The word vegetable can sometimes seem like a four-letter word to some people. I get it, we are not all veggie lovers. Even myself who I would consider as a veggie lover doesn’t love them all. This article is for those who’ve asked “I want to be a vegetarian but, I hate vegetables”.
If you hate vegetables there are many ways that you can start loving them like sneaking them into meals and smoothies, preparing vegetables in new ways, adding dressings, sauces and spices, eating the vegetables you already love, and trying garden fresh vegetables or nutrient-dense microgreens.
Why Do Some People Not Like Vegetables?
Why a person doesn’t like vegetables can range from not trying vegetables again after deeming them unworthy to being a supertaster.
What’s A Supertaster?
It sounds like a superhero of the culinary kind. A supertaster is actually a real thing. Some people are born with the gene TAS2R38, which increases the bitterness flavor of food. Approximately 25% of people are supertasters with more women having this superpower more often than men.
On the other end of the spectrum, about 25% of the population are non-tasters. I guess they don’t have a fun title like the supertasters do. A nontaster has fewer taste buds than the average person, making foods not taste as flavorful.
50% of the population are the normal tasters.
We are Genetically Programmed To Not Like Bitter Flavors
Sour and bitter flavors are associated with foods that may be toxic or harmful to our health. Some plants create a low level of toxins in them to trick animals into thinking they are toxic and to not eat them. It’s an amazing story of survival by the plant world.
Some of our favorite love to hate vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and kale all have this strong bitter flavor.
Are Your Tastebuds Stronger When You Are Younger?
As we age we lose tastebuds and the ones we have are not as strong as they used to be. We may have disliked a vegetable as a child and find that we enjoy it once we try it again later in life. Sometimes people are unwilling to retry a vegetable that they have previously tried and have put on the do not eat list.
20 Ways To Start Loving Vegetables
You may never love all vegetables but, enjoying a variety will provide the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants your body needs.
Trying some of the ideas below will help expand your palate to more vegetables. Save this article for future reference when you are in a vegetable rut.
Try New Fruits And Vegetables
Next time you are at the grocery store explore the produce section and select a fruit or vegetable you have never tried before. You never know what you may find. You may end up finding some new favorites.
Here are some ideas.
- Meyer Lemon
- Purple Sweet Potato
- Romanesco Broccoli
Experiment With Different Cooking Methods
It may not be the vegetable that you don’t like. It could be how it’s prepared. It’s like eating a slice of raw potato versus mashed potatoes. It’s shocking that they are even the same vegetable.
Roasting vegetables is like magic. The vegetables become caramelized and sweet. My favorites are carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic.
Here are some cooking method to try.
Adding Sauces And Dressings Improves The Flavor Of Vegetables
I love salad but, the icing on the salad is a delicious dressing. Some people enjoy a plain salad (that’s you hubby) but, that’s not me.
Adding a delicious sauce or dressing to any vegetable dish can help improve the flavor of the vegetable and the experience of eating. Don’t just think of salad dressing for your salad only drizzle your favorites on roasted veggies for a new twist.
Experimenting with sauces and dressing may open up some new flavor combinations with vegetables that you can enjoy.
Some delicous sauces and dressing ideas.
- Honey Mustard
- Oil and VInegar
- Salad Dressings
- Barbeque sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Marinara sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Soy sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
Adding Spices To Your Vegetables Can Transform Them
Spices can do magical things. They can turn plain vegetables into a dish that gives you a bite of india one night and an italian meal the next. Spices are vital to enjoying vegetables daily.
One of my go-to books for vegetarian cooking is The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. This book is a resource that has pages dedicated to each vegetable. The book lists which herbs, spices, and flavor combinations work well with that vegetable. It’s a great tool to use for adding flavor to your vegetarian cooking.
Try Eating More Legumes
Add more legumes to your meals. Legumes are a nutritional powerhouse that are pretty bland in flavor. The bland flavor gives us the opportunity to flavor them as we like.
Some great flavor combinations for legumes are.
- Black Beans with chili pepper, cumin, and garlic
- Cannellini Beans with oil, vinegar, and Italian seasoning
- Chickpeas with garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper
- Lentils with curry
- Navy Beans with thyme and garlic
Eat More Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. Nuts and seeds also add great flavor and texture to your meals.
Here are some great ways to enjoy nuts and seeds with your vegetables.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds onto a fall spinach salad with spinach, apples, dried cranberries, and a maple vinegarette
- Add hemp, chia, or flax seeds to your smoothie
- Dip and apple, carrot or celery into natural peanut butter
- Sprinkle some pecans onto a baked sweet potato
Try Eating More Fruit
At some point, fruit started to become a villain. I think it’s crazy to tell people to limit fruit consumption. With all of the processed, chemical-laden Frankenfoods on the market leave fruit alone.
Yes, fruit has sugar. Unless or are eating a perfect diet already without any processed foods or your doctor has advised you to cut down on fruit. You should eat fruit without feeling guilty.
