November 16 2011

How to Eat More Vegetables

By Mark Sisson
173 Comments

It’s been my experience that people rarely have trouble eating more meat when going Primal. Sure, former vegetarians may struggle with the transition, but the average omnivore usually welcomes the opportunity to indulge more often. Vegetables, on the other hand, seem to present more of an issue. We don’t live in a very veggie friendly culture. Vegetables get a bad name from the overcooked, colorless portions served in schools to the tiresome model of bland “house salads” across America. (Can we all just agree that iceberg lettuce is just a handy wrapping agent – for real food?) I get emails and comment board questions from time to time asking how to incorporate more vegetables into a Primal Blueprint diet. Sometimes they’re from self-professed vegetable haters. Other times, folks are just looking for tips to expand their limited horizons in the produce section or in the cooking realm. Fall might not be the height of farmers’ market season, but it’s a good time to up your antioxidant intake. Why put off making a positive change? Let’s dig in.

Train Your Palate

I always tell people you *can* train your taste. Sure, chocolate will probably always taste better than broccoli, but as you distance yourself from a daily onslaught of sugar, salt, and processed additives, you’ll begin to appreciate the taste of freshness in all your food – vegetables included. Be patient with the process (and yourself). Take it as slow as you need to.

Start with the veggies you already like or sort of like. Work more of them into the meal rotation more often. Use them raw in one dish and cooked in another. Chop them finely in one meal and use large chunks for dipping at snack time. Start your own list or cookbook to record your favorites.

Add One Quality Vegetable At a Time

Go to the best farmers’ market or produce department you can. Buy the best quality you can afford. Start with just a little of each new thing. Get plenty of inspiration from your favorite cookbooks and online recipes (like here of course).

Have Fun With It

Host a potluck, have each family member make a dish, or go out to dinner with the weekly veggie theme in mind. That way you’ll get to try a vegetable prepared differently in several dishes. You’re bound to like at least one.

Learn to Cook Each Vegetable

Guess what – no one likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush. The same goes for limp asparagus or soggy eggplant. Here’s where I think cooking shows can come in handy – when they aren’t just carb orgies. (Anyone out there want to bring the Primal Blueprint to the “Next Food Network Star”? I take an oath to actually watch the show from start to finish and post updates on your progress here.) Good cooking magazines and cookbooks often give more detailed recipe instructions or ingredient guides, which can be handy. That said, many vegetables are better raw. Stay open-minded.

Don’t Underestimate Good Seasoning and Accompaniments

Cut yourself some slack early on, and use dips, sauces, and dressings as you need them. As your taste adjusts, you’ll depend on them less. If you’ve been Primal for a while now, use your favorite recipes to your advantage. Dip vegetable sticks into meat juices or mushroom sauces (works great with cauliflower, BTW). Whip up a jar of Primal ranch dressing or tzatziki for some some raw veggies.

Look beyond the typical dip ideas, however. Try the veggies at hand as a hot side dish with an Asian (stir fry!) or Mediterranean sauce. Add some umami with some good quality cheese if you do any dairy. (Gratins aren’t just for potatoes.) Or mix your veggies with some fruit while you get used to the new tastes.

Yes, You Can Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Now for the nitty gritty of a day’s menu. Like eggs? Throw in diced bits of a single vegetable (or more) when making scrambled eggs or an omelet. Mince it if you’d rather not taste large chunks. Or blend some kale or spinach into a smoothie. Add a splash of fruit juice or a handful of fruit if you need to. As you get used to one, look at adding another.

Envision a Better Salad

First, experiment with better greens. If it’s your least favorite part of any salad, minimize the greens portion and try out alternatives. Baby spinach and romaine, for example have more flavor than iceberg but are still pretty tame. Butterhead varieties and endive are a few of the mildest leaves. For more flavor, try dandelion and other “weed” greens, radicchio, or a peppery arugula. Shred some red cabbage or throw a few kale leaves in there to mix it up. While buying whole heads or loose stock leaves gives you the freshest (and usually cheapest) option, consider trying pre-packaged mixed greens to test out what you like the most.

That said, a good salad is so much more than the greens. (Sometimes, there are no greens to be had period.) Here’s where the veggie of the week idea can come in handy. Use the vegetables you like already and throw in a new one every few days. Don’t limit your salads to veggies only. Just about any salad, if you ask me, tastes better with some meat or even a little cheese on occasion. Do a chef salad, a salmon Caesar salad, or a broccoli, scallion, and carrot slaw with some marinaded beef. Then get bold and add to the mix over time. If texture is an issue, try a chopped salad.

Veggie Snacks Can Be More Than Carrot and Celery Sticks

I personally love a crudite platter, but it can get old if you never mix it up. Invest in a dehydrator and make vegetable “chips” with everything from kale to zucchini. Season generously, and enjoy. Use the leftovers from the previous night’s veggie adventure as a snack, or do a butter leaf wrap with a vegetable-rich tuna or chicken salad. Good readers, I know you’ll have plenty to add here!

Sneak Them Into Your Favorite Dishes and Comfort Foods

One of the best meals I ever had at someone else’s house was shrimp cooked in a Greek vegetable and feta sauce. I never would’ve guessed it was just tomatoes, green pepper, scallions, olive oil, and herbs with feta. The longer things cook, the more the flavors become blended into something wholly new and rich. Use this principle to your advantage. Add minced veggies to your favorite chili, stew, or soup recipe. Mash some root vegetables and serve it with garlic butter, homemade gravy, or plain meat drippings.

Anyone ready to eat now?? Thanks for reading today. Be sure to share your own ideas for enjoying vegetables Primally. I’ll look forward to reading your tips, questions, and recipe ideas. Have a great week, everybody!

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173 thoughts on “How to Eat More Vegetables”

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  1. Eating more veggies is not that hard.
    I eat them cooked too, not only raw. Cooked in the oven or grilled, they taste different, so I don’t feel I am eating the same thing over and over again.

    1. It should not be hard for most but it can be a challenge for others.

      One of my good friends has lost over 100 lbs eating primal but never ate any veggies or fruits during his whole life. That’s right. NONE. Potatoes, yes but literally nothing else. Maybe just a couple bites.

      He’s been working at it and now enjoys more fruits and veggies but it’s not easy for him. Baby steps works for some!

    2. I agree Paul. Eating more veggies is easy. Cooked, raw, sautéed, steamed, grilled and even in a slow cooker with meat. These are all wonderful options to incorporate more veggies. I of course love to eat them with melted pastured butter. Mmmm…the best!

  2. I really like the chip idea… it makes me want to get out my food dehydrator! I don’t shirk away from vegetables, but sometimes I can be pretty hard for me to get a lot of the “leafy green” variety in my diet. I tend to gobble down more things like peppers and squash.

    1. somewhere on this site there are kale chips! The absolute best chips in the world. I do this: take thick ribs out of 1 bunch of kale. wash kale carefully (curly could provide free meat if you’re lax on the washing; lacinto kale is easier to clean-not as many nooks and crannies). Dry it thoroughly (I didn’t at first and it didn’t work so well); use a salad spinner AND some fresh kitchen towels to make sure it’s dry. Turn the oven on to 300F. Rip kale into chip-sized pieces and put in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat all the kale. sprinkle with seasoning (salt, pepper, cayenne, herbs, whatever); toss again. Put parchment paper on a couple of cookie-type pans and arrange kale pieces in a single layer. Bake at 300F for 20 to 30 mins; check the kale often after 20 mins as the time it takes to go from crispy to burnt is very short. Anyway, pile on a platter and enjoy. or, if you’re like me, just eat these off the cookie sheets!!!!

      1. Kale chips rock! Super-easy to make. I’ll emphasize that it’s important to get rid of the moisture, because soggy kale chips don’t rock.

      2. Kale chips are great but the yield is never enough – those things are gone in our house before they cool down.

        Kale also works great as a wrap for a burger. Get a big enough leaf or two and it’s way better than lettuce.

      3. Kale chips are a revelation.Better than regular chips or nuts.I’ve served to friends who first looked at me like I’d picked this up from the back yard after a day in the sun, but soon enough, they were wolfing it down and asking for the recipe.

