Fruit and Veg
February 16, 2011 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Help a Fruit and Veg Newbie!

I dont eat fruit and veg. Well bananas,strawberrys and the odd grape are ok, but veg?? I want to start eating veg but i find myself disgusted by its colour and texture. How do i slowly and harmlessly transition into eating it like a normal person?
posted by freddymetz to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You need to figure out what exactly about the texture disgusts you (there are so many types of vegetables and they all have different textures!) and then we can maybe give you ideas for how to change those textures by cooking techniques, marination and clever disguise. I'm not so sure about the colour thing, though - can you eat with your eyes shut?! If it's just green veges that disgust you, try red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, beetroots, purple cabbage, eggplant, carrots, corn...

(Green leafy things are extra good for you, but start with colours that don't scare you and work your way up.)
posted by lollusc at 9:48 PM on February 16, 2011

Yes - can you give some examples of specific textures or colors you don't like?

Crunchy raw carrots are very different from (crisp-outside soft-inside) roasted carrots, which are very different from bad overcooked boiled (very soft and mushy) carrots. I've known a lot of people who were turned off vegetables by eating a lot of over-boiled ones in childhood.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:07 PM on February 16, 2011

If you like fruit, you'll probably like crunchy vegetables raw, such as celery, carrots, bell peppers and cauliflower. Try dipping them in some ranch or honey mustard salad dressing. Then try a salad with the same veggies, lettuce or baby spinach and some croutons and sunflower seeds. (I like these best when they're cut into very small pieces if I'm eating them with a fork.)

Even if you're not sure about the texture, you can make a vegetable-rich marinara sauce with onions, garlic, bell pepper, a celery stalk, a carrot, lots of tomatoes, and then puree the whole thing. Don't forget the spices and the salt.

Try lots of stuff and then narrow down what it is you don't like: the goop in tomatoes or undercooked eggplant or whatever. Then go from there.
posted by zinfandel at 10:11 PM on February 16, 2011

Get a cauliflower, cut the florets (the curly bits) off, and discard the center. Chop the florets small, fry them up in olive oil with some garlic, salt, and pepper until they're soft and browned, and eat. This comes out nutty and a bit crunchy, almost like rice or potatoes -- makes a great side dish for things like chops and chicken. I like to add various spices, too: the usual thyme/basil/oregano thing works well, and dill is really good, also. You can also add a bit of lemon juice at the end, if you like.

Likewise, roasting is a good way to make veggies palatable to those who don't like them. A root vegetable medley like this is healthy, very traditional for the winter months, and will go well with just about any dinner.
posted by vorfeed at 10:37 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sautee broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, peppers, kale and tofu with ground cardamom and white pepper.
posted by rainy at 10:50 PM on February 16, 2011

I love fruit! I hate uncooked vegetables. Hate hate hate. The only way I'll much them is in the Holy Holy Combo of Baby Carrots and Hummus. What I'm saying is: Find a way to make them more delicious. You may not like them solo, but it doesn't mean you won't like them some other way.

So, cooked veggies. Try soups or stews.

Easy Beef Stew:

Get some stew beef. Toss it in seasoned flour (Flour + Salt + Pepper + Maybe Garlic Powder or whatever sounds good). Get some oil good and hot in the bottom of a big pot. Cook your beef. Once it's looking about 3/4 cooked, pull it out and let it hang out in a bowl somewhere.

Get some red wine and pop a pour or two into the pot. Scrape up the beef crusties left in the bottom. Let it boil a litle until it starts to thicken.

Cut up some carrots into big hunks. Do the same with one or two potatoes. Chop up a couple stalks of celery. Chop up some mushrooms. Add a few cloves of garlic. Throw them into the pot with your syrupy looking red wine mix. Cook them together with salt and pepper. Once they're a little soft and everyone is friendly, pour in enough beef stock to cover. Add your beef back in. Let it simmer. Ladel it out. Look, you're eating veggies!

Easy Chicken Soup:

Carrots + Onions + Celery + Garlic. I like the grind them into a paste with an immersion blender, you can leave them in big pieces. Cook then until soft or starting to brown. Add in enough liquid (chicken stock, veggie stock, whatever. Keep it light) to cover a chicken. Yes, a whole chicken. Take your whole chicken and put it in the pot, let the liquid cover. Slam a lid on it. Let it sit until the chicken is cooked, maybe 30 minutes?

Pull the chicken out. Add about a half a cup to a cup of rice to your soup. Let it cook, maybe 10 minutes. Transfer the liquid with rice and veggies to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend. If it's not think enough, add more rice and cook again.

In both example you can add whatever veggies you want and you'll barely taste them. EVentually you'll want to try them cooked.

