I am a veggie girl, through and through. I’m quite adventurous with my veggie picks too; a total sucker for things like bitter melon, beetroot, and okra/ochre. My West Indian grandparents fed me a steady diet of some of the oddest looking veggies, that most don’t like! Even at the grocery store, sometimes cashiers still go “You like how that tastes??”
There are four particular veggies that are always in my bi-weekly grocery list. And I still get the “You like how that tastes?” or “Wow, you eat that?”. You probably bypass them in your grocery store run, too; but I dare you to give them a try, and you might be surprised when they become kitchen staples for you too.
Cauliflower gets its yuck factor from, most often, the smell and its blandness when simply boiled or steamed.
There are much more enticing ways to work around that though. I sometimes like it roasted with a blend of seasonings, but it gets even better if you venture beyond that: cheesy cauliflower tots (a keto snack for the ages and the healthy low carb cousin of tater tots), cauliflower rice and cauliflower mash are my three faves.
Most people don’t like onions unless they’re of the ringed, battered and fried variety.
Red onions have always seemed like an oddity to me, until I started trying them out in my salads, sliced raw. They do have a bit of a burn when overdone though, and for awhile I only added the teeniest amount because of that kick.
It was only when I started roasting my red onions did I realise how delish they are. Roasting allows tenderizing of the onion and takes away the kick, replacing it with a much more delicate, almost caramelised taste. They’re much more bearable in salads, and my much-loved roasted vegetable medley (broccoli, carrots, red onions, mushrooms, oh my!).
Roasting vegetables is one of the simplest ways to cook them. All you need is a dash of a healthy oil (think olive oil or coconut) and whichever seasonings you have on hand. Typically, I use salt, black pepper, paprika or lemon pepper.
Another Caribbean kitchen mainstay. Growing up, I couldn’t stomach the slime of ochroes, but when my gran cooked it for lunch during school breaks, a girl had absolutely no choice but to chow down.
I’ve fallen in love with them in my twenties though, by-you guessed it – roasting them. Next time you see okras at the grocery store, you should give it a go. Everyone in the house loves my roasted medleys, so the kitchen has turned into my personal roast-everything-in-sight lab. The roasting process takes away the slime completely, and adds a flavour unlike any other. I’ve also seen recipes aplenty where ochroes/okras are breaded and baked (another one on my ‘Recipes to try’ board on Pinterest).
I’m convinced that there’s this global love/hate relationship with kale. The texture is one of the toughest you’ll ever experience when cooked on its own. I used to think kale was right up there with spinach; easy to saute or add to an omelette or egg scramble. Kale’s texture when cooked this way is really not easy to eat.
Yet, I dare you to look at almost any green smoothie recipe and kale is the superstar of that recipe, right up there with a berry of some sort. Kale seems to be at its most loveable when you can barely taste it as its blended up with a medley of other vegetables or fruits.
If you’re like me and not a morning-green-smoothie kind of gal, but want to tap into that powerhouse of nutrients easily found in kale (more calcium than milk, more iron than beef, Vitamin A, C and K), may I introduce you to the delectable kale chip (two words you probable wouldn’t imagine together, right?). You can try them plain, sea salt-and-vinegarised, or cheesy . Kale chips first appeared on my radar as a uni student trying to master the all-nighter and the healthy-lifestyle thing all at the same time. They became a favourite salty snack when I felt for something crunchy and satisfying at the same time. I’m not gonna wax on trying to convince you that sometthing green and leafy tastes as good as potato chips, so I’ll just say try them the next time you have a salty-tooth.
But, wait, there’s more! For another day though, I think I’ve kept you here long enough; I’ve got a long list of yuck-turned-yum foods to share with you, and how they can go from meh to masterpiece. Stay tuned for a part 2!