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So what if you don’t like vegetables?

publication date: Feb 21, 2011
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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I can’t think of a vegetable I don’t like but then I’m plain greedy. Most people have at least one or two they won’t touch and some have a shedload which maybe accounts for the fact that the majority of us don’t eat our ‘five a day’. Mostly it stems from having them cooked in a way you hated but some people are simply unwilling to try anything that’s unfamiliar.

Chances are you would find a way to eat them if you just let yourself. If you hate them hot, try ‘em cold. If you find them soggy cook them for a shorter time. Most veggies are inedible if they’re boiled to death. Here are some vegetables in season, or coming into season, to try:

Its the sogginess that turns most people off so slice them quite thinly, spray or drizzle over some olive oil and bake them in a hot oven till crisp. Then cover with passata or a tomato-based pasta sauce, top with mozzarella or cheddar and return to the oven until the cheese is hot and bubbling. Eat with crusty bread

Break into florets (saving the stalks for soup) Steam or microwave until just tender then heat some oil, add a crushed clove of garlic (and a little chilli and/or ginger if you have some) and briefly stir fry the broccoli, adding a tablespoon of soy sauce and a splash of water. Tastes good hot but also good at room temperature.

If you don’t like boiled cauliflower try stir-frying it. Cut into small florets, and fry in a little oil in a wok or large frying pan with some finely chopped onion. When the cauliflower is just tender, add some crushed or chopped garlic and 1-2 tsp crushed coriander seeds (or a little curry powder). This gives it a nice nutty taste.

Remove the outer leavess, quarter and cut away the tough inner core then shred finely. Then either stir fry as described under broccoli above or put in a saucepan, pour over just enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil, cook for a minute (no more!) and drain. Return to the pan and add a good chunk of butter and lots of pepper.

Not nice boiled IMHO. Slice and put in a saucepan with a little oil and/or butter and 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin or coriander. Turn in the oil/butter mix then add a couple of tablespoons of water, put a lid on the pan, turn the heat right down and cook until tender, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if needed. Or you can roast them, turn them into a soup, grate them and serve them as a salad, cut them into strips and dunk them in hummus . . . Carrots are soooo versatile.

Trim the courgettes at both ends and grate them coarsely (yup, grate them!) Heat a frying pan then once it’s hot add a good slice of butter (about 25g). As soon as the butter has melted, tip in the grated courgette and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Chuck in a little chopped fresh mint or parsley if you have some and serve.

Usually it’s the texture people object to. Try cooking them slightly longer so they begin to go crispy or serve them raw, sliced finely into a salad. (Very good with rocket and parma ham)

If it’s the texture of raw or undercooked onion you dislike cook them slowly for a very long time, so they go all sweet and caramelised as in this onion marmalade

Try parsnip mash. Peel them and cut them up cutting away the central woody core. Cover with boiling water, bring to the boil and cook until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and put them in a blender or food processor. Whizz, adding just enough water to make a smooth purée, Add a slice of butter and a bit of cream (yes, go on!) and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg if you have some. Or roast them with other root veg like onions, potatoes and carrots.

Don’t like them raw? Halve them, remove the pith and seeds, put some fine slices of garlic in them, drizzle over some olive oil and roast them in a moderate oven (about 190°C) for 50 minutes to an hour. Dunk some crusty bread in the garlicky juices then tell me if you still don’t like them. (Of course, if you don’t like cooked peppers, you can serve them raw with a dip).

If you hate it cooked try an American-style raw spinach salad with crispy fried bacon and blue cheese. You can also shred the leaves and add them to a curry at the last minute. That way they won't go slimey!

Everyone’s least favourite vegetable, it seems! Don’t boil them! Trim them, remove the outer leaves and shred them finely. Then cook a finely chopped onion and some chopped bacon in a little oil  until soft, add the sprouts and stir fry until tender but still crunchy. Season generously with pepper and a little salt.

If you find it too sweet try dry-frying the kernels (in a non-stick pan without any extra oil) with some chopped spring onions and finely chopped peppers. Tip into a bowl, add a couple of spoonfuls of salad dressing and some chopped fresh coriander or parsley. Sweetcorn salsa!

I find it hard to believe that anyone dislikes tomatoes but have found that some people really hate them with a passion. Not sure how you’re to be won round because tomatoes taste, well, so tomatoey . . . Few people, I've found can resist a fresh Mexican style tomato salsa though. (Skin and chop up tomatoes. Add some finely chopped onion, chilli, lime juice and chopped fresh coriander. Serve with tortilla chips.)

Which veggies do you love - or hate? And have you found any ways of making them more appealing?


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