  3. I used to struggle with getting enough veggies. Now that I’ve found some good recipes, veggies are my favorite part.

    A year ago I never imagined I’d be so excited by kale or cabbage. Many leafy greens triumph in bacon fat. Cabbage loves curry spices too.

    1. Totally agree about the bacon fat! My favorite veggie dish is brussels sprouts sauteed in bacon and then simmered in broth and coconut milk. I’m interested in your cabbage curry dish, could you share the recipe? I have no clue how to cook cabbage.

      1. Spouse and I like cabbage cut into fettucini-sized ribbons then sauteed in butter or bacon fat. I add a sprinkle of salt and a bit of slightly-crushed caraway seed while the cabbage is cooking, then finish with a drizzle of raw cream. Yum!

    2. Bacon grease makes everything better! 🙂 I never liked Brussels sprouts until I roasted them with some bacon; now I can’t get enough!

  4. I used to make stew from pork and cabbage…and a lot of other meals that had a ton of vegetables.
    I also still had lingering digestive issues that hadn’t gone away.
    Come to find out vegetables (esp. the leafy green and fibrous ones) caused me to have hard, slow moving stools that clumped up into giant boulders.
    Since eliminating most vegetables that are too fibrous for me to digest I do perfect in the WC 🙂

    Now my “veggies” are gently fried squash types and the occassional sweet potato (in lard). Other than that, I’d say I’m a 99% primal eater (occassional pudding) and a 90% carnivore.

    1. Arty, can you list which vegetables you had problems with. I’m interested in finding out what is causing my digestive tract to be ” off track” so to speak. I eat a lot of vegetables. Thanks, Di

  5. Since going Primal, I’ve learned how to roast veggies and that has changed my veggie intake bigtime. I’m not sure why I never did this before (its not exactly a secret prep method) but I LOVE roasted veggies now, and have them frequently for after work snacks too. YUM.
    My current faves are broccoli, green beans and quartered brussels sprouts. I toss them with some fat, balsamic vinegar and a bit of seasoning, and roast away!

    1. Hi, I’m Al. Interesting to read your comment on cooking vegetables. Would you be kind enough to let me know how and for how long you cook some vegetables.

      I’m new to primal eating, but can already massively feel the benefits!

      Kind regards,

      Al
      (from Cheltenham, England)

  6. Its all about learning how to cook them. Once I learned how to season them & use the right temperatures I fell in love with veggies.

    1. Hi Becca, I’m Al. I was interested to read your comment on cooking vegetables. Would you be kind enough to let me know how and for how long you cook some vegetables.

      I’m new to primal eating, but can already massively feel the benefits!

      Kind regards,

      Al
      (from Cheltenham, England)

  7. I eat a wide variety of salads and vegetables everyday. Salmon Salad last night with cukes, onions, tomatoes, avocado, romaine, dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Made a salad on Monday and threw in jalapenos, scallions and a few chopped up prunes. I try never to eat the same food more than 2 days in a row and that includes common salad foods like lettuce and tomato. This requires frequent stops at the grocery store but it is worth it for the variety.

  8. Roasted brussels sprouts, tossed with crumbled bacon, garlic, pepper, and olive oil are one of our favorite vegis to cook.

    I also started making a carrot-curry soup that has been well received:

    Cut a couple lbs of carrots (organic or farmers market taste best) into chunks, along with one large onion. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast until golden, about 45mins at 425 degrees. Add to a food processor or blender in batches with 4 cups of good bone broth, a can of coconut milk, some butter, 2-3 TB of curry powder, 1 TB garam masala (I use Penzey’s), and a bit more garlic. Do it in batches, then dump back into a stock pot to warm up a bit and adjust seasonings.

    With the bone broth it’s super hearty, and goes well with a grassfed beef patty or your other meat of choice.

    1. Thanks Kristina, sounds yummy! I’m going to try it this week.

  9. I used to roast vegetables in olive oil. Now I use a bit of bacon fat. It works and tastes great – then I can grab a half a cup of vegetables out of a bin in the fridge and eat them warm or cold.

    I like to use:
    squash (zucchini)
    squash (eggplat)
    mushrooms
    peppers
    onions

    Over time you learn how much fat/oil is good for you (not much!)

    1. One thing I do is put the cut up veggies in a container with the fat, cover it, then shake it up – it helps to put a thin coat of fat on the veggies. Probably helps you to use much less…

  10. Veggies are something I’ve just been thinking I need to up my intake of, so a very timely post for me! During the spring/summer when my garden and farmers markets are flourishing with fresh veggies its not so hard, but I’ve definitely been slacking off lately on big salads everyday. I’m making some soup tonight, though, and this post has inspired me to really add in more vegetables!

  11. One word here: FAT.

    One of the biggest points of libertation going primal has, is realizing that not only are saturated fats not bad for you, but they are downright healthy and can be consumed with gusto! Same goes for the use of natural sea salt.

    Butter and salt up those vegetables.
    Saute them in bacon grease.
    Use liberal amounts of primal-based dressings (love that primal ranch recipe, Mark!).

    If you eat cheese, nothing makes veggies more palatable than loads of cheese grated and/or melted.

    Oddly enough, going primal has lead me to eating far more veggies than I used to on the S.A.D. (in which a house salad with crappy canola/soybean/hfcs dressing was my typoical daily vegetable consumption.)

    1. This is how I’ve convinced my kids to eat brussels sprouts. How can you resist brussels sprouts sauteed in bacon fat or a boatload of coconut oil??

  12. Luckily I grew up in a household where my parents always included two vegetable options per meal and we often ate salads.
    Lately, my favourite breakfast has been to sauté leaks, kale and red pepper and then top it off with a soft-cooked egg (and maybe a few slices of bacon 🙂
    Another trick is to julienne zucchini and use it as pasta!! I find this helps me curb those spaghetti and meatball cravings without actually eating the pasta!!
    Soups are also a great way to up your veggie intake – I like to make ‘clean out the fridge’ soup – I literally try to use up whatever is leftover in the fridge and add it to some homemade broth.
    As Mark said – start with veggies you know you like and then start incorporating new ones a little at a time. Try different cooking techniques and season and remember that butter and bacon go great with most veggies!!

    1. I just made zucchini “pasta” last night. Tossed it with olive oil, italian herbs, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and leftover pulled pork. And some nutritional yeast (no dairy for me). DH really liked it!

  13. I have often thought Food Network needs a primal cooking show and I would love to be the one to pull it off, but that competition is a bit daunting for a home cook. I was watching with that intent in mind in the last go-round and would have been out on the challenges where you need to know how to cook Duck a l’orange!

    1. PBS Create Channel (26.2 in the DC area) has a show named Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen. Forget Bobby Flay; this guy is a real master. He grills meats using techniques from around the world on an impressive array of grills. Most of the time Steven adds a veggie side dish. He’s not fully primal because he occasionally grills bread and uses sugar in the meat rubs, but it’s easy to primalize.

      Compare that to the vegan cooking show Christina Cooks. She’s heavily into “health food” like soy faux meat, agave nectar, rice milk, PUFA oils, etc. She also looks like she could lose about 20.

      1. I have no problem eating lots of vegetables and eating all that meat/fat feels so decadent (as a former Cardiac nurse it goes against everything I have believed and taught…)but I am loving it. Breakfast is the real problem for me. I like variety but everything I read in the Primal diet seems to center on bacon and eggs for breakfast. Yes, I throw in veggies and cheese, but still — eggs. I miss the fiber at breakfast. Please, help me out with some breakfast ideas!

  14. I second the whole cooking thing. I just take whatever I have and get out the wok, add some coconut oil, butter or ghee and lightly cook. Adding some Himalayan salt and cayenne pepper adds to the experience. And it’s amazing just how much spinach will cook down to what looks like a very small amount.

