Your Least Favorite Vegetables by Healthy Eats in January Challenge, January 27, 2012
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We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers and healthy eating advocates to host a Healthy Every Week Challenge, a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #gethealthy.
In honor of “Eat More Fruits and Vegetables” week of our Healthy Every Week Challenge, we asked our pals on Facebook and Twitter what their least favorite vegetable was. There were a few eggplant-haters, a bunch of votes against turnips and peppers, some who won’t eat broccoli, a whole lot of people against beets and even more who loathe Brussels sprouts.
While we totally respect that fact that some people don’t like certain things, may we suggest that maybe, just maybe you should give your most hated vegetables another chance. Perhaps you hate beets because you’ve only tried them canned and pickled. Or maybe an encounter with overcooked broccoli as a kid made you swear it off forever. We offer this challenge to you veggie-haters: Give your least favorite vegetable one more chance. You just might be surprised how delicious turnips, peppers or beets are when they’re prepared right.
Broccoli is a super food loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A, and studies have shown that it can help lower your risk of cancer. Give it a chance raw, dipped in a strongly flavored dip, like garlicky hummus; the satisfying crunch of the fresh florets mixed with the creamy dip might make you forget your distaste for this cruciferous veggie. If that doesn’t do it for you, try Ellie Krieger’s creamy broccoli slaw, try adding some frozen broccoli to a classic one-dish comfort food: Tuna Casserole.
If you don’t cook these little green cruciferous vegetables right, they won’t taste so great. Just boiling them doesn’t really bring out their nutty flavor and if overcooked, they won’t smell or taste very appetizing either. So if you hate them, it might be because they weren’t cooked right when you tried them. They’re in season now, so pick up a handful at the market and try roasting them. Roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their flavor, and Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussels Sprout recipe will give you sprouts that are crisp and caramelized on the outside, and tender on the inside.
The default preparation for eggplant is battered and fried and covered with sauce and cheese, a la Eggplant Parmesan. Those who want a break from such a heavy dish may experiment with different methods of preparation, but find they dislike the spongy texture eggplant has when stir-fried or sauteed. But have you tried grilling eggplant? Thinly slice it and brush with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and grill till tender; grilling brings out the smoky flavor you probably didn’t realize eggplant had. And if you do like eggplant parm but want a lighter option, try Food Network Magazine’s Eggplant Parmesan Sauce.
Many people who hate beets have tried them canned and pickled, but that strong flavor isn’t for everyone. Like Brussels sprouts, beets truly shine when roasted. The easiest method is to roast them in a foil packet, skins on, then peel them with your fingers when cooled, or with a paring knife, slice and toss with dill, lemon, arugula and goat cheese, or add to a green salad. Or try them raw, in a salad with apples, or roasted along with Brussels sprouts and carrots.
Think about the last time you had turnips — how were they prepared? Boiled and mashed? Of course you didn’t like them. Consider giving them another try, but take it slow. Instead of just turnips, smash up a few with your mashed potatoes. Or try roasting some turnips with mushrooms for a savory, earthy side dish. And this method of glazing turnips and carrots results in tender, naturally sweet root vegetables.
Pepper-haters: Do you just avoid raw peppers? Try them roasted and tossed with olive oil, garlic and basil. Or add a few peppers to a dish you already love, like Meatball Subs. If you have roasted peppers, either homemade or store-bought, try turning them into a creamy pasta sauce: Ellie Krieger’s Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce will have even the most adamant pepper haters asking for more.
Tell us: Would you consider giving your least favorite vegetable another chance?