Looking for gateway vegetable recipes
July 15, 2019 7:16 PM   Subscribe

My mom needs to eat more vegetables but is intimidated by most of them. I’m looking for the most delicious, “see, [vegetable] isn’t scary!” recipes.

My mom is pretty picky but she has committed to trying at least a bite of any vegetable recipes I come up with. She tends to like blander, creamier dishes. Different flavors are fine but too much spiciness/heat is probably a non-starter.

Any vegetable is fine, though I’ll start by suggesting the more “basic” ones (broccoli, zucchini, etc.) before we move on to more “intimidating” ones (eggplant, okra, etc.).

In the same vein, these don’t have to be healthy recipes. I’d rather start with “asparagus isn’t scary!” and then move on to “it’s also good *not* coated in butter and cheese!” than start out too wholesome and have her write off that vegetable entirely.

Recipes that are easy/quick to prepare are certainly a bonus but not the main focus.

Ideas? Thank you!!
posted by bananacabana to Food & Drink (47 answers total) 122 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is the best broccoli ever. Seriously life changing. I hated broccoli until I had this broccoli. Seriously. It's delicious.
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:19 PM on July 15, 2019 [33 favorites]

I came to suggest that same broccoli recipe
posted by raccoon409 at 7:23 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’ll start by suggesting the more “basic” ones (broccoli, zucchini, etc.)

I'm someone who came really late to vegetables and I might suggest starting even more basic with things like squashes and carrots and corn which are often thought of as the 'sweeter" vegetables but still have plenty of vitamins. Broccoli can taste really bitter to some people (and then other people don't even know it tastes this way!) so it might be a tougher starter.

I might begin with veggies eased into other things. Tacos or risottos or lasagnas with grated veggies in it in small portions. Or something that is nice and mushy on the texture scale like glazed carrots or roasted root vegetables.

I guess some of this is what your goals are. Are you trying to help her eat more fiber or vitamins? Or are you trying to ease her away from a poor diet? Or increasing lower calorie foods into her diet? Or helping her eat healthier at home on her own? Or deal with a health issue? All of these approaches might have different suggestions.

For me, what changed it for me was a combination of ease of prep (I will eat raw carrots or sliced cucumbers with most meals, or those steamer freezer bags of veggies), or deliciousness (roasted roots, beet and gorgonzola salads, other salads that were half veggies and half stuff I loved like nuts and ranch dressing and whatever) or aligning it with comfort foods (fried rices and risottos, baked squashes in the wintertimes) or other things I liked (corn and bean relished in tacos) and gradually upping the ratio of veggies to meats or other foods. So think about what is already in your mom's diet that you could "pair" with some veggies and have it not have to be a compromise food but something she actively enjoys and would like to eat. I never got there with broccoli personally, but I'll eat beets and red and green peppers all day every day. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 7:27 PM on July 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Quick Zucchini Sauté is delicious and easy.
posted by sallybrown at 7:28 PM on July 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Lima beans. California Medley (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower), a generic Asian blend (broccoli, edamame, water chestnuts, carrots, etc.,) - really, there are now tons of options available in the steamable bags which are super easy.

She could also do a simple cucumber salad. Most of the vegetables I eat are really simple. She could also incorporate vegetables into a salad.

(I ate half a bag of lima beans with a smidge of butter tonight.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:31 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: This recipe for zucchini tacos is soooooooo good. Doesn't have to be in tacos, can be a side dish or served with any sort of starch (I think it'd be really good with potatoes). I don't like zucchini but I love this recipe.

Similarly, now that it's summer, sometimes I like to buy a few ears of fresh corn, slice off the kernels, and sauté them in butter until they get a bit brown. I usually do this with onions and jalapenos, but if your mom doesn't like spicy, you can do diced bell peppers and/or cherry tomatoes. I add parmesan cheese at the end.

