I get that many of you don't have the hang-ups I do with vegetables. So, by way of explanation, let it be known that, for the first 18 years of my life growing up in suburban Minnesota (1975-1993), my understanding of what vegetables could taste like was generally limited to the following horror-heavy list:
- Nearly tasteless peas and broccoli fresh from the freezer
- Mushy green beans or sickly sweet baked beans from a can
- Carrots boiled to the point of near-disintegration
- Iceberg salad speckled with dehydrated carrot bits, all of it drowned in ranch dressing
- Salty mushrooms from a can
- Corn niblets from a can
- Sweet corn picked fresh from a farmer's field
Midwestern supermarkets just weren't the same then as they are now. Produce was genuinely seasonal, while canned goods and freezer fare were year-round. Also, fresh produce could be expensive. Why would you invest any sizable sum of money in something your children had nearly zero interest in eating?
Anyway. Unsurprisingly, despite the clear exception of the amazingly fresh MN-grown sweet corn and the fact that I rather liked the salty mushrooms (excellent on homemade pizzas) and canned corn, I never really took to the other items on the list. So it's taken me years to convince myself I like vegetables.
But we all need to eat our vegetables. It's not just a fact of childhood. It's a fact of life.
Fortunately, I have gotten a good deal better at liking vegetables.... especially after finding these three incredibly simple recipes, which currently comprise my three favorite ways to eat vegetables. So if you, too, are still on your way to falling in love with vegetables, maybe you'll like these recipes.
Steamed green beans with lemon-mint dressing
Source: Cooking Light
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Steam green beans for four minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Combine mint and remaining ingredients in large bowl and stir with a whisk. Add green beans to bowl, and toss to coat.
Oven-roasted purple cauliflower
Source: Ali in the Valley
- 1 head purple cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- sea salt to taste
- coarse black pepper
- fresh lemon juice (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment party or aluminum foil. Toss cut cauliflower in olive oil, making sure to coat entire surface. Spread cauliflower into a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Do not overcrowd pan; allow ample space. Add minced garlic on top. Generously season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges and flat areas of cauliflower have browned. Cook time may vary depending on the size of your florets. Serve warm and garnish with fresh lemon juice.
Bev's sauteed yellow squash
Source: Bev I Am at Genius Kitchen
- 6 medium summer squash, sliced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 medium onion, sliced thinly or diced
- salt and pepper
Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and cook just till tender. Add yellow squash and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring until squash begins to soften. Cover and continue cooking over low heat until nice and tender (usually about 20-25 minutes). Add lots of salt and pepper.