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Stuck in a vegetable side dish rut, ideas/recipes?

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  • Stuck in a vegetable side dish rut, ideas/recipes?

    Lately I've been finding it harder and harder to come up with side dishes, more often than not it's just some broccoli out of the freezer. My 4yo is picky about veggies though, to the point that sometimes I end up giving her a "salad" (carrots, cucumbers, etc.) instead of the side dish. She does like broccoli, zucchini, peas, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and sometimes green beans, but I'm getting really tired of the rotation. She hates cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, spinach/kale, cabbage, onions, etc. I do make her try a bite every time I make something she dislikes though--she came around to zucchini that way. I do a lot to make unpopular veggies more palatable--butter, cheese, salt, seasonings, roasting, etc.

    What are your favorite veggie side dishes these days? Recipes to spice up the boring rotation or mix things up? Great website with side dish ideas? (my Google-fu is off today I guess) Bonus if it's in-season currently, I'm heading out to the farmer's market this afternoon.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    spaghetti squash, and any winter squash.

    a few of my favorite veggies for roasting are on the hate list.

    one thing i think just about anybody alive, especially kids, can get behind is the idea of a lasagna made with eggplant or zucchini instead of noodles. a big batch of that could serve as a side dish for a few days.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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    • #3
      TRY THESE! As the parent of a 3 year old, I understand the pitfalls of adding in new foods.


      Cook off 4 pieces of bacon. Crumble and set aside. IN THE GREASE, toss in a bag of frozen, chopped greens (collard, mustard, turnip, spinach) and saute in the grease. Season to taste, add in crumbled bacon an voila!

      Take frozen brussel sprouts and let defrost about 30 minutes. Cut in half. Melt some ghee (or butter or bacon grease) in a pan and saute the sprouts, cut side down, until the oil is soaked up and the cuts side is crispy. Toss around in the pan to heat up all sides, season to taste and serve.

      If part of your worry is getting veggies into your lil one, how about some Green Eggs and Ham as a meal one day? Crack a couple eggs in a blender, toss in a handful of spinach and blend until smooth. Scramble them up and serve. You can't taste the spinach and your kiddo can eat them while you read the book together! This is something we do at least once a month and it is SO much fun!

      Good Luck!
      Last edited by DeilaMiah; 11-07-2012, 10:06 AM.
      If you do not stand behind your military, feel free to stand in front of them!

      EMAIL ME!

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      • #4
        I second spaghetti squash. I love it so much, I can eat it fresh from the oven, with absolutely nothing on it. Not even salt.

        I think roasted broccoli is the bomb. The flavour really mellows out.

        What about soup? I made a creamy cauliflower soup and posted it on my blog. Leftover chunks of meat and BAM! You haz a meal.
        A Post-Primal PrimalPat

        Do not allow yourself to become wrapped up in a food 'lifestyle'. That is ego, and you are not that.

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        • #5
          Just about any of those *hated* veggies taste better roasted in bacon fat.
          Sandra
          *My obligatory intro

          There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

          DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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          • #6
            fry sliced leeks in butter slowly for 15 - 20 mins until really soft.
            add a teaspoon of English Mustard and a good handful of strong cheddar cheese
            mix well but don't allow the cheese to release its fat - just melt gently.

            Great served with pork or poultry

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            • #7
              Originally posted by meeshar View Post
              Lately I've been finding it harder and harder to come up with side dishes, more often than not it's just some broccoli out of the freezer. My 4yo is picky about veggies though, to the point that sometimes I end up giving her a "salad" (carrots, cucumbers, etc.) instead of the side dish. She does like broccoli, zucchini, peas, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and sometimes green beans, but I'm getting really tired of the rotation. She hates cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, spinach/kale, cabbage, onions, etc. I do make her try a bite every time I make something she dislikes though--she came around to zucchini that way. I do a lot to make unpopular veggies more palatable--butter, cheese, salt, seasonings, roasting, etc.

              What are your favorite veggie side dishes these days? Recipes to spice up the boring rotation or mix things up? Great website with side dish ideas? (my Google-fu is off today I guess) Bonus if it's in-season currently, I'm heading out to the farmer's market this afternoon.

              Thanks in advance!
              That isn't a super bad vegetable 'like' list. Nothing wrong with a bowl of carrots, cucumbers and spring mix lettuce.

              I was going to recommend roasting but I see you've tried it. I have a cauliflower recipe I have not tried yet but the name sounds kid friendly... Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower. Cut up caul. into small florets (2.5c or so). Blend ~5 medjool dates, 2T almond butter, 1/2t cinnamon, 1/4t salt, 3/4c water until smooth. If super thick, add more water.

              Coat florets with mixture; drench them. Roast at 400 for about 25 mins until crispy.