One more: most veggies are better roasted in a sweet balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. Add sliced sausage to the roasting pan and serve with some sort of grain, or dice potatoes small and roast them with the veggies.
posted by lunasol at 7:43 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thought of another one! If completely unhealthy is okay, this cauliflower and fennel gratin is amazing. Don't be scared by the fennel (or just leave it out). I usually add crumbled bacon.
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:45 PM on July 15, 2019

Keep it simple! A bag of frozen peas or corn, pour some into a bowl with a little water and sprinkle of salt, and microwave for a couple of minutes. Peas are great with a bit of mint too, if you want to experiment. Peas are my default vegetable because they are so easy to cook and most people like them.

Carrots (baby carrots for the easiest prep), raw or boiled 'til soft. Again, just water and a bit of a salt. Carrots can be made even more amazing by glazing them, but that takes more effort, and I'm of the opinion that simple is good, because a vegetable avoider can use prep time as an excuse not to eat them.

Steamed or grilled asparagus. If more flavor is needed, dip them in hollandaise or even mayo.

Avocado - chopped in a simple salad, or on toast.

I'm avoiding potatoes because I'm going to assume your looking for the greener end of the spectrum.
posted by Joh at 7:51 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

That cauliflower and fennel gratin recipe is one of my favorites. If I have either a cauliflower or some fennel I go get the other to make it.

Zucchini is a good one because you can grate it and put it in just about any baked things, pancakes, etc. Once when I was out of time and groceries. I just threw together a batch of eggs scrambled with grated zucchini and cheese and put it in a tortilla with some beans for my kid’s dinner, and she loved it so much that I regularly make it on purpose now.

Also, said kid doesn’t like greens by themselves, but if you put them with eggs or cheese she’s all over it. Chard or kale chopped up and added to broccoli mini quiches is a favorite. Spinach and cheese pupusas are another. Greens are pretty versatile when mixed with delicious fatty things.

I’ll ask my mom, who magicked vegetables into things my picky veggie-hating nephew would eat, for more ideas later this week.
posted by centrifugal at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2019

Bok Choy is, IMO, one of the least intimidating/most mild greens, especially when you end up with a lot of the white pieces and very few green. I sort of sautee/braise it with onions and a tiny amount of red pepper flakes.

I also really like simple finger food vegetables - cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas (you can also buy them frozen and either steam them or just let them defrost, they'll be softer than fresh ones), cucumber slices. I think for some people something like a vegetable smothered in butter or camouflaged in a dish is less intimidating but for other people a bite of a simple finger food can be the ticket.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:00 PM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Caprese salad? Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, balsamic vinegar, done. As someone who isn’t very fond of many vegetables, I tend to eat tons of that and also tons of Caesar salads. (Sometimes with chicken.)

Also, consider the addition of dips to your repertoire. A bag of baby carrots and some onion dip goes down pretty nicely. Substitute carrots with whatever sliced vegetable you want.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:03 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’m not sure why an eggplant is challenging. I mean, what about eggplant parmigiana? If she likes lasagne that should be an easy next step. Then you’ve got tomatoes and eggplants, two veg!

Along that note if she likes Italian food basically any pasta with tomato sauce and roasted veg is pretty accessible and tasty. Something like a pasta primavera.

I can attest that this zucchini lasagne is deeelicious. Also amazing with some pancetta if you don’t want it to be completely vegetarian.

How about something like a minestrone soup?
posted by like_neon at 8:04 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: Assuming she likes tomato-style pasta sauce (which you can make semi-creamy if even that is challenging for her), zucchini basically disappears in the sauce, or you can zoodle it and mix with spaghetti or fettuccine. You could also do a pasta bake and mix diced zucchini in with your penne or similar.

Green beans, ideally the round or wide flat ("Italian" in the US, if you can find them) ones frozen or canned, as they cook up nearly textureless and are mild and almost sweet. You could start with something like a gratin or, yes, green bean casserole.

You can get a LOT of grated vegetables into meatballs or meatloaf, and then graduate to diced veg on the side, then sliced.