  15. hi all, beautiful markets still thrive in the fall (tons of hardy winter greens!) and indoor ones open in december too. im personally a primal fan and happy to pass along our national Eat Well Guide site to help you find a local market or natural food coop or restaurant serving pastured meat as well. best, Destin

    http://www.eatwellguide.org

  16. I thought we were good about eating a lot of different vegetables, and then we joined a CSA. We received so many vegetables that I’d never seen or heard of! Swiss chard, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, rutabagas….these are old friends now, but I only tried them because they arrived in my CSA box.

    1. Same here! Having a year-round local farmers’ market was a start, but getting the CSA box really opened up my eyes to the possibilities for veggies (and fruit, too). I have learned to cook and love so many different types of veggies now. My favorite thing that’s shown up has been romanesco. Not that tastes all that different than broccoli or cauliflower, but boy does it look like some sort of alien fractal veggie!

      I second all the recommendations for roast veggies – or grilled when you have outdoor grilling weather. I will often roast up a pile of veggies on the weekend, then use them throughout the week – either to snack on cold or warmed up in the microwave, or mixed into a scramble for breakfast, or thrown into my salad.

      My secret ingredient on roast or grilled veggies is cumin … I will often roast with just cumin, salt, and pepper and it’s pure awesomeness.

  17. Chef Rachel showed us how to parboil vegetables at PrimalCon and how to make nut butter dipping sauces. Parboiling or blanching vegetables makes them a lot tastier (less bitter) but still maintains most of their vitamins. Definitely a delicious way to eat more vegetables.

  18. Even as a veggie lover, I used to struggle to get enough of them in my daily diet. Now that I’ve converted to primal, my breakfast alone usually has about 5-6 veggies in it. Every morning I have a stir fry with a mix of bell peppers, zucchini, green onions, bok choy, spinach and kale. Cooked in coconut oil or butter…plated and then topped with two fried eggs. SO much healthier and more flavorful than the oatmeal I used to eat!
    I’ve also tried collard greens (great with bacon) and turnips recently. Looking forward to experimenting with other veggies soon.

  19. I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals. I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.

  20. CSA’s are the key! You are forced to eat veggies every day or else you waste your money. You are also forced to eat what is in season. It has really made me creative in the kitchen.

    Favorite tricks (to add to the others):
    Roasted broccoli and green beans (with a little lemon and garlic and olive oil)
    Kale slaw; gah kale has a long season in Georgia

    1. Yeah. I get rashes and stomach issues from most veggies, so I’m mostly eating meat.

  21. Just last night I did a huge pan of roasted veggies in organic ghee with salt and pepper. I did 1/2 large cabbage, broccoli, carrots, onion, red and yellow peppers and a few small sweet potatoes.
    I use them throughout the week for sides with dinner, or lunch.
    My new favourite breakfast is to throw some of the above veggies in a frying pan, heat them up, add 3 beaten eggs and scramble the whole thing together. It takes literally 5 min, and is a nice hearty breakfast with lots of protein…

  22. One of my biggest problems with going primal has been that grains were a vegetable delivery system: homemade tomato sauce or sauteed veggies with pesto on pasta, veggie sandwiches on bread, quesadillas with homemade salsa. I’m gradually figuring out what else to use as the veggie resting spot (spaghetti squash, nut crusts, lettuce wraps, etc.), but it’s not always obvious 🙂
    Luckily, as someone else noted, I grew up with a huge garden and fresh veggies at every meal. That will REALLY spoil you 🙂

  23. A vegetarian potluck is a good way of finding out how to cook and serve vegetables. As you say ‘stay open-minded’. Nice post as ever.

  24. Thanks for this post Mark, there are a lot of good points here!

    Personally, I love veggies but have been in sort of a rut so this is motivation to get out of it 🙂

    I second your point on training your palate. To all you who can’t stand veggies, it can get better!

    Never underestimate the power of butter and always buy the freshest veggies you can find. If they look appealing (as opposed to wrinkly and brown) you are more likely to enjoy them.

  25. I’ve tried almost all of these! Homemade mayo will get almost any vegetable into my toddler. And I like them in soup. You can even blend veggies into your tomato sauce — no one notices!

    This morning I had a pumpkin smoothie for breakfast. YUM! For lunch, meatballs — and you can add shredded carrot or other veggies to meatballs in place of the usual breadcrumbs. Omelets are great with spinach or any other veggie.

    What really gets me eating veggies, though, when I’m in a rut, is wandering through the produce section in search of something I haven’t tried. Then I bring it home and look up the yummiest recipe for that veggie I can find. Never fails to be good!

    1. What do you put into your pumpkin smoothie? It sounds like a great idea!

  26. One of my recently discovered favorites: oven roasted beets with crumbled blue cheese and hazelnuts.

    1. Oh be still my quaking palate! Yes, yes, yes!!!! FORTUNATELY, my husband doesn’t care for beets; I only have to fight our daughter for this preparation! p.s., sorry for all the !!!! but Keith, you hit on one of theeee best dishes!

      1. Leave whole, trim the greens off leaving a stub on the beets (to avoid “bleeding” of the color. Red or golden, both are good, but golden is less staining). Save the greens for sauteeing. coat w/ a little olive oil and wrap in heavy duty foil, bake at 375 for about an hour or until they are slightly soft. Let cool in the foil, then trim off the tops and peel the outer skin; it will pull off. Slice and use in salads or however you like. My favorite is on a salad w/ goat cheese and toasted pecans or walnuts, with a drizzle of good balsamic. You can also eat them warm w/ lemon and butter.

    2. Wow, I have some roasted beetroot in the fridge. I am making this tomorrow! Thanks.

  27. Smoothies! I have found the easiest way to add veggies to my diet is with smoothies. I’ve always made smoothies quite frequently, but it used to be mostly with fruit. Now, I make them mostly with veggies and lesser amounts of fruits and soaked nuts and seeds. I also add other items like dark chocolate or cocoa beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little raw honey if I want to sweeten it a little, and for fat I add either coconut milk or full fat plain yogurt. I also use avocados a lot for their fat content and the smoother texture they give the smoothie. For example, the last smoothie I made was broccoli, spinach, asparagus, a little radicchio, kiwi, blueberries, macadamias, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cocoa beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little raw honey, and enough water and ice to get the consistency I like. I experiment a lot, and some combinations work better than others, but most are quite tasty and the potential combinations are endless so it never gets old. If I want more protein to go along with it I usually scramble some eggs or simply put two or three raw eggs in the smoothie itself. I can literally make a full meal out of it and it’s always loaded with great primal stuff. These days I do this four or five times a week for breakfast or lunch.

    Also for dinner, Steamed veggies of various types combined with my meat of choice also works well for dinner, especially if I drizzle plenty of butter or coconut oil over it.

    1. I totally second the smoothie concept. We learned this from some friends that stayed with us a few months and brought their own Blendtec with them. And now we are the proud owners of a Blendtec, which is just about the only way to SERIOUSLY make smoothies on a routine basis. Veggie smoothies will burn up regular blenders QUICK. Plus the ease of cleaning the Blendtec is VERY appealing over a regular style blender.
      I make our smoothies with a general formula: 2 bananas, 1 handful of fruit (anything from strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, orange, grapes, apples, pineapple (including the core!), nectarines, plums, etc), 1 large handful of greens, and one small handful of a second type of green. I prefer kale and spinach, but just about anything green will do just fine. I add water or juice to help make it smooth, and sometimes if I don’t think it will be quite right, I’ll add some honey or other natural sweetener. If I discover that the flavor is just off I’ll go for the maple syrup cause it fixes anything 🙂 Everyone here at work has finally gotten used to my strange green drinks. I love it because I can get more veggies into my diet without a lot of work, and for me that is huge.

      1. I’m not familiar with Blentec, but I have a Vitamix which can blend anything in any combination and has lasted me for years of intense usage with no problems at all. They’re not cheap, and it appears Blentec’s aren’t either, but if they last forever it doesn’t matter. I’ve gone through enough cheap blenders in the past that aren’t up to the task and are more aggravating than useful.

