Sugar meanwhile can be great for glazing and caramelising foods such as onions and carrots – but be careful not go overboard and develop too much of a sweet tooth.
Cheese makes any food taste great (and can make your meals look that extra bit more Instagram-worthy). Common vegetables served with cheese include melted cheese on cauliflower and grated cheese in salads. Feel free to experiment with different cheese types such as mozzarella, feta, blue cheese, goat’s cheese and parmesan.
Dip into new ideas
Another way to bring zest to your veg is to use sauces. If you have kids and want to encourage them to eat more greens, why not substitute chips for a healthier vegetable. Roast sweet potato wedges, roast cauliflower and zucchini fries can make excellent finger food, great for dipping in ketchup or mayo. You can also turn vegetables into dips by mashing or liquidising them up. If you’ve got some avocado, you can mix it with lime and salt and whip yourself up a homemade guacamole. An easy and delicious dip for putting bread in meanwhile is spinach and Greek yoghurt. Try experimenting with a blender and you may be able to come up with some of your own creative sauces.