Vegetables are boring


I need to increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables in my meat-and-potato diet. I’m perfectly willing to do this except that I find most vegetables, especially canned vegetables, B-O-R-I-N-G. In the absence of interesting flavor I usually drench them in butter, which largely defeats the purpose in eating the darn things in the first place.

I’m looking for suggestions for exciting vegetable dishes.

A few ground rules:

  1. I have access to a good produce market, but not all the time. So while I want recipes for fresh vegetables, recipes that include canned or frozen veggies are particularly welcome.

  2. I have to do the cooking. I don’t mind slicing and dicing and relatively simple preparation (I can blanch and/or saute) but I’m no expert at fancy sauces. And preparation/coooking time should be reasonable – I’m not going to make anything I have to start the day before, for example.

  3. Hi Opal!

  4. I’m not looking (necessarily) for vegetarian dishes. If your recipe includes a little meat send it along. If it includes a little tofu – well, think twice.

  5. Soups and stews are great. Dishes utilizing beans (white, black, kidney, etc.) are great. These dishes can violate the day before rule (see 2) as long as they don’t need constant attention.

  6. No brussels (sp?) sprouts or cauliflower. Broccoli is fine. Celery is a plus.

I know the Teeming Millions are eager to share their culinary successes, I’ve seen it before. So thanks one and all, in advance.

Pluto, the reason you don’t like canned vegetables is that canned vegetables, with the exception of tomatoes and beans (which aren’t really vegetables anyways), are evil devil-spawn.

That said, there’s a million ways to cook fresh veggies & make 'em taste good. Here’s a couple:

Beans -n- Rice:

Saute up some onions & garlic. Add 1 can beans (pinto, black, whatever), drained. Add 1 can corn (oops, another exception - canned corn is OK for quick dinners). Add a big dollop of your favorite salsa and/or hot sauce. Add some wine or beer or tequila if you feel like it. Add salt & pepper. Cook until hot. Serve over cooked rice with cheese and/or sour cream on top. Yummmmmyy…

Roast carrots:

Peel & cut carrots into 2" slices, or if you’re feeling lazy, buy a bag of those baby carrots. Toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil & salt. Put in 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. They come out tasting like you roasted 'em for hours with a beef roast or something.

I just made some veggie lasanga. I didnt follow any recipe, but it was pretty easy. I used frozen chopped spinach, frozen chopped broccoli and I put some red pepper in there. You could easily use any recipe and add the veggies. And with all the ready made spaghetti sauces its pretty easy. If you want to cut out fat use fat free cottage cheese and only put a little bit of mozzarella and parmesean on top. I threw in a few garlic cloves to spice it up a bit and dusted it with “italian seasonings.”

Canned tomatoes are great for making a quick homemade tomato sauce. Just add chopped sauteed onion, olive oil, and the usual herbs and seasonings.

Here’s a good way to jazz up green beans (although I usually eat them steamed and plain myself). Steam green beans for about 8 minutes, to the point where they’re not quite done. Put a little bit of oil in a skillet, medium heat, and toss the green beans around with some onion powder, chili powder, and bacon bits. Quick and easy.

Stews are a good way of fitting all your servings of veggies into one meal, although a lot of chopping time is involved. After you make a stew you can also roll out a sheet of puff pastry (in the frozen section of the supermarket), cut it to fit a casserole dish, and make it into a pot pie. You can do stews and pot pies with most any meat and veg that’s on hand. I usually include peas, carrots, corn, potatoes, and onions, and anything that needs using.

There’s also chile with onions, beans, and chili peppers. On the side I like to have quesadillas filled with cheese, spring onions, and bits of red bell pepper.

The good thing about stews and chile is that you can make loads of it and freeze the leftovers for a time when you don’t feel like cooking.

You can also do a stir-fry with various veggies. There are plenty of pre-made sauces out there you can use to vary the flavours. Stir-fries tend to involve fresh veggies, but are otherwise easy to do.

Fajitas are good for fitting in most of the food groups and are simple to prepare. You have your meat (I use a non-stick griddle with no grease), your tortillas, your veg (peppers, onions, salsa), and your dairy (cheese, sometimes sour cream).

Onions and peppers are also a good combo when it comes to making a sausage sandwich. Take half a loaf of bread, split it lengthwise, and fill it with sauteed peppers and onions and grilled sausage.

How about carrots glazed with a bit of honey, or sweet potatoes mashed with maple syrup.

Hope these ideas help.

I could spend alllllll day on this thread. I used to be a vegetarian that hated beans, lentils, any type of legume, and thought that gravy was a vegetable. Boy, did I do my research. After going back to eating meat, I spent the next few years living with a vegetarian and doing all the cooking. I know my veggies.

I’ll start with a couple of stews, if they sound promising, I’ll throw in some more later, k?

