How to love 5 of the most hated vegetables

Published on Thu Oct 07 16:16:00 UTC 2010
Carolyn Malcoun

There are some vegetables that are pretty easy to love—red bell peppers and carrots come to mind. But many people have hangups about certain vegetables. Sometimes it just takes the right preparation of one of those vegetables on your “nasty” list to change your mind.

Related Link: The Easiest Ways to Cook 20 Vegetables

Take my husband, for instance: when I met Dan, he hated Brussels sprouts...until one fine fall day. I braised them in a little chicken broth with fresh thyme and sliced shallots until they were perfectly tender. Dan whined a bit when he saw them on his dinner plate, but he’s good about trying things he doesn’t like. His eyes lit up after his first bite. He now loves Brussels sprouts so much that we’ve grown them in our garden the past two years.

Now it's my turn to try to change your mind about the vegetables we all love to hate. And for good reason: most Americans eat less than half of the amount of recommended vegetable servings but they’re full of fiber and teeming with healthy nutrients—we all should eat more of them! So last week I asked EatingWell’s Facebook fans to post their least favorite vegetable. And our fans were very happy to share! We got more than 200 responses in 4 hours. The “winners” weren’t too shocking—Brussels sprouts, okra, eggplant, lima beans and beets. (I was more shocked to learn that my sister hates okra—really, Jennie?)

Here are my favorite recipes for your least favorite vegetables. If you want to transfer any of them from your "hate" to your "love" list, try these recipes!

Brussels Sprouts
This recipe is like the one I made that changed Dan’s mind about our fans’ least popular vegetable. When we were developing the recipe, our tasters declared it the best Brussels sprouts recipe we’ve ever created. We hope you agree.

Recipes to Try: Thyme-Braised Brussels Sprouts, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions and More Ways to Love Brussels Sprouts

Okra
Believe me, I get why people don’t like okra (I can only eat so much of it myself). Like our fan Sandy said, “Just the thought of it being slimy does me in.” I think gumbo is a great way to eat okra because the sliminess is barely detectable when the seeds ooze into the general deliciousness of the soup.

Recipes to Try: Sausage Gumbo, Louisiana Catfish with Okra & Corn and More Ways to Love Okra

Eggplant
A lot of people can’t get past the mushy texture and sometimes bitter flavor of eggplant. Making baba ganouj, a traditional Middle Eastern dip, is a great way to use the mushy texture to your advantage. Grilling the eggplant infuses it with smoky flavor, which, along with the lemon, garlic and tahini, balances any bitterness.

Recipes to Try: Baba Ganouj, Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich and More Ways to Love Eggplant

Beets
Our fan Doris said, “Beets! So gross!! Taste like dirt!” Yep, they do have an earthiness that not everyone can get past. This sweet glaze helps balance their earthy flavor. Try this preparation with turnips or rutabaga, too—other vegetables many of you dislike.

Recipes to Try: Brown Sugar-Glazed Beets, Roasted Beet Crostini and More Ways to Love Beets

Lima Beans
Our fan Shannon said, “Lima beans is the winner...I pick them out of 15-bean soup mix!!!” Now that’s dedication! I’m not sure why so many people hate lima beans. Part of me wonders if we feel like we have to. I love their nutty flavor and creamy texture. My motto is, “pork product makes everything better,” so I like lima beans with a bit of chorizo in this tasty tapas-style dish.

Recipes to Try: Lima Beans with Chorizo, Lemon-Mint Snap Peas & Lima Beans and More Ways to Love Lima Beans

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