Roasted potato, radish, and fennel with lemon brown butter sauce. Radishes and fennel roast up mild, nearly flavorless, and they sort of disappear among the potato. The sauce is delicious.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:07 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Goals: My mom has a really limited diet (self-limited by pickiness/feeling intimidated by new foods). I’d like to try to help her expand what feels safe from just Chicken-Marsala-like dishes to ones that involve more veggies, for better nutrition and better variety. I’m focused on veggies (as opposed to whole grains or whatever) because she’s on board with trying more of them, but she will definitely make a snap decision based on literally a bite - so that bite has to be really, really good.

My dad cooks for her, so prep time/recipe complexity is not a limiting factor.

Some great recipes - thanks! I marked a few that look the most promising for her as best answer. Please keep them coming!
posted by bananacabana at 8:22 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wasn't much of a vegetable eater when I became vegetarian. What helped me try new veggies was Chinese food because the sauce was delicious and everything was chopped so small I wasn't sure what it was. Over the years, adding vegetables to familiar foods worked too like chopped spinach in spaghetti sauce, onions, celery and carrots in rice with Italian cheese, red peppers and onions nuked in balsamic vinegar adds a smokey sweet taste to anything.

Grilling or roasting anything helps the flavor. Butter makes a huge difference with peas. I hated them until my Grandma made them in a butter sauce. Before I'd only had them in frozen dinners or school lunch where they were awful. I was stunned at how much better they tasted with way too much butter and salt.
posted by stray thoughts at 9:00 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Roasted veggies in general. Starchy ones like carrots and squashes with potatoes work for the serious vegetable adverse but then you can do broccoli (see above bestest broccoli ever recipe) cauliflower, beans, whatever. Just cut veggies into similar sized pieces, tossed in olive oil, add some salt and pepper, roast from preheated 450 oven until they start to char/caramelize (15-30 min depending on piece size). I am still veggie adverse but this I can handle. I feel like the world of bland mushy boiled vegetables and salad have ruined veggies for many many people over the decades.

Or do what my friend does for her equally veggie adverse twins and husband — purée them and add them to spaghetti sauce. They’ll never know.
posted by cgg at 9:05 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Broccoli melts from Smitten Kitchen.
posted by bunderful at 9:11 PM on July 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Grilled asparagus is crazy good. Hot, dry cast iron pan, throw in asparagus, keep moving around a bit until they start to steam themselves from the inside out. No fat, no water, no cover needed. Throw some salt on when they're done.
posted by so fucking future at 9:14 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Creamed spinach (on the way to baby spinach, in salads or beneath grilled fish or chicken dishes). Scallion pancakes. Carrots in a honey glaze. Colcannon.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:22 PM on July 15, 2019

Roasted veggies in general. Starchy ones like carrots and squashes with potatoes work for the serious vegetable adverse but then you can do broccoli.. cauliflower, beans, whatever.

Don't forget the sweet potatoes!

Or do what my friend does for her equally veggie adverse twins and husband — purée them

Or skip the cooking entirely and just juice 'em -- carrots + celery (with maybe a little garlic) -- you could even juice needs more cowbell's bok choy.
posted by Rash at 9:29 PM on July 15, 2019

Best answer: Creamed spinach is a (not really)guilty pleasure of mine and as a bonus you can often find it premade in grocery stores as a heat and eat option - if you get the kind in an oven proof container you can bake it to get a crispy top. And if you explore creamed spinach and find a recipe that you like for the "creamed" part, you can swap spinach out for any other leafy vegetable in creation. I love kale this way, I think the more robust texture helps carry the cheesy cream part really nicely.

Has she ever had fresh english peas? Just shell them and blanch them really quick. Strain and cool, then toss with a little butter and salt. Incredibly delicious if you get them in season, and the process of shelling the peas might be a good demystifying sensory experience. You can toss them into a rice pilaf or pasta, or sprinkle cold onto salads, if you don't want to eat them by themselves. I also love pea and mint risotto.

Does she like sweet potatoes? If she's only had the marshmallowy kind, you could try savory roasted sweet potato chunks tossed with different flavors to explore. Sweet potatoes are amazing with cumin and smoked paprika. Could also try that with winter squash or pumpkin.