Fruit has vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you are not a huge fan of vegetables try consuming more fruit.
Here are some ideas for eating more fruit.
- Have a daily smoothie
- Eat in-season fruit when they taste the best
- Add fruits like apples, pears, pineapple, and citrus to a salads
- Make a fruit salsa to add to a meal
- Add berries or melon as a side dish to a meal
Start Buying Fresh Vegetables
There is a big difference in flavor and texture when you buy fresh vegetables. Skip buying canned vegetables. Canned vegetables are mushy loaded with salt and just unappealing.
I do have to give a nod to frozen vegetables. Fresh vegetables are best in season but, frozen vegetables are a great option out of season or for convenience. They are frozen after being harvested for peak flavor and freshness. Frozen vegetables are best in cooked dishes.
Stick To Your Favorites
Even if you don’t enjoy a wide variety of vegetables stick to your favorites. If you like potatoes eat them as much as you like and try them in different ways. Try sweet potato fries instead of regular fries
Make a list of your favorite vegetables and make sure you are eating them often.
Sneak Vegetables Into Your Food
Sneaking vegetables into your food is a great way to eat some vegetables you may not like to eat on its own.
Here are some of my favorite ways to sneak them into foods.
- Add veggies to smoothies
- Add them to a marinara sauce
- Puree vegetables into soups
- Add zucchini and carrots into muffins
- Finely dice vegetables and add them to casseroles
Take A Multivitamin
If you are not eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables taking a multivitamin may be a good idea. It’s never a replacement for eating vegetables but, it may help you when you need it.
Add Vegetables To Your Smoothies
I mentioned adding vegetables to smoothies under sneaking vegetables into your foods. It’s worth mentioning on its own. Vegetables can go completely undetected in delicious smoothies.
Here are some of my favorite ways to add them.
- I like adding cauliflower to all of my smoothies. A couple of tablespoons are perfect
- Carrots are great in a mango smoothie
- Add a little bit of beets to your berry smoothies
- Spinach is perfect in green smoothies
Eat Nutritionally Dense Vegetables
Microgreens are the perfect example of eating nutritionally dense food. Microgreens are baby plants and contain all of the nutrients needed for that plant to mature and bear fruit or vegetables.
Studies have shown that a little microgreen plant contains between 4-40 times more nutrients by weight than its full-grown counterpart.
Eating microgreens is a great way to consume some vegetables you may not otherwise enjoy like broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
Some great ways to eat microgreens are.
- Add microgreens to smoothies
- Sprinkle microgreens in a salad
- Add them as a garnish to a meal and nibble on them
Grow Vegetables In Your Garden
I’ve been expanding my gardening hobby in recent years and as a family, we have discovered how much better vegetables taste when they are picked fresh from your garden.
A have a couple of vegetable hesitant members in my family. It’s been exciting to see them enjoy the fresh-picked salads or sauteed squash. I’ve even seen one of them pick greens and tomatoes straight from the garden as a snack.
You don’t need a big garden to reap these rewards. A couple of trays of microgreens, a container of cut and come again loose-leaf lettuce, and a cherry tomato plant will reward you in many ways.
Eat The Rainbow
I’ve been trying to get my kids to eat more vegetables and came up with the fun idea to eat a fruit or vegetable that’s each color of the rainbow every day.
It doesn’t need to be a large portion of each color even just a taste will do. Over time some vegetables may start to grow on you. If not at least you are getting the nutrients from that bite.
Try The Three-Step Method To Loving Vegetables
This three-step method by precision nutrition has you select a vegetable that you are not fond of and you strategically pair it with flavors to help complement and balance the flavor of the vegetable.
Don’t Become A Junk Food Vegetarian
Be very aware of the foods you are eating. It’s very easy to become a junk food vegetarian. It’s ok to indulge in the foods you love. Just make sure you are still consuming a good amount of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Try And Try Again
Keep trying new vegetables or trying them in different ways. A vegetable may grow on you or you may discover some others that you like. Don’t give up.
It’s Ok To Not Like Every Vegetable
You don’t need to love or like every vegetable out there. As long as you are eating enough of a variety you will be good. Go back to the eat the rainbow section. If there is a vegetable you eat and enjoy in each color you will be doing great.
We may not all love or even like most vegetables but, they are an important part of any vegetarian diet. Even if you declare “I want to become a vegetarian but, I hate vegetables”. There are ways to start enjoying them. The top 19 ways to start loving vegetables are.
- Try new fruits and vegetables
- Experiment with different cooking methods
- Add sauces and dressings
- Add spices and flavorings
- Eat more legumes
- Eat more nuts and seeds
- Eat more fruit
- Start buying fresh vegetables
- Stick to your favorites
- Sneak them into your foods
- Take a multivitamin
- Add vegetables to smoothies
- Eat nutritionally dense vegetables
- Grow vegetables in your garden
- Eat the rainbow
- Try the three-step method
- Don’t become a junk food vegetarian
- Try and try again
- It’s ok to not like every vegetable