Learn to love your veggies

Whether you harbour a deep hatred for Brussels Sprouts after being made to eat them every Christmas or are passionate about your dislike for spinach because you've only ever eaten it waterlogged and mushy, there are plenty of vegetables out there which get a bad rep - and that's unfair! Luckily, with a little know-how and some tips, you can learn to love your veggies - even those ones you think you hate. Turn your least favourite vegetables into your new favourites - here's how!

Brussels Sprouts

Top of the list is the least favourite vegetable for many of us - poor old Brussels Sprouts! Far more than just a watery side dish served with your Christmas turkey, we think Brussels don't deserve the bad rep they have. Low in calories yet loaded with vitamin C, fibre and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, Brussels can be added to a variety of recipes or enjoyed as a delicious side dish. Boiling them can turn them slimy, as well as killing off some of the nutrients. The organic compound which Brussels contain can give them a stinky, unplesant smell which is even worse when you boil them.

Make them yummy:

Try roasting Brussels in the oven for a delicious nutty flavour - this way they won't lose any of their nutrients either. Just slice them in half, toss in a little olive oil and add some garlic and herbs (we like to add a few chilli flakes too!) then roast until browned.

Broccoli

We love broccoli, but we know not everyone does! High in vitamin C and low in calories (just 33 calories per cup), it's a great source of fibre, making it an excellent addition to your diet. Plus, it can be enjoyed raw or cooked! If you're amongst the broccoli-haters, chances are you've been victim of a plate of mushy, soggy broccoli that's been overcooked. When you boil it to death, it can taste really unpleasant! Raw broccoli isn't that great either, and the best way to serve it is lightly cooked.

Make it yummy:

Broccoli needs to retain at least some of its crunchiness to taste its best, and blanching it ensures it holds onto those nutrients. Just boil broccoli florets for 2 to 3 minutes than dunk into cold water, drain and enjoy. You can add broccoli to salads, pasta dishes or stir fries, or just enjoy as a veggie side dish. Tossed with some olive oil and chilli flakes, it's great served with spaghetti!

Peas

Peas are one of the quickest and easiest vegetables to prepare. With 50g of fibre per cup of raw peas (and 16g per cup of cooked peas), they're an excellent way to boost the fibre in your diet for healthy digestion. As a kid, you may have been served tinned peas - mushy and horrible, definitely! Frozen or fresh peas are the way to go for that delicious, fresh flavour.

Make them yummy:

Blanching peas helps them retain their bright green colour, crispness and flavour. Boiling your peas for too long means they'll release their cholorphyll, losing their magnesium content and turning them a dull olive green colour - yuck! Blanch for just a few minutes and then dunk in ice cold water to maintain their delicious fresh flavour.

Spinach

Low in calories and packed with iron, fibre, potassium and lutein (for healthy vision), spinach is a super vegetable that we should all eat more of, and it can help to keep your heart healthy. If you find raw spinach bitter, or have been served a plate of mushy, overcooked, waterlogged spinach, we sympathise. Cooked right, it can be really delicious!

Make it yummy:

Add some fruit, such as strawberries, to your spinach salad, to cut through the bitter flavour, or use sweet vegetables such as butternut squash or sweet potato. When cooking spinach, don't boil it. Lightly steam it or saute in a little olive oil with some minced garlic added.

Beetroot

Beetroot is one of those vegetables that divides the population; you either love it or hate it! Loaded with potassium, fibre, folate and iron, their bright purple colour means they're a great source of antioxidants, keeping you looking younger for longer. Their earth flavour comes from the compound geosmin, which is mostly found in the beetroot's skin. Peeling your beetroots helps remove the earthy flavour that so many people dislike.

Make them yummy:

Peel your beetroots and drizzle with olive oil, then roast in the oven. Pickled beetroot has a sweet flavour and delicious crispy texture, so it's perfect to add to salads or sandwiches.

Cauliflower

We love using cauliflower to make a low-carb alternative to rice, or cauliflower pizza bases for a weekend treat - but we know that not everybody gets along with this veggie! Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, and a serving actually contains more than your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It's also loaded with phytonutrients which reduce your risk of cancer and help to lower cholesterol - good news all round! Cauliflower that has been boiled to death is bland, smelly and soggy; no thank you.

Make it yummy:

We recommend roasting your cauliflower florets in the oven for a nutty, sweet flavour. Just drizzle with some olive oil (you could use garlic or chilli-infused oil for extra flavour) and bake in the oven.

Okra

Okra is one of those vegetables that many people have had a bad experience with - if you've ever been served a plate of boiled, slimy okra, we get why you hate it! It's a fantastic source of insoluble fibre, helping to prevent constipation and keep your digestion healthy, and also contains folate and vitamin B6. When okra is overcooked, the mucilage found in the seed pods expands, causing that gloopy texture that's really off-putting!

Make it yummy:

Lightly saute or oven roast okra to bring out its delicious flavour, or toss in some olive oil, black pepper and lemon juice and pop under the grill for about 5 minutes.

Aubergines

Aubergines are one of the Expertrain team's favourite veggies, because they're so healthy and yet so versatile - delicious in salads, pasta dishes or just as a side dish. Packed with fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, aubergines are also loaded with antioxidants which can help to fight cancer and other diseases. If overcooked, aubergines become slimy, and their intense, bitter flavour is overpowering to some people.

Make them yummy:

Grilling and oven cooking bring out a smoky flavour which makes aubergines taste delish! Slice them, brush with olive oil and roast on a baking tray for 25 to 30 minutes, or use your George Foreman Grill or grill pan, to create delicious chargrilled stripes. You could even skewer aubergine chunks and pop them on the BBQ!

Changing the way you prepare and cook your veggies means you may find some new favourites that you previously thought you hated. Give it a go and see if you can get over your spinach-phobia or okra-avoidance!


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Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 15th Jun 2015 at 11:23
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