        I’m glad you mention kale because it works great in smoothies and is packed with nutrients. You can literally put any kind of green into a smoothie with good results. Watercress works well too and gives it a nice fresh flavor. I’ve also tried some root vegetables like beets, celery root, carrots, etc. with lots of success. The potential list of veggie ingredients is literally endless. One nice thing about it is that if there’s a veggie that’s really good for you that you don’t particularly like by itself, you can blend it in with everything else and not notice it much but still get the benefits.

      2. OH GOD YES to the Green Smoothies. If it weren’t for them, I doubt my partner would eat many greens at all. And I know I wouldn’t eat anywhere near as many as I should. Salads are great, but after a while I get sick of all that chewing, you know?

        If anyone’s new to trying them, I’d recommend starting with small handfuls of greens like lettuce or baby spinach, as they have the least intense flavour, then moving on to others/bigger handfuls as you get used to the taste. Coconut milk and nut butter works great if you’re like me and can’t afford many bananas/avocados to smooth out the smoothie. Raw egg yolks are an easily hidden protein hit, too (it’s the only way I can get my partner to eat them – he hates the taste of eggs, but he needs the nutrients in them). And at some point, try a few cups of cabbage in a smoothie. Works really, really well.

  28. Truffle oil. It adds a great, earthy flavor to broccoli and asperagus.

    Zuccini, cut into thin discs, sauteed in a little garlic and olive oil, and add some parmesian cheese at the end. It’s the BOMB!

  29. Whipped cauliflower tastes better than mashed potatoes, and takes less than 10 minutes to make. I indulge and add plenty of grass-fed butter, salt, and pepper.

    1. You can also make “potato” salad out of this cauliflower mash. I add one small red potato to the mashed mixture as it cooks. Then chop pickles, onions, and a boiled egg and celery and stir in mustard. Delicious!

      1. I used diced turnips in vegetable soup in the place of the potatoes I used to add. I also make “potato” chowder with lots of diced turnips and maybe just one large diced potato instead of a whole bag. No one ever even questions the difference!

        1. well, i normally hate salad (esp. in winter; i’d rather go hungry ); but i adore vegetable soup (in bone broth),

          i suppose i’m a soup girl rather than salad girl. haha.

          cheers,

  30. Baby spinach has really helped me. For breakfast I saute some spinach in butter, add two eggs, and serve with Parmesan cheese and avocado over the top. This never gets old. For salads I use baby spinach and dress with yogurt with dried dill. I love romaine lettuce, but the prep requires too much activation energy and I avoid plastic packaging so I can’t buy it already prepped.

  31. Best way to eat veggies is the also the best way to eat meat – Grilled! With the right seasoning, they are as good as the chicken breast, or steak on the bbq.

  32. I’ve used my WOK but not Asian. BBQ pork and veggies stir fried are BADASS! A little Cajun flavor is always welcome too. And for forget sriracha or a chipolte sauce. Blending the ethnic foods is a great week to flavor veggies and everything else for that matter.

  33. Seasoning is king … my favorite dressing is Paul Newmans Olive Oil & Vinegar. It is fun to go to the store and find new spices if you have a few veggies you like and do not want to branch out and try new veggies … not to mention, herbs are very good for you on top of the fact that they taste good.

    Grok on!

    1. Don’t be fooled by the Olive Oil title … the second ingredient is still a ‘bad’ vegetable oil.

      “Ingredients: Olive Oil Blend (Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Water, Red Wine Vinegar, Onion, Spices, Salt, Garlic, Lemon Juice and Distilled Vinegar”

      I have yet to find a commercial salad dressing with only olive oil and no Soy/Canola/Sunflower/Safflower oil.

  34. as a paleo beginner, I confess that this is one of my biggest problems. But I am trying. I like to go on-line and find new vege recipes to try. And yes please!! Bring Paleo to the food network!

  35. What really helped me is finding a reliable vegetable cookbook and cooking through the entire thing. No avoiding the vegetables you don’t usually like or the recipes that aren’t what you would normally pick. I’m about 1/3 of the way through a cookbook called Fast, Fresh & Green, and I’ve already learned a lot.

  36. I find the food processor invaluable for adding tons of fresh veggies to tuna and chicken salad, as well as rich marinara or really any sauces. I often serve these over veggie noodles made from zucchini with a mandoline slicer. This is a great way to get my kids (2 and 5) to eat tons of eggplant. Also TJ’s sells great veggie chips for those without dehydrators. And Fall is a great time to expand the menu with spaghetti squash, another great pasta substitute that tastes great with just salt and butter, though my wife likes it with a little bit of honey as well.

    1. spaghetti squash with browned butter, minced garlic, shredded parmesan and fresh pomegranate seeds sprinkled over it, Yummy!

  37. Mark, according to wikipedia,
    green beans
    are podded vegetable (legumes), and you recommend avoiding legumes in your latest book (great job, by the way). And although peas
    are legumes as well, peapods are botanically a fruit.How bad are these really?

  38. You totally forgot soups! You can make them entirely out of veggies (Tomato soup is FANTASTIC!) with some of the bone stock you’ve made before, and they can be fantastic, and meaty, but still heavy on the veggies!

  39. Everyone is so overwhelmingly happy and delighted about eating many more vegetables — but — what no one is saying (and the article also fails to mention) is that a lot of people have a terrible time digesting them.

    It’s not a matter of disliking the taste of something like asparagus — it’s the memory of 12 hours of bowel cramps and smelly gas from eating ONE solitary stalk.

    Some people get into a lot of trouble when they have too many oxalates. Others have their arthritis flare up if they even glance at a nightshade. Mark has mentioned troubles with grains like lectins, phytates, opioids, phytoestrogens, and anti-nutrients in general. Legumes can cause so many problems that they aren’t even considered paleo.

    Cutting out everything which can cause trouble to a touchy gut resembles gingerly traversing a mine field at times.

    So, not just anybody can tuck right into all those healthy veggies, at least not without a big makeover of intestinal flora and their immune systems.

    1. Agreed!! I am in this boat and wish Mark would address this – I know he loves fresh salads but I just can’t eat them. And no tomatoes really brings you down …

      I try to steam veggies and puree them to get them in my diet.

      1. or you can basically ignore veggies if you make sure to eat lots of meaty fat and bone broth, oh and also organ meats.
        check out Kurt Harris md’s blog, Archevore, and Jack Kruse md’s blog, The Optimized Life. Although it’s Paleo/Primal to eat veggies, some of us can’t eat a lot, or even a few in some cases. Mark, haven’t you also written about people who can’t eat veggies, and i know there is a very good bone broth recipe on this site.

    2. With that many problems, making over the gut and imune system is exactly what’s needed. Juicing lots of fresh green vegetables and taking high quality probiotics should repair the intestinal lining, but will take a long time and commitment to the regimen. It’s worth it.

    3. I get most of my veggies from smoothies and I have no digestive problems at all from them. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re so well blended that they’re easier to digest or if my gut just handles them better, but I used to have all kinds of digestive problems with grain based products. I also don’t have much trouble with steamed veggies.

  40. sometimes cooking veggies is just too much work when I’m short on time and energy :(. We tend to eat the same steamed organic veggies bought frozen in bulk from costco: broccoli and green beans.

    One of my favorite food blogs with fantastic vegetable recipes is Kalyn’s kitchen http://www.kalynskitchen.com. She does the South Beach Diet, which is fat phobic, low carb. Adding fat to the recipes is easy for me. Her ideas are excellent! She has roasted veggies and lots of salads.

  41. I disagree, I prefer my vegetables this way –> “Guess what – no one likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush. The same goes for limp asparagus or soggy eggplant.” I slowly cook them less and less, and when I can eat them raw then I know I am doing good! But at first they have to be cooked to death and lathered in fat.

    1. Nicole, you must be a Southerner, too! 🙂 When I read that I was like, “*sniff* I do.” haha Cooked 8 days with half a hog, right? But I am getting better & I never liked greens cooked that way & never ate them til I started eating Primal. Kale sauteed in bacon fat is yummy with a morning steak. I guess however we like it, the point is that bacon-flavored veggies rock! 🙂

  42. I LOVE salads and almost all veggies, whether steamed or grilled. However, to force picky eaters to eat their veggies I have learned to incorporate more veggies into “traditional” one-pot meals, like soups and chili. My entire extended family LOVES my chili. I make it with grassfed/finshed ground beef, black or kidney beans, and at least 6 to 8 different veggies (onions, red, green & orange peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, finely chopped spinach, kale, cilantro; even add zucchini in summer and butternut squash in winter). With my own blend of chili powder, cumin, fresh garlic, all they taste is “chili.” Some of you stricter paleos would omit the beans. Still works…as long as you eat tomatoes; ) Or soups, I add finely chopped kale and spinach to just about every soup imagineable.