Carrots are another approachable vegetable. I like to glaze them. Cut them into coins and then add to a pan with a little bit of orange juice, brown sugar, butter and salt. Mix and cook until the carrots are not quite tender, then turn up the heat a bit and let all the liquid evaporate until it forms a sticky glaze that you can toss the carrots around in and they begin to brown. You can adjust seasonings here by changing your juice, which should be acidic, and your sweet, like lemon juice and honey, or cranberry juice and maple syrup, or even red wine and white sugar!
posted by Mizu at 9:36 PM on July 15, 2019

Jamie Oliver has a pumpkin risotto recipe with complex, delicious flavor. (It also contains onions.)
posted by puddledork at 9:53 PM on July 15, 2019

If she already likes Chicken Marsala, it might be worth it to just get some of that packaged baby spinach, and throw a couple of handfuls into the sauce while it's cooking. The spinach will wilt into nothing, and the sauce will completely overpower the spinach's taste.

My favorite go-to quick veggie option is to get some baby spinach, put some in a bowl, and microwave it until it's all wilter - about a minute or two. Then, I stir in some soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, and some black pepper, and eat!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:07 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What that broccoli recipe said about caramelizing vegetables is important. Some vegetables are often served in big, only semi-cooked chunks or thick slices, which only works if you like that vegetable because its taste comes through loud and clear. For my part, I never learned to like those vegetables until I had them either cut small and drenched in delicious sauce (like stray thoughts says about Chinese food above) or cooked in such a way that their natural sugar comes to the fore, whether by roasting thoroughly or sauteing very thin slices until they get soft and at least a little browned. Suddenly zucchini, for example, went from being a bitter-bland big wedge with an unpleasant texture to being a source of sweet, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

So roast or saute for carmelization, go for smaller pieces, and maybe try to convince your mother that she shouldn't rule out a vegetable if she doesn't like it on her plate; she should rule out the vegetable cooked that way but agree to taste it again if the new preparation is something totally different, because it turns out vegetables have multiple personalities and completely different taste profiles depending on how they're cooked.

Anyway, some other ideas besides the above:
- pureed/blended soup (especially the "orange soup" category with vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, squash). Basic recipe: saute some onions, garlic, and ginger; add chunks of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots; boil with some salt until thoroughly cooked; puree with a stick blender; season to taste. When adding water for boiling err on the side of less (you can always add more later) - start with enough to cover all the vegetables, plus a little more. Use broth or add cream or coconut milk at the end if you want.
- cauliflower rice (make sure it's cooked enough so there's no bitterness at all)
- add vegetables to baked goods (zucchini bread, beet cake, etc.)
posted by trig at 12:31 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: Roast slices of cauliflower on a tray (about half an inch thick or a bit less - slice through the whole head from top to bottom rather than breaking off florets) - drizzle of oil, spread them on a tray and stick them in the oven until they’re going golden brown and just starting to crisp at the edges. Then serve in a cheese sauce.

Roasted cauliflower is sweet and caramelly, and cauliflower cheese is a slightly old-fashioned veggie dish so might be familiar to her already. Progress to trying just the cauliflower without the sauce.
posted by penguin pie at 2:15 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: My dad had a very conventional taste in food, though he would eat his vegs out of sense of duty. In his last couple of years he would nearly only eat food I'd cooked. Then came the same with my grandmother, so I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and experimenting with what worked. All of what I learnt works like a dream with picky children as well.

First of all: the most healthy green vegetables are bitter, and vegetables like tomato and bell peppers can have a sharp taste to them. The only exception to all of this I can think of is avocado -- did you know that avocado is very rich in fiber, and in a lot of nutrients. I used a lot of avocado in salads, in different ways, but basically a very classic green salad with a gentle vinaigrette will be more delicious to a picky eater if there is a lot of avocado in it. Another solution is to blend an avocado with cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a salad dressing that can make lettuce, cucumber, tomato and raw peas go down like magic.

