Foolproof Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good

Roasted fruits and vegetables
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Eating the recommended 1 to 3 cups of vegetables each day can be a challenge. In fact, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found only one in 10 adults meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendation.

Many people who don't get enough say they don't like the taste of most vegetables and the few they do like become too repetitive after a while. The good news is there are countless ways to prepare vegetables that are not only healthy but delicious as well.

Different cooking methods and using a variety of herbs, spices, and flavorings provide unlimited recipe options. You can also increase your daily vegetable intake by mixing vegetables in casseroles, meatloaf, or soups, and adding greens to smoothies.

Here are some ideas that will satisfy your palate and help ensure you get the daily recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day.

How to Make Vegetables Taste Good

  • Ask a pro for flavoring, cooking, and serving tips
  • Air fry, grill sauté, oven roast, or blanch
  • Season them with herbs, spices, oils, and cheese
  • Hide veggies in foods you like (muffins, oatmeal, meatloaf, smoothies)
  • Work on presentation (you eat with your eyes)

Ask the Pros

You may think you don't like vegetables because you haven't found any that suit your taste buds. If your experience with veggies is limited to steamed broccoli and bland casseroles, then it's definitely time to branch out.

Farmer's Markets

Check out a local farmer's market. Talk to local growers and find out which vegetables are in season. You'll get the best flavor from foods that are grown locally and picked fresh.

Produce Pros

If there is no farmer's market in your area, talk to the grocery produce managers. These pros will more than likely be happy to share buying tips and preparation ideas that can make vegetables taste infinitely better. Many grocery stores also provide recipe cards with new ideas for cooking.

Become A Master Chef

Another way to branch out is to take a cooking class, either in person or online. You can learn new-to-you cooking techniques, try new recipes, and maybe even work with ingredients that are unfamiliar. Ask the chef teaching the class for specific tips about vegetables.

To make sure you always have vegetables on hand, try keeping a less perishable stash of veggies in your kitchen, too. Opt for frozen or canned vegetables as alternatives.

A simple solution to reduce the sodium content of canned vegetables is to wash and drain your vegetables with water before preparing them; which can decrease the sodium content by almost half.

Try New Cooking Methods

Few people truly enjoy plainly steamed or boiled veggies with little or no seasoning. Many vegetables often turn mushy and bland prepared this way. Long cooking methods, (especially boiling) can leach important vitamins too. Fortunately, there are different cooking techniques that can help you discover more vegetable recipes you like.

Air Frying

One method that has grown in popularity is using an air fryer to get the delicious, crunchy taste of fried food without the extra fat and calories. The air fryer's surge in popularity means there are an abundance of excellent recipes online and in cookbooks.

Grilling

Grilling veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper and olive oil is simple and delicious. You can also grill veggies and then toss in a vinaigrette dressing or top them with chopped herbs.

Oven Roasted

Cooking vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil in a 400 degree F oven brings a sweeter flavor to vegetables. The addition of oil can help you to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Try a drizzle of olive oil or an alternative like avocado oil, which also lowers cholesterol and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sautéed

Cooking vegetables in butter or oil on the stovetop is a popular way to prepare them. Like roasting, the additional fat improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in the vegetables. To keep the fat and calorie count down, use a small amount of oil and add vegetable broth or chicken stock as the vegetables cook to keep them from getting too browned or sticking to the pan.

Blanched

This method involves briefly putting vegetables in boiling water followed by an ice bath. This is a great way to brighten vegetables and can be used for crudite with a delicious dip like guacamole or yogurt dip.

Boost the Flavor

If you're convinced you can't stand the taste of vegetables, chances are they just need some extra flavor. Think about the foods that you actually do enjoy. What seasonings are used to prepare them? You can often use those same spices and seasonings to make vegetables taste better.

Mexican Style

If you love tacos and nachos, sprinkle cumin, cayenne, or even Tabasco sauce on sliced zucchini or yellow squash. Roast the veggies for about 10 minutes at 425 degrees F.

À la Française

Chop fresh herbs like tarragon, and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil. Brush lightly on asparagus and roast for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Indian Spices

If Indian food is your fave, sprinkle curry powder on eggplant or another soft vegetable and grill or roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Or try a dish like palak chicken, which has a hefty portion of spinach in addition to Indian spices like garam masala, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and fresh curry leaves.

Vinegar or Juice

You can also use juice, a fresh-squeezed lemon, or vinegar to give the taste of your veggies a twist. Add it during the cooking process or drizzle on top before serving. Fresh or dried herbs and spices also bring another dimension to vegetable dishes.

Garlic

A vegetable in its own right, garlic can be the magic ingredient for transforming a boring dish into one you can't get enough of. You can buy garlic as a bulb or preprepared in a jar to save time. Add it to roasted and sauteed dishes.

Cooking Oils

Cooking oils come in a variety of flavors that add different dimensions to dishes. Olive oil is wonderful, but there are many tasty and nutritious alternatives to olive oil to try. Experiment with different oil and spice combinations to find your favorites.

Cheese

While you want to avoid smothering vegetables in cheese sauce, a sprinkling of a strong tasting cheese like Parmesan or Manchego on top of the finished dish can add some extra flavor.

Hide Them

If you still can't tolerate the taste of vegetables, try hiding them in some of your favorite foods. For example, chop steamed broccoli into small pieces and add to a low-fat turkey meatloaf. The blended seasonings in the loaf will cover up the taste of the broccoli, and you'll get one or two servings' worth of vegetables in a lean and hearty meal.

Another growing trend is making pizza crust out of cauliflower, which many people find still tastes great even if it's not close to the real thing.

Top your pizza with your favorite sauce, cheese, and meat, and you'll forget you're also eating vegetables.

You can also add vegetables to your favorite sweet smoothie recipe without them affecting the flavor. For example, when carrots are added to a strawberry or raspberry smoothie, they add sweetness and color.

Lastly, soups are a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Many creamy soup recipes include vegetables like cauliflower to add texture and complement old favorites like potatoes. Before you know it, you'll find yourself craving vegetables with one of your newfound techniques.

Make Them Beautiful

Don't underestimate the value of presentation when it comes to serving your food. A study in Clinical Nutrition showed that when patients in the hospital were given meals with improved presentation, they ate more and had a lower chance of being readmitted to the hospital.

Play with the colors of vegetables. Present them in blocks of color for an artistic flair. Look online for ideas about making your vegetables into interesting and fun shapes. A study found that kids eat more vegetables if they are presented on their own before other food is offered. With that information in mind, try serving a beautifully-plated serving of veggies on a small plate and then serve the main entree.

A Word From Verywell

Getting your veggies does not need to be a daily struggle. With a few tricks and tips, most anyone can find ways to get in those three to five servings. Learning creative ways to prepare and serve vegetables will be useful for a lifetime.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Malia Frey
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.