  43. Sliced cucumber – salted

    I eat these instead of corn chips or potato chips when watching football!

    (dipping optional)

    Also – combining vegies with fruit works great for me. Cauliflower and watermelon is awesome!

    1. Now THAT is an excellent suggestion! Thanks. I’m sceptical about the cauli/watermelon combo- will have to give it a go. I don’t mind watermelon and feta.

  44. My challenge is making veggies that everyone will like. My 7 y.o. will try most anything if he can have it with balsamic vinegar…go figure! The easiest way to get my boys to eat sweet potatoes is tossed with coconut oil, cinnamon & nutmeg and roasted.
    Over the summer I discovered a great use for some “bread dipping” spice mix I received as a gift…mixed it with EVOO and brushed it on sliced zucchini & yellow squash, then grilled.
    I also cook up some carrots & sweet potatoes, puree together and mix into other things like cheese sauce, peanut or almond butter, or if my boys indulge in a quesadilla I spread it on before the cheese.

    1. i think peanut: oil, butter or nuts, are one of the worst choices for us. otherwise, i like your ideas!

  45. Here’s the discovery I was looking for ahead of Thanksgiving: substitute celery root for bread to stuff your turkey! Tried it with a chicken this weekend, was great! Cut away the nooks and crannies, dice into 3/4″ cubes and toss it into the blender. Just a couple of pulses, and you have a great, manageable mass to which to add your favorite extras, herbs and spices. Doesn’t soak up the juice from the bird as well as bread, but is still yummy! Maybe will add a bit of parsley root next time, too!

  46. Hello – I just read your associated article “What about a zero carb diet?”. I’m a “no-carber” myself, or darn close, and have eaten primarily animal protein and fat for nearly 1.5 years. I arrived at this position after adopting the Paleo diet and subsequently reading GCBC. I do not eat any vegetables or fruits regularly and I have not heard any convincing arguments to do so. I’ve only heard statements like eating meat and fat exclusively is “too hard.” I empathize with that, but I still wonder why bother?

  47. We can all benefit from this post!

    I particularly like doing the following:

    Spinach into smoothies – honestly it doesn’t alter the taste (much)

    Dash Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) onto your veg – I usually do this with raw veg as it really brings out the flavour (same with berries too!)

    My favourite…want carbs? Just replace them with fresh vegetables and the pound will drop off!

    I love how you can eat a whole plate of veg guilt free to fill you up!

  48. My husband HATED cauliflower, until I baked it. Make thin slices and toss in olive oil; bake for 10 mins. or so. It becomes caramelized and delicious; no bitter flavors at all.

  49. wow, these are all such great ideas. as a lifelong veggie hater, this is just what i needed to read today. thanks, everyone, for your ideas.

  50. Asparagus tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with Italian seasonings and garlic then grilled. Delicious!

    I also love zucchini pan fried in butter and olive oil and now I’m going to have to try the parm cheese on it too.

  51. Learning to love vegetables can be as simple as expanding one’s cooking skills. On the few occasions we attempt to eat in a restaurant, the food that complies with our requests is often dry and tasteless (but not always.) The food I cook at home is flavorful and fresh and wonderful. People who don’t know I am on a restricted diet (in their eyes) often don’t know they are eating MY ‘weird’ food. My friends think I’m a really good cook, but all I really do is try new things until I hit upon something yummy and then I write that one down for future reference.

  52. Why bother if you don’t like veggies? We don’t actually need them. For my one meal today I had beef stew with kidneys, and a few bones thrown in for the marrow; accompanied by 3 eggs fried in clarifed butter.

    A complete meal!!

  53. I LOVE my veggies. I love them plain too. Throw em in salads, enjoy as snacks, steam in water or fry in butter! Or, roast or bake! Yum yum!

  54. Great post Mark! I’ve been very ‘insecure’ about my vegetable intake for the last few months and was glad to read this post.

  55. Once thing I’ve learned about being Primal is that it can involve a lot of time in the kitchen chopping vegetables – something I’ve learned to enjoy doing in bursts that provide for 2 or 3 days at a time (listening to NPR while I work) – it can be zen-like.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way, and there are short cuts. I’ll share a few (please forgive any repetition from prior comments I’ve left):

    Organic spinach (Cascadian Farms is my fave brand). All you have to do is steam it. It’s delicious with some fresh lemon juice, if you have it, and some good olive oil and sea salt.

    The fastest-ever infusion of veggies is this smoothie:

    One can (15 oz) whole tomatoes, with juice
    5 oz spinach, fresh or frozen – kale works nicely too, as does lettuce (any kind)

    Mix thoroughly in food processor or blender. Pour into a bowl or mug. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle pepper and sea salt.

    This is a movable feast – take it with you wherever you go, in a thermos or water bottle or whatever. It’s drinkable, so you can get a huge veggie infusion in a few gulps – doesn’t take as long as eating a salad, and you can “eat” on the run (standing up or driving, riding the bus, walking to someone’s office, whatever), if need be.

    Note that if you keep your kitchen stocked with canned tomatoes and frozen spinach, you will ALWAYS have a non-perishable veggie source on hand.

    This smoothie is also a hunger killer. I especially like having one before going to a party or restaurant where I know Primal food will be in short supply. In situations like that, it helps to not be that hungry.

  56. I’ve been doing an elimination/gut repair type diet that is primal, plus no dairy, nuts or eggs. Lemme tell you veggies started to taste MIGHTY good when I completely cut out grains and sweets. I wasn’t even eating a whole lot of the refined stuff, but now that I am completely off, veggies have become heavenly. Thanks for all of the tips, Mark.

  57. Mark, if they would have me, I would bring primal to the food network in a heartbeat!
    Imagine all the fun one could have, with a primal Iron Chef!

  58. So far for me going Primal, has meant eating more vegetables since I have been replacing grains with vegetables. I’ve been eating vegetables that I have not eaten much in years like spaghetti squash, cauliflower, turnips, and other squash. I hope to learn how to incorporate more greens into my meals. If you don’t have bacon fat, a little real butter is good with vegetables.

  59. In the winter, I make pots of beef stew, and add tons of veggies in there. If you don’t like them, it really helps to hide them! I add some red wine and let it cook down. Mm. I also make “Southern style” greens like kale. I get a smoked ham hock and cook it up with some onions and plenty of garlic. Then I add at least two bunches of greens, and a quart of chicken stock,and some spices. I let it cook down, and again – you get a lot more leaves for the same volume! 🙂 (Don’t forget to drink the “pot liquor”).

  60. I keep a boat load of frozen veggies on hand (not the kind with junk added), and switch them up almost every night in different stir frys. It’s less intimidating buying frozen because you don’t feel the pressure to use them up so quickly in a decadent meal. You can take your time getting used to them and growing a taste for them. They can also be baked too straight from the freezer. Brussels, broccoli, and cut green beans are my favorite frozen ones to use.

  61. Roasting veggies in the oven has become my go-to quick & easy way to cook fantastic veggies. Get a sheet pan, cut up the veggies into the size you want, toss with olive oil or melted coconut oil, add salt and pepper and maybe some herbs or spices. Roast to desired doneness. So fast & easy. Even my DH who has not been a huge veggie fan most of his life now goes ga-ga over things like roasted carrots, roasted cauli & broc, roasted sweet potatoes.