Here's another easy one: Take an eggplant. Halve it. Score it (Make cross hatches with a knife). Add a little oil and rub some salt and pepper into it. Jam it in the oven for 40 minutes or so, you want it to be brown and soft and wrinkly looking. Let it cool. Scoop out the mushy eggplant (It should be really, really soft) into a bowl. Add roasted garlic or roasted red pepper. Salt to taste. Blend it. Bammo- Eggplant Dip. Even better, it tastes great on pasta.

Look, even if you dont like vegetables, there are lots of ways you can blend and hide them in stuff. It's not so bad.
posted by GilloD at 10:56 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am learning to like vegetables - like a lot of people with British ancestry, I bear scars from a childhood of boiled-to-death carrots and undressed lettuce/tomato/cucumber "salads". So I started by hiding vegies and now I'm starting to work out which ones I like enough to eat plain.

For starters, quality makes a big difference. Out-of-season tomatoes are horrid. In-season really fresh ones are amazing. If you're not sure what's in season when, do some Wiki-ing or get into something like a CSA where you'll only be sent seasonal goodies.

Bland stuff like zucchini you can grate into anything: pasta sauce, pizza cheese (no, seriously), chocolate cake batter (really!). I grate carrots into pasta sauce too. If you hate the texture, grating or blending can solve that for you.

Despite the colour, baby spinach is completely tasteless. Chop it up, toss it on a freshly cooked pizza, let it wilt a bit. In amongst all the cheese and cured meats and onion and feta (boy do I love pizza), you won't notice it.

The crunchy ones (celery, carrots, cucumber) are excellent hommus/peanut butter/satay sauce vehicles. Think of 'em like crackers.

Really flavourful things like Indian or Thai curries and soups can disguise the taste of carrots, zucchini, cauliflower...Cut them into really small pieces and eat with with a mouthful of protein and rice.

Take a sheet of puff pastry. Spray with oil. Thinly slice or shred some zucchini and put it on top. Now decorate with feta, garlic, mozzarella, whatever you fancy. Bake for about 20 minutes and scatter some fresh herbs on top. NOMMY. The zucchini kind of blends into the pastry so it's not noticeable.

Are you seasoning your vegies? Plain steamed green beans are not too special, but with some salted butter and some chopped dill, they're so much more palatable. Same for carrots with a bit of honey, and almost anything with added blue cheese. Or sour cream.

Mushrooms are one thing I just cannot eat raw. They're SQUEAKY, damn it. I cook some garlic and onion in a bit of butter or olive oil, toss in some sliced mushrooms, some white wine, a bit of worcestershire sauce. Cook for a few minutes, finish with cream and parsley. Good on pasta and steak.

Corn on the cob I cook on the BBQ with steak. Toss it in butter, salt, pepper. Tasty in the way that potato chips are tasty.

If you like fruit juice or smoothies, you can sneak a fair bit of baby spinach or lettuce in there. Put it in an opaque cup so you can't see the colour though.

Obviously many of these ideas aren't particularly healthy (mmmm, butter) but I like to convince myself that the benefits from adding more vegies balances out all that tasty saturated fat (to say nothing of all that juice). Also, after a while you will get better acquainted with vegies you actually like and then you can dial back the seasonings.
posted by jaynewould at 2:15 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your lack of specificity leads me to wonder whether your disgust isn't more of a general phobia than a dislike of any actual vegetable. If you aren't eating vegetables because you are repulsed by the very thought of them then you, unencumbered by any actual experience, are free to imagine all sorts of disgusting attributes for them. If this is the way your aversion is working, then you might have to simply eat some vegetables for a while, aversion be damned. Getting better at preparing them can come later, but the first step is simply eating enough of them to disabuse yourself of the nutty and irrational notion that all vegetables are yucky. Comfort with the idea can come later.
posted by jon1270 at 2:50 AM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Cauliflower mash:
Preheat oven to 350
One head of cauliflower, hacked up
One baking potato (size doesn't really matter) peeled and chopped
Toss the above 2 things in 2 tablespoons olive oil, some herbs you like, and a little salt & pepper, and minced garlic (or, roast a head of garlic alongside the cauliflower and then smoosh it into the mix at the end)

Bake/roast flat in oke layer until the veggies are soft

Mash them in a big bowl/blender/mixer with:
2tablespoons of butter
Dairy product(s) of choice- I use sour cream or milk or cream cheese, depending on what I have around. you're eating these for health, so even though all three is delicious, maybe put all three on mashed potatoes and let this be a bit more sane.