Sweet Potato and Barley Chili

1/2 cup dried barley
2 Tbls olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tsps cumin seeds
1 Tbl chili powder
2 cups tomatillos
2 green bell peppers seeded and cut into small squares
2 small sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 cups water or vegegtable stock (can be bought in cubed bullion form, just like beef or chicken boullion
1 tsp salt
1-2 chipolte peppers

  1. Boil the barley in about 1 1/2 cups salted water until all water is gone. Around an hour. Go watch tv during this time, or cut up your other veggies. Maybe post a bit.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, around medium-high heat. Cook the onions about 10 minutes, just until they start to brown a bit. Stir them around, don’t just let them sit there. Add the garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook for a couple of minutes more.

  3. Add the tomatillos, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, water or stock, and salt. If you bought canned chipolte peppers, chop 'em up, if you bought dried ones, just throw 'em in. Let the whole thing simmer for about a 1/2 hour, or until the veggies get tender.

  4. If the chipoltes are dried and whole, remove them, seed them, chop them up fine and put 'em back in. Canned ones are easier, obviously. Add the some black pepper if you want, and the barley. Stir the whole mess up and serve it.
    Is also good with various types of meat, if you’re in the mood for it, and sour cream on top is nummy. Chipoltes, tomatillos and sweet potatoes can all be bought canned, but fresh is (of course) preferred. This is also a pretty easy recipe to tweak if you can’t find one of the ingredients. I’ve been known to use wild rice, couscous or jasmine or basmati rice when I wasn’t in the mood to deal with barley. Play around with it, it’s pretty foolproof.

African Potato Stew

2 Tbls canola or corn oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp ginger
2 tsps poppy seeds (optional)
1 tsp mustard seed
1 Tbls ground corriander seed
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 russed potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp salt
1/2 cauliflower head, cut into bite size florets
1 sweet potato peeled and cut into small cubes
4 cups thinly sliced collard greens
1/4 cup raisins

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until onions get soft. Add all of your spices and cook for another couple of minutes

2)Add the russet potatoes to the pot and 4 cups of water, crank the heat up to 11. When it boils, turn it back down to low and let it simmer 5 minutes uncovered.

  1. Stir in the cauliflower, sweet potato, collard greens and raisins. Cook for about another 10 minutes, or until your potatoes are soft.

That’s it on that one. It’s good seasoned with black pepper and a bit of apple cider vinegar, I think. A lot of people like this with 1 cup of cooked chickpeas added in when you put in the cauliflower, but I stated how I feel about icky ol’ peas earlier.

I’d also like to add that Athena’s roast carrots recipe will work for potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, squash…any root vegetable, basically. I also put in some onion and garlic with mine, or can use a bit of butter instead of olive oil, but it’s all good.

Any help at all, pluto? I’ve got a million of 'em, if these are no help, post again with more specifics and I’ll be right here. :slight_smile:

Here’s my very own recipe for kale:

[li]Clean and chop one bunch of kale (minus stemps and ribs).[/li][li]Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil (olive, vegetable, whatever) to a large skillet/wok over and heat over medium-high heat.[/li][li]Add 2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic - be careful not to let it burn - saute until golden brown.[/li][li]Toss in chopped kale, continuing to stir/saute until kale is bright green and a little wilted.[/li][li]Pour 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic (better than others!) vinegar and stir well.[/li]
Remove from heat and enjoy! Even my 4-year old niece likes it.

Thanks to one and all. I realize now that I should not read this thread at work since it makes me all hungry inside. But that’s a good thing, right?

Other than the occasional reference to cauliflower (and I should have added parsnips to the “forever banned” list) I will enjoy trying out your recipes. And if I come up with something more specific, Nymsys, I’ll call on you.

Any more veggie lovers out there who want to contribute?

If you do any grilling try tossing a few veggies on the grill too…

My favorites for grilling are asparagus, green onions or even sliced onions, but they are difficult to turn, and even a small head of radicchio just a light drizzle of olive oil and some salt makes them delicious.

Corn on the cob is also good but you may want to steam or boil it for about 10 minutes before grilling to make sure it is cooked.

Try sprinkling a little nutmeg on your broccoli before steaming it. Gives it a nice flavor. You might want to try playing with quiches, too- get a frozen pie crust, beat a few eggs with some milk and throw in whatever you like. Bake it at 350 for 45 minutes or so.

My husband came up with a great way to cook green beans, snap- and sugar peas. Throw all your beans or peas into a frying pan with some olive oil (other cooking oil or butter works too). Saute the veggies until they’re just slightly crispy. Throw in minced garlic and drizzle soy sauce over everything, and stir briskly a few more times. Voila! We call them Asian Style Veggies. They’re very tasty, and only take a few minutes.

