How to Enjoy Vegetables (Methods and Recipes)

Vegetables can be wonderful - using the right cooking methods and recipes! Check out these tasty ways! - The Nourishing Gourmet

“You gotta eat your spinach, baaaaby.” I grew up watching a young Shirley Temple singing about not wanting to eat spinach in the movie Poor Little Rich Girl. Her sentiment that spinach was that “awful greenery” represents an attitude towards vegetables that many take into adulthood.

That’s too bad because not only are vegetables good for you, but they are really delicious and flavorful. We don’t get to eat often at an expensive restaurant, but when we have had the opportunity it is striking how often vegetables play an important role in the dishes. That’s because chefs know that vegetables can play a key part in making your taste buds sing.

Now obviously making 4-star restaurant food is a gloriously yummy undertaking, but perhaps not practical for our everyday meals. But there are delicious ways to easily prepare vegetables for the daily meals that will help you get those vegetables into your routine.

Let me give just a few suggestions to get you started. I’d also love to hear from you. Tell me about your favorite method for preparing vegetables!

Roasting: Taming with Heat

asparagus2

One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is roasting them. Roasting them makes them sweet, tender, and delicious. I will generally roast them about 400-425 for about 15 minutes. Toss them with a little heat safe oil (like avocado or coconut) sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir about half way through. Yum! This method is delicious with asparagus, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes (cut in half) and so many other vegetables as well! Roast until the vegetable edges are starting to brown and the vegetable is tender.

Braising: Slow and Steady

greenbeans&mashedpotatoes
Braising is delicious because it also sweetens and adds a whole new layer of depth of flavor. This method cooks vegetables slow and long and yields a very flavorful vegetable. The best example I know of this method is this recipe for The Best Braised Cabbage. Make this on a day when you will be home for a couple of hours before dinner. It’s not hard to make but does take time. You can also do a long stove-top braise, such as the following recipe:
Grandpa’s Green Beans

Simple Vegetable Sautes

Easy Pan Fried Cabbage and Apples 2

It really doesn’t have to be complicated! Some of our favorite vegetable dishes are simple vegetable sautés. Take a look at the vegetable below. We combine Brussels sprouts with bacon, carrots with butter, cabbage with apples, and zucchini with onions for delicious results.

Easy Skillet Dinners

This easy dish makes a wonderful and flavorful frugal main dish that is paleo and AIP friendly too! Serve it over desired carbohydrate (AIP - think cauli-rice or sweet potato). -- The Nourishing Gourmet

I’ve sung the praises of skillet dinners recently, and I think they deserve that praise. When you cook meat and a variety of vegetables together, they flavor each other in a lovely way. It makes a great one pan meal, or serve it over rice, quinoa, make them into taco/burrito stuffings, or top baked sweet or white potatoes! Really, the method is so simple you can make them without a recipe, but to get you started check out the following two recipes:

Steaming with Skill

ng_broccoli

Why do we hate steamed vegetable so much? Often they were frozen vegetables (which tend to be much less flavorful), and they are also usually overcooked. It’s vital when steaming vegetables that you cook them until just tender. Overcook, and they will be tasteless. Do a quick Google search for how long to steam whatever vegetable you are serving that night. To serve, we like to add small pats of butter and squeeze fresh lemon juice over it, with a generous sprinkle of unrefined salt. Yum!

Other Ways to Enjoy Vegetables

apple and avocado salad

  • I feel like eating a large main dish salad for lunch helps me have more energy for the afternoon. You can check out some of my recipes for homemade salad dressings and salads here. I wrote a whole cookbook on salads too!
  • Soups are a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables. In my soup cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons, I have a whole section on creamy vegetable soups, but the majority of the soups have several vegetables in every soup.
  • Don’t forget that you can add lots of root vegetables to braising meats (such as pot roast), add shredded or diced vegetables to pasta sauces, or combine a panful of sauteed vegetables with pasta and a light sauce.
  • Finally, I like to add a couple of handfuls of baby greens to my smoothies. It’s an easy way to get more greens into your diet.

Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds (AIP-Friendly)

Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds - These only take fifteen minutes to make, and are a delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes (look at the variety of sweet potatoes you can choose from! They are beautiful!) -- The NourishingGourmet .comI know this is a very simple recipe, yet it’s one that I use almost every single day right now. Sweet potatoes are thinly sliced, gently salted, and then covered with a light layer of fat. Roasting them for about fifteen minutes makes them crunchy on the edge and tender in the middle. I love them! Roasting mellows them, gives them a great texture, and I think brings out the nutty flavor in specific sweet potato varieties.

You can use them as a chip substitute and serve with my Paleo 7 Layer Mexican Dip, pile them high with braised meat and toppings, or enjoy as a simple snack. I like these because I can easily tire of the very moist and mushy texture that some sweet potatoes have when cooked. I am ALL about texture, and roasting the slices instead of the whole potato gives a better texture in my opinion.

But have you ever noticed the wide variety of sweet potatoes? I’ve enjoyed several of them in the past, but now that I am on the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet, where sweet potatoes are one of the few higher carbohydrates on the diet, I’ve learned to enjoy the range of sweet potatoes available. So far, my favorites have been purple sweet potatoes and Japanese sweet potatoes – both of which are lightly sweet, with a more nutty flavor.

You can use all of one variety, but I love mixing different types. For this batch, I took one sweet potato of every single variety available at my local store. Isn’t it pretty?

The following recipe is so simple, it’s really just a “method” or easy technique, so I’ve not included very specific amounts.

You can also add minced garlic, herbs, or spices too!

Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds - These only take fifteen minutes to make, and are a delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes (look at the variety of sweet potatoes you can choose from! They are beautiful!) -- The NourishingGourmet .com

Roasted Sweet Potato Circles

Ingredients:

  • Sweet Potatoes (any variety), scrubbed clean
  • Fat of choice (melted coconut oil, bacon grease, avocado oil, etc.)
  • Salt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2, Cut off the very end of the sweet potatoes, and then thinly slice. For a more chip like texture, go very thin. I enjoy about ¼ inch thick.

3. Drizzle the fat of choice over the slices of sweet potatoes, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Turn the slices over, and gently mix so that the fat evenly coats both sides of the sweet potato slices.

4. Place in the oven, and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the middle of the sweet potato slices are tender, and the edges are just starting to brown (how it takes to cook depends on how thinly you sliced your sweet potato).Remove from oven, and remove with spatula from pan. Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds
 
 
Ingredients
  • Sweet Potatoes (any variety), scrubbed clean
  • Fat of choice (melted coconut oil, bacon grease, avocado oil, etc.)
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. , Cut off the very end of the sweet potatoes, and then thinly slice. For a more chip like texture, go very thin. I enjoy about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Drizzle the fat of choice over the slices of sweet potatoes, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Turn the slices over, and gently mix so that the fat evenly coats both sides of the sweet potato slices.
  4. Place in the oven, and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the middle of the sweet potato slices are tender, and the edges are just starting to brown (how it takes to cook depends on how thinly you sliced your sweet potato).Remove from oven, and remove with spatula from pan. Enjoy!

 

Garam Masala No Cook Pickled Onions

Easy Garam Masala Quick Pickled Onions (No cook and lovely for DIY gift giving!) - These can be eaten plain, served on sandwiches, or served as part of a liver pate combination platter. -- The Nourishing Gourmet
This five-minute project produces the tangy pickled onions flavored with the warmth of garam masala – a spice mix that uses cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and a variety of other spices. It’s delightful, and it makes a great DIY gift!

I like to eat them plain, put them on sandwiches (try it with my homemade chicken lunchmeat!), or served with this favorite liver pate recipe. In fact, I first made this recipe to go with this liver pate. This last Thanksgiving, we served it with these onions and fig jam. Sublime. It was gobbled down quickly by all. This is a variation of the pickled onion recipe I have in my cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons.

