Welcome to my space to discuss my cooking forays (experimental and nonexperimental), share new recipes, brainstorm food ideas, and talk about anything else that might be interesting. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Vegetables Palatable (subtitle: Cover it in Sauce)

For the past nearly two years, I've been on a quest....you might call it a mission.....to try to help my husband like (and not even just tolerate, but actively want to eat) vegetables. Keep in mind that this is a man who, when we first started dating, would pick even small pieces of onion out of spaghetti sauce and wouldn't dream of touching a substance like vegetable lasagna (despite the fact that lasagna is his favorite food).

He feared that all vegetables were bland, had a bad texture and weren't worth eating. I've turned him around to the point where he prefers some vegetables over others (and even says "mmm" while looking at the bowl), but never fails to have at least one serving (and sometimes two!) Granted, I haven't brought forth the much feared and maligned lima bean yet, but I have him somehow believing that I can make lima beans worth eating (I, for one, am not sure that lima beans are ever actually worth eating).

I've found the key to this transformation has been adding flavor to the vegetables through seasoning and, often, a sauce. I try to use sauces that enhance the flavors of the veggies (like a cheese sauce with broccoli, for example).

Here is a simple recipe that combined his love of spicy foods (speaking of which, he will eat anything, if covered in buffalo sauce) with the desire to have sauce on the vegetables. (Yes, yes, there's quite a bit of butter, but hey, vegetables plus a little butter is better than no vegetables at all, right??) I served this to my extended family at Christmas and it disappeared....always a good testimony. The spiciness really balances out the natural sweetness of carrots, and when combined with salt and black pepper, brings forward a very well rounded flavor.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Carrots

6-8 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into rounds
1 tsp sambal (a garlic chili paste found in the asian food aisle)
3 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
generous pinch kosher salt
10-15 grinds black pepper

Boil cut up carrots in generously salted water until fork tender. Drain and let steam dry slightly.

Meanwhile, melt butter and brown sugar together in a pan over medium low to medium heat until slightly bubbly. Add salt, pepper and sambal (be careful, it will splatter if the pan is too hot!) and stir together. Once cooked together, add carrots and toss to coat. Voila!


  1. sounds like a great recipe. keep 'em coming, lady! Ben won't touch most veggies either, I've even tried pureeing them and adding them to a sauce he likes - he can taste the difference and won't eat it! I am so tired of eating out so much, but at the same time, I refuse to make the unhealthy things he likes.
    Erin N. G. and I are convinced that Adam and Ben were raised by the same parents, so it makes sense that Dave does the same things. Love the Blog and can't wait to try the carrots :-)

  2. There is a book that some famous lady wrote (then was accused of stealing the idea from someone else), any way, it was suppose to be a way to hide vegitables in unique ways for kids to eat them. Maybe Dave needs that.

  3. Ok, the above comment was from me, but for some reason it was posted as being from UUCA YALeadership Team. It would probably be better tho have their comments than mine.