If you like Indian food, try adding a few Indian spices to sauteed veggies: cumin seed, ground coriander, or a good curry powder. I also like to add minced garlic, ginger and/or chopped fresh jalapeno. Top with chopped cilantro and maybe a squeeze of lemon.

This works well with potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, green beans, eggplant, okra (it will be delicious and not at all slimy), spinach and other greens, peas, and probably lots of other things.

Even better is a combination of the above (e.g., peas and potatoes or green beans and eggplant), served with basmati rice, whole wheat tortillas and side orders of plain yogurt and mango chutney.

Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt, pepper
Melt the butter. Let it cool.
Over the lowest possible flame add egg yolks and lemon juice.
Do nothing else for a few minutes. Don’t look at TV, don’t answer the phone or you will have scrambled eggs.
Stir until it is the consistancy of mayonnaise.
Serve over steamed brussels sprouts, asparagus or whatever.
This is good stuff.

Fresh spinach in a frying pan with a little olive oil and fresh crushed garlic.

Corn roasted in it’s husk.

Sliced mushrooms, slivered onions and sliced garlic, roasted.

Big ole head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in slow oven for about an hour or two until it’s soft. Eat on bread or crackers.

Green beans are awesome. :slight_smile:

Looks like none of the Southerners have showed up in this thread yet, so I’ll be the first to say it…

Throw in a big ol’ hunk of sidemeat. Get that pot boiling, and add a chunk of bacon or salt pork and a chopped onion about a half-hour before you put your greens in. You’d be amazed what it does to perk up the flavor.

Okay, here’s another tip that’ll add savor without giving you a massive coronary: Roast things. You’ll have to start cooking a little earlier, but the flavor difference between roasted winter squash and steamed winter squash, for example, is amazing.

Try this. This is good. We did this for Thanksgiving and it was so good it became a Sunday dinner staple:

Peel and cut up an acorn squash, a big sweet potato, two beets (you should roast the beets for a while on their own first…they take a little longer to cook), a pound of brussels sprouts (halved), and an onion. Toss them with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a big roasting pan. Season with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of dried rosemary. Stick it in a hot (425) oven for around 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the vegetables from sticking, and to ensure even browning.

Toss with a little balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and serve warm.

And, speaking of Green Beans, here’s a nice alternative to the basic steaming thing…

Saute a sliced onion and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. When the onion’s soft, add a few pinches of thyme and oregano and a 14 oz. can of tomatoes (or a couple of chopped fresh tomatoes if it’s summertime). When the tomatoes are starting to bubble, put in a pound of trimmed Green Beans, cut into two-inch lengths. Partially cover and let simmer for at least an hour…two’s better.

This is Greek and rather liquid-y so it’s a good accompaniment to something dry…grilled lamb chops and roasted potatoes, maybe.

Oh yeah, forgot SOUP. This is great, if you like squash:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup:

Onions and Shallots (OK, I don’t use measurements. Let’s see, I’d put maybe 3 shallots and a medium onion in here)
Butter (unsalted is best, but you can use salted)
1 Butternut Squash (about 2-3 pounds)
3-4 cups of chicken stock
Some Scotch or Brandy (Calvados is good, too)
Curry powder (buy good stuff, and make sure it’s fresh. If you have a bottle that’s been in your cupboard for a year or two, throw it out, get a new one)

Slice onions and chop shallots. Put a tablespoon or two of butter in a large soup pan on low heat. When it’s melted, add the onions and shallots. Cover and sweat on low heat until onions & shallots are soft. Throw in some curry powder (1 teaspoon - 2 Tablespoons, depending on how much you like curry powder) and stir.

Meanwhile, peel, seed, and cut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. When onions/shallots are done, add squash to pan. Turn up the heat and saute for a couple minutes while stirring to mix. Add chicken stock. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes, or until squash is soft.

In batches, put soup in a blender or food processer. Process until smooth. Return to pot. Add liquor to taste, more curry powder if needed, salt and pepper.


Any of these go well on top. I especially like the yogurt/mint leaves:

Plain yogurt. To do something really nice, chop mint leaves and mix with yogurt.

Chopped chives or green onions

Chopped mint leaves

I’m sure there’ll be those who disagree (strongly?) with me, but a little parmesan cheese over the top of any vegetable will make it much better. Easy too!

I’m a also a big fan of okra (man, I am just opening myself up for ridicule here). My favorite recipe using okra combines it with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and cajun seasoning, sauteed in a little vegetable oil.

Put a little meat and/or seafood in that, and you’ll have a reasonable Gumbo.

Oh, and celery. Onion, green pepper, and celery are the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking.

Just remember, garlic is your friend! :smiley:

I can’t think of a vegetable that wouldn’t taste better with a little (or a lot!) of garlic. Yum!

Young, you are not alone. I love okra, even when its all slimy!