  62. One of the reasons I tend to skip veggies is the prep work, so I’ve invested in a few really nice knives and it makes the work easier and more enjoyable overall. I have since started collecting all variety of veggie gadgets that make the prep a little more interesting as well. Sur La Table or Pampered Chef has a lot of cool’ toys’ that make cooking more fun. Curved dual blade salad chopping scissors anyone? Mini finger-mounted veggie peeler? Yes please!
    I would also highly recommend a Mandolin slicer and a medium Micro-plane shredder. They’re perfect for shredding carrots in my tuna salad, having paper thin cucumber slices, etc. nice things to have if you are a ham for presentation.

  63. Hi everyone,

    I am new, but I am loving it. I thought it would be difficult with the vegetable thing, but it is easy really. one of my favourite dishes is golden Eye rib fillet. I rub mustard and chilli flakes and fried it until gold. For the side dish, I slice Okinawan sweet potatoe and fried adding Vegeta Gourmet Stock Powder for that delicious flavor, and when soft I add broccoli, zucchini, and sparragus for three more minutes and I am done. very simple and done in less than 15 minutes. I keep the slices of eye fillet already marinated in the fridge to eat for a couple of days in a row. We are in summer in Australia, so the veggies and fruit markets are an explosion of fresh colours. I am excited about going Primal. My daughter introduce me to it and, boy I am grateful, as well as Mark for creating this plan. I am reading the book now. I pass this website to every one who listen to.

  64. Coconut oil compliments veggies much better than bacon fat. I personally think bacon fat is just like adding a lot of salt, where as coconut oil does something very different. Plus, coconut oil is healthier. If you eat primal, you are getting more than enough animal saturated fats, adding bacon fat in cooking veggies is overkill.

  65. When my hubbie & I went primal about 2 years ago, I didn’t think he would survive because he definitely was not into veggies. Since that time, both of our palettes have expanded – especially his. He now loves almost everything! Never would consider eating a raw, fresh tomato, or spinich, or cabbage, or cauliflower. Now, he loves all of them! Veggie Gratin’s allow for creativity – love them 🙂

  66. I have the opposite problem , have to gird my loins to eat meat , but I’m getting there. Think I am the only person to get excited in the supermarket at the display of fruit and veg !!!
    I am doing the Leptin reset at the moment , so lots of meat and very few veg. Can’t wait to be able to eat more that 50gms of carbs in the form of veg !

  67. Weird discovery: Zucchini puree makes a great hot breakfast, somewhat reminiscent of cream of wheat. Just steam zucchini, puree it and season with salt, pepper and a nice chunk of butter.

    1. Have you tried this as a “sweet” breakfast? Thinking I could add a tad of maple syrup and lots of cinnamon, reminiscent of the days when I ate oatmeal.

  68. I grew up with a large vegetable garden and I get frustrated by the lack of quality in the local stores. We do have a farmers market, but it is done for the year. The food co-op has nice stuff but at triple the price and it just isn’t in the budget right at the moment. I also tend to get frustrated at the lack of variety. I guess I am used to planting my own. I haven’t always lived where I could plant a garden and right now my garden is pretty tiny. Up until my oldest daughter moved out, I was feeding five people and the budget was not big, and still isn’t. My favorites are kohlrabi, fresh asparagus, and yellow pear tomatoes.

  69. One of my favorite ways to get more good greens into my diet is to drink them for breakfast. I like making green smoothies…

    Some of my favorites include:

    A combo of 1c. mango. (high glycemic I know, but you can also swap for 1C. berries of choice)
    1C. fresh spinach leaves
    1/2 -3/4 C. kale leaves, de-stemed.
    I blend all this with 1C. water (or coconut water) to my Vita Mix and whirl away till smooth and creamy.

    And my favorite green smoothie Vitamin C fix is a combo of:
    1/2 grapefruit ( peeled and quartered)
    1/2 lemon ( peeled and quartered)
    1/2 lime ( peeled and quartered)
    a fistful of fresh parsley leaves with stems
    a large handful of fresh spinach leaves
    a handful of sprouts of choice ( I use alfalfa or sunflower)
    A medium handful of de-stemed kale leaves

    1/2 TBS Vanilla Extract
    Stevia packet ( optional)
    a handful of ice cubes

    I put everything in the Vita Mix, fruits first, then veggies, extracts, then ice.

    add 1-1 /2 C. of water or coconut water and blend till really smooth and thick. Adding more water/ice/stevia as needed.

  70. BBQ Broccoli. I know, sounds strange, but you will not be disappointed. Cut broccoli into medium size pieces, toss with olive oil and just a touch of salt, then BBQ on high until tips are browned. I like to turn of BBQ and let them sit for 5-10 minutes in the warm BBQ so they soften a bit.

    1. I’m new and just getting into cooking more veggies. Are you barbequing broccoli on a grill?

  71. My issue with veggies so far hasn’t been getting enough, or trying new ones, it’s been eating them before they spoil without having to make multiple trips to the store every week. It’s just me & my mom at home, and since so many veggies come in pre-measured portions (rubber-banded bunches of greens, prepackaged sliced mushrooms, etc.), it’s hard to get a big variety and avoid spoilage at the same time. I have only 1 day a week to shop & prep, and most veggies turn within a few days if they’re not cooked, and get soggy and unappetizing if they are. I’ve never liked cooked greens (spinach, kale, etc.), and I don’t do smoothies so it’s hard for me to get those all-important leafy greens. Additionally, since I grew up on frozen-then-boiled veggies as a nightly dinner side dish, I have a phobia of frozen veggies and can’t STAND canned veggies outside of green beans & tomatoes (the mere thought of canned carrots makes me vom in my throat). So far I’ve been getting by on bagged salads, pre-chopped veggies, and certain selections from the Whole Foods salad bar, but even that’s getting old. I’m starting the 21-Day TBT this Monday, so hopefully I’ll be able to make increasing my veggie intake a big part of it. A timely post, Mark, but I’m still feeling a bit daunted… =/

  72. CSA’s open up a whole new door for me–somethings I didn’t even know what they were let alone how to cook them–I would go online to research what I had received–I have tripled my variety–
    and when all else fails I chop add fat and toss in the oven and roast what ever it is that I have –roasting with fat makes all veggies tasted great!

  73. Don’t forget soups! I make a mean red pepper soup as well as homemade cream of celery (doesn’t really need the dairy if you purée the soup in a blender) and how bout lam chowder made ith cauliflower instead of potatoes? Yum. Now I’m hungry.

    1. You can also make some great tomato based soups with other veggies as well. Red bell peppers go great with them. I think broccoli works well with tomatoes also. Chop everything up. Season it the way you want. Throw it in the Vitamix long enough to grind and heat it up, and presto. Of course that’s more of a pureed soup than chunky, but it’s quick and easy.

  74. I still have to think about vegetables! My favorite thing to make right now is butternut squash soup. I just simmer onion, celery, carrots and leeks in a pot with water and spices (while baking the squash). When the veggies are soft, I toss ’em in a blender and when “pureed”, put them back in my veggie broth. Yummm!!! I like adding chili spices and cumin to this, grass-fed cream is optional. I pour my soup over either spaghetti squash or crumbled sausage.

  75. Our best cauliflower recipe my husband got in the locker room after a CF WOD…cut up head of cauliflower, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic,herbs and roast about 425 for 45 minutes. Toss a couple times during baking. Even if it looks a little burt, it’s delicious….better than you think it can taste. We keep experimenting to get the perfect combo of spices. I also roast combos of vegies like this (carrots, fennel…whatever you have that needs to be eaten that isn’t too delicate)

  76. I can appreciate the advice about easing into vegetable consumption, but what about just jumping in and trying something completely new? I have found often that people think they don’t like certain vegetables (broccoli, b-sprouts, etc.) and so they think they dislike ALL vegetables. It’s important to not just branch out to the better known and more popular veggies, but try the weird/odd/rare ones too!
    🙂

  77. Organic herb blend salad (from the store), chopped apples & avocado, toasted nut & seed mix (whatever’s available, toasted in a pan with butter or coconut oil & a teensy bit of salt, and kept in an airtight container in the fridge for just such an occasion – or with baked squash, sprinkled on steamed veggies, or baked or fresh fruit), or raw nuts or seeds, a little tuna perhaps. I baked eggplant the other day for babaganouj, and nibbling as I so often do when cooking discovered that eggplant is surprisingly sweet. Yum.