Because of the bitterness of the green vegetables, heat, butter and salt are your (dad's) friends. Together, they transform the bitterness into sweet softness. There is a classic recipe where you use a whole pound of butter for a pound of greens, gently stirring it in over long, low heat, I've tried it once with spinach, it was better than creamed spinach by far, since then I've used much more butter when serving greens to picky eaters. For instance, my granddad hated broccoli: I steamed it with a good sprinkle of salt, and a big knob of butter on top. Since then he would only eat my broccoli. This leads to the next thing: most vegetables need to be cooked so they are cooked through, but absolutely not overdone. Younger generations like a more raw taste, and that is fine and also healthy, but you can't often go there with elder people with conservative tastes. My grandfather had been served overcooked broccoli by my gran, and undercooked by my aunt, and none of them worked for him. A steamer basket makes this easier to control without stress. With broccoli, they need to still be a vibrant green, but the stalks should give easily to a sharp pointed knife.
Marcella Hazan's classic tomato sauce is another example of the magic of butter.

I'm not a fan of meat replacement, and that is not what you are looking for either, but I have one big exception: use aubergine entirely or partially instead of the meat in the ragu for lasagna or other pasta dishes. Chop up the aubergine into half-inch cubes, and do everything else like usual. Also like someone else wrote above, eggplant parmigiana is a dish beloved by meat-eaters all over. Serious Eats has great recipes.

Some recipes that were succesful with my picky old eaters:
Stuffed peppers. This is not my recipe, I don't have one. But it is close enough with one exception: you need to cook the stuffing with olive oil, none of this lean stuff.
Cauliflower gratin: . Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut up a cauliflower into little florets and boil them in salted water for two-three minutes. Drain them. Now make a bechamel sauce of one and a half cup of milk. When the sauce is ready, let it cool while you separate three eggs. Whisk the whites into a peaks. Stir the yolks into the bechamel and gently fold in the whites. Butter a casserole dish, and put in the cauliflower, pour over the sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and if you like, some grated cheese. Put some little knobs of butter all over the gratin. Bake 20-30 minutes till it is golden on top. Ideally it should be like a very good spanish tortilla inside, where there is a good hold on the outer parts and a little bit of yolky liquid deep inside. Mostly I bake it 5 minutes too long and it is still yummy. Like a tortilla, it's good cold, too.
Fish filets a la florentine: defrost and drain some frozen spinach. (Baby spinach isn't good for this, and full-grown fresh spinach can be hard to find and a bother to clean). Cook the spinach well in butter to taste (a lot). Put the spinach in a casserole dish, and op top of it, any type of fish fillet you like. They too can be frozen (but thawed) for this dish. Otherwise I don't eat frozen fish, but this is perfect fresh from the freezer dish. Cover the whole with a sauce mornay, bechamel with cheese in it. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and more cheese, and bake in a 350 degree oven till golden on top and the fish is cooked through, depending on the fish, from 15-25 minutes. Don't overcook the fish!!! Check it with that pointy knife. You can make this dish with any white meat too, if your mother doesn't like fish. I don't like it with meat, but my dad really loved it.
A surprising thing that worked with my dad: he liked a type of curried chicken made with a stodgy creamed sauce. I found it quite disgusting and very unhealthy, and instead made a Thai-inspired curry similar to this. I was careful with the curry paste to not make it too strong. He loved it, and actually preferred it to his old stodge.
My gran really liked ravioli, and she liked the ones with ricotta and spinach as well as the meat ones, so I'd buy them at a store and either serve them with a tomato sauce, or with a sauce made by very gently frying sage leaves in butter. And lots of parmesan cheese on top.
posted by mumimor at 2:17 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Roasted yellow summer squash. This recipe works, although you can skip the parmesan and just do butter, salt and pepper. I don't know how well this would work with zucchini, it relies on the sweetness of yellow squash.
posted by Hactar at 3:26 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing the power of caramelizing.

Vegetables i wasn't that into until I tried them roasted:
- Asparagus: so easy, just snap the woody part of the stems off, coat in olive oil shake on some salt and pepper and roast in the oven until the tips are very dark and the stems are soft.

- Brussel sprouts - I hated these things until I tried them roasted. Now they are a staple. Same approach - olive oil, salt and pepper and roast. Pan sauteed with bacon fat is good too, but I've never made that at home.

