Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets—yuck! Not so fast. Using a different cooking technique can totally transform the vegetables you thought you hated into mouthwatering sides you’ll want to make again and again. Here are ten nutrient-packed vegetables you can instantly make taste better with a little know-how.
Why you should eat them: These baby cabbages contain just 38 calories per cup and are packed with cancer-preventing phytonutrients and fiber.
Yuck-factor: An organic compound can cause Brussels sprouts to give off a stinky, sulfurous smell. “Boiling can make them seem slimy and even leach some of the nutrients into the water,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor.
Make them delicious: Roast Brussels sprouts to seal in nutrients and flavor. “Just slice in half, mist with a garlic and herb infused olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees,”
Why you should eat it: Broccoli, another cruciferous veggie, is high in vitamin C and fiber and racks up just 33 calories per cup.
Yuck-factor: Broccoli can taste quite dry when eaten raw, and watch out if it’s overcooked—you’ll end up with some very mushy florets.
Make it delicious: Broccoli tastes best blanched—a cooking technique where you dunk veggies into ice water after boiling them for two to three minutes. “This helps broccoli retain its crunchiness,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, wellness manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. It also ensures the nutrients won’t get zapped from the food. After you’ve blanched the broccoli, you can pair it with an edamame (green soya bean) dip or a cheese dip for some extra fiber or top with lemon juice for an added kick, Kirkpatrick says.
Why you should eat them: A cup of raw split peas has 50 grams of fiber and still contains 16 grams after being cooked.
Yuck-factor: “If you’ve only ever had the canned peas, then you are probably used to them being mushy,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD.
Make them delicious: Peas are another food you will love after blanching. “Peas boiled very fast are going to have a nice snap to them,” says Zuckerbrot. Just make sure to follow the blanching times suggested by the National Center for Home and Food Preservation. The heat makes it easy for chlorophyll in the peas (or really any vegetable) to lose magnesium, leading to a chemical change that will leave them a yucky olive green if overcooked, Zuckerbrot says. When done just right, blanching will help your peas maintain ultimate freshness.
Why you should eat it: At seven calories a cup, this superfood is filled with lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber, all nutrients vital to keeping your heart going strong.
Yuck-factor: Some people find raw spinach too bitter, while overcooking the leafy green leaves a soggy, mushy mess.
Make it delicious: Adding fruit to your spinach salad cuts the bitter flavor, Sass says. With a drizzle of olive oil for seasoning, it will taste even better. “When I cook it, I often lightly sauté in a little bit of hot chilli oil, along with minced garlic and chopped sweet bell pepper.”
Why you should eat it: Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, with more than a day’s worth of your daily intake, and has lots of water for extra hydration. Beyond that, it has phytonutrients that have been shown to lower cholesterol and fight your risk of cancer.
Yuck-factor: Boiling cauliflower can leave it soggy, bland, and smelly.
Make it delicious: Roasting cauliflower gives it a nutty, sweet flavor and creamy texture. Or, try Kirkpatrick’s favorite recipe: “Sauté them in olive oil then add in some walnuts, turmeric, and tomato sauce.”
Why you should eat them: Beets are rich in iron, fiber, folate, and potassium, and also full of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Yuck-factor: Beets contain the compound geosmin, also found in carp and catfish, which gives them an earthy flavor. Unfortunately it can also make beets taste like dirt. “That compound is most concentrated in the skin of fresh beets,” Zuckerbrot says. “That’s why you have to peel them first.”
Make them delicious: After peeling, drizzle the beets with a bit of olive oil and roast them like a potato. Or you could try pickled beets, which have a crispy texture. “When they are pickled with a combination of vinegar, sugar, and spices, it gives them a similar taste to sweet pickles,” Zuckerbrot says.
Why you should eat them: Onions contain a high concentration of flavonoids, a type of polyphenol that works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Plus, they have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
Yuck-factor: Everyone knows that raw onions come with a sharp taste and smell. And although some people love the tangy crunch they add to a salad or sandwich, others are totally turned off by their smell and taste.
Make them delicious: “If you cook them using low-moderate heat, onions will start to caramelize after 10 minutes and take on a sweet taste,” Kirkpatrick says.
Why you should eat it: Besides being an excellent source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, eggplant contains high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Yuck-factor: “Some people don’t like how it can get slimy if it’s overcooked,” Zuckerbrot says. It also has a naturally intense, bitter flavor.
Make it delicious: “Oven-roasted and grilled are my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant,” says Sass. Slice, brush with olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or skewer them for the grill. “Slices of grilled eggplant are terrific topped with a little olive tapenade,” Sass says.
Why you should eat it: Asparagus might be a mood booster. The spears are a great source of foliate, a B vitamin that helps fight irritability and mental fatigue.
Yuck-factor: “Asparagus has a unique flavor some describe as woody,” Sass says. “Proper seasoning can balance that out.” But if not cooked properly, things can get a lot worse. Say hello to mushy spears and an ugly, dull-green veggie.
Make it delicious: Sass swears by oven roasting and sautéing the plant. “Oven roast them as you would Brussels sprouts or sauté in olive oil with lots of minced garlic,” Sass says. “The olive oil and garlic can completely change the experience.”
Why you should eat it: At 22 calories a cup, you can enjoy as much cabbage as you want and take in a good dose of vitamins C and K and fiber. And it’s high in sulforaphane, a chemical that’s been shown to fight cancer-causing free radicals.
Yuck-factor: Watch out if you boil cabbage too long. It’s another veggie that will get smelly and slimy. Another mistake: forgetting to season the heads for an extra boost of flavor.
Make it delicious: For one, stay away from boiling it. Cabbage is better off sautéed with a mix of sweet additions. “I love to sauté cabbage with apple slices in olive oil, with a little chopped yellow onion, apple cider, salt, and pepper,” Sass says. “The apples and onion really complement cabbage’s natural flavor.”
This useful and “healthy” information was compiled and written by Rachel Swalin, and found at www.health.com via Huffington post @HealthyLiving