27 September 2011

How to Eat Vegetables That You Don't Like

Having recently become a vegetarian, you might be surprised to learn that I don't like every vegetable in existence. In fact, I dislike many of them. With great intensity. However, I am always trying to set a good example for everyone so I think it's important for me to eat as many different vegetables as possible to get all the benefits I can. Not only that, but certain things I don't like *cough cough squash cough cough* is extraordinarily cheap at the farmers market and is readily available, which means I should do my best to find a way to get it in my food to save money and help my body at the same time. So, here are my tricks to tricking myself into eating vegetables I don't like.

Dice it: If you chop it up into really tiny pieces, you might not even notice it's there! This works particularly well in dishes with broth, like soup or a pot pie, where the vegetable can sort of hide in the undercurrent and its flavor is overpowered by everything else in the dish. If you dice it small enough, it might even 'disappear' completely into your creation and you'll forget it's there. That works too.

These are vegetables I DO like.

Shred it: I don't like zucchini, but it's cheap and it's a vegetable. Therefore, I decided to incorporate it into my life. I have found that shredding it and putting it into whatever I'm making is a great way of hiding it for myself. Usually, I shred it and throw it in a stir fry (for myself) or I shred it and saute it with garlic and olive oil and make it into a frittata for Heidi and Piper. Granted, I also don't eat eggs like that, so I'm not enjoying my creation, but I know they're getting an extra serving of vegetables in the morning every other day.

Puree it: I don't like squash. It is also a relatively easy to find vegetable and isn't $100 million (most days) so I try to buy it and do something with it when I can. Up until now, I have not been eating it myself, save for the occasional spaghetti squash replacing spaghetti. Heidi and Piper will eat a roasted butternut or acorn squash straight out of the oven, but if I want to get the nutrients from this spiffy vegetable, I have to transform it. I'm still proud of myself for coming up with the idea of pureeing the roasted butternut squash with some vegetable stock and then dumping that bad boy right into the soup I was creating that day. It gave the broth a little bit of an interesting color and was completely undetectable during ingestion. Brilliant.

Dissolve it: Though I've only done it a couple times, I would like to make it more of a habit because I know how good this particular food is for all of us. Avocado. Blech. Gross. Vomit. But yet, when I dissolve it in vinegar, treating it like plain yogurt or mayonnaise that would go into the dressing of a cole slaw, I can eat it on my salad. So vinegar, some avocado, Bragg's, olive oil and onion powder create a nice, tasty salad dressing where I can almost ignore the fact that the avocado is in there. (Thanks to Steve's friend Jason who taught me this trick and doesn't know that I've used it.)

So when in doubt, throw the offending vegetable into a soup, pasta sauce, put it on a pizza or puree it to smithereens. You'll be eating veggies you don't like in no time.


  1. Genius! Although you are crazy for not liking avocados and zucchini ;)

    A friend, knowing how picky I've always been about veggies, bought me that Jessica Seinfeld book on disguising them. A lot of people are anti-doing that for their kids, and I can see why, but I was very happy to have the recipes for myself!

  2. Good job on the healthier food lifestyle! I've been for years, and recently became vegan. It's really odd that anyone could not like avocado, LOL. I could eat five a day if they weren't so darn expensive!!! Vegetarian Times magazine has a huge database of recipes if you need any cooking help!

  3. What can I say, I have strange tastes. I only eat cheese that's melted, and have only recently branched out to eating melted cheddar cheese in things, rather than only mozzarella. I think you're all weird for being so in love with those avocados that are totally gross! :)

    I feel vaguely familiar with that book, Kelly, but I'll have to look it up to get a better grip on what you're talking about. And I'll definitely check out Vegetarian Times! Thanks!

  4. I have to test these out on Mikko, the pickiest eater of them all. I need ideas like these, so if you find out new ways to trick yourself, let me know. I actually like all the veggies & fruit you mentioned, but I guess I'm weird like that.

  5. I have to be honest that I've fallen off the healthy eating wagon recently. I started drinking *gasp* a mexican coke each day (it has sugar not hfcs, so I rationalized it. Ha!) this summer. That seemed to open the floodgates for more processed foods and not enough veggies. I just got rid of the soda for good and now I'm trying to interest my palate in the good stuff as it cleans out the gunk. So, long comment to say, "A hearty thank you!" and how timely this is.

  6. Let me know how that goes Lorad. I'm sure there's something you *don't* like that you can trick yourself into eating, eh?

    Sometimes, Zoie, we need to go back to that "crap" to remember how good we felt when we didn't eat it :)...right? :)

  7. Ooh, good post! I love the idea of adding avocado to salad dressing. It probably gives it a great consistency (although avocado is the fruit of a goddess....sooo good.)

    And our tastes CAN change: avocado used to make me puke. I thought it was so gross when I was younger. But now I adore it. I could eat only that.

    And I, too, thank you for the reminder to eat more veggies! Here's another tip: make it into a spread. I make roasted red pepper spreads with garlic and roasted red peppers and add beans or any other veggie to it and spread it on sandwiches. You can even use it as a pasta sauce.

  8. That's definitely a good idea, Gaby! Thanks :)

  9. Lovely post! I love most veggies because I'm weird like that but peas are utterly disgusting to me. I can eat them frozen no problem but hate them cooked. If I mix them in something I can choke them down though. :) I have the deceptively delicious cookbook mentioned and really like most of the recipes. I wrote a post on it actually. :) http://naturallifemom.com/2010/02/aloha-chicken/

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