  78. I never had a big problem adding veggies into primal eating. After failed attempts at vegan eating and USDA pyramid-style eating, I had already traded in servings of grains so I could have more servings of meat. But in order to make my meals feel like meals, I needed side dishes, and in my mind, if you don’t have rice and potatoes, you just have another vegetable!

    Certainly some very delicious recipes from MDA helped, too. I happen to remember a fennel and carrot side dish quite fondly…

    I also agree that you can re-train your palate. I used to tolerate veggies but love fruit, but once I gave up the grains, I realized that veggies have their own fabulous sweetness.

    Tonight, I made a pumpkin “lasagna” with spaghetti squash, zucchini, and a cashew “cheese” (I don’t tolerate dairy) mixed with pumpkin puree, all in layers with sausage. I couldn’t get over how fabulous it was! And now, if my husband eats a dinner that doesn’t involve veggies, his first thought is “Where are the veggies?” Dinner isn’t complete without them!

  79. You can’t go wrong sauteeing pretty much any vegetable in olive oil, garlic & chopped onion. Flavor with salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes, or whatever suits your tasted.

  80. I love veg. Recently I served a broiled steak and potato with roasted broccoli. I tossed the broccoli with olive oil and crushed garlic and then sprinkled some grated gouda cheese on it. It was incredible. the carmelized and melted cheese with the broccoli was unbelievably delicious. All 3 eaters thought it was better than the steak!

  81. I have not probs eating veggies – love them roasted, but I can’t eat too much meat – it messes up my digestion. I’m thinking of trying primal, but don’t think I can handle eating a lot of meat. What I am eating now is grass fed, so that’s not a prob. I need to figure how to make the transition.

  82. Dan speaks the truth! Any green cooked in tasty, tasty fat is to die for. I’m convinced it’s what I’ll do to get my future kids to eat their veggies 😛

    I made some collard greens yesterday that I cooked in some brown butter and some coconut oil, garlic and chili pepper flakes. Absolutely delicious, and so simple!

  83. My fav way to incorporate veggies are:
    Spinach a whole bunch
    cold water
    Kale
    coconut water
    ice
    in a blender 😀
    That dark green stuff is the best for me :3
    Anything cold or fresh is my fav anything dark green id say.

  84. “add veggies to your chili”…. BLASPHEMY!!!!! You have gone too far Mark Sisson. I’ll put veggies in my frittata/quiche thingy, replace my mashed taters with whipped cauliflower, and serve a wonderful chipotle whipped butternut squash….

    But I will not add veggies to my chili. My chili is home to 3 types of fat laden meat, melded together with copious amounts of spices that add various levels of heat. I suppose I can conceded that roasted tomatoes are a veggie…. wait, or is a tomato a fuit????

  85. Try radicchio leaves as a taco shell, works out just great! 🙂

  86. for all those asparagus haters out there, give this a try…take young asparagus, chop the woody stems off the bottom, wrap around two or three stalks in streaky bacon or salmon, and grill until the bacon/salmon is cooked and the asparagus is slightly browned.
    Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and some salt and pepper.

    it makes for a really nice starter, or you can just eat a whole heap of them for dinner! mmm…

  87. Maybe it’s hidden up in one of the earlier posts, but I have discovered a great way to get veggies at breakfast.
    Put a pan on low heat and melt a little butter in. Put in eggs (however many you eat) break the yolk or lightly scramble. Salt and pepper to taste and throw a healthy handful of fresh spinach leaves on top. Cover and let cook slowly until the eggs are set and the spinach is wilted. I add a sprinkle of good quality parmesan cheese. Yum!

    1. I make something similar to that, Saute some fresh or frozen chopped spinach in butter or bacon fat then stir in eggs & scramble & when almost done sprinkle in some crumbles of feta. Yum.

  88. I found that cauliflower and broccoli are excellent as a replacement for bread to soak up sauces in curries! Every time I make curry, I find myself making more sauce than needed so I can have some to soak up!

    Also, I never knew this, but shiitake mushrooms mixed into Red Thai curry are amazing! I just threw some in as an experiment yesterday, worked a treat!

    Veggies for breakfast – I always make a side salad in the AM. I can’t stomach anything sweet in the morning, or after a fast in general. Too bland? People in Europe and the US don’t use aromatic herbs more than a sprinkling; in Russia we eat them as vegetables. I’m talking dill and coriander in particular. Salad onions+sliced, juicy tomatoes + cucumber (sometimes I throw in my home-pickled ones!) + big bunch of dill and corriander + EVOO = heaven (make sure you slurp up the juices at the end).

    When ‘bull’s heart’ tomatoes (huge, kind of lumpy, skin a little milker and pinker than that of a regular tomato) are in season, we mix them with soured cream. Heaven, I’m-in-heaven…

    As far as the trained palate is concerned, I think Primal has given me super-taste buds. I tried some 90% dark chocolate yesterday and it was just too sweet. Back to 100% for me. 🙂

  89. I agree with you…Infact, I just did something very similar yesterday. I don’t like cauliflower that much so I invented my own recipe and tasted AMAZING

  90. Mark is wrong about the meat. I’ve been trying to add meat to my diet for over a year. When I see the prices, I back off. I will buy an occasional non-pasteured (junk) chicken, but that’s about it. I have bought some unidentified meat from a butcher who doesn’t speak English, but then I fail when trying to cook it and it’s unchewable.

  91. I like the ideas others are talking about here but, I am a purist/boring. I have always been salad obsessed. I eat a super large salad every single day-usually for dinner. It consists of organic baby spring mix,1/2 of a grilled chicken breast or 2 grilled chicken tenders, homemade bacon bits (pastured pork, of course), 2 boiled eggs, 1/2 of a cucumber and 2 baby carrots added for color. I also make steak or sometimes shrimp salads with slightly different ingredients.

    I also eat creamed spinach and more broccoli than any one person should.

    I definitely want to try the roasted brussel sprouts someone mentioned above. I am typically brussel sprout hater but I would be willing to revisit them if cooked properly.

  92. Forgot…I always eat omelets on the weekends. I use chopped spinach or swiss chard,tomatoes, mushrooms (sometimes), and good quality organic cheese.

    People who don’t like veggies should buy a juicer and try getting them into their diet that way. Blending them with apples can make almost any veggie taste better.

  93. I bought a Vitamix last year and have been enjoying vegetable and fruit smoothies. Because the plant is broken down you get easily absorb the nutrients. Also the glucose spike from any fruits should be avoided by the fiber from the vegetables.

  94. My recent marriage has opened up a whole new world of vegetables to me. My husband is from Mexico and has show me healthy Mexican food. Everything is centered around vegetables! My best advice for loving salads… Limes! Squeeze a fresh lime on just about any fruit or vegetable and it really brings out a wonderful flavor. Yesterday we had a salad- small amount of lettuce, boiled carrots, sweet potatoes and eggs, tomatoes and apples, all in small chunks. Drenched in Lime juice, sounds so strange but was delicious!

  95. Two words: grilled salad. Slice open a tight head of lettuce (romaine and iceberg would probably work the best), drizzle some olive oil and salt and pepper, and lay down on the grill! Whether you add regular salad toppings or more grilled veggies, it is FREAKING amazing and helps to give the salad a really nice savory flavor.

    Also, this is a recipe I used to make even before going primal, and everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. It’s hummus made with beets instead of chickpeas…
    http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/beet_hummus/

  96. I had veggies for breakfast this morning, scrambled with organic eggs. They were leftover steamed carrot and butternut squash, fried in chicken fat with eggs added for the last two mins – yummy!
    Now – off to cook dinner, organic Irish beef burgers with veggies…

  97. Try celery root salad.Shave off the outer tough skin,slice thin strips (grate with cheese grater or use a mandolin).Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water, drop into bowl of cold icy water.Drain and dry. Transfer to a bowl and add: sea salt/pepper, lemon juice (1 lemon) 1 spoonful of mayonnaise or yogourt and one spoonful of dijon mustard. That’s it. I keep a bowl of it in the fridge and match with chicken, porc, fish…and add a couple of tomatoes, slices of cucumber or radishes.

