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    meeshar's Avatar
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    Question Stuck in a vegetable side dish rut, ideas/recipes?

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    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!

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    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.

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    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 at 09:06 AM.
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    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.
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    Just about any of those *hated* veggies taste better roasted in bacon fat.
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    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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    Quote 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)

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    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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    Quote 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!

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    Quote 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.
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