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Recipes to Alter or Hide Veggies?

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Softly Spoken:
My good eHellions, please help a texture-sensitive Super Taster who has to cook for a Picky Eater. :-[

I am trying to incorporate more vegetables into our diets, but...well, they taste too much like vegetables.  ::)

With an emergency tutorial from a vegetarian friend, I have discovered the joy of french green beans pan-carmelized in sea salt and olive oil, and I can make squash soup - but not much else besides that.

I really want to eat things like spinach and kale. I find the bitterness of kale makes it inedible to me - it's the first vegetable I've actually spit out since I was a little kid. Cooked spinach is too slimy and raw spinach has a rubbery texture that I don't enjoy at all. The same is true for broccoli, its just too spongy. I like crispy crunchy greens, but it seems the darker (and therefore more healthy) the greens get the more limp and/or bitter they become.

Does anyone have any methods of preparing vegetables that change their taste and texture without compromising their nutritional value too greatly? Any suggestions for brussels sprouts or artichokes? Does anyone have any recipes that "sneak in" vegetables? I have been thinking of pureeing some spinach and using it in my traditional meat lasagna, but I am afraid the flavor may take over the dish. I was also thinking of trying to substitute a vegetable puree when a recipe calls for liquid, or simply adding them in where I can - what adjustments would I have to make? Here is an example: instead of messing with my cheesy quiche filling, I thought of trying to put the spinach in this crust. Do you think it would work? :-\

Any suggestions or brainstorms would be greatly appreciated! ;D

Alton Brown did an episode of Good Eats on this very subject... If I can find the season/ep, I'll let you know.

Library Dragon:
Do you eat pasta with tomato sauce?  Add finely grated carrots to the sauce.  The is especially good if you use ground beef in the sauce, not meatballs, but adding cooked ground beef.  The carrots are almost the same size and texture. 

A collection of somewhat random thoughts;

If you really hate veges try hiding them in meat dishes. In winter a soup or stew takes on the flavour of the meat since it is cooked for so long, for example. When I make meatloaf I grate a carrot and a zucchini into it. Zucchini is great to 'hide' I find.

If you want firmer things try things like snow peas or sugar smaps that you can eat raw, or just cook things for a shorter time. Or make a stir fry with lovely crisp veges if you want them hot.

Baby vegetables, although a little more expensive, tend to have a softer, sweeter taste so try those to start with.

Fresh, fresh, fresh. Vegetables lose their nice flavour exponentially fast as they get older, so take the time to source the freshest veges you can find.

Kale and spinach are the big guns. I still only eat baby spinach leaves in salads and in general I love veges - even the much maligned brussel sprouts. So maybe leave those until you are used to the 'lighter' vegetables.

If you like eggy dishes I have a recipe for a savoury zucchini and bacon egg dish that many people seem to enjoy.

Try broccoli again, but this way: put florets into a pot with about half an inch of water and a dash of salt. Cover and put on high heat. When it starts to boil, time it for 30 seconds, then strain.

Your broccoli should be bright green and still crunchy. I can't eat broccoli if it is cooked more than that.


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