  98. As a newcomer to the Primal world, into my second week only, the hardest thing for me is walking past the chocolate always available in my office.I caught myself with a piece in hand the other day, without realizing I was actually eating it! Now I try to keep a bowl full of shopped celery, apples, cucumbers, radishes and bananas on my desk. Any tips to counter the office demons?

  99. I know this is off topic but I’m confused about the alleged ill-effects of sugar. I’ve read that tablesugar is one part glucose/one part fructose. I’ve also read that fructose is the more evil of the two molecules. But aren’t most (digestible) carbs in vegetables fructose? So, if we consume 100-150 grams of fructose by way of vegetables, how is this different from consuming the equivalent amount of fructose by eating several chocolate bars? Thanks to all who answer.

    1. the point is to get the maximum nutritional bang for your buck, and not to overdo the carbs; if you eliminate grains, legumes and sugar, and eat your carbs from fruit & vegetables, the amount of carbs you get won’t be big enough to cause weight gain; as Mark says, you can go pretty crazy with veggies and still barely scratch your carb limit.

      Technically, you can survive with no carbs at all. They aren’t necessary. We don’t need to eat veggies for the carbs, but for the health benefits that make eating those few carbs worth it.

      True, you could get those carbs by any means; you could down cupfuls of broccoli and greens (and get tons of cancer-fighting antioxidants, fiber and also deliciousness – broccoli with butter? nomnomnom!); or you could eat a couple of hersheys or whatever sweet gloop they sell and get no nutrition whatsoever, as well as harmful frankenfats and chemicals you might expect to see on bottles of detergent.

      The health benefits of veggies and (in moderation) fruit outweigh the unnecessarity of the carbs, especially as the amount of carbs you get from veggies won’t kill you.

  100. @lee waaks

    Valid question. And yes sugar is sugar is sugar. And fructose is what comprises most of the sugar content in fruit.

    But the question lies in the feasibility of the delivery of the contents. Let’s take you average run of the mill apples & bananas. Each have around 25 g of sugar. Will you really eat 4-6 of them in a day? I’d venture no. But sugary laden snack foods with concentrated level of sugar, you could pretty easily consume almost on accident.

    The other factor is fiber. Fruit has fiber for a reason. It is the antidote to the fructose. The fiber counters or blunts the fructose’s effect on insulin in the body.

    For a better, much more in depth explanation , google “dr. Lustig bitter truth abou sugar.”

  101. I don’t have a problem with veggies because I am a former vegan and my wife is Chinese.

    So, I would like to deviate a little and get your opinion on red wine and white rice in the Primal diet.

  102. Guess what – no one likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush. The same goes for limp asparagus or soggy eggplant… many vegetables are better raw. Stay open-minded.

    That’s simply wrong. I, for one, find any vegetable which is at all crunchy deeply unpleasant, so at least one person – me – likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush etc. (though they’re even better cooked properly, i.e. a little beyond al dente). In fact, mushy peas are traditional in the North of England.

    It is just about impossible to get properly cooked carrots at restaurants these days – and, if you can prevail on the cook to cook them properly, he or she won’t know how to do that and still keep the flavour (hint: use thin slices, test them with a fork to find out when they have softened, then cut off the heat immediately but leave them a couple of minutes for the heat to work some more, and afterwards butter them just a little).

    And damned few vegetables are better raw – basically, only the fruits that are designed to be eaten to spread the seed, though even those are often laxatives – for the simple reason that the plants have evolved chemical and other defences against being eaten and we have to work around those with various tricks. You don’t believe me? Why do you think peeling raw onions releases vapours toxic enough to make you weep? Or you can try eating raw cassava sometime, if you dare – but most people who eat it prefer to use the steeping and cooking approach to get rid of the cyanide. So, no, don’t stay open-minded, check all this to find out the truth for yourself and stick with that.

    1. after years of eating pressure-cooked cauliflower (20 minutes minimum), I am finally eating just blanched cauliflower and actually liking it. I still don’t like cooked peas. Raw or blanched, yum! cooked, not so much. Frankly, this is what I like almost the most about Mark’s approach: stick your toe in the proverbial waters; try it out; learn; go with what works for me within the assumptions. Oh, what I like most? BACON! hahahahahha!

  103. My niece totally hates vegetables, and her mum was on a constant battle with her to get her to eat her greens. Then, when they came over, I cooked us dinner, and made bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts and butternut squash roasted in goat’s butter with pecans; now she’s a full convert and loves vegetables! So, basically, spice it up!

  104. We actually have some excellent vegetarian cookbooks on our shelves by Irish restaurant owner Denis Cotter. The emphasis is heavily on the vegetables, and so there are many delicious and creative ways to prepare common and unique seasonal vegetables. Of course, he’d probably personally be horrified that we then accompany his creations with a bit of grilled meat, but it keeps us happy!

  105. On the breakfast front, raw radishes make a nice pair with eggs.

  106. I also pledge to watch “Next Food Network Star” beginning to end, and vote repeatedly, if there is a Primal contestant.

  107. Salad never impressed me, until I discovered Arugula, Spinach Leaves, Kale and real homegrown Tomatoes. Finally, salad has some taste to it, without drowning it in most corn syrup-laden French Dressing brands.

  108. I go for color as my guide, and I can never go wrong. Too much green can be tedious, so I make sure my plate is colorful, and then I know my veggie experience will be tasty. Radishes, bell peppers, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, various squashes make for a delightful flavor combo. Another little trick I’ve learned while overcoming my “mountain-of-rice-under- my-ood” addiction years ago is to instead have a bed of cool shredded cabbage under my savory meats – that way I can have the filling sensation of rice with my food. The texture of the cabbage is very nice constrasted with the meat – especially with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite seasoning.

  109. Try this cauliflower recipe. It is very tasty and easy to make.
    Separate cauliflower into florets (not too small). Boil cauliflower until almost cooked through (not too soft, but not too hard). Then dip into a mixture of beaten eggs with some salt and pepper (can also add shredded cheese) and fry it up in a pan on all sides. Enjoy 🙂

  110. To me, kale chips are a factory of loathsome putrescence. I followed these exact same directions years ago and choked down 3 before dumping the whole lot in the bin. I would rather pull my own head off than have to eat them again. However I have discovered ‘Terra Chips’ and they make my life a joy. They are root vegetables (no potatoes) prepared like potato chips. Ommmmmm.

  111. Hey Mark,

    What is your view on V8 vegetable juice? My parents have these original V8 1 serving sized cans, and I have 1-2 per day. it’s only 7 carbs per can and they are a great snack or a way to top of a meal if it doesn’t quite get me satisfied (which doesn’t happen often). However, I feel like since its been processed that there is still plenty of nutrients that may be missing or filtered out like fiber.

    My guess is that it doesn’t hurt, but anything that is still in it’s original form is most likely the best choice, as that has been sort of like the theme of the grok lifestyle.

    -Tim

  112. Hey Mark. Great post. Eating more vegetables isn’t hard. It’s just that a lot of people don’t like them. Personally, I think they are great. If you have meat but no vegetables in a meal I find there is not enough variety.

  113. As a southerner, I must protest about the green beans comment! One, they are cooked with a ham hock, what’s not to like there and Two, here’s research showing that long cooking releases more antioxidants. Yes, grandma knew a thing or two….cook em low and slow and long

    1.Jiménez-Monreal et al. Influence of Cooking Methods on Antioxidant Activity of Vegetables. Journal of Food Science, 2009; 74 (3): H97 DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01091.x

  114. I am constantly looking for ways to get more servings of vegetables into my kids bellies! (Lets face it I could use more veggies too:) You’ve got some great ideas here. I’ve been using freeze dried veggies as a quick nutritious resource in my meals. I just posted my tips for packing nutrition into meals using freeze dried veggies and also left a link to this post! Thanks again! Here is a link to my post if you want to check it out:) http://www.thrivequickdish.com/2011/11/28/nutrition-packed-delicious-meals/