- Squash - cube it and roast it in olive oil and garlic. Amazing. I much prefer it with garlic - it takes away the treacle sweetness it can get.

- Carrots and parsnips - what was once a meal time battleground with my mum (an inveterate boiler of vegetables) is now a favourite.

Caramelizing for the win!
posted by girlpublisher at 5:31 AM on July 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

We tend to go beyond carmelizing into the territory of "roast the shit out of the vegetable". Not just brown spots, almost the whole thing browned. Haven't met a vegetable yet this can't make taste good.

Plus roasting veggies is easy. so win win.

if she likes sourish flavors - green bean caesar
posted by domino at 6:28 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

How about the toddler approach: celery sticks with peanut butter, carrots and dip?
posted by kapers at 6:46 AM on July 16, 2019

Impossbile Green Bean Pie is a family favorite. It uses Bisquick and is fast and easy to throw together. We use french cut green beans from the freezer section.
posted by kathrynm at 6:53 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: I'm going to suggest some of the classic "church potluck" veggie dishes that I see all the time:
shredded carrot salad
cheesy zucchini casserole
posted by belladonna at 7:03 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: Roasted Brussels sprouts is a great example for a “starter” vegetable. Cut each one in half and then put on them whatever you’d put on cut up potatoes you were roasting, and cook at 425 for 30-50 minutes (depending on your oven and how crispy you want them). For me, I use olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. They are so good and not strong tasting.
posted by sallybrown at 7:03 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: Split pea soup might satisfy her taste for creamy textures without having cream. And you can put bacon in it.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:06 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am vegetable-avoidant and am following this thread for ideas because I also need to be less-so.

I am now a huge fan of spaghetti squash. We cut it in half, pull out the seeds, grate about 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger (garlic works as well), divide the ginger into 2 tiny piles and place one half squash on top of each pile, skin side up. Fill the pan with about 1/2 inch of water and roast until soft. It's good under almost any saucy food (pasta sauce, ribs, chicken in sauce, etc).
posted by Mchelly at 7:16 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: SPROUTS 225

Known around my house as Sprouts 225, I have brought this dish to countless pot lucks and have always been told it's the best dish of the meal:


14 oz Brussels Sprouts
4 tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresh chili, thinly sliced
1 tbs coriander seeds, crushed
1 tbs fresh ginger, sliced
1 tbs soy sauce


Chop the tomatoes in half, then into thickish slices

Peel the outer leaves from the sprouts and slice the larger ones in half.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the sprouts in for just half a minute before removing them.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide pan and add the sprouts and the red onion.

Cook over a medium-high heat for two minutes, stirring, before adding the garlic, chili, coriander and ginger.

After another two minutes, add the tomatoes and soy sauce, and cook on a medium heat for five minutes more.

Add a splash of water if the dish seems to be drying out—it should be moist when finished.




3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 butternut squashes or other sweet-fleshed squashes (approximately 4.5 Ib.)
8 garlic cloves
8 fresh sage leaves
9 oz. Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F

Chop the stem off the squash, then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel off the skin.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop the seeds out with a spoon and lay the squash on a cookie sheet, cavity-side up.

Place two whole cloves of garlic in each cavity, along with two sage leaves

Pour about 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the garlic and sage and, using a dough brush, paint the oil all over the surface of the flesh

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender and lightly browned around the edges.

Let cool slightly. Place the flesh in a bowl along with the roasted garlic and sage

Mash it all together with a potato masher until crushed but not entirely smooth

Stir in the Swiss cheese cubes

Spoon into a presentable, greased gratin dish and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden and bubbly

Serve right away.
posted by dobbs at 8:09 AM on July 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

I will eat any vegetable roasted. ROAST ALL THE THINGS. Toss 'em with olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe some garlic, put 'em on a rimmed baking sheet, throw 'em in the oven. EAT.

I'm also currently obsessed with Marzetti ranch veggie dip. I think it's the best tasting of all ranch dips. Also, hummus. Dip baby carrots, cucumber slices, red pepper, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower.
posted by Aquifer at 9:56 AM on July 16, 2019

I was just pulling up Alton Brown's gazpacho recipe, which I LOVE, and thought maybe your mom might like it too if you left off the jalapeno?