This is so delicious, but promise, pinky swear you won't eat more than 1/3 cup of this on day one of your new life with veggies? Cruciferous vegetables can make you gassy, and I, with a voracious love of vegetables, sometimes realize a bit too late that I've eaten far too much cauliflower mash.
posted by bilabial at 3:55 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am pretty much the same, and then I discovered Green Smoothies. It does require the investment of a decent blender like a vita-mix or blendtec, but it gets them in there. You still get the fiber, and some people even think that the blending releases more nutrients. I know that might open a can of worms, but either way, I've felt a whole lot better about my diet since drinking these each morning.
posted by LongDrive at 5:13 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you like french fries? baked or mashed potatoes? You might enjoy sweet potato fries and/or baked sweet potatoes. You can buy pre-cut, frozen sweet potato fries (we call them yamfries, but they are not technically yams), toss them in a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil, add seasoned salt and bake them in the oven. Bake a sweet potato as you would a white potato, top with butter, salt, pepper, maybe even sour cream.
posted by theora55 at 6:34 AM on February 17, 2011

I want to start eating veg but i find myself disgusted by its colour and texture.

So you claim that the colors red, green, yellow, orange, purple, brown, white and others disgust you? Also, you are disgusted by crunchy, soft, fibrous, crisp, waxy, granular, and other textures?


I think you have an irrational phobia. My advice: grow up and eat your vegetables. Or don't. More for me!
posted by General Tonic at 7:02 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Without more information, I'm going to guess that you prefer soft smooth textures - bananas and strawberries are non-crunchy, disintegrate quickly in the mouth, and have no discernible fiber or skin. The odd grape has a skin, which might be what puts you off eating more than the odd one. (I have no idea what the color aversion is about, though.)

So, start off cautiously with soft smooth things. Mashed potatoes are the classic here, but you can mash or purée other root vegetables too. Maybe boiled-to-death veggies would actually suit you? (Hopefully you'll progress beyond that stage pretty quickly.) Roasted/baked winter squash is soft and smooth, and you scoop the flesh out of the shell so there are no skins to deal with.

For fruits, some soft ones need to be peeled anyway, like kiwis and mangos. At the peak of ripeness peaches, nectarines and plums are soft and they're big enough peel if you want. Maybe apricots too, although they may a little too small to be worth the fuss. Your next step might be really ripe pears which are soft, not crunchy, but they have a little texture and the skins are edible but also fairly soft.

Get used to eating "safe" textures, and hopefully they'll be a gateway to a more varied diet.
posted by Quietgal at 8:46 AM on February 17, 2011

Buy a juicer so you can drink your "veg" to completely avoid those terrible textures.
posted by Rash at 9:01 AM on February 17, 2011

For me, to a first approximation all vegetables (particularly root vegetables) taste like dirt. Over time, I've come to actually enjoy some dirt and tolerate other dirt. I started by hiding leafy greens in sandwiches until I could bear to eat lettuce in a more naked format. These days, I luuuuurve spinach salad!

Smothering vegetables with other tastes that I love (curries, cheeses, garlic, various dressings, salt, etc.) also got me habituated to many vegetables. If I didn't fear I'd load them up with ice cream or something, smoothies would be a delightful way to consume all kinds of conceptually cool vegetables that my palate would otherwise view with suspicion.

One thing I found with food in general was that if I keep trying things (just a tiny bite) I sometimes find that I like some things I had "remembered" as hating; I gradually acclimate to some things I don't much care for but don't actively hate; and some things I still hate tip-toe towards palatability.
posted by cairnish at 9:38 AM on February 17, 2011

. . .if I keep trying things (just a tiny bite) I sometimes find that I like some things I had "remembered" as hating . . .


If you want to try something new, the most important thing is don't forget to try.
posted by General Tonic at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2011

To be honest, I've always loved vegetables.. but, in the last few years, my family started roasting so many vegetables that we used to cook to mush (practically) on the stovetop. Brussels sprouts. Potatoes. Sweet potatoes or yams. Cauliflower. Broccoli. Parsnips.. any root vegetables. Carrots. Any and every variety of squash. Eggplant. Asparagus. Pepper and onions and mushrooms. The list goes on and on. It's easy and so incredibly flavorful and heavenly! Cut the vegetables up in any way you like, put them in a pan, drizzle with olive oil and spices you like, put them in your oven in sort of middle heat temperature (not low heat, not high heat..), and cook them until they're browned on the outside (a little crispy, crunchy) and soft on the inside (or to your taste). Makes great leftovers. Good as your whole meal or a side dish or to add to burgers/stews/sauces. Whatever. Roasted vegetables: it's whatever you want it to be!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:18 PM on February 17, 2011

Adding a vote for Green (Monster) Smoothies! Really versatile base recipe, and a fantastic easy way to get a bunch of vegetables first thing in the morning. The banana in the base recipe makes it pretty tasty, but then you can experiment with other additions (e.g. berries) til you find your favourites...

Green Monster Movement - lots of recipes & info.
posted by ChristopherS at 1:26 PM on March 20, 2011

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