              That might open the door for cauliflower in general. Those cruciferous vegetables are not easy ones for kids to enjoy. You can also bake kale for kale chips. Minimal oil (or no oil) needed. Just sea salt is good. Brussels are also good roasted if you haven't tried it; takes the edge off of that classic bitterness. I halve them and toss them in ghee/sea salt before roasting at 425.

              Do you use spaghetti squash? I think toddlers would think that is cool.

              Mix cauliflower with potatoes for a mash. You can also make cauliflower hummus with roasted cauliflower/tahini/lemon/roasted garlic for dipping those carrots and cucumbers?

              I eat winter squash like crazy these days. Butter cup, amber cup and kabocha are my favorites. They need nothing but salt; and sometimes not even that.

              Has she tried jicama? I think that is a great kid vegetable. You can make a slaw with grated/shredded jicama and kohlrabi with a lime based dressing and cilantro. Buy the small kohlrabi. My aunt eats them like apples.

              ~Pam (I have a child with Autism. I get picky! Maybe that is why I don't think your list is really that bad. I think it holds a lot of potential)
              sigpic
              Age 48
              Start date: 7-5-12
              5'3"
              121lbs
              GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


              "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
              Henri Frederic Amiel

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              • #8
                my new favorite veg side dish is 1 lb of bacon (ends and pieces are perfect), saute, then add 2 bunches of chopped kale. Oh man!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Catherine View Post
                  my new favorite veg side dish is 1 lb of bacon (ends and pieces are perfect), saute, then add 2 bunches of chopped kale. Oh man!
                  I do the same with napa cabbage or regular old cabbage with onions. Add caraway seed at the end. Oh, yum. Makes great leftovers. If you slice the cabbage like noodles, it could mimic pasta for the not-so-suspicious toddler. If she is a food detective, then that won't work!
                  sigpic
                  Age 48
                  Start date: 7-5-12
                  5'3"
                  121lbs
                  GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


                  "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
                  Henri Frederic Amiel

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sandra in BC View Post
                    Just about any of those *hated* veggies taste better roasted in bacon fat.

                    ^This.

                    Chop up some bacon, fry it up. Chop up some cabbage and toss it in with the bacon and bacon grease. My 3 year old loves cabbage since I started frying it like this. Often, I toss in a handful of pine nuts as well.
                    Male, 32y, 6'0" tall
                    SW 306lbs (6/1/12)
                    CW 244lbs (1/17/13)

                    BP down from 120/80 to 110/74

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                    • #11
                      Have you ever tried cooking brussels sprouts in heavy cream? Oh man is that good! Add in some butter and nutmeg at the end and it's to die for! I've served this to friends who claimed they hated brussels sprouts and they loved it.

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                      • #12
                        When introducing new veggies, maybe chop them up small? Onion is always delivered in very small pieces. And Swede/Parsnip/Kumara/Potato can all be mashed together in a rough blend with some butter, salt and pepper.
                        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                        Griff's cholesterol primer
                        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                        bloodorchid is always right

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                        • #13
                          In our family, we had the no-thank-you helping, which it appears you use for your kid, along with one or two things we absolutely never had to put in our mouths. For me, it was cantaloupe, for my brother, fish; green beans for my mom, and lima beans for my dad. That helped reduce a lot of friction at meal time.

                          But also, we all know that we have certain favorite ways for things to be prepared. For instance, brussels sprouts are one of my faves, but I won't eat them if they've been prepared with water (smells sulfury to me when boiled or steamed). Roasted, though, is a completely different story. And drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice? Yes, yes, yes. So try variety. If the frozen spinach doesn't appeal, try fresh. If the baby spinach doesn't appeal in salads, try sauteeing it. If saute doesn't appeal, try puree in a soup.

                          Good luck!

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                          • #14
                            When my son was little the only way he would eat broccoli is if I chopped it up and baked in with heavy cream, and cheese!
                            Health is Wealth!

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                            • #15
                              For some reason I wasn't getting replies to my thread until today, weird. Great ideas--I've tried a lot of those already, but it's a good reminder to try them again, as she does change her mind sometimes. We already do spaghetti squash regularly, and use julienned zucchini as "noodles" as well. I may try the brussels sprouts in heavy cream, she didn't like them roasted.

                              It's funny that someone mentioned kale chips--we went to the farmer's market last week and one of the farms had kale chips as a sample. When I made them at home a few months ago she hated them, but as a free sample at the farmer's market it was totally awesome, lol. Guess I can finally put those back on the menu! A lot of the time I think she's just being difficult out of principle--the other night she declared that she didn't like anything on her plate before she even tried it (beef stroganoff over napa cabbage "noodles", with sweet peas) but after making her try a bite she loved it. I think she wanted an alternate meal like the night before (we had cabbage roll enchiladas, I accidentally made them much too spicy for her). I need to get back into the habit of cooking things milder, taking out her portion, then kicking up the spices for the grown-ups.

                              Thanks again for the ideas!

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