If "texture" is part of her issue with vegetables, blending them up or softening them in soup broth might be a good way to go - as a kid I always loved raw veggies but only started being okay with cooked ones after trying a carrot that had gotten nice and soft in chicken broth.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:24 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Mark Bittman recipe for Brussels sprouts in How to Cook Everything is absolutely my go-to for entering into the magical world of eating Brussels sprouts. I have never made it for someone who didn't like it!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2019

Best answer: Roasted Curried Caulifower is SO good (make sure to use mild curry powder since your mom isn't into spice).
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:57 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: These zucchini "crab" cakes are absolutely delicious. The recipe calls for frying, but they bake well AND freeze and reheat beautifully. Add more spices, at least double the Old Bay.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 3:34 PM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Fresh (or frozen would also work) green beans cooked in a skillet with tons of butter and salt until they're soft and browning a bit. TONS of butter and salt. These are so good my roommates buy green beans any time they go shopping in hopes I'll be in the mood to cook them.

I heat up the skillet while I'm washing the beans. Once it's hot, I put in like half a stick of butter to go all sizzly and melty (you don't just want a greased pan, you want a shallow lake of butter), then add the beans once the butter is all liquid. Salt generously and put a cover on the pan so the beans steam as they "fry". Let them cook for a while, maybe 5-10 minutes? Stir them up and add more salt, and leave them uncovered so they stop steaming and just keep cooking in the butter. The butter will be browning in the pan and the beans will be really soft. Add more salt if it needs it and call it done when everything looks good. They will be cooked waaaay past the modern standard of "crisp-tender", and they will taste amazing.
posted by current resident at 6:49 AM on July 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Try my favorite Greek peas! I mean, literally, you try them first to see if it's too different, but I would be surprised if she didn't like them, it's such a comforting and tasty dish. (and as always, whenever I mention them, I want them right. now.)

Also, my Confetti Couscous is fun and yummy. I don't have measurements, because I just add the amount that seems right for however much couscous I've made, but it's chopped up raw carrots, zucchini, red bell pepper, thawed frozen peas, chopped almonds, raisins, a little chopped green onion, some olive oil and a bit of orange juice, salt and pepper, all mixed up with the cooked instant couscous. It's beautiful and cheerful and delicious.
posted by taz at 11:16 AM on July 22, 2019

Blanch some green beans - (boil briefly in a pot of salted water until only just cooked through, then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking). Then you can finish them in lots of different ways, like Beans Amandine (in a butter sauce with almonds and garlic). Or sometimes I'll dice some bacon, cook that off in a skillet, and shortly before the bacon is done, toss the green beans in and saute them in the rendered bacon fat, touch of salt & pepper (easy on the salt cuz of the bacon), then right at the end splash some Balsamic vinegar in the pan, which will very quickly cook down into a glaze.

(I do that bacon & balsamic method with Brussels sprouts too, only don't blanch them first, just halve or quarter them, and put them in the pan earlier in the bacon-cooking process so they cook through and caramelize with the bacon.)
posted by dnash at 10:23 AM on July 24, 2019

Alda's Zucchini Tian from Gabrielle Hamilton's "Prune" cookbook. I haven't made this specific recipe (yet), but I've made things like it. It's layers of zucchini, summer squash, and red onion, with tomato on top, all sliced, carefully arranged, and seasoned with salt pepper and olive oil all the way through, and given a long slow bake in the oven.
posted by dnash at 10:39 AM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Spinach Gnocchi Casserole

Ingredients: gnocchi (500 g), frozen spinach (ca. 500g), cream (200 ml), onion, cheese

Chop the onion, fry in a pot until clear. Add spinach and let melt. Add cream and gnocchi, then pour into a greased glass baking tray or casserole dish, sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs on top, bake at 180 C until the cheese looks brown and delicious (20 - 30 minutes).
posted by starfishprime at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Alton Brown's Glazed Carrots. The glaze is butter and ginger beer and the results are superb.
posted by bz at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2019

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