[This post is in collaboration with Behold! A Mythical Creature!]
Like a lot of you, we’re not big on vegetables. There’s some that are top tier, always the best no matter what you do, and then it kind of just trickles down from there.
So when my mum gave me a box of free vegetables, I placed them all out and stared at the disappointment, knowing these little parcels are good for the body but by god they sucked. Throwing them out is never an option.
Minds had to come together once more and think about how to utilise these unappealing veg in the best way possible, for the picky eaters, food and texture sensitive and begrudging people of the world.
Also, you sites out there with the titles “Vegetables You Think You Hate”, no, I know I hate these stupid vegetables, don’t think you’re making me join your vegetable cult.
So here was the list of veg received that I don’t like:
- Zucchini. Last time I had this I decided putting the 5 huge grated zucchinis I had into – in hindsight- a way too small amount of quiche and the flavour was so overpowering my stomach kept turning. I don’t like these wet dongs.
- Eggplant. Another wet disappointment.
- Patty squash. Pretty but so squidgy.
- Parsnip. Only had it once between and it was roasted with fennel (disgusting) and turnips. I loved it.. I think? I got it mixed up with turnips so I don’t know which one was the one I liked but we’ll now see [spoiler alert: it was parsnips I had]!
One of my favourite ways to have veg and one of two of the best ways, I believe, make anything taste good.
Since I’m certain it was parsnip I had roasted, this is the way I’m going to do all the parsnip I had.
The rest of the vegetables have so much water content that the will need time for excess water to expel, that’s where adding a bit of salt can help to accelerate the process.
The two most important thing about any veg being roasted is a high enough temp to brown and crisp up, and the seasoning. Since parsnips a root veg that doesn’t have a high water content, I usually go with a glazed option of a honey and whatever herb I feel like, or just plain good butter.
What I did was cut into small cubes then in a bowl combine some oil with honey and put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, just enough for the honey to become easy to mix, add some thyme. You’ve got your glaze! Once you feel like you have enough made, pour over the parsnip and coat all the sides before whacking it in the oven for 30 minutes on 200C/400F or until golden and crispy.
Tip: The smaller or thinner you cut up your veg, the more of other flavours and less of the taste of the veg you get (just remember that if it’s high in water content it’ll steam a bit and shrink!).
Zucchinis smell and taste wrong, we’re not going to argue about that, so when I get zucchini I hide it in things, usually with egg and cheese in other a quiche, breakfast scramble or breakfast cups. No zucchini noodles here.
The idea of hiding it (yes, I’m fully aware I can’t hide it from myself) let’s you attempt to get some of the benefits of zucchini without having to taste it- or at least the come-back of saying “there’s also zucchini in it!” when someone asks why you’re having mash potatoes once again.
For me, I grate the zucchini and then salt the mix a bit and let it sweat out in a strainer and when they’re mostly dry – or I’ve lost patience with them, usually around the 2 hour mark – I put them into ziplock bags and stash them into the fridge or freezer.
In our experience, they’re good for incorporating into anything egg-based, like a scramble, egg cups/muffin, frittata or quiche or in things like a rösti or hash browns where you grate different vegetables, usually potato, and fry it.
Piggybacking on the above idea, you can sneak in veg without having to taste too much of it is mincing it. A lot of people who don’t like carrots finely grate carrot into the cauliflower rice. Again, when I’m trying to hide zucchini, I’m usually grating it so it’s not a big bite of flavour or texture.
A really good combo is a veg mix of potato, carrot and zucchini with cheese and breadcrumbs or panko pan-fried.
One of my favourite ways to eat sucky veg, and possibly the best way if I’m not being too biased, is to dredge veg in tempura batter and lightly fry. Tempura batter itself is very light and, if done right, won’t make you feel heavy eating it, most importantly though, it makes everything taste 1000 times better. In fact, I’ve had eggplant and zucchini tempura’d multiple times and really enjoy it every single time because of the crispy batter shell and the warm, soft, creamy inside. Add some soy or teriyaki sauce and Kewpie mayo and you have a winner.
Of course a great runner-up to tempura is a pan-fry. With the basics of some oil, an egg, breadcrumbs or panko and some seasonings and a pan, veg should immediately taste better!
We decided to fry up the eggplants for this example. After slicing and salting, we dredged my pieces in egg then into a quickly-prepared panko mix of garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, paprika, then without overcrowding the pan, fried the pieces in a thin layer of oil for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Only salt once they’ve finished cooking and are resting. Again, this depends on how big your slices are – as you can see, we had slender eggplants and cut then quite thinly.
Congrats! Not only have you attempted more veg but you mind have become quite creative with your recipes. Remember that even if you’re adding a little bit of one beneficial-but-gross thing is much better than diving head-first into veg you’re not sure about and might not look. Never lose comfort in the recipes you like and if anyone has a problem with it, show them this bad boy