Now I am making up some to give as gifts! Not all appreciate and adore the Christmas sweet treats generally given – this recipe is a great option for the savory loving friend. Give it with a list of ways to use it, and the recipe, if you please. For gift giving, you could use (affiliate links)  a cute canning jar  or a flip lid jar .

For other Christmas worthy ideas, check out the 12 Days of Christmas series we have going on! So far we have Chai Eggnog, DIY Mint Chocolate Lip Balm, and Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts.

Garam Masala No Cook Pickled Onions

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water (filtered)
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 15 cloves, optional (but they look beautiful)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala *
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon unrefined salt

Directions:

1. Place the onions in a jar. Mix the rest of the ingredients together until dissolved. Pour over onions. Seal and place in the refrigerator.

2. Serve at earliest three hours later. Will keep several hours, but are best consumed within the first week.

Notes on Recipe: If I am serving these within the first couple of hours of making them, I will up the garam masala a bit. It will get really strong, though, after 24 hours, so the longer you plan on keeping them, the scanter you should be on the garam masala. I tested this with a plain yellow onion, but sweet or red onions would be delicious.

Garam Masala No Cook Pickled Onions
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water (filtered)
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 15 cloves, optional (but they look beautiful)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala *
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. Place the onions in a jar. Mix the rest of the ingredients together until dissolved. Pour over onions. Seal and place in the refrigerator.
  2. Serve at earliest three hours later. Will keep several hours, but are best consumed within the first week.
Notes
If I am serving these within the first couple of hours of making them, I will up the garam masala a bit. It will get really strong, though, after 24 hours, so the longer you plan on keeping them, the scanter you should be on the garam masala. I tested this with a plain yellow onion, but sweet or red onions would be delicious.

 

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin

Pumpkins aren't just for decor! Enjoy this Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin for a beautiful fall side. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

 Fill your home with the autumnal warmth of a roasted pumpkin and put the whole family in the mood for a delicious fall meal.

By Renee, from Raising Generation Nourished 

As I get older (Older? Maybe more mature?!) I have really come to appreciate fall a bit more. Maybe I enjoy getting back to a school routine after a lazy summer. Or maybe I just like to take a break from the outdoor gardening and harvesting tasks and summer outdoor activities, and start hibernating a little more!

Probably a little of both, but there is nothing quite filling your home with the aroma of a cinnamon buttered roasted pumpkin. Everyone gets drawn to the inside of the kitchen, and as simple as this recipe is, it tastes so good.

You can put a slow roasted chicken or roast beef in the oven and roast your pumpkin to go along with it – such a simple supper and so delicious and satisfying. If you want to take your cinnamon roasted pumpkin just a little further, you can make it into pumpkin soup filled with nourishing bone broth too.

3

CINNAMON ROASTED PUMPKIN

  • 1 pie pumpkin (sometimes called sugar pumpkins), halved and seeds scooped out
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 – 2 tsp cinnamon (depending on your preference)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the halved pumpkin flesh side up on a baking sheet and butter the flesh. Sprinkle the sea salt and cinnamon over the flesh as well.
  3. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 1 hour. You can scoop the squash right out to the plate, or you can scoop the squash into your food processor or blender to puree completely if you prefer that texture. Serve the pumpkin with a pat of butter and sprinkle of cinnamon. If you are serving a bigger crowd you can definitely get at least 2 pie pumpkins on a baking sheet – if you are using a large jellyroll pan you can get 3 pumpkins on there!

Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pie pumpkin (sometimes called sugar pumpkins), halved and seeds scooped out
  • 3 TB butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 - 2 tsp cinnamon (depending on your preference)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the halved pumpkin flesh side up on a baking sheet and butter the flesh. Sprinkle the sea salt and cinnamon over the flesh as well.
  3. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 1 hour. You can scoop the squash right out to the plate, or you can scoop the squash into your food processor or blender to puree completely if you prefer that texture. Serve the pumpkin with a pat of butter and sprinkle of cinnamon. If you are serving a bigger crowd you can definitely get at least 2 pie pumpkins on a baking sheet - if you are using a large jellyroll pan you can